Pearson Previews the weekend

Liverpool

On Saturday Liverpool will be looking to build upon Tuesday’s draw against Chelsea when they visit Hull City. It will be the third time in 2017 they face a side in the bottom four, but are yet to find a victory. With important first team players returning to the side, the Reds should have enough quality to score goals. Hull, however, have shown in their recent games against Man United that they are a much more organised team under Marco Silva.

The day’s early kick off sees Arsenal travel to table topping Chelsea. Both teams will be looking to return to form after dropping points in mid-week. Earlier in the season it was Arsenal who won their home encounter 3-0. This was however the last game of Chelsea’s poor run of form and they have since only dropped points in 2 of the last 16 games. Arsenal sit only five points ahead of United in third place, a defeat for the Gunners could see them lose sight on the title and fall into the chasing pack.

Second place Tottenham welcome Middlesbrough to White Hart Lane on Saturday. Nothing less than a win is needed for Spurs if they are to keep any aspirations on taking the league title for themselves. Middlesbrough however boasts one of the leagues tightest defences at the moment and could prove difficult to break down.

Manchester City in fifth are behind Liverpool only on goal difference and also have face a side in the bottom four. They are at home to a resurgent Swansea City and both teams will look to build on recent wins. The sky blues have dropped points at home in five games already this season and you would think that if the same were to happen on Sunday that a title challenge would be all but over.

Sixth place Manchester United will travel to reigning champions Leicester with both teams in desperate need of maximum points. United have aspirations to finish higher than their current place, but after three straight draws they have lost ground on teams above them. The Foxes however are now in a serious relegation battle and need to get points and confidence to halt the slide.

Everton missed the chance to move closer to the top six but could only match United’s result during their Wednesday night draw away at Stoke. The blue half of Merseyside have been in good form since Christmas and will face Bournemouth on Saturday. They will want to avoid any slip ups here to keep the pressure on the teams above them.

Elsewhere there is a battle for survival at Selhurst Park when Crystal Palace will host Sunderland. Both sides had good results in the midweek fixtures but neither could move out of the bottom three. With Swansea having the more difficult game this weekend, a win for either team could give them a much needed boost.

The remaining three games is very much a mid-table affair with the sides from 8th to 13th all facing each other. Stoke travel to West Brom aiming to not lose any ground on the team four points above them in the league. Watford are hosting Burnley who have one of the worst away records in the league. Finally, Southampton are at home to West Ham, both teams looking to return to form after mid-week defeats. Surely a draw in any of these games would feature last on Match of the Day.

Providing Liverpool can pick up maximum points on Saturday they can maintain their challenge for a top four place. With no other competitions to focus on, if the league was not already the focus then it is now. If results go their way, they could find themselves moving as high as second.