Arsenal vs Chelsea
Emirates Stadium, London
Sunday, 29-12-2019 @5pm
Ref: Craig Pawson
Arsenal could win consecutive Premier League home fixtures versus Chelsea for the first time since a run of three from 2001 to 2003. Chelsea’s only victory in their past seven matches at Emirates Stadium in all competitions came in the Premier League in January 2016. The Gunners have never lost a Premier League home game against Chelsea when they’ve scored first (W11, D4).
Their solitary victory in 14 league and cup matches came in the Premier League at West Ham on 9 December. Arsenal could lose four consecutive home fixtures in all competitions for the first time in 60 years. The Gunners are also in danger of suffering three successive top-flight home defeats for the first time since February to March 1977. They are winless in six home matches in all competitions, their longest streak since an eight-game spell from December 1994 to February 1995. Arsenal have conceded at least twice at the Emirates in their past four fixtures in league and cup. They last did so in five games in December 1965. The Gunners have been behind at half time in 10 of their 19 league fixtures. Arsenal have accrued a league-high 11 points from losing positions this term. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored 28 of his 44 Premier League goals on a Sunday (64%).
Chelsea have lost five of their past seven league matches. The Blues have kept just two clean sheets in their 10 most recent league fixtures. They have lost three league games so far this month. They last lost four in a single month in October 1993. Chelsea have been beaten in seven league games this term – only one fewer than their entire 2018-19 total. The Blues have lost only one of their last 16 final fixtures of a calendar year (W11, D4), a 3-1 home defeat to Aston Villa in 2011. They are one of two Premier League teams yet to register an away draw this term, the other being Newcastle. Only Liverpool and Manchester City have scored more away goals than Chelsea’s tally of 22. Chelsea have lost four games against sides currently in the bottom half opposed to three verses teams in the top half.
Arsenal defender Calum Chambers has returned to the squad after serving a suspension on Boxing Day. Gabriel Martinelli and Hector Bellerin will be assessed, while Rob Holding and Dani Ceballos are likely absentees.
Chelsea are expected to recall Mateo Kovacic after he was banned on Boxing Day, with Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic also poised to return. Reece James and Marcos Alonso missed the defeat by Southampton, with the latter more likely to be fit to play.
Liverpool vs Wolves
Anfield Stadium, Liverpool
Sunday, 29-12-2019 @7:30pm
Ref: Anthony Taylor
Jordan Henderson is expected to recover from a kick on the shin in time to face Wolves. The Reds remain without injured quintet Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Fabinho, Dejan Lovren, Joel Matip and Rhian Brewster.
Wolves head coach Nuno Espirito Santo is expected to make changes to his side, who came back to beat Man City on Friday night. Willy Boly and Morgan Gibbs-White remain long-term absentees.
Liverpool have lost just one of their 10 Premier League games against Wolves (W7, D2). The Reds have won the last five league encounters by an aggregate score of 12-1. Wolves have lost 15 of their last 17 top-flight matches at Anfield, failing to score in 10 of the past 14.
If they avoid defeat, this Liverpool team will record 50 unbeaten top-flight home matches – a feat only previously achieved by Chelsea (86 between 2004-2008) and Liverpool (63 between 1978-1980). Liverpool have won 16 straight home league games, scoring at least twice in each victory. They have won 26 of their last 27 Premier League matches, including 17 of 18 this season. Liverpool are unbeaten in 35 league fixtures (W30, D5). The Reds have won their final league game in each of the last five years since losing at Chelsea in 2013. Roberto Firmino has scored four goals in three matches in all competitions, having previously scored just four all season. Trent Alexander-Arnold has registered a league-high 20 assists since the start of last season.
Man City vs Sheffield United
Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Sunday, 29-12-2019 @9:00pm
Ref: Chris Kavanagh
Sheffield United have never beaten Manchester City in the Premier League (D3, L3). However, the Blades did beat City in the most recent meeting, an FA Cup fourth-round tie in 2008. United have failed to score in their last seven away league visits to Manchester City, with five of the last six finishing goaless – they lost the other 6-0.
Manchester City have won four of their past five home games in the Premier League. They are unbeaten in 37 Premier League home fixtures against promoted sides since a 2-0 defeat against Reading in 2007 (W33, D4). Since the turn of the century, City have only lost their final league game of a calendar twice (W8, D9) – to Charlton in 2000 and Liverpool in 2016. Sergio Aguero is Manchester’s City’s highest Premier League scorer in home games this season, even though his most recent goal at the Etihad Stadium came on 2 November.
Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson is suspended after being sent off in the defeat at Wolves, with Claudio Bravo set to deputise. Sergio Aguero is expected to start after being taken off at Molineux due to Ederson’s dismissal, but David Silva, Gabriel Jesus and John Stones will be assessed.
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder is likely to rotate his squad, with Simon Moore doubtful due to a groin injury.