Chelsea v Everton, Saturday 12:45
Chelsea enter Saturday’s encounter with the Premier League’s current longest unbeaten streak (11 games) and stand top of the table after seeing title rivals Arsenal and Manchester City struggle in recent weeks. Everton’s hopes of claiming a Champions League place for next season are hanging by a thread at this point and though they have a game in hand, the only way to make a serious push is by getting results against the teams ahead of them. In that regard, their recent defeat to Liverpool was enlightening. I think Roberto Martinez’ side have the ability in their first-team to compete with the ‘top dogs’ but their lack of depth showed against Liverpool. Both sides have looked solid at the back for most of the season and neither has been especially prolific in front of goal, so I can easily see a dour 0-0 on the cards to kick-off the weekend.
Arsenal v Sunderland, Saturday 15:00
Arsenal have struggled in the Premier League of late but though the end result was disappointing on Wednesday against Munich, it’s worth noting the impressive start the Gunners made to that match while they still had ten men on the pitch. Arsenal looked very impressive going forward at times early in that match and one would imagine that if they can produce the same kind of creativity on Saturday they should be able to knock a couple of goals past Sunderland.
Just as Arsenal’s play has tailed off in recent, Sunderland have made impressive improvements, winning three of their last five and dragging themselves off the foot of the table. The Black Cats are still in the relegation zone, but only just and hold a game in hand which could see them leapfrog up to five teams ahead of them depending on how things pan out. Closing that gap this weekend would appear a bridge too far though and I see Arsenal scoring a relatively comfortable 2-0 win.
Liverpool v Swansea, Sunday 13:30
Brendan Rodgers maintains his young side aren’t yet ready to win the title but their impressive start to the calendar year – eight games unbeaten in the league – suggests he may well be wrong. Liverpool don’t have the strength in depth of Manchester City or even Chelsea, but they’re playing better football than both right now with Suarez and Sturridge leading the line up front.
After a disappointing January, Swansea have righted the ship somewhat in the last three weeks losing just one of their last five games in all competitions. The highlight has to have been their impressive 3-0 defeat of Cardiff in the ‘Welsh derby’, though holding Napoli scoreless mid-week was no mean feat.
I think Liverpool will maintain their unbeaten run of form in this match. Swansea have been much improved in recent weeks but I expect their Europa League match on Thursday to take its toll. The Swans don’t yet have the kind of depth in their squad to equip them for consecutive matches against teams of the quality of Liverpool and Napoli. I have the Reds running out 3-1 winners.
- Any spread prices quoted are indicative and as always prices are subject to fluctuation.
- Please note the opinion, views and forecasts above are of the author and not of Star Spreads.