Destination Anfield as Spurs Head for Second Part of Gruesome Double: Premier League; The Weekend That Will Be

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There was no hiding the impression that Tottenham put forward on Wednesday, during their 2-0 win over Manchester United. A fast start, and an overwhelming display were on show, and Spurs were barely flattered by the scoreline, and will know they should have added more, as they remained in touch with the top four.

And come Sunday, there’ll be an opportunity to climb into it for Mauricio Pochettino and his team, even third place is possible by the end of this weekend, all they have to do is win at Anfield. A place where Spurs have won just twice in 25 Premier League games, where Liverpool haven’t lost in the league since last April, the Lilywhites will know their work is cut out for them. Their record away to the rest of the top six teams under Pochettino is barely any good as well, with nine points since 2014, a record that has one win in it.

Liverpool have done well to respond to those league (Swansea) and FA Cup (West Brom) setbacks with a comprehensive 3-0 win at Huddersfield, and climbed to third place, above Chelsea on goal difference. That loss to Swansea has been their first in the league since Tottenham hit four past them in October, a result that had left them back in ninth, and now Spurs’ midweek result means even second-placed United are well within their sights.

It’s a clash between two sides of similar styles, with similar levels of momentum, and similar league aspirations, but neither will get any similar level of satisfaction after the final whistle on Sunday.

Elsewhere

  • Crisis? Perhaps. One league win in 2018 so far, out of the League Cup, and dismantled at home by Bournemouth, the ‘C’ word appears to be hovering above West London, on the verge of touch down. Antonio Conte and his Blues team (for how long will that continue to be the case?) will be hoping that opponents Watford don’t get the new manager bounce, in Javi Gracia’s first league game at Vicarage Road.
  • Southampton still haven’t hit the panic button and decided to dismiss Mauricio Pellegrino yet, despite the poor run of form, the Saints have no league wins in 12. They haven’t lost in three, however, performances are improving somewhat, and the Saints hierarchy will hope their faith in Pellegrino, alongside the winter arrival of Guido Carrillo, can spark a revival, although their patience might snap should they suffer defeat here and move to the foot of the table. Hosts West Brom have scored only four goals at home since Alan Pardew took charge, all from set pieces. Talk about finding it hard to move on following a break-up. They’ll more than take it, mind, if a bunch of set-piece goals takes off the bottom of the league.
  • After the hapless display at Wembley in midweek, Manchester United will no doubt be keen to get back on track, especially following manager Jose Mourinho’s criticism post-match. They’ve only lost once at Old Trafford this season, which was to league leaders Manchester City in December. Huddersfield, visitors to the Theatre of Dreams, have lost eight of their last 11 away, conceding two or more in them. The Terriers are not unlikely to find themselves in the red zone at the end of this one.
  • Beset by injuries, bothered by transfer fracas once again, West Ham’s smiles over the past months look to be abating. The Hammers travel to Brighton next, a win takes them to the top half, as well keeps the focus mostly on the pitch. For the East Londoners, and their shoddy PR, that’ll be welcome.
  • It’s a homecoming for Theo Walcott, as he and his new side, Everton, travel to the Emirates. Walcott has begun life at Goodison in fine fettle, scoring twice and setting up one in three games, and might relish causing Arsenal’s troubled backline (as Swansea showed) some problems. The Gunners have some new signings of their own on show, Henrikh Mkhitaryan might make his first league start for the club, although Arsene Wenger says illness could delay Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang making his debut. The history books rarely favour the Toffees in this one, they’ve lost eight out of 10 games against Arsenal in the month of February, and have never won at the Emirates. Expect the Sam Allardyce special away to a top six club.

Fixtures

Liverpool v Tottenham

Arsenal v Everton

Bournemouth v Stoke

Crystal Palace v Newcastle

Manchester United v Huddersfield

West Brom v Southampton

Leicester v Swansea

Brighton v West Ham

Burnley v Manchester City

Watford v Chelsea

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