30 Dec, 18:00
After a blood pumping year filled with stunners, tears, shattered records and an exciting show of talent, we are set to witness just one more day of action as we close the year.
The title race is on that famous sharp bend, where the margin of error is zero, as the slightest of faults boots you out of contention for the gong. At the tail end, we expect a fierce contest survival too, with matters not looking so rosy for Swansea and Hull City.
Chelsea has a record 12-match unbeaten run to ensure it sits pretty at the top of the log, while Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United are in the chasing pack, trying to keep up with the solid and certain Blues.
Hull City vs Everton
The Tigers are having a torrid season, and coming into this tie, there are no signs that there is any light at the end of the tunnel. Moses Odubajo, Alex Bruce, Greg Luer, Abel Hernández, Will Keane and Brian Lenihan are all injured, hence complicating Hull’s chances further.
Hull is currently at the rock bottom of the log, and will fancy their chances playing at home, and try grab an unlikely point in this one.
Everton is currently seventh, and after a 2-1 stunner over Arsenal, something is certainly working out for Ronald Koeman and his men. Yannick Bolasie, James McCarthy ,Matthew Pennington, Maarten Stekelenburg and Arouna Koné are not fit and could miss this one.
Lots of players are missing for both sides, and it is whoever wants it more that will get a result here. We can also expect a goal or two from either side.
Chelsea vs Stoke City
A win at home will be the perfect way for Chelsea to end the year, and the Blues will be going for nothing short of 3 points.
Antonio Conte has engineered a major shift at the Bridge and the Blues look unstoppable. They have now won 12 league games in a row and are six points ahead of second-placed Liverpool. John Terry is the only injury doubt, something that shouldn't worry Conte at all. Considering the plethora of stars at his disposal.
Stoke will be looking for an unlikely resurgence following a 4-1 loss to Liverpool in midweek.. However, the Potters have a terrible record at the Stamford Bridge, having failed to win in the last 6 trips there.
You can expect a supreme Chelsea side to run riot over Stoke.Diego Costa is back from suspension and should carry along his scoring boots to see Chelsea through.
Mark Hughes will certainly not enjoy the return trip, as
Leicester City vs West Ham United
The Foxes are staring at a possible shift from Premier League Champions to the Championship. After a Cinderella 2015-2016 season, something went amiss and Leicester is struggling.
Not only are they struggling to replicate last season’s show, but also struggling to stay afloat. Their one time fortress that was the King Power stadium is no longer dreaded, and whoever wants points can pick them at will.
The Hammers had a difficult start to the league, but something finally clicked for Slaven Bilic’s men, who have registered three straight wins to move up to 11th on the log.
The highlight of this match is goals. Both teams have been scoring in the last 5 ties at the King Power and we can anticipate a goal fest again on Saturday in a tie where a draw is the most likely result.
Manchester United vs Middlesbrough
Finally the pressure is off Jose Mourinho, at least for now. United is winning consistently while Zlatan is scoring at will.
United is looking to catch up with the big boys at the top, and another victory here will keep them sitting pretty among the chasing pack.
Boro has lost three of their last four matches and are under lots of pressure coming into this one. This is a tough one for Aitor Karanka who should get a battering at Old Trafford.
Liverpool vs Manchester City
This is the highlight of the weekend, with a huge bearing on the title race.
Liverpool will be cautious not to allow Chelsea go further ahead, while Manchester City will be keen to win and stay in the title race. After a convincing 4-1 win over Stoke, the Reds will be looking to extend the good run, and dominate City.
Liverpool has a good record over City and has won five of the last six against City in all competitions. Coutinho is out, and will certainly be missed.
Aguero is back for City, who have won three straight fixtures, and will be looking to win break the poor record over Liverpool.
This are two sides with the league’s most potent attack force and you can expect lots of goals. The defenses on both sides could be the game changer here, and this is where City has an edge over Liverpool.
Expect an exciting fixture, full of goals.
Arsenal vs Crystal Palace
Arsenal will be looking to slash the gap between them and Chelsea, and will be out for all three points.
The Gunners kept it late to win 1-0 against West Brom and registered their first win in three matches. Although Arsenal will miss a couple of key players, we expect Wenger to push his men out to get all points, as anything less will keep them out of the title race.
Palace is seeking redemption following the appointment of former England manager Sam Allardyce. Having failed to win in four straight ties, they will be seeking to get something out of this one.
The records favour Arsenal, and there’s little to suggest that Palace can win here. Palace have failed to win any of their last six matches against the Gunners and this will be a herculean challenge for them.
A number of key players are also out,hence we expect Arsenal to have an easy stroll to victory.