Top of the table clash between Leicester City and Manchester United,
Tottenham Harry Kane Vs Chelsea and Jurgen Klopp seeks home comfort for Liverpool.
- Leicester City: contenders or pretenders?
The Foxes welcome Louis van Gaal’s Man United to the Kingpower stadium on Saturday, for a meeting of the top two sides in the Premier League. The visitors lost on their last visit to this ground, conceding three goals in a crazy 22-minute spell after being 3-1 up to lose 4-3. Many of the players on show then are still around for Leicester, including Jamie Vardy-the current top scorer and United’s chief tormentor that day.
United come into this contest with the best defensive record in the division having conceded 9 goals in 13 matches, Leicester on the other hand, have kept just two clean sheets all season, but have shown a knack for winning from losing positions three times and are on top of the table due to that commendable unrelenting attitude. Much of the Foxes wins have come against sides in the bottom half of the table or mid-table , they drew with Tottenham, Stoke and Southampton and lost to Arsenal.
The game against United marks the beginning of a difficult run of games when they face six of the teams who finished in the top nine positions of the table last season, how Claudio Ranieri’s men negotiate this arduous run of fixtures will indicate if truly they are pretenders or contenders for the Premier league title.
- Klopp seeking home comfort
Liverpool pummeled Manchester City 4-1 at the Etihad last Saturday and have rightly received all the plaudits. The Reds are yet to win a home game since Jurgen Klopp took over and the manager hinted he would love to see a similar performance like the one at City at Anfield.
Klopp’s league record at home reads D1, W1, (a 1-1 draw with Southampton, and a 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace before the international break). While talks of Liverpool making a late run for the title may be farfetched, winning home games is an important part of them realizing their ambition of a Top 4 finish this season. A match against Swansea City, winless in 10 games, presents a good opportunity of Klopp and his charges.
- Improving Chelsea confront irrepressible Spurs
Chelsea won 4-0 at Macaibi Haifa in the Champions League on Tuesday night which surely must have boosted confidence in their ranks. They face Tottenham, unbeaten since the opening weekend of the season at White Hart Lane on Sunday.
The last meeting between the sides on this ground ended 5-3, as a Kane-inspired Spurs handed a drubbing to Chelsea on New Year’s Day, Jose Mourinho would be hoping his defence can curtail the threat of Kane this time; the striker is currently on a scoring streak, with 9 goals in his last 6 games.
Spurs will be missing Dele Alli through suspension, after picking up his 5th yellow card of the season in the last game against West Ham.
- How much will Arsenal miss Coquelin?
Arsenal go into the clash against Norwich City without their tenacious midfielder Francis Coquelin, he is set to be sidelined for two months after suffering knee ligament damage in last week’s defeat at West Brom. Mathieu Flamini played a starring role in the Champions League win over Dinamo Zagreb but issues of match fitness might arise as he hasn’t played much this year due to the emergence of Coquelin, the other player capable of playing the same position, Mikel Arteta, is also injured.
Arsene Wenger will rue the absence of the Frenchman at this business end of the season and he hinted in his pre-match conference, he could move for a midfielder in the January transfer window. ‘’We are in a position where we want to do something,’’ he said.
‘’If I find the right quality I will do something. (The injury to) Arteta is short-term but Coquelin as I told you is much longer but the scans are positive because he does not need any surgery, but it will be 12 weeks’’
- Manchester City seek route to winning again.
Before the international break, Man City were top of both the league and their Champions League group, two defeats and a draw in last three games in all competitions has seen them relinquish those positions. The Citizen’s have been inconsistent this season and they face a Southampton side suffering the same fate.
City are boosted by the return of midfielder David Silva, while Southampton with miss the services of towering striker Graziano Pelle due to suspension. With United and Leicester playing later that day, a victory for City will take them back to the summit for some hours at least.
Depending on which side of the two teams turn up , this should be an exciting game for the neutrals.