Another weekend, another big slate of Premier League games to get stuck into and we should have a new league leader by the end of the day. Take into consideration that plenty of the teams had midweek dates with the FA Cup and could show signs of fatigue coming into this weekend. That includes Liverpool, Tottenham, Leicester, West Brom and Aston Villa. We’ve broken it all down here.
Norwich v Liverpool
Carrow Road has been an incredibly happy hunting ground for Liverpool in recent years and Jurgen Klopp gets his first shot at the venue on Saturday. The Canaries have been one of the busiest sides this transfer window by signing the likes of Timm Klose, Steven Naismith, Ivo Pinto and making Matt Jarvis’ loan permanent. They are on a tidy home run and haven’t lost in the five games since going down 1-0 at home to West Brom, the only home game they haven’t scored in. Liverpool haven’t lost at Norwich since 1993, a run that extends to six games with the last five ending in wins. The Merseysiders have scored a combined 11 goals in their last three visits to Carrow Road but interestingly none of the scorers still play for the club (Luis Suarez, Raheem Sterling, Nuri Sahin, Leon Barnett (og)). No one has scored consistently for them this season; Christian Benteke’s six goals in 19 total appearances (12 starts) not getting close to justifying his huge price tag and Daniel Sturridge’s two goals in five games looking far more impressive. Adam Lallana may be missing for the Reds and that would open the door for Jordon Ibe.
Who to pick?
Ivo Pinto, Norwich ($2,000)
Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe, Norwich ($2,800)
Roberto Firmino, Liverpool ($5,300)
Alberto Moreno, Liverpool ($4,500)
Crystal Palace v Tottenham
In a predictable world Tottenham will walk away from Selhurst Park with an easy win on Saturday; football rarely conforms to these so called rules. Palace are five games without a win in the Premier League and more worryingly haven’t scored in that span. Injuries have ravaged the team and the line-up has suffered from the injury to Yannick Bolasie more than Alan Pardew would have expected. Palace won this fixture last season with goals from Dwight Gayle and Jason Puncheon, and have won two of the last three at Selhurst Park. Spurs haven’t lost an away game since the opener against Man Utd and Dele Alli has enjoyed his time away from White Hart Lane more than most with three of his four goals coming at other stadiums.
Who to pick?
Yohan Cabaye, Crystal Palace ($5,900)
Jason Puncheon, Crystal Palace ($5,000)
Harry Kane, Tottenham ($7,800)
Dele Alli, Tottenham ($5,800)
Leicester v Stoke
Leicester return home to the King Power Stadium joint top of the Premier League with a tricky fixture against Stoke on the horizon. Claudio Ranieri’s side have won just one of their last five games, scoring a disappointing two goals in the process. Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez have both failed to find the net in five games and that’s despite Mahrez having a chance from the spot in the 1-1 draw against Aston Villa. Leicester have in fact earned less points at home than away (19 v 25) this season. What is impressive is their defensive record of just two conceded in the last five. Stoke have won three of their last six Premier League games and have only lost three of 11 games on the road this season. Bojan has scored in his last two games against Leicester and Mark Hughes’ men are one of just five teams to have taken any points off Leicester. Hughes also revealed that Xherdan Shaqiri is close to a return.
Who to pick?
Christian Fuchs, Leicester ($4,400)
Marc Albrighton, Leicester ($6,100)
Marko Arnautovic, Stoke ($5,000)
Bojan, Stoke ($4,500)
Man Utd v Southampton
United are back into top four contention after the Grim Reaper got off Louis van Gaal’s case and they welcome a Southampton side in topsy-turvy form. After a run of three straight defeats, he has steadied the ship with two wins and a draw to take United back to the cusp of the top four; with a win they will go above Spurs in fourth. Wayne Rooney surprised us all by scoring again last Sunday to stretch his scoring run to a dizzying three games. Four games in all competitions. Calm down Wayne! Southampton’s form has turned around in a similar fashion since a terrible run in the lead up the Christmas had many tipping them as a relegation outsider. A run of two wins in eight games has given way to two straight wins and in both games Southampton kept a clean sheet. Fraser Forster has returned between the sticks and Koeman has stuck with a 3-5-2 formation in both games. Dusan Tadic has also rediscovered his scoring touch and notched in both games. Man Utd haven’t beaten Southampton at Old Trafford in two seasons, and lost 1-0 last time around thanks to a Tadic strike. Graziano Pelle is a doubt once again but new signing Charlie Austin is available.
Who to pick?
Wayne Rooney, Man Utd ($7,100)
David de Gea, Man Utd ($4,200)
Matt Targett, Southampton ($3,000)
Cedric Soares, Southampton ($4,300)
Sunderland v Bournemouth
Sunderland look increasingly desperate in the bottom three, a place that opponents Bournemouth found themselves in only weeks ago. Big Sam has failed to transfer any of his usual magic onto the team since taking over and has overseen six losses in his last eight games. Even then, the two wins came against struggling Aston Villa and Swansea. Patrick van Aanholt has scored in two straight Premier League games for the Black Cats and Sunderland have won three, lost three at home since Sam Allardyce took the job. Bournemouth have been in fine form since the November international break, losing just twice in 10 games and just one of those has come away from home (0-2 v Arsenal). Benik Afobe has already broken his duck in the Premier League, Matt Ritchie could be back for this games and they can climb to the heady heights of 13th with a win. These two have met just seven times ever and Bournemouth’s first win came back in September at the Vitality Stadium courtesy of a 2-0 win – their second Premier League win in the history of the club.
Who to pick?
Patrick van Aanholt, Sunderland ($4,100)
Yann M’Vila, Sunderland ($4,200)
Benik Afobe, Bournemouth ($4,100)
Matt Ritchie, Bournemouth ($6,000)
Watford v Newcastle
Quique Sanchez-Flores will want to see a reaction from his team when Newcastle visit Vicarage Road in a clash that has a distinct relegation battle feel to it even though Watford sit eight points off the bottom three. Watford have hit their expected dip in form and it has unsurprisingly coincided with Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney stopping scoring; neither has scored so far this calendar year. The Hornets have statistically the worst form in the Premier League, losing their last four and scoring just twice in the process. There is a significant feel good factor surrounding Newcastle after the 2-1 win over West Ham last weekend and the 3-3 draw against Man Utd before it. That does mask the fact they hadn’t won in five since last weekend and are in the relegation zone. Georginio Wijnaldum, who has two goals in two games and nine for the season, has been the one player to perform excellently all season for Steve McClaren and his form will make or break Newcastle’s season. Watford haven’t won a league game at home to Newcastle since 1993 but have already beaten Newcastle twice this season in the league and FA Cup combined.
Who to pick?
Odion Ighalo, Watford ($6,900)
Ben Watson, Watford ($4,000)
Georginio Wijnaldum, Newcastle ($5,300)
Aleksandar Mitrovic, Newcastle ($4,700)
West Brom v Aston Villa
It’s a Midlands derby up at The Hawthorn’s as Remi Garde looks to continue his Villa revival at Tony Pulis’ stolid West Bromwich Albion. The home side’s form at The Hawthorn’s has been good in recent weeks as they have beaten both Newcastle and Stoke by the odd goal yet their form overall has been very up-and-down all season. The last two Premier League clashes have been a microcosm of the season as they battled to a 2-2 draw at Chelsea before being thumped 3-0 at Southampton. Villa haven’t won here since 2008 and Saido Berahino, if he plays, will have a chance to build on his two goals in two games against Villa in the Premier League. Garde’s charges are unbeaten in two Premier League games, which equals his best run since joining midway through this season. That included just their second win of the season and it has brought them into double figures for points this season. Villa haven’t lost since replacing goalkeeper Brad Guzan with Mark Bunn and will go into this game confident they can continue gaining in strength.
Who to pick?
James McClean, West Brom ($4,300)
Salomón Rondón, West Brom ($4,000)
Jordan Veretout, Aston Villa ($5,000)
Aly Cissokho, Aston Villa ($3,000)
West Ham v Man City
Saturday’s late game (or lunchtime if you’re in the US) sees Man City visit a team they lost to earlier this season in West Ham. The Hammers have lost one out of nine Premier League games and that came last time out against Newcastle. At Upton Park, West Ham haven’t lost since August 22, not conceding since November 29. Dimitri Payet’s return to the side has been a boost, even though the remainder of the team didn’t get the memo not to get injured. Diafra Sakho has two in three against City but will still be out injured. City are still well in the hunt for the title and sit just a point off the summit following a comprehensive 4-0 over Crystal Palace last weekend. Sergio Aguero has scored five goals all time against West Ham and has three in three Premier League games coming into this one. City have only won one away game in their last six games though and scored only three goals in the process.
Who to pick?
Michail Antonio, West Ham ($4,300)
Dimitri Payet, West Ham ($7,200)
Sergio Aguero, Man City ($8,600)
Kevin de Bruyne, Man City ($8,500)