Soccer Times

Reds host Gunners, as City face crunch meeting with the Saints

Reds host Gunners, as City face crunch meeting with the Saints
Reds host Gunners, as City face crunch meeting with the Saints December 29, 2018 December 29, 2018 David Nugent
Embed from Getty Images

The Premier League season has reached gameweek 20, with another round of games this weekend. Here are the pick of the weekend’s matches:

Saturday

Liverpool v Arsenal (Kick-off 5:30 PM)

League leaders Liverpool host Arsenal at Anfield in the most high profile game of the weekend, as the Reds attempt to strengthen their position at the top of the Premier League.

Jurgen Klopp’s team are six points ahead of second place Tottenham in the race for the Premier League title after maintaining an unbeaten record so far this season in the league.

Liverpool have once again turned Anfield into a fortress in recent months, as the Reds are now undefeated in 30 home games in the Premier League. Last time out, the Merseysiders recorded a 4-0 win over Newcastle at Anfield.

A key to those recent good home results has been a defensive improvement, as Liverpool have kept clean sheets in 12 of their last 14 league matches at Anfield.

Another positive for the home side is that they are unbeaten in seven meetings with the visitors from north London. Jurgen Klopp’s side are favourites to win this clash and maintain their lead at the top of the table.

Arsenal are unlikely to be easy opponents for the home side, though, despite a defensive crisis. The Gunners have lost just once in 17 league games and are looking like a far more resolute team under Spanish boss Unai Emery.

The visitors will be desperate to maintain their challenge for a top-four spot, as they are currently just two points behind fourth-place Chelsea in the fight for Champions League spots.

That bid for a top-four finish has been hampered by too many draws of late, as three of the Gunners last five league games have finished all square. In reality, the Gunners would likely take a point from this tough trip, though.

Sunday

Southampton v Manchester City (Kick-off 2:15 PM)

On Sunday afternoon, reigning champions Manchester City face a crunch trip to Southampton, as they attempt to catch league leaders Liverpool.

Southampton’s recent fortunes have improved under new head coach Ralph Hasenhuttl, who has won two of his three games in charge of the Saints. However, a 2-1 home defeat last time out against West Ham brought the team from the south coast back to earth.

The home side are still 16th place in the table and only three points clear of the relegation zone. The Saints are by no means clear of the danger zone. A win here would be a massive one for Hasenhuttl’s team.

Manchester City have experienced a nightmare few league games, suffering consecutive defeats against Crystal Palace and last time out Leicester. The defeats have seen Pep Guardiola’s side slip to third in the table, seven points behind league leaders Liverpool.

In fact, City have now lost three of their last four league games, which is a rare bad run of form in recent seasons for the Citizens. Guardiola’s side has struggled defensively of late, as they have now conceded at least two goals in all three of those aforementioned defeats.

The absentee through injury of defensive midfielder Fernandinho has been a big factor in those poor defensive displays. The Brazilian is once again expected to be miss out through injury. One positive for City is that they have won eight of the last ten meetings with Southampton in all competitions.

This weekend’s other Premier League fixtures (3 PM kick-offs unless stated)

Saturday

Brighton v Everton

Fulham v Huddersfield

Leicester v Cardiff

Tottenham v Wolves

Watford v Newcastle

Sunday

Crystal Palace v Chelsea (Kick-off 12 PM)

Burnley v West Ham (Kick-off 2:15 PM)

Manchester United v Bournemouth (Kick-off 4:30 PM)

Who will pick up the biggest result of the Premier League weekend?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent

David Nugent


David is a soccer fan and writer who has spent the last decade sharing his opinion and spreading news about the beautiful game across the internet. The lifelong Everton fan has written for numerous sports websites, plus an international soccer magazine where he covered the Premier League, the Bundesliga and various youth international tournaments.