Fans are in for a chilling Wednesday evening with seven Premier League matches taking place. Just to add to the chaos of the December fixture list, teams are travelling in icy, often snowy, conditions. Warming up is not just for the muscles in this weather.
The real highlight of midweek Premier League football is here…
Newcastle vs Everton
Newcastle’s season has taken a concerning downturn. A string of defeats has seen the Magpies fall to two points above the bottom three. The defence is almost unrecognisable from earlier in the season, and investment across the squad is a necessity to avoid relegation.
Everton, on the other hand, have shot up to tenth. They completed highway robbery to take a point from Anfield on Sunday, but that will have just made it all the more satisfying for the Toffees.
Sam Allardyce will keep it tight at St James, and Benitez might just revert to type as well to make for a night of tedium in the northeast.
TIP: Under 2.5 goals @ 8/11
Southampton vs Leicester
Claude Puel might eventually get recognition for his fine work at Leicester. The Foxes have won three straight to take them to five points off Tottenham.
Puel returns to his former club this Wednesday who are already stuck in mid-table. The Saints are one of the league’s most reliable sides, and will see this home match as a chance to end a disappointing run of three winless matches.
This is hard match to call. I expect these two teams to be within a few points of each other in May, so I am going to sit on the fence.
TIP: Match to be drawn @ 12/5
Swansea vs Manchester City
Paul Clement’s job was saved by Wilfried Bony at the weekend. The three points took the Welsh club off the bottom of the table and reinstated an inkling of hope.
The positivity around the Liberty Stadium might not last long, unfortunately. Manchester City were superb in their derby at the weekend, and stretched their lead to a daunting 11 points at the top of the table.
City will win this handsomely barring some miracle. The best Clement and Swansea can do is write it off and hope they do not suffer any injuries. City are simply too good this season, and could well have the title wrapped up with over a month to go at this rate.
TIP: Manchester City to win @ 2/9
Liverpool vs West Brom
Alan Pardew is yet to have his famous early run with his new club. The Baggies could drop into the bottom three if they fail to win at Anfield, as goals continue to prove elusive for the Midlands club.
Liverpool will be on a mission to avenge their draw with Everton. Jurgen Klopp felt hard done by, and their players were evidently frustrated at the failure to win a match where they were so superior.
Dropping more points at home is not an option for Liverpool. They would risk losing further ground on Chelsea and Manchester United, which could quickly put their hopes of a top four finish under severe pressure. I think this will be an easy win for Klopp, who has rotated his key players well.
TIP: Over 2.5 goals @ 13/25
Manchester United vs Bournemouth
Any repercussions from the tunnel brawl after the Manchester derby will not have come through by the time Manchester United host Bournemouth on Wednesday.
That should mean an almost full-strength United team, with the exception being the suspended Paul Pogba. The Frenchman was sorely missed on Sunday, but his team-mates should be alright without him in midweek.
Bournemouth have hit a bit of a slump again with no win in four league matches. I would have fancied their chances of nicking a point, but they were poor at Crystal Palace on Saturday and could face a heavy defeat here.
TIP: Over 2.5 goals @ 8/13
Tottenham vs Brighton
Tottenham dispatched Stoke with a brutal ease. Heung-min Son was superb, Harry Kane ruthless, and Mousa Dembele at his dominating best.
Fatigue, as ever, is the worry for Mauricio Pochettino coming into this one. His rotation options are pretty limited, and Brighton will provide a fair bit more resilience than the sinking Stoke.
Chris Hughton have dropped off from a solid start to the season, though, with their squad now resembling Championship contenders rather than Premier League stalwarts. Understandable, yes, but a worry for the Seagulls.
Heading to Wembley without a win in five, Brighton’s chances are virtually nil - goals look likely here.
TIP: Over 2.5 goals @ 8/13
West Ham vs Arsenal
West Ham got everything right against Chelsea. David Moyes’ side got the early goal they needed, and defended very well for the rest of the match. A similar pattern against Arsenal would go down well.
Arsenal were frustrated at Southampton to follow on from the ludicrous defeat to Manchester United. It’s not lost them too much ground on their top six rivals, but Arsene Wenger is in need of a victory here.
The Hammers really impressed me at the Etihad and against Chelsea. I think they might just scrape something from the visit of Arsenal, too.
TIP: Match to be drawn @ 10/3
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*