It’s the post-Double Gameweek set of matches and we have also just had the fourth round of the FA Cup. And now, in this fast and frenetic season, it’s time for the next set of midweek Premier League fixtures.
All the matches will be broadcast on BT Sport.
Game of the week
Tottenham Hotspur vs Liverpool: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, 20.00
The reverse fixture at Anfield was dubbed as an early battle for the title. One month later, it’s a clash for the Champions League.
To say Liverpool are in a crisis is a bit hyperbolic, however, their form is concerning. One goal in five league matches is a far cry from their free-scoring antics of recent years. Too many of their key players simply don’t look like they’re at the races. Their injury crisis is now starting to take its toll because those who are fit are not delivering to their maximum.
Their efforts against Manchester United were admirable. Mohammed Salah got back amongst the goals and, in periods, Liverpool looked very dangerous when they pushed forward. Unfortunately, their patched up defence struggled against a savvy United attack.
This is the perfect game for Jose Mourinho. He knows that Liverpool will want to attack, press high and get a much needed three points. Spurs will happily sit deep without possession, waiting for the opportunity to launch counter attacks. Mourinho will also have December’s narrow defeat at Anfield in the back of his mind and he will be eager to exact revenge.
Crystal Palace vs West Ham United: Selhurst Park, 18.00
David Moyes is riding a wonderful wave at the minute. West Ham are in the top-half of the league and they emphatically dispatched Doncaster Rovers in the cup. The Hammers are a very tough team to play against because they are defensively sound and physically imposing. They can grind out results and they should have too much for Roy Hodgson’s team, despite their small revival of late.
Newcastle United vs Leeds United: St James’ Park, 18.00
Two teams that have had pretty miserable starts to 2021. Both have lost every match of the new year. However, the return of the talismanic Allan Saint-Maximin could just be the spark that Newcastle need against a Leeds defence that flatters to deceive. That being said, the Newcastle defence is equally questionable!
Southampton vs Arsenal: St Mary’s Stadium, 20.15
A re-run of the weekend’s cup clash! Both teams will have a knowledge of each other but Mikel Arteta will be able to call upon several stars who he had decided to rest. At the same time, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men never go down easily and they will only take encouragement from their recent victory against the Gunners.
West Bromwich Albion vs Manchester City: The Hawthorns, 20.15
City were made to work hard in their cup clash with Cheltenham Town of League Two. Pep Guardiola had to turn to his bench for a little bit of help. In many ways, that clash should prepare them well for the challenge of West Brom and, with a strength eleven, they really should pick Sam Alladryce’s men apart.
Burnley vs Aston Villa: Turf Moor, 18.00
Burnley’s win at Anfield was remarkable but this will be a tougher match in many ways. It’s at home and the expectation will be to win. Of course, Aston Villa are this season’s surprise package and they show no signs of slowing down. But for a lack of final-third efficiency, they could be challenging for a top-four spot.
Chelsea vs Wolverhampton Wanderers: Stamford Bridge, 18.00
This is the first game post-Frank Lampard and the Chelsea players will expect to mark it with a victory. Wolves are horrendously out of form and they seem to be lacking belief in their traditional back-three system, emphasised by Nuno Espirito Santo’s decision to switch to a back-four in certain matches. The tide is very much against the visitors right now.
Brighton & Hove Albion vs Fulham: AMEX Stadium, 19.30
Fulham had drawn five league matches on the spin before suffering back-to-back defeats against Chelsea and Man United. The draws signified their top-flight competitiveness but the losses indicated the illusion of that progress; they are still in huge trouble. The over abundance of draws is also evident with Brighton, who have drawn more matches than any other team in the division (8).
Everton vs Leicester City: Goodison Park, 20.15
Leicester are the season’s overachievers once again but they will have to find a way to win without Jamie Vardy, who will be out for a few weeks with a hernia issue. While it is a big blow for Brendan Rodgers, he has managed to keep the Foxes near the top of the table despite having a ridiculous injury list and Europa League commitments. Nonetheless, Everton is a tough game and they have their key players back fit and available.
Manchester United vs Sheffield United: Old Trafford, 20.15
The Red Devils are flying while the Blades are sinking. A title success might be out of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reach but, as the Norwegian once said: “Mountains are meant to be climbed”. That advice could act as inspiration for Chris Wilder, although the reality is that the club will already have one eye on preparing for the Championship.