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Premier League Preview Gameweek 21

Southampton v Aston Villa

The Premier League returns this weekend with a full set of fixtures to kick-start the second half of the 2019/20 campaign. There has been plenty of action in the top-flight in recent weeks and games have come thick and fast. Plenty of change has taken place at the top of the table, Man United, Man City, and Leicester have all occupied top spot at some stage in January, while Liverpool and Tottenham have lots of ground to make to remain in the title race. West Ham, Everton, and Arsenal have also been ticking along nicely as they keep their European hopes alive. At the bottom, Fulham, West Brom, and Sheffield United are still cut adrift in the relegation places.

However, there will be opportunities for teams at both ends of the table this weekend. The biggest match takes place between Arsenal and United on Saturday afternoon, with both teams in excellent form. There’s also a key relegation battle between West Brom and Fulham, which could shape the future of either side.

West Brom v Fulham

Sam Allardyce has just one win in eight games in charge at West Brom, a 3-2 away win at Wolves two weeks ago. In this run, the Baggies have failed the keep a clean sheet and conceded 25 goals in all competitions – more than any other side in the same time period. Home form is also an issue from West Brom, they have lost their last five in a row at the Hawthorns and, in their last six league games here, scored just two and conceded 22.

Fulham ended a run of three straight defeats in all competitions with a 0-0 draw against Brighton this week, allowing them to keep chase with 17th place. However, the Cottagers have not won a Premier League game in their last 10, drawing six and losing four. Scott Parker’s side have shown some consistency away from home recently, losing just one of their last five games on the road.

Grady Diangana (hamstring) and Conor Townsend (knee) remain doubtful for West Brom this weekend. Fulham are still without Tom Cairney (knee) but Terrence Kongolo could return from a recent thigh injury and Antonee Robinson will be back from suspension.

These teams are heading in opposite directions. Fulham have shown improvement and consistency, while West Brom can’t buy a win at the moment, especially at home. Fulham should secure all three points this weekend.

West Brom – 23/10

Fulham – 13/10

Draw – 11/5

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Arsenal v Man United

Arsenal’s remarkable improvement has continued in recent weeks, especially in the Premier League. Mikel Arteta’s side are unbeaten in their last six league matches and dropped just two points in this run – a 0-0 draw to Crystal Palace. On recent form, only table toppers Man City have a better record than Arsenal. The Gunners have found a balance between defence and attack recently, conceding just two in their last six and scoring 14. Since the 4-1 EFL Cup loss at home to City back in December, Arsenal are unbeaten at home in four games, drawing two and winning two.

United suffered a shock 2-1 defeat to Sheffield United this week, abruptly ending their 13-game unbeaten streak in the Premier League. It was the first time United conceded more than one goal for the first time in five league matches, and ended the Red Devil’s five game unbeaten run at home. Away, however, United have gained most of their points, taking 26 from a possible 30 all season. They are the most in-form team away from home in the Premier League, drawing just two all season.

Pablo Mari (calf), Dani Ceballos (calf), Kieran Tierney (calf), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (personal reasons), Emile Smith Rowe (muscular injury), and Thomas Partey (thigh) should be back in contention for Arsenal this weekend. United will be without Marcos Rojo (calf), Facundo Pellistri (coronavirus), Brandon Williams (knock), and Phil Jones (knee). Eric Bailly could be back in contention.

With both Arsenal and United in excellent form recently, it is harder to see either side emerging as winners this weekend. However, United’s extraordinary away run may just give them the confidence to edge past a difficult to beat Arsenal side.

Arsenal – 9/5

Man United – 29/20

Draw – 5/2

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Southampton v Aston Villa

After a blistering start to the season, Southampton have fallen down the Premier League table in recent weeks. Both of the Saints recent wins have come in the FA Cup and they have only won once in their last seven league games – a 1-0 win over Liverpool. From their last 18 points available, Southampton have only gained five points and scored just two goals. Despite losing 3-1 to Arsenal at St Mary’s in mid-week, Southampton’s home form has been consistent this season. Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side have won four, drawn one, and lost just two of their last seven at home in all competitions.

Following a positive run of form around Christmas and New Year, Aston Villa have struggled lately. Dean Smith’s have won just one match in their last five league games and lost four of their last five in all competitions, including a 3-2 loss to Burnley this week. A lot of Villa’s recent struggles have come away from home. The Midlands side have lost their last three away games in the league and earned just one point from the last 12 available.

Jannik Vestergaard, Moussa Djenepo, Michael Obafemi, Mohamed Salisu, Nathan Tella, William Smallbone and Kyle Walker-Peters are all unavailable for Southampton. Ryan Bertrand will return from suspension and Oriol Romeu could return from a recent calf injury. Wesley (knee) and Kortney Hause (ankle) are ruled out for Villa.

This will be a close contest and both teams will be eager to win and keep chase with the European places. However, Villa come into this one in better form and the growing injury list will cause problems for Southampton in the coming weeks – a win for the visitors.

Southampton – 13/8

Aston Villa – 31/20

Draw – 13/5

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Leicester v Leeds

Leicester’s five game winning streak was ended by Everton in mid-week as the Foxes’ were held to a 1-1 draw away at Goodison Park. The result did extend Leicester’s unbeaten run to nine in all competitions and kept them just two points off league leaders Manchester City. Brendan Rodgers’ side have been impressive at home recently, going three games unbeaten and taking three points from Southampton and Chelsea with back-to-back 2-0 score lines at the King Power.

Leeds ended a three-match losing streak with a solid 2-1 win over strugglers Newcastle earlier this week. In the Premier League, the result was Leeds’ third win in five matches. However, Marcelo Bielsa’s team continues to show incredible inconsistency, with little balance between defence and attack. In their last eight in all competitions, Leeds have won four and lost four, scored 15 and let in 16.

Wes Morgan (back), Jamie Vardy (groin) and Dennis Praet (thigh) will be unavailable for Leicester and Wilfred Ndidi is a doubt following a recent knock.  Leeds will be without Diego Llorente (groin), Robin Koch (knee), Adam Forshaw (groin), and Gaetano Berardi (knee).

It’s hard to look beyond Leicester for this fixture. Their recent consistency has been excellent while Leeds continues to show patchy form this season, particularly away from home.

Leicester – 5/6

Leeds – 3/1

Draw – 14/5

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