With 14 weeks of the season gone, the Premier League table is starting to take shape and things are looking grim for the bottom three clubs.
However, there is one club who will not be looking forward to this weekend’s matches and that’s West Ham United. Following their heavy 4-0 defeat at fellow strugglers Everton in mid-week, the Hammers find themselves back up north again as they travel to play league leaders Manchester City.
Having started the season in disappointing fashion, West Ham sacked their manager Slaven Bilic and brought in David Moyes, who has a contract in place until the end of the season.
Given Moyes’ recent record at clubs he has managed since Everton, this seemed like a strange move by West Ham, who have failed to win any of their previous 5 league games. The Hammers have failed to win a game away from home in the Premier League this season and its easy to see why they are out at a massive 28/1 with Ladbrokes to defeat Manchester City.
Pep Guardiola’s team showed now letting up in their pursuit of the title of Wednesday night as they scored an injury time winner to defeat Southampton 2-1 at the Etihad.
Much like their win at Huddersfield last weekend, it wasn’t their best performance of the season but two more goals mean Manchester City have scored 2 goals or more in each of their last 5 Premier League games. Coming up against a team who have recently conceded 4 goals at Everton should not be a problem and Manchester City are 8/11 to win by 3 or more goals at Bet365.
With West Ham seemingly on a hiding to nothing in Manchester, the teams below them in the table have a chance to move above them come the end of the weekend.
Crystal Palace are currently propping up the rest and face a trip to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday. The Eagles are undefeated in their last 3 Premier League games and picked up a point in a 0-0 draw at Brighton on Tuesday night.
West Brom, who joined Crystal Palace in recently sacking their manager have picked up 2 points in as many games, holding Tottenham to a 1-1 draw last weekend and drawing 2-2 with Newcastle United at home in mid-week.
Alan Pardew has been named their new boss and this is a massive match with which to start his reign at the Hawthorns. West Brom have won only 1 of their 7 home league games this season but Crystal Palace have failed to win any of their away games, failing to score a single goal in the process.
However, West Brom have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 12 games and the draw, with both teams scoring is on offer at 7/2 with Ladbrokes.
The third team making up the relegation zone is Swansea City and they travel to Stoke City on the weekend in need of a morale boosting win.
Swansea have lost 5 of their last 6 Premier League games, with the other being a 0-0 draw at home with Bournemouth and Paul Clement knows he needs to start winning games before his future comes into question at the Liberty Stadium.
Mark Hughes is another manager who is coming under increasing pressure as his Stoke City team continue to slide down the league table. Stoke have lost 2 and drawn 2 of their last 4 Premier League games and have struggled at home, winning just 1 of their last 6 in the Premier League.
Swansea have been struggling for goals away from home while Stoke have been conceding plenty at the Bet365 Stadium. This is a difficult one to call and Swansea have not been defeated by more than a single goal in their 4 away defeats this season, making Stoke to win by a 1 goal margin at 5/2 with Bet365 seem a likely outcome.
Moving to the top of the Premier League table and the biggest match in terms of the title race this weekend sees Manchester United travel to the Emirates Stadium to play Arsenal on Saturday evening.
The Gunners demolished Huddersfield 5-0 on Wednesday night in what was one of their best performances of the season. Arsenal have won their last 3 Premier League games and the home win over Tottenham and away win over Burnley have been good results for Arsene Wenger.
Manchester United halted a run of 3 away league games without a win on Tuesday night as they defeated Watford 4-2 in an entertaining match. Jose Mourinho set up in a counter-attacking 3-4-3 formation and despite conceding plenty of possession to the home team, looked very threating in the final third.
However, Mourinho is not one to attack opponents who he fears are on the same level as his own team and the Red Devils may not commit as many men forward in attacking situations on the weekend.
Nonetheless, this is a match which usually produces goals and over 2.5 goals is 13/15 with Ladbrokes.
Elsewhere at the top of the table, third place Chelsea welcome Newcastle United to Stamford Bridge in the early kick-off on Saturday. The defending champions are in excellent form and should have more than enough to defeat the Magpies. Chelsea are 5/6 with Bet365 to win the match to nil.
Fifth placed Liverpool travel to Brighton in what could be a tough trip for Jurgen Klopp’s men following their win at Stoke on Wednesday night. Brighton have proved more than a match for most teams at the American Express Community Stadium this season and could take a point from the game. The draw is 16/5 with Ladbrokes.
Finally, Tottenham will be hoping to get back to winning ways at Watford. Mauricio Pochettino’s men have been struggling recently and have slipped down to 7th place in the table. Recent results have seen defeats at Arsenal and Leicester plus a home draw with West Brom.
Watford will be looking to bounce back following their 4-2 home defeat against Manchester United on Tuesday and need to improve defensively if they are to win the match. Expect to see both teams scoring in this game which is 4/6 at Ladbrokes.
With the busy Christmas and New Year period almost upon us, teams will be looking to pick up vital points at both ends of the table. Manchester City will be hoping to extend their gap at the top as Manchester United travel to Arsenal while the bottom two clubs will be hoping to take advantage if West Ham fail to get anything from their daunting trip to the Etihad Stadium.