EPL Previews - Top Teams Face Tough Tests

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Arsenal vs Newcastle United
Newcastle are a team in crisis over the last few weeks and the excellent start made to the season by Rafa Benitez and his team has quickly gone away. Arsenal, meanwhile, have been able to go through a traditional slump in form during the Christmas period. This is forcing them to drop down the table at a time when the likes of Burnley have been doing well. The major disappointment for Newcastle will be the absence of Jonjo Shelvey, who has collected a suspension. Arsene Wenger knows that his team needs a victory badly in order to recover from the slump.

Chelsea vs Southampton
The Chelsea outfit recovered from the shock loss against West Ham by comfortably beating Huddersfield Town and they are finally at home for a run of league matches. The visit of Southampton does make things a little easier for Antonio Conte’s team, as the Saints have been going through a tough run of late. Mauricio Pellegrino is finding it difficult to transform Southampton’s fortunes. One of the key doubts may be the availability of Alvaro Morata, who may be rested once again with a League Cup match in mind. The forward has been on a poor run of late with only a solitary goal in the last couple of outings.

Manchester City vs Tottenham
Tottenham are the latest team to try and stop Manchester City, who are close to running away with the league title. A record-breaking 15 league wins in the midweek against Swansea made a City still remain 11 points ahead of Manchester United. This humongous advantage can be extended further with a victory this weekend. Spurs come into the match with the real need of three points in order to avoid dropping out of the top for contention. After having shown inconsistent form so far this season, Spurs may find it difficult to make any sort of an impact against Pep Guardiola’s team.

West Brom vs Manchester United
Manchester United are just hanging on to the title race with the team a whopping 11 points behind Manchester City. Jose Mourinho knows that his team cannot drop any more points and still think about the title. The key factor in this game might be the goals from Romelu Lukaku, who has returned to form with the goal in the midweek action. West Brom were able to get a positive result at Anfield, but repeating the same at the hawthorns will be difficult with the team being expected to go forward and create chances. A number of absentees continue to hurt the choices for Alan Pardew coming into the match.

Bournemouth vs Liverpool
After the dull draw with West Brom, Liverpool know that they have to start winning matches on a consistent basis in order to start a push for the top four places. The club can certainly take advantage of Tottenham’s slipups if they are in a strong position. Last season, Liverpool were involved in a 4-3 loss against Bournemouth in one of the most entertaining matches. Jurgen Klopp will not want a repeat of the same, but there is a higher probability of the same with Liverpool filled with all the stars. Bournemouth have been evolving slowly and are likely to use home advantage in a big manner.