The worst of Storm Emma will have passed by the time Saturday’s Premier League fixtures come around.
Postponements are unlikely even if the weather remains arctic, thanks to undersoil heating and the preparations made by ground staff, as we saw in midweek for Tottenham’s FA Cup clash with Rochdale to go ahead.
So, we can put the peril of postponements to be back of our minds. That means it’s time to turn to the Premier League matches themselves…
LEICESTER CITY vs AFC Bournemouth
Bournemouth’s tally of 32 points does not yet have them comfortable. Their first half performance against Newcastle and drubbing at the hands of Huddersfield present worrying signs for Eddie Howe.
The second half comeback against the Mapgies suggests they will be just fine this season, though.
Leicester are of no relegation risk in eighth. Their sights will be firmly fixed on Burnley, who have somehow kept hold of seventh.
Claude Puel’s side have gone four league matches without a win, and might be the first side to suffer from that late-winter mid-table relaxation.
The Foxes should have taken three points at home to Stoke last weekend, and I fully expect them to end their poor run here.
Both sides are up and down lately, but I don’t fancy the Cherries’ defence to hold off Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy.
TIP: Leicester City to win @ 4/5
SOUTHAMPTON vs STOKE CITY
It’s getting desperate for these two. Separated by a solitary point, a win will make all the difference to their respective seasons.
Stoke’s torturous fixture list makes this a must-win, while Southampton will see this as one of their best opportunities to pick up three points.
Saints have won just once in 14 league matches. Stoke have not won any of their last nine outside of the Potteries.
The hosts are the league’s draw specialists, having shared the spoils in 12 matches already this season. The visitors have become harder to beat under Paul Lambert, but have suffered from drawing too frequently, too.
I doubt many will be rushing to watch this. It will likely be tense, even if the football is pragmatic to the point of tedium.
Neither team is scoring freely, so I like the look of under 2.5 goals.
TIP: Under 2.5 goals @ 17/20
SWANSEA CITY vs West Ham United
Swansea’s stunning run under Carlos Carvalhal came to a painful ending in 4-1 defeat to Brighton last time out.
The fundamental improvements made under Carvalhal suggest that was an off-day rather than the end of the honeymoon, though returning to the bottom three shows just how far the Swans have to go this term - they are in the quarter finals of the FA Cup however.
Their opponents this weekend were decimated by Liverpool at Anfield while that was going on, also ending in a 4-1 defeat.
The Hammers are just three points ahead of Swansea. David Moyes’ side have lost three straight on the road, while Swansea have won their last three at the Liberty Stadium.
Those two streaks make this an easy enough call for me. It might not be pretty, but I like the odds on Swansea to avoid defeat.
TIP: Swansea to win or draw @ 21/50
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR vs Huddersfield Town
Tottenham survived first half scares to walk past Rochdale in the FA Cup on Wednesday evening.
The Lilywhites are undefeated in their last 13 home Premier League matches, and have not lost in 10 straight league fixtures.
Huddersfield have turned the tables lately. Back-to-back league wins, including the crucial 2-1 at West Brom last weekend, have lurched the Terriers away from the drop zone.
Their away form, as is the case of much of the bottom-half, has not been good this year, however, scoring just 10 goals on the road.
I have been impressed by Huddersfield’s revival, but this is a step too far. The Wembley woe has been a non-factor for Spurs this season.
TIP: Tottenham to be winning at half-time and full-time @ 11/20
WATFORD vs West Bromwich Albion
West Bromwich Albion’s home defeat to Huddersfield last time out might have seen their last flicker of survival hope extinguished.
Some reports suggest Alan Pardew will lose his job if he doesn’t win at Vicarage Road on Saturday afternoon, facing a Watford side who have improved notably of late.
The Hornets came out victorious in a tedious affair with Everton last weekend and are probably just one more win away from safety.
A lengthy injury list limits Javi Garcia’s options significantly, meaning the only change we are likely to see will be enforced through Gerard Deulofeu’s injury.
Everything about the Baggies has been a disaster recently. Last weekend was their chance to pull off a great escape, I think.
Now they are playing no more than a waiting game with planning for next season taking priority.
TIP: Watford to win @ 11/10
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*