With the transfer window shut and a full midweek Premier League fixture list, it is time to see which teams have done good business this window. Chelsea are ever improving under Guus Hiddink and are expected to continue their good form against Watford, Arsenal who signed just one player in the window may struggle against the regenerated Southampton. Mark Young is joined by football reporter and presenter Alison Bender to predict this weeks fixtures.
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Arsenal 1-1 Southampton
After a weekend of FA Cup action, the Premier League returns with some midweek action, and with Arsenal hosting Southampton.
Arsenal bounced back from their 1-0 defeat against Chelsea with a 2-1 win at home to Championship high flyers Burnley in the FA Cup on Saturday. The main positive to come out of the victory was the return to goal scoring form for Alexis Sanchez, which is terrifying news for Arsenal’s title challengers.
However, Southampton will be travelling to the Emirates Stadium with a huge amount of confidence and rest. The Saints left Louis van Gaal on the brink of the sack with their 1-0 victory last weekend, and have been resting up ever since with no cup game to play.
With Charlie Austin in attack, Ronald Koeman will fancy his side’s chances of grabbing something against the Gunners, with the title challengers set to be frustrated once again.
Alison Bender’s Prediction: Arsenal 2-0 Southampton
Leicester City 2-2 Liverpool
Leicester City are sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League, and face a defensively weak Liverpool side at the King Power Stadium this week.
The Reds defeated the Foxes 1-0 at Anfield over the festive period, but with injuries affecting the Merseysiders, it could be a long night for Liverpool.
What works in Klopp’s favour is that his team have shown resilience to make it to a cup final, win a match 5-4 from 3-1 down, and manage to earn a replay with West Ham, despite having a team full of kids playing at the weekend. The mindset of the team is certainly that of their manager’s.
Leicester have had the weekend off after their cup exit to Tottenham with their last defeat coming in that loss at Anfield. Their dismantling of Stoke City last weekend was a signal of intent on a weekend where both Manchester City and Arsenal dropped points.
The Foxes are top on merit, and will test Liverpool, but Klopp’s men have shown superb resilience in recent weeks despite their performances being below par.
Alison Bender’s Prediction: Leicester City 2-0 Liverpool
Manchester United 1-0 Stoke City
Manchester United face a quick rematch with Stoke City at Old Trafford on Tuesday after their Boxing Day defeat left Louis van Gaal scrapping for his job.
Not much has changed for the Dutchman in recent weeks, with imagination and guile lacking in league matches with his United players. Last week’s loss at home to Southampton has not been forgotten after Friday night’s defeat of Derby County in the cup; the Stretford End seem to have turned on Van Gaal, with his back against the wall.
United’s cause may be helped with Ryan Shawcross out of the match, meaning that the Red Devils should be able to get some shots on goal.
Jack Butland has been a wall in the Stoke goal this season, but it could be Wayne Rooney, currently in his purple patch, that could just have the edge to leave those finger nails gripping on for the Dutchman at Old Trafford.
Alison Bender’s Prediction: Manchester United 0-1 Stoke City
Everton 2-2 Newcastle United
Everton and Newcastle face off at Goodison Park on Wednesday night as two teams famed for their poor defending look to serve up a cracker.
Roberto Martinez has come under some criticism since last week’s loss at home to Swansea, and his side’s general inability to see a game out in the top flight. That is highlighted by the Toffees sitting in 12th position in the league, having won only six times and drawing 11 times.
That is quite frankly astonishing, considering the form of Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku.
Newcastle have had a positive January despite results, with Jonjo Shelvey, Henri Saivet and Andros Townsend all signing before the end of the month, with Saido Berahino also rumoured to be on their list at time of publication.
Mike Ashley is putting his money where his mouth is with a superb looking attack, but that mirrors their Merseyside counterparts, and we could see a goal fest on Wednesday.
Alison Bender’s Prediction: Everton 1-1 Newcastle United
Watford 1-2 Chelsea
Vicarage Road is gearing up to host Chelsea on Wednesday night after Watford’s Boxing Day draw away at Stamford Bridge.
The Hornets have been in superb form and sit in tenth place in the Premier League, and only eight points off the magic 40 point mark.
Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo have been superb this season; the latter is pushing for the golden boot as he added another one to his account against Newcastle last weekend in the league, and an FA Cup winner at Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
The issue against Chelsea is that the reigning champions are now unbeaten in nine since a loss at Leicester City with four wins and five draws.
The significant result in recent weeks was the win away at the Emirates Stadium, and with Manchester United to come at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, another win against the in-form Watford could really build a head of steam for the Blues.
Alison Bender’s Prediction: Watford 1-2 Chelsea
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