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Chelsea stand in the way of Man City’s title aspirations

AFC Bournemouth vs Liverpool 

Vitality Stadium, Dorset

Saturday, 08-12-2018 @03: 30 pm

Referee: Lee Mason

Liverpool will be hoping to continue their fine run of form in the league that has seen them keep close tabs with Leaders City. Jurgen Klopp’s side have won all their last four games in the league and sit just two points behind the leaders. A win against Bournemouth on Saturday will see them go temporarily top of the standings as City play later in the day.

Liverpool go into the lunch time kick-off, having won four of the six Premier League meetings with Bournemouth, including by 4-0 on their most recent visit to the Vitality 12 months ago. Bournemouth have only beaten Liverpool once in any competition, coming from 2-0 and 3-1 down to win 4-3 in the Premier League in December 2016.

Bournemouth’s Lewis Cook faces up to nine months out after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament during Tuesday’s win over Huddersfield. Dan Gosling remains absent with a knee injury, while there are fitness concerns over several unnamed players.

Liverpool are without defenders Dejan Lovren, Nathaniel Clyne and Joe Gomez, with the latter ruled out for up to six weeks due to a lower leg fracture. Sadio Mane is a major doubt because of a cut foot but Andy Robertson returns.

Liverpool are aiming for a fifth consecutive win in the Premier League. They are unbeaten in 16 Premier League matches (W13, D3) and could equal their club record of 17 consecutive fixtures unbeaten, set in 2008. The Reds are unbeaten away from home in the league this season (W6, D2).

Arsenal vs Huddersfield Town

Emirates Stadium, London

Saturday, 08-12-2018 @06:00pm 

Referee: Paul Tierney

Arsenal are on a stroll of sorts currently, unbeaten in their last 20 games in all competitions and sit level on points with Chelsea in fourth. The 2-2 at United on Wednesday may have been draining but they will fancy their chances of taking care of Huddersfield on Saturday.

The Gunners are unbeaten in 10 games against Huddersfield, winning eight and drawing two. Arsenal won both league meetings last season, including 5-0 at the Emirates. Huddersfield have lost eight of their last nine top-flight matches against Arsenal and failed to score in each defeat. The Terriers’ last victory at Arsenal was by 5-3 at Highbury in November 1954.

Arsenal defender Rob Holding faces nine months out with a ruptured cruciate ligament, while Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey are both doubtsGranit Xhaka is available after suspension and Laurent Koscielny could be involved for the first time since tearing his Achilles tendon in May.

Huddersfield’s Abdelhamid Sabiri is out with a broken collarbone, while Phil Billing and Steve Mounie are banned. Chris Lowe should feature after recovering from a shoulder injury.

Arsenal are unbeaten in 20 games in all competitions, winning 15 of them. It’s their longest run without defeat since a 28-game streak in November 2007. The Gunners have won 16 of their past 17 Premier League games played at 3pm on a Saturday, including each of the last nine. Unai Emery’s side are yet to lead at half-time in a league fixture this season. They have scored an unrivalled 25 second-half goals, three more than Manchester City. Arsenal have also won a league-high 12 points from losing positions in 2018-19. The Gunners have scored in 14 successive league matches and conceded in eight straight games.

Burnely vs Brighton and Hove Albion

Turf Moor, Burnely

Saturday, 08-12-2018 @06: 00 pm 

Referee: Martin Atikenson

Burnley manager Sean Dyche made five changes to his team against Liverpool and may opt for a similar side following an encouraging display. Steven Defour is again a doubt because of discomfort in his knee.

Brighton & Hove Albion will assess the fitness of Glenn Murray and Jose Izquierdo, who are nursing respective shoulder and knee problems. Shane Duffy starts a three-match suspension but Dale Stephens returns after completing a ban of his own.

The past five league meetings have ended in draws, including two goalless encounters last season. Brighton are unbeaten in eight league games against Burnley, winning five and drawing three. Burnley’s last win against the Seagulls was 1-0 at home in the Championship in April 2012.

Cardiff City vs Southampton

Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff

Saturday, 08-12-2018 @06: 00 pm

Referee: Jonathan Moss

Southampton ended a seven-match losing streak at Cardiff on their most recent visit, a 3-0 Premier League victory in 2013. Cardiff have only lost four of their 20 home league matches against Saints overall (W12, D4).

Cardiff continue to face injury problems in attack, with makeshift striker Callum Paterson set to lead the line against Southampton. Kenneth Zohore remains out with a calf injury, while Danny Ward and defender Jazz Richards are both unavailable and Gary Madine is a doubt.

Southampton captain Ryan Bertrand is a doubt, having missed the defeat against Tottenham with a back problem. Michael Obafemi and Danny Ings have hamstring injuries and may miss out.

Man United vs Fulham

Old Trafford, Manchester

Saturday, 08-12-2015 @06: 00 pm

Referee: Lee Probert

Man United somehow survived defeat to Arsenal in mid-week, but the draw took them to four games minus victory in the league currently (D3 L1). However, they come up against a side that has not defeated them at Old Trafford since 2003.

Manchester United will assess the fitness of Anthony Martial, Luke Shaw, Chris Smalling, Eric Bailly and Phil Jones, who are all nursing injuries. Ashley Young is available following a one-match suspension but Victor Lindelof and Alexis Sanchez remain out.

Fulham pair Kevin McDonald and Floyd Ayite are expected to return from respective hamstring and groin injuries. On-loan defender Timothy Fosu-Mensah is ineligible to face his parent club.

Manchester United have won 21 of their 23 home matches against Fulham in all competitions. Fulham’s only victory at Old Trafford was by 3-1 in the Premier League in October 2003. The Cottagers have suffered 18 Premier League defeats against United – only Arsenal, with 19 wins, have beaten them more often.

A defeat for the Red Devils would result in their lowest points tally after 16 matches of a Premier League campaign. They could draw four straight Premier League matches for the first time since 1992. United could also equal the club’s longest winless run versus promoted opposition of four games. They have made a league-high 46 changes to their starting line-up this season. Jose Mourinho is aiming for a 50th Premier League win as United manager in his 92nd game. It took him 63 matches to earn 50 wins in his first spell at Chelsea, and 73 in his second spell. United have conceded 10 Premier League goals at Old Trafford this season, already surpassing their total goals against at home in 2017-18.

West Ham United vs Crystal Palace

London Stadium, London

Saturday, 08-12-2018 @ 06: 00pm

Referee: Anthony Taylor

West Ham forward Marko Arnautovic has been ruled out for a month with a thigh muscle injury sustained in the win over Cardiff on Wednesday. Andy Carroll made his first appearance of the season as a substitute in that game, while Pablo Zabaleta and Fabian Balbuena are fit again.

Crystal Palace have no new injury problems, with boss Roy Hodgson able to select from a near full-strength squad. Christian Benteke, Connor Wickham and Scott Dann remain sidelined.

West Ham are unbeaten in their last six matches with Crystal Palace (W3, D3). The side scoring first in Premier League fixtures between West Ham and Crystal Palace have never lost.

Cheslsea vs Man City

Stamford Bridge, London

Sunday, 08-12-2018 @08:30 pm

Referee: Micheal Oliver

The biggest fixture of the weekend pits Chelsea at home to defending champions, Man City. The last few weeks have not been the best for Mauricio Sarri’s side, compounded by the 2-1 loss at Wolves last time out. For City, they are still unbeaten in the league and enjoy a two point caution over second placed Liverpool. A win at Stamford Bridge will send echoes of title intentions for the Citizens who have won all their last 7 Premier League games.

Chelsea pair Jorginho and David Luiz were unused substitutes for the midweek defeat by Wolves and are expected to be recalled on Saturday. Ross Barkley is back in contention after an ankle injury.

Manchester City’s record scorer Sergio Aguero will miss a third successive game because of muscle tightness. Oleksandr Zinchenko is also a doubt due to a facial injury, while the match comes too soon for playmaker Kevin De Bruyne.

Manchester City have won the last three meetings in all competitions, including this season’s Community Shield, without conceding a goal. This will be the 161st meeting of the sides in all competitions. City can win four consecutive games against Chelsea for the first time. Chelsea have lost only four of their 21 Premier League home matches against Manchester City, but two of those defeats have come in the last three seasons.

Chelsea began this Premier League campaign with five consecutive victories, but they have won only four of their subsequent 10 fixtures. The Blues are unbeaten in all eight home league fixtures this season but have drawn three of the past five. They have not lost a Premier League home game against the reigning champions in 11 attempts since being defeated by Manchester United in 2002 (W5, D6). A team managed by Maurizio Sarri has not lost consecutive league matches since October 2016, when Napoli were beaten by Atalanta and Roma. Eden Hazard has failed to score in his last 11 appearances for club and country.

Manchester City are unbeaten in 21 league games since April, winning the last seven. They are unbeaten in their last 14 away league matches (W11, D3) – they have never gone 15 without defeat in the top flight. Since the beginning of last season, Pep Guardiola’s side have earned 34 points out of a possible 42 against the other established top-six teams. Chelsea have only managed half as many points. They could become the first club based outside London to win seven consecutive top-flight fixtures in the capital. They have equalled the record of six in a row, set by Portsmouth from December 1950 to December 1951. Raheem Sterling, who turns 24 on the day of the game, has failed to score and provided only one assist in nine league appearances against Chelsea.

Leicester City vs Tottenham Hotspurs

King Power Stadium, Leicester

Saturdaay, 08-12-2018 @10:45 pm 

Referee: Craig Pawson

Leicester remain without Jamie Vardy because of a groin problem but Harry Maguire is ready to play after five weeks out with a knee injury. Jonny Evans and Rachid Ghezzal should also be fit despite missing Wednesday’s draw at Fulham.

Jan Vertonghen is available for Spurs after serving a one-match ban. Fellow defenders Kieran Trippier and Juan Foyth have been ruled out due to respective groin and hamstring injuries.

Since Leicester returned to the Premier League in 2014, this fixture has produced 34 goals – second only to Arsenal v Liverpool (38) during that period. There has been only one goalless draw in the 96 league meetings between the teams. It came in the second tier at Spurs in March 1948. Tottenham earned their biggest Premier League away win when they beat Leicester 6-1 in May 2017.

Newcastle United vs Wolverhampton Wanderers

St. James Park, Newcastle upon Tyne

Sunday, 08-12-2018 @07:00 pm

Referee: Mike Dean

Midfielder Kenedy has returned to training after missing the trip to Merseyside with a toe problem and full-back Paul Dummett is also back after a hamstring injury, although he remains short of match fitness, while defender Florian Lejeune (knee) continues to work his way back.

Ruben Neves is available for Wolves’ trip to Newcastle after suspension. The midfielder missed Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Chelsea after collecting five yellow cards. Replacement Morgan Gibbs-White impressed, meaning Romain Saiss may drop to the bench to accommodate Neves.

Newcastle have never lost against Wolves in the Premier League (W2 D4 L0), though this is their first meeting since February 2012. Wolves won on their last league visit to St. James’ Park against Newcastle, a 2-0 win in the Championship in September 2016. They haven’t won consecutive away league games there since October 1954. All six meetings between Newcastle and Wolves in the Premier League have seen both teams score – it’s the most played fixture in the competition not to see a clean sheet. Wolves haven’t scored more than once in any of their seven away league games this season (W2 D2 L3), netting five goals in total. Nine of Wolves’ Premier League 19 points this season (47%) have come in six games against last season’s top seven sides. In their nine games against other clubs, they have won just 10 points (1.11 per game). Newcastle have conceded more goals from set piece situations than any other team in the Premier League this season (10). Newcastle striker Salomon Rondon scored his team’s only goal in their 1-1 draw at Everton last time out, however the Venezuelan hasn’t scored in consecutive Premier League games since September 2016 for West Brom. Wolverhampton Wanderers striker Raul Jimenez has been directly involved in eight of his team’s 15 goals in the Premier League this season (four goals, four assists). Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez has not lost any of his 22 home Premier League matches against a newly promoted club, winning his first 10 in the competition before drawing six and winning six of his last 12 such games.

Everton vs Watford

Goodison Park, Liverpool

Monday, 10-12-2018 @11:00 pm

Referee: Kevin Friend

Everton could have a full complement of players to choose from. Silva said on Thursday that Morgan Schneiderlin, who has had a leg issue, was “getting better” and may be available. The midfielder has not been part of the matchday squad for the last seven matches.The Toffees boss also said there were “some small problems” but “nothing special” with regard to the fitness of those who had played in Wednesday’s 1-1 draw with Newcastle.

Will Hughes remains a doubt for Watford ahead of the trip to Goodison Park with a knock. Tom Cleverley could return against his former club after being sidelined since January with hamstring and Achilles problems, while Etienne Capoue is suspended.

Everton have won 11 of their 12 home matches against Watford in all competitions, drawing the other. Watford won their last league meeting with Everton in February 2018 – they have never won back to back league matches against the Toffees.Everton came from two goals behind to win 3-2 in their Premier League meeting with Watford at Goodison Park last season – current Toffees boss Marco Silva was manager of the Hornets that day. Everton’s 3-2 comeback win against Watford last season was one of only three occasions in Premier League history a team came from two goals behind to win in a game that was goalless at half-time (also Derby County 2-3 Newcastle United in April 2002 and QPR 3-2 Liverpool in March 2012). The last 10 goals scored in Premier League matches between Everton and Watford have been scored in the second half.

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