Premier League Week 20
After taking a small break from league play after the New Year – there was some Carabao and FA Cup action in the interim – the Premier League returns to weekend play for at least the next two weeks for Matchdays 22 and 23.
As I have been talking about for a weeks now, the Premier League remains divided into three tiers, with the Top Six beginning to distance themselves from the rest of the league – 6th place (in the table) Manchester United is seven points ahead of 7th-place Leicester City – the the bottom of the league is really starting to fall behind.
As always, the number in parenthesis before each club reflects their spot on our Power Rankings, and we’ll try to keep this list updated as the week progresses. Home teams are listed first, and winners will be indicated in bold. In the event of a draw, both teams will be placed in italics.
Saturday, 12 January 2019
12:30pm GMT/7:30am EST
(9) West Ham United 1-0 (6) Arsenal
3:00pm GMT/10:00am EST
(11) Brighton & Hove Albion 0-1 (3) Liverpool
(16) Burnley 2-1 (19) Fulham **MATCH OF THE WEAK**
(14) Cardiff City 0-0 (20) Huddersfield Town
(12) Crystal Palace 1-2 (8) Watford
(7) Leicester City 1-2 (18) Southampton
5:30pm GMT/12:30pm EST
(5) Chelsea 2-1 (17) Newcastle United
Sunday, 13 January 2019
Monday, 14 January 2019
8:00pm GMT/3:00pm EST
(1) Manchester City 3-0 (13) Wolverhampton Wanderers
The Best Near the Top
Our Match of the Week features two clubs from the Top Six, with the road team looking to get even closer to fifth place and a guaranteed spot in next season’s Europa League tournament. Meanchester United has won four matches in a row since they sacked manager Jose Mourinho in December, though the average ranking of those four clubs is about 15. Nevertheless, the club is probably wishing that they had made the long-rumored change sooner to turn around their season earlier, but better late than never for the Red Devils. They are hoping to avenge a 3-0 loss to Tottenham Hotspur from way back in August, a match played at Old Trafford.
Their host are still playing matches at Wembley Stadium, as the completion of their new stadium is delayed until at least March. This could explain why they have struggled a bit at home, with a 6-0-3 record. To be fair, however, two of those three losses were to Liverpool and Manchester City, the top two clubs in the league, and they’ve shockingly played more matches on the road than at home thus far this season. Obviously, that will change over the remainder of the season, but four of their next five matches will be at Wembley, so they have to be excited for that.
A Battle Near the Bottom
A week before hosting the Spurs in their lone road game during that five match stretch, Fulham will travel to Burnley in an attempt to improve their chances of avoiding relegation. This is the type of match that Fulham needs to win if they have any shot of avoiding a return to the Championship, and though a win wouldn’t immediately get them out of the relegation zone, it would be a good start.
Burnley, on the other hand, is one of three clubs currently tied with 18 points, and they are the middle club thanks to their -21 goal differential on the season. They’ve scored an average of one goal a match, leading those three clubs, but they’ve surrendered an average of two a match… which is “not great, Bob.” When these clubs met previously this season at Fulham on Matchday 3, Fulham came away with the 4-2 victory, so Burnley has to hope that they have the home pitch advantage this time around.
Until next time…
Last Update: 14 January 2019, 5:00pm EST