Aston Villa v West Ham
Remi Garde is still looking for a first win but this game represents a great opportunity – and one they probably have to take. West Ham have not won in seven and have ground out three successive nil-nils as they’ve scored just three times in that seven game run. Player absences have hurt the Hammers and while Manuel Lanzini may return they still look vulnerable going forward with Sakho, Payet and Moses all out. Villa’s attack isn’t up to much either of course – no team has scored fewer goals this season – and both teams have scored in just three of their last 10 home games.
Bournemouth v Crystal Palace
Bournemouth took full advantage of James McClean’s red mist in the first half at West Brom to record a third consecutive win and confidence is high on the south coast. The same is true in south London however, and Palace may be looking at their upcoming fixtures thinking they can climb into the top four. They’ve won 11 of 16 road trips under Alan Pardew as their counter-attacking style has proven highly effective. Nine of those wins have come despite conceding though and both teams have scored in all of Bournemouth’s last seven matches against teams currently in the top half.
Chelsea v Watford
Chelsea finally got some good news last weekend but before reading too much into that Sunderland were rubbish. Watford, in contrast, were not, as they proved too good for Liverpool. Games against Spurs and Man City follow this and might test the depth in their squad but, for now, they’ve won four in a row and have conceded less than one goal per game this season. Chelsea have not won by more than one goal in any of their last six home matches against middle-third teams and they’ve won just one of their last six home games against promoted teams by more than this amount.
Liverpool v Leicester
Liverpool’s brief improvement under Jurgen Klopp was an anomaly in another season of mediocrity and on current form there wouldn’t be too many Reds that would make it into this Leicester side. The Foxes are coming off a superb win at Everton and this is arguably the easier trip to Merseyside at the moment. They’ve suffered just two defeats in 26 games, and none in 12 on the road, while they’ve scored at least twice in eight of their nine away matches this term. Liverpool have a negative goal difference this season and over their last 58 games it is just +1, while they’ve won only one of their last seven home matches when conceding and that was against Villa.
Man City v Sunderland
Losing at Arsenal was a major blow to City but they shouldn’t have any problems here. Sunderland have been a bogey side for the Citizens in the past but their current form is woeful and they’ve lost eight of their last 10 away matches. Seven of those defeats were by more than one goal and one of the times they avoided defeat was at Villa – currently the only side worse than them – while six of the matches had at least four goals. City are yet to keep a clean sheet this season when Kompany has failed to start (nine games) and he probably wont be quite ready for this game. Furthermore, while they’ve won their last six home games against bottom-six sides they’ve conceded in five and four of the matches have had at least five goals so the goals market could offer the best value.
Swansea v West Brom
Swansea dominated possession last weekend but couldn’t find a way past Adrian as they settled for a point with West Ham. They get another home game to try and find a much needed three points but will need to improve on a scoring record that has seen them fail to register in five of their last seven home matches. Tony Pulis will be missing two of his main attackers after stupid sending offs for McClean and Rondon last weekend and both players have failed to start just two games each this season with the Baggies failing to score in any of them (three separate matches). The Baggies may be the only team playing less entertaining football than Van Gaal right now but they’ve lost just one of their 10 trips to bottom-half teams under Pulis (W4-D5-L1) as six of the matches have had fewer than two goals.
Tottenham v Norwich
Spurs bounced back from their shock defeat against Newcastle with a fine win at Southampton while Norwich are coming off a big upset at Old Trafford. That was Norwich’s first away win in eight games and they are still waiting for a first clean sheet on the road this season as six of nine matches have had at least three goals. Spurs will be expecting to consolidate their top-four spot here and have won all nine of their home games against promoted teams since 2012/13. However, just six of their last 23 wins have come to nil and there have been at least three goals in 17 of their 28 home matches since the start of last season.