Jose Mourinho became the first Manchester United manager to lift a major trophy in his first season in charge last Sunday, as a late Zlatan Ibrahimovic goal afforded them the League Cup trophy in a thrilling 3-2 win over Southampton.
This also extends their winning streak to six matches in all competitions, and they have now won 16, drawn three, and lost just one of their last 20 games in all competitions. In the Premier League their unbeaten run now stretches back to the middle of October, with nine of their 16 games since then ending in them taking all three points.
This has lifted The Red Devils to within two points of the all important top four in the Premier League. They currently lie 6th, a point adrift of Liverpool but with a game in hand and two behind 4th placed Arsenal. With just five points between them and 2nd placed Tottenham it’s not out of the question that they could finish as Premier League runners up, and they are still in the hunt for both the FA Cup and the Europa League.
Bournemouth season has taken a large turn for the worse in recent times. Their 2-1 loss at West Brom last weekend makes it six defeats and two draws in their last eight matches, and in addition to this poor form their star striker Callum Wilson is out with an ACL knee injury.
In the Premier League they are winless in seven matches and have lost seven of their last ten, pushing them down to 14th in the table and just four points above the relegation zone. Things aren’t looking good for The Cherries at the moment.
Away from home it’s even worse, with seven defeats in their last eight games in all competitions. They have conceded at least three goals in six of these matches, losing by more than one goal on five occasions.
UNITED WIN 3-0
Swansea fell to a predictable 3-1 defeat at Chelsea last time out in the Premier League, but that won’t do much to negatively affect their confidence after an excellent spell of form for the South Wales outfit.
They have won three of their last five matches in the Premier League and lifted themselves up to 16th in the table, two points above the relegation zone. More important is the fact they have managed to pick up a bit of momentum and confidence along the way, and they now head into a crucial spell of fixtures which sees them face Burnley, Hull, Bournemouth, and Middlesbrough. A few good results from this run would put them in an excellent position to achieve a safe finish come May.
At the Liberty Stadium they have managed to win four of their last seven Premier League matches and have looked very impressive in doing so. They have scored 13 goals in this period but have conceded 16 at the other end to make for some very entertaining football. That’s not something Paul Clement will care about in all honesty though as he looks to guide the team to safety.
Burnley have put themselves in the very promising position of 11th in the Premier League, but that has almost exclusively been thanks to their home form. They actually have the fourth best home record in the Premier League, but in the away table they sit rock bottom.
The Turf Moor outfit did manage a 1-1 draw at Hull last weekend to pick up just their second away point of the season, but it wasn’t exactly a convincing performance from them. They have lost seven of their last eight away days in the Premier League.
Burnley have managed to score in each of their last five trips away, which does represent a minor improvement from them. However, they can’t seem to stem the flow of goals at the other end and this will be a big issue against a Swansea side in such good attacking form.
Fernando Llorente will pose a big threat to the Burnley defence too. The Spanish striker has scored six of his eight league goals on home soil and bagged one against Chelsea last weekend, so he looks the best choice for our anytime goalscorer predictions.
SWANSEA WIN 2-1
West Brom’s unbeaten streak extended to five matches in the Premier League last weekend as they beat Bournemouth 2-1 at The Hawthorns. This follows on from victories against Sunderland and Stoke and draws at Middlesbrough and West Ham and leaves them in an impressive 8th position in the Premier League. They are just four points adrift of Everton above them too, so the future is looking bright for Tony Pulis’ side.
At The Hawthorns it’s an even better story for The Baggies. They have won seven of their last eight Premier League games there, only losing to Manchester United and looking comfortable in their victories against Burnley, Watford, Swansea, Hull, Sunderland, Stoke, and Bournemouth.
Crystal Palace are certainly the same sort of calibre opposition as West Brom are used to beating, but they were given a huge boost last weekend with a 1-0 win over Middlesbrough. This takes them level on points with their relegation rivals, and they now only sit in the bottom three on goal difference.
The Eagles’ overall form still makes for dismal reading though. They have lost four of their last six games and won just two of their last 12 in the league. Six of their last eight Premier League matches have ended in defeat too, so it’s no surprise they find themselves in trouble.
Away from home they struggle even more, with one win, three draws, and six defeats in their last ten league away days. To make matters worse they haven’t even had a particularly difficult run of fixtures during this period, and it’s about to get much worse with matches against West Brom, Chelsea, Southampton, Liverpool, Manchester City, and Manchester United ending their trips away for the season.
Watford couldn’t manage to take the three points at Vicarage Road last time out as they were held to a 1-1 draw against West Ham. However, they are looking like a very difficult to beat side at the moment and that will please fans of the Hornets.
They have only lost one of their last six Premier League outings, and that came at Old Trafford against the in form Manchester United. During this period they have won two, including a victory over Arsenal, and drawn the other three, to put themselves 12th in the Premier League with a comfortable nine point cushion over the drop zone.
At Vicarage Road things get even more difficult for the visiting sides. Watford have lost just two of their last 11 home matches in the Premier League and have won five of them. Defensively they haven’t been at their best with just two clean sheets, but they generally make up for it going forward.
Southampton failed to win their first major trophy in an age last weekend as they were beaten 3-2 by Manchester United at Wembley. It will come as a bitter pill to swallow for The Saints as well, considering they were largely the better side in that game.
One positive to take from it is the performance of Manolo Gabbiadini. The Italian striker scored both of Southampton’s goals to take his tally to five goals in three appearances for his new club. He looks like a real talent up front for the visitors, so backing him to score anytime looks a good option for our goalscorer predictions.
Southampton have struggled in the Premier League lately, with just two wins and six defeats from their last eight games. However, last weekend’s performance should boost their confidence, and the fact they have scored in seven of their last 12 on the road in the Premier League means they should be able to take advantage of Watford’s leaky defence.
SOUTHAMPTON WIN 1-0
The parting of ways between Leicester City and Claudio Ranieri may have divided the footballing world, but it certainly seemed to inject some motivation into the Leicester players last week. They followed up their 2-1 defeat at Sevilla with an emphatic 3-1 win at home to Liverpool in a thoroughly deserved victory.
This ended a six match winless streak in the Premier League for the champions and leaves them 15th in the table, two points above the drop zone and probably in high spirits after such an impressive performance.
At home they haven’t actually been too bad this season, and they have managed three wins in their last six home games in the Premier League. Two of these were against the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool, whilst two of their defeats came against Chelsea and Manchester United. It has to be said that this is a decent record considering the quality of their opposition.
Hull couldn’t manage to build on their recent impressive home displays last weekend as they dropped two points against a Burnley side who had lost all but one of their away games this season. This leaves the visitors 19th in the table with a point between them and safety.
Any hope of survival this season lies squarely on their home form though, as away from the KCOM they have been shocking. Their 2-0 loss to Arsenal in their last away match made it ten defeats from their last 11 away days in all competitions, and during this time they have scored only two goals.
Leicester do have a dodgy defence, so it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that Hull could score on Saturday. However, the visitors defence have only limited the opposition to a single goal or less in three of their last ten away games and have only scored more than one themselves in two of their away days in the league this season.
LEICESTER WIN 2-1
Stoke’s struggles against the top sides in the Premier League continued last weekend as they were battered 4-0 at Tottenham, but that result doesn’t fully illustrate their recent form in all honesty.
The Potters have won three of their last seven in the Premier League, but they have had to contend with Manchester United, Everton, and Spurs in that spell. At home they have lost just one of their last 11 in the Premier League and have won five times, leaving them in a decent looking 10th position in the Premier League with just a point between them and 9th placed West Ham.
As previously mentioned, two of their failures to win have come against the in form Everton and Manchester United, whilst the lower placed teams such as Sunderland, Swansea, Burnley, Watford, and Crystal Palace have all fallen to defeat at the Bet365 Stadium.
Middlesbrough can certainly be classed as one of those lower placed sides. Their 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace last weekend leaves them 17th in the Premier League and only outside the relegation zone on goal difference.
In the league they are now winless in nine matches and are one of the most out of form teams in the division. This gets even worse away from the Riverside though. They haven’t picked up three points on the road since their 2-1 win over Sunderland in August, and five of their last six away days have ended in defeat.
This is largely down to their almost completely ineffectual attack. They have scored just one goal in their last six away matches and are facing a Stoke side who have kept four clean sheets in their last seven home games. It doesn’t bode well for Alvaro Negredo and company here.
STOKE WIN 2-1
Liverpool’s season took another big blow on Monday when the managerless Leicester comprehensively beat them 3-1 at the King Power Stadium, taking their recent form to one win, one draw, and five defeats in all competitions.
This shocking start to 2017 has seen them knocked out of both the League Cup and the FA Cup and drop out of the Premier League top four. They currently sit 5th in the table, with a point between them and 4th placed Arsenal and a point between them and Manchester United below them. Both of these teams have a game in hand on them though, so things could get tough for Jurgen Klopp in the near future.
In the Premier League alone things only look marginally better for Liverpool, where they have won one, drawn three, and lost three of their last seven. At Anfield they have won three, drawn two, and lost one of their last six. However, against the top teams in the Premier League they tend to find the motivation to play better. Their record against the rest of the top six has seen them beat Spurs, Arsenal, and Manchester City and draw against Manchester United twice, Chelsea, and Spurs.
Arsenal aren’t exactly in the greatest spell of form either. Their win at Sutton United last time out makes it two wins and three defeats from their last five outings in all competitions. In the Premier League they have won five, drawn one, and lost four of their last ten matches and find themselves struggling to hang on to their top four position.
Away from home they have won just one of their last five in the league and seem stranded at sea at the back, where they have conceded an average of two goals per game over this period.
Matches between these two sides generally result in very high scoring affairs too. Six of their last seven meetings with one another have seen at least three goals, with both teams finding the net in all of those six games.
LIVERPOOL WIN 2-1
Tottenham bounced back from their midweek Europa League exit last weekend with a 4-0 battering of Stoke at White Hart Lane, with Harry Kane getting yet another hat-trick to cement his position as the Premier League’s best striker.
This victory makes it three wins, one draw, and two defeats in Spurs’ last six outings in all competitions, but in the Premier League things look a little more promising. They have lost just one of their last 11 league matches, and all of those defeats came on their travels.
At White Hart Lane they are coming into this game on the back of an eight match winning streak, and they remain undefeated there all season. This has put them in with a minute chance of challenging for the Premier League title, although the ten point gap between them and leaders Chelsea could be a bridge too far for Tottenham.
Everton aren’t doing too badly themselves though. They beat Sunderland 2-0 last weekend to make it nine league matches unbeaten for them, and with six of those ending in victory they are putting themselves in a very promising position. The Toffees currently sit 7th in the table, four points adrift of Manchester United above them but four points above the impressive West Brom.
Most of Everton’s success comes at Goodison Park though, and away from home victories are a little harder to come by. They are still unbeaten in five away days in the Premier League, but that has been against the likes of Leicester, Hull, Crystal Palace, Stoke, and Middlesbrough and they have only managed to win two of these.
Last time Everton visited top quality opposition was in the midst of a six game winless streak on the road, and they were battered 5-0 by Chelsea. We’re not expecting the same level of dominance here, but they certainly haven’t covered themselves in glory in their few trips to top teams this season.
SPURS WIN 2-1
Sunderland’s season just, was plunged back into crisis last time out as they were beaten 2-0 at Everton to follow on from their thrashing at the hands of Southampton. This leaves them bottom of the Premier League table, three points from the safety of 17th position and facing a huge task to save themselves from the drop.
That defeat last time out made it one win, three draws, and seven defeats in their last 12 outings in all competitions, whilst the Premier League has seen them lose six of their last nine and win just once.
These haven’t been narrow defeats though. Their 2-0 defeat to Everton was well deserved and apart from that they have lost 4-0 to Southampton, 2-0 to West Brom, 3-1 to Stoke, 4-1 to Burnley, and 3-1 to Manchester United. Even at home they have lost eight of their 13 Premier League games this season and see a comprehensive margin of defeat in four of them.
Sunderland are coming up against a Manchester City side in form as well. They thrashed Huddersfield 5-1 in their FA Cup Replay in midweek and beat Monaco 5-3 in a thrilling Champions League first leg last week. They have won six of their last seven in all competitions to keep them in the mix for three competitions this season.
The Premier League might be a stretch too far with Chelsea 11 points ahead of them and Spurs in good form in 2nd too, but away from home they have been turning on the style recently. Manchester City have won six of their last nine trips away in the Premier League, with four of them seeing a comfortable margin of victory.
A short spell out of the starting line up seems to have fired star man Sergio Aguero up as well. The Argentine striker scored another two in midweek to take his tally to 19 goals in 29 appearances this season, and he has scored eight goals in his ten Premier League away appearances. He looks the prime choice for our anytime goalscorer predictions at 1/2.
MANCITY WIN 4-1
West Ham managed to salvage a point from Vicarage Road last time out despite going behind to an early goal and being reduced to ten men late on, but they will have been hoping for more from a very winnable game against Watford.
This 1-1 draw made it three wins, two draws, and four defeats in their last nine outings in all competitions, although in the Premier League they have only lost three of their last 12 matches. Those defeats came against Leicester, Manchester United, and Manchester City, and the only top six team they have been able to fend off during this period was their 2-2 draw with Liverpool in December.
The Hammers’ new stadium has hardly been a fortress for them either. They have lost five of their 13 Premier League games at the London Stadium and won just five of them as well. These victories have all came against relegation threatened sides, whilst their 2-2 draw with West Brom was the only time they have managed to avoid defeat against a team in the top half of the table.
This doesn’t bode well coming up against Chelsea. They beat Swansea 3-1 last time out to make it seven wins and two draws since their last defeat in all competitions, and they have lost just one of their last 20 Premier League matches, winning a huge 17 of them. It will come as no surprise that they sit atop the Premier League table with a commanding ten point cushion over 2nd placed Spurs.
Even away from home they have won seven of their last ten in the Premier League and have lost just twice all season. However, their defence has come unstuck a few times recently and they have now conceded in four consecutive Premier League games. Away from home they have conceded four in their last four, and despite West Ham’s poor record at home they have still scored in ten of their 13 league matches there this season.
CHELSEA WIN 2-1