Manchester City took their Premier League winning streak to an unprecedented 15 matches in midweek with a comprehensive 4-0 battering of Swansea away from home, but the potentially decisive Premier League result came last weekend as they deservedly beat arch-rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford.
The Cityzens are now a huge 11 points clear at the top of the table and have dropped a grand total of two points this season. They are looking absolutely unstoppable at the moment and could well be on their way to a record points tally.
Tottenham have come fairly close to their first ever Premier League title in the last couple of seasons, but at the moment they sit down in 4th position in the Premier League and have a 17 point deficit on the leaders. It looks like North London will have to wait a bit longer for a league trophy to arrive.
Spurs beat Brighton 2-0 at Wembley to make it three wins on the bounce in all competitions, but their league form recently has been anything but consistent. They have won two, drawn two, and lost two of their last six matches, and their record against the big teams this season is far from promising. They have lost away to Arsenal and Manchester United already and were beaten at home by Chelsea earlier in the campaign
The last time a team beat each of Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham in a top-flight league season before the New Year was 1953-54, with Wolves and West Brom doing so – Manchester City could replicate this with a victory in this game.
This Manchester City winning run (15 in a row) is still four wins away from Pep Guardiola’s best-ever winning run as a manager in league competition. He won 19 in a row between October 2013 and March 2014 as Bayern Munich boss in the German Bundesliga.
Chelsea vs Southampton
Chelsea managed to bounce back from their shock defeat at West Ham in midweek with a comfortable 3-1 win away to Huddersfield, but the fear is that their numerous slip-ups this season have already all but ended their hopes of retaining the Premier League trophy.
The Blues now sit 14 points adrift of runaway leaders Manchester City and given their title contenders form, their chances of bridging that gap look very slim indeed. Still, they are only four points inside the top four, so it’s important that they continue to pick up the points.
Southampton shouldn’t pose too much of a threat to the hosts either. The Saints are in very poor form at the moment, and they were humiliated at home against Leicester in midweek as they sank to a 4-1 defeat.
They have now won one, drawn three, and lost four of their last eight outings, dropping them into the bottom half of the table and just four points above the relegation zone. Away from home, they have won just one league game this season as well, although they do seem to have overcome their problems in front of goal.
Chelsea has won three, drawn two, and lost one of their last six meetings with Southampton, with five of these games seeing both teams get on the scoresheet.
The West London club has won each of their last three Premier League games against Southampton since losing 3-1 at Stamford Bridge in October 2015 under Jose Mourinho.
Southampton has kept one clean sheet in their last 24 Premier League games against Chelsea, a goalless draw on Boxing Day 2002 with Antti Niemi in goal.
After losing consecutive matches against Man City and Crystal Palace, Chelsea have since won seven of their last nine in the Premier League (D1 L1), including each of the last four at Stamford Bridge.
Prediction: Over 1.5
Arsenal vs Newcastle
Arsenal’s disappointing performances away from home continued to haunt them in midweek as they made the trip to London to face the relegation-threatened West Ham. They couldn’t even manage to get a goal against the second-worst defence in the Premier League, with the game ending in a 0-0 draw to follow on from their equally dismal display at Southampton last weekend.
This puts The Gunners in an uncharacteristically low 7th position in the Premier League, and whilst they are only a point off the top four, they need to find a way to solve these away day problems soon or they risk being left behind.
The Magpies earlier performances this season are keeping them out of the drop zone at the moment, but they are only a point above the bottom three and could well find themselves sinking lower if they don’t sort their form out soon.
Away from home Newcastle are winless since September, and that 1-0 win over Swansea is their only victory of the season. Since then they have lost four and drawn two, and defensively there is a real worry after shipping 13 goals in these six games.
Arsenal has won their last nine meetings with Newcastle and hasn’t lost to them since 2010.
Arsenal has won each of their last nine Premier League games against Newcastle, scoring 22 goals and conceding just six.
Arsenal has only had a longer Premier League winning run against Manchester City (11 between August 1994 and September 2004) than their current run of nine against Newcastle.
Newcastle United, meanwhile, have only lost more consecutive Premier League games against Manchester City (12 between January 2009 and October 2015).
Prediction: Arsenal wins & Over 1.5
Rangers vs St Johnstone
Murty’s side host St Johnstone on Saturday, and they’ll be looking to continue a four-game winning streak when the Saints get to Ibrox. That run has seen them twice beat McInnes and Aberdeen, while it has shot the Gers into second place in the table and potentially towards a title race.
Can Rangers continue to chase down leaders Celtic in the Scottish Premiership this weekend? Despite having no permanent manager in place, the Gers are just five points shy of the champions, and they could move within two points on Saturday with Celtic playing a day later.
A solid run of results has made the Gers heavy favorites for this game, but we think you can find some value on them by backing a high scoring match this weekend.
The visitors have been in poor form for quite a while, and that has included some heavy defeats of late. They lost 3-0 at home to Aberdeen in midweek, while Celtic beat them 4-0 last month. That could open up a chance for the Gers to rack up some goals, especially as they won 3-0 at St Johnstone earlier this season.
Rangers have won their last three meetings with St Johnstone ahead of this clash.
Rangers have been leading at the end of each half in each of their last three clashes with the Saints. St Johnstone have seen exactly three goals scored in 41% of their league matches so far
Prediction: Rangers Win
Atletico vs Alaves
While a Champions League group stage exit has come as a bitter blow to Atleti, in recent weeks they’ve quietly been dragging themselves back into title contention in La Liga. With Diego Costa and Vitolo to become available in January and with more home games still to play than any other side in the division, their current six-point deficit to Barcelona is by no means impossible to claw back and there’s little danger of it growing anymore here.
Alaves do come into this game in good form though. Abelardo, their third managerial appointment of the season has already had more success than the previous two, winning his opening two league matches against Girona and Las Palmas to put some much-needed points on the board in what was already shaping up to be a very long season.
Up against a side of Atleti’s class though, it’s hard to see them not falling short. Alaves have lost 71% of their away games this term in La Liga and a lack of goals remains a concern. They’ve scored only 0.8 goals per game on average and only two sides in the Spanish top flight have netted fewer.
Both meetings last term were drawn. The sides hadn’t met in a decade prior to that but Atleti has won just 1 of the 7 meetings this century.
Atlético has gone 19 La Liga games without a defeat in La Liga (W12 D7), their best ever unbeaten run.
Alavés are the side who have been trailing the most minutes in La Liga this season (635), while only Real Madrid (62) and Valencia (32) have trailed for fewer than Atlético (97).
Prediction: Atletico Wins
Eibar vs Valencia
Valencia picked up a 2-1 win at home to Celta last weekend. While it may sound a routine enough victory, it was important that they bounced back from their first defeat of the season well and they certainly did that, although they were reliant on a bit of help from the referee. They head to the Basque Country as favorites but there’s strong reason to expect goals at both ends.
At the other end though Valencia continues to impress. They average 2.33 goals per game this term. To put things in some perspective, they’ve scored 5 more goals than Real Madrid and are only narrowly 2nd to Barcelona in the Spanish top flight’s goalscoring charts. Rodrigo has been a revelation up top this term and will test Eibar’s defence to the maximum here.
Eibar can at least take encouragement from some improved recent displays, particularly at home. They’ve fired in 10 goals in their last 3 home league games but their other 12 league games this term have seen them net just 6 times. They have a few ways in which they could get at Valencia with top scorer Charles available again and capable of providing a significant aerial threat in this match for them.
Eibar has collected 18 points after the first 15 matchdays in La Liga this term; their fewest at this stage of a top-flight campaign.
Valencia has lost only one of their 15 La Liga games this season (W10 D4), while this is their best ever points return at this stage of a campaign in the competition.
Marcelino is unbeaten in his four La Liga games as a coach against Eibar (W2 D2). Mendilíbar, meanwhile, has only won four of his 14 games as a coach versus Valencia in the top flight (D2 8L).
Prediction: Valencia Wins
Stuttgart vs Bayern Munich
Bayern visits Stuttgart in Saturday’s Bundesliga clash. Having seen their side lose the last 15 against the visitors, home punters will hardly be relishing having the Bavarians in town.
None more so than because they’ve seen their side suffer a dip in form. Die Roten had made a decent start to the campaign following promotion from the second tier, but three consecutive defeats has seen them slide down the table, with their 17 point haul seeing them just 2 points above the relegation playoff spot, in 14th.
What’s been most concerning about the miserable run has certainly been attacking performance. Hannes Wolf’s troops haven’t scored in any of the fixtures and only managed to fire in a paltry average of 4 shots on target in the process, helping to cement their position as the league’s third bluntest side, having only scored on 13 occasions thus far. Nonetheless, the 2-0 defeat to Leverkusen last time out at the Mercedes-Benz-Arena was the first home loss of the campaign and the side will be hoping to use home advantage to cause an upset.
It has to be said that,that doesn’t look all that likely, with it being business as usual for Bayern as far as the league is concerned. Jupp Heynckes’ men have won three consecutive Bundesliga matches, opening a 9 point gap at the top, with 12 wins from 16 outings seeing them dominate the division once again.
Bayern have won the last 15 meetings between the two, keeping clean sheets in 7.
Stuttgart have failed to score in their last 3 matches, notching an average of just 4 shots on target across said fixtures.
The hosts are the league’s third bluntest side, scoring just 13 times from their 16 fixtures.
Bayern have conceded an average of just 0.68 goals a game in Bundesliga action this season.
Prediction: Bayern Wins & Over 1.5
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