The double gameweeks are coming back in fantasy football land, but many of us are still recovering from that incredible FA Cup clash at Goodison Park. It's the first time that the famous cup competition has played a traditional round in the middle of the week and many of the matches were rather underwhelming.
However, the 5-4 thriller between Everton and Tottenham Hotspur was a sensational way to warm up a cold Wednesday night. Here's hoping that the Premier League can live up to that level of entertainment!
Games of the week
Leicester City vs Liverpool: King Power Stadium, Saturday 12.30 (BT Sport)
Leicester are flying. They are into the Europa League knockout round and the FA Cup quarter finals, all whilst occupying third-place in the Premier League. Not bad! However, Brendan Rodgers will know that these foundations could all collapse in the space of a few matches. The margins between success and failure are very fine. Nonetheless, morale is much higher at the King Power than it is at the base of their opponents.
Jurgen Klopp’s men amassed 198 points in two consecutive Premier League seasons; that is remarkable consistency. It seems they are now replicating Manchester City’s disappointing 2019-20 campaign; The Godfather Part III of seasons! They seem mentally and physically drained as a result of their momentous efforts in recent years.
Leicester are a very good outfit but they are not comparable to Man City. The Foxes are more than penetrable defensively and their recent form hasn’t been too impressive. That being said, they are more than a match for this out-of-sorts Liverpool team and we could be in for an exciting clash.
Crystal Palace vs Burnley: Selhurst Park, 15.00 (Sky Sports)
Palace aren’t the same team without Wilfried Zaha and Burnley will be hoping that their key performer is still absent at the weekend. Sean Dyche rested many key stars in his team’s 2-0 cup defeat to Bournemouth, perhaps in anticipation that the upcoming set of Premier League matches were of high importance.
Manchester City vs Tottenham Hotspur: Etihad Stadium, 17.30 (Sky Sports)
It’s a fair assumption to say that this is the most exciting match of the weekend; a clash between the traditional big-six! Harry Kane is back and that means you cannot entirely rule Spurs out of any game. Unfortunately for Jose Mourinho, this new streetwise Man City team seem to find a way in every game they play. He will set up to stifle the Blues but the probability is that it will be more misery for Mourinho.
Brighton & Hove Albion vs Aston Villa: AMEX Stadium, 20.00 (Sky Sports)
Brighton looked a little exhausted in their 1-1 draw against Burnley, while Aston Villa recorded their third consecutive league victory with a narrow win against Arsenal. Villa has a steeliness that aids their attacking talents; they weren’t mesmeric against the Gunners but they had a strong grit and determination to see-out the win.
Southampton vs Wolverhampton Wanderers: St Mary’s, 12.00 (Amazon Prime)
Southampton were still a little shell shocked from their Manchester nightmare when they lost to Newcastle. Nonetheless, the Saints have some good players and an excellent manager. They will bounce back in good time. Ralph Hasenhuttl would have seen this as a good opportunity for three points but Wolves have amassed four points out of their last six. A team on the up after a lengthy period in the dumps.
West Bromwich Albion vs Manchester United: The Hawthorns, 14.00 (Sky Sports)
You have to feel for supporters of West Brom. Sam Allardyce was brought in as a short-term punt to save them from relegation and the team seem to have regressed. Allardyce is never a long-term assurance but he hasn’t even managed to provide the short-term boost. This should be the banker of the gameweek, if ever there was one!
Arsenal vs Leeds United: The Emirates, 16.30 (Sky Sports)
Leeds are far from being the worst team in the division but they are the team that every big team wants to face. Marcelo Bielsa’s men go toe-to-toe with absolutely anybody and, while that style of football is rightly applauded, it does leave them looking vulnerable against teams with better individual players. This could be the perfect tonic for Mikel Arteta, after two disappointing defeats.
Everton vs Fulham: Goodison Park, 19.00 (BT Sport)
The potential loss of Dominic Calvert-Lewin is a big one for Everton. Their home record isn't great but Calvert-Lewin has been a predatory marksman for them throughout the campaign. A shaky looking defence could be put to the test by a Fulham team that will not lie down, even if wins are proving very difficult to come by.
West Ham United vs Sheffield United: London Stadium, 18.00 (BT Sport)
David Moyes will have been frustrated at his side’s narrow FA Cup defeat to Man United but his team are flying in the league; they are one point away from fourth! Industry and hard work is at the heart of West Ham’s rise but they have a lot of players with quality as well. They should have too much for a Sheffield United team who are battling hard to make up for their horrendous start to the season.
Chelsea vs Newcastle United: Stamford Bridge, 20.00 (Sky Sports)
Allan Saint-Maximin is a fantastic player and it’s no coincidence he bagged two assists on his return to the starting eleven. Steve Bruce had been to hell and back but it seems like he has steered his ship back onto steadier shores. That being said, Chelsea are looking good under the guise of Thomas Tuchel and it’s hard to see them being much trouble for the Londoners.
Burnley vs Fulham: Turf Moor, 18.00 (Sky Sports)
This rearranged fixture is huge for both teams. A win for Fulham would help to narrow the eight-point gap between themselves and 17th-placed Burnley. By contrast, a Burnley victory would really deflate Scott Parker’s players. It’s a tough game to call because the visitors play some good football and they defend rather well, but the Clarets are confident in their approach and they are full of experienced professionals.
Everton vs Manchester City: Goodison Park, 20.15 (Prime Video)
The possible return of Allan could help Everton in their defensive performance but they cannot afford any passengers against City. Unfortunately, the mercurial talent of James Rodriguez offers very little off-the-ball and that makes life even more difficult.