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EPL Table Week 22: Teams Sure to Climb After This Weekend's Games

CARDIFF, WALES - JANUARY 11:  New Cardiff manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (c) looks on before the Barclays Premier League match between Cardiff City and West Ham United at Cardiff City Stadium on January 11, 2014 in Cardiff, Wales.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stu Forster/Getty Images
Michael WadeAnalyst IIINovember 21, 2016

The Premier League has broken into two mini-leagues—the top seven and the bottom 10.

Only Newcastle and Southampton, eighth and ninth respectively, are exempt. Neither is likely to challenge for a place in the top four, yet both have shown more than enough of what is required to stay in the top flight and need only a few more points to guarantee it.

Above them, everyone will harbour hopes of Champions League qualification or title glory. Below them, just six points separates Hull in 10th place from Crystal Palace at the foot of the table. And that is why every single point—and the chance to climb the table—is so important for the majority of teams right now.

Here we look at which sides are most likely to improve their outlook in Week 22.

2013-14 Premier League Table (As of Thurs, Jan. 16)
PositionClubPlayedWonDrawnLostGDPoints
1Arsenal2115332248
2Manchester City2115243647
3Chelsea2114432146
4Liverpool2113352542
5Everton2111821541
6Tottenham211245140
7Manchester United2111461137
8Newcastle211038233
9Southampton21867430
10Hull216510-523
11Aston Villa216510-723
12Stoke21579-1322
13Swansea215610-421
14West Brom21498-521
15Norwich215511-1820
16Fulham216114-2419
17West Ham214611-918
18Cardiff214611-1918
19Sunderland214512-1517
20Crystal Palace215214-1817
PremierLeague.com

Man City vs. Cardiff

Under new manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Cardiff are likely to attack Manchester City and attempt to complete an unlikely double over their free-scoring opponents.

Cardiff won 3-2 against Premier League title challengers City in August, but since then City have gone goal crazy and scored 99 goals in all competitions this season, as reported by Jamie Jackson of The Guardian.

Could the smile be wiped off Man City's face when they play Cardiff?
Could the smile be wiped off Man City's face when they play Cardiff?Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

However, on former Manchester United striker Solskjaer's return to the city, he will want to make a good impression. And having lost his first league game in charge last weekend, he will be desperate to guide the Welsh side away from the foot of the table.

City manager Manuel Pellegrini has talked up his club's chances of winning all four competitions they are in this season, but they are due a slip-up and could be caught out a second time by a Cardiff side eager to impress.

 

Sunderland vs. Southampton

Adam Johnson scored a hat-trick for Sunderland at Fulham.
Adam Johnson scored a hat-trick for Sunderland at Fulham.Clive Rose/Getty Images

After a week of turmoil off the pitch, Southampton have reason to be nervous about their trip to the second-worst side in the Premier League.

Gus Poyet's side have begun to show they may be about to turn their season around, having won three games in a row in all competitions. They have also lost just once in nine and have the look of a side growing in confidence with every passing week.

Having lifted themselves off the foot of the Premier League with a thumping 4-1 win against Fulham last weekend, Poyet will have his side prepared and raring to go in the knowledge that they can escape the relegation zone with a win.

With everything that has gone on at Southampton—the resignation of chairman Nicola Cortese and the uncertainty surrounding manager Mauricio Pochettino's future—it is hard to imagine they will arrive at the Stadium of Light focused and prepared.

 

Arsenal vs. Fulham

Although leaders Arsenal can't technically climb the Premier League table this weekend, they can extend their lead courtesy of Cardiff's predicted win against Man City.

The Gunners, with 23 points from a possible 30 at home already this season, are a dangerous animal at the Emirates Stadium, while Fulham are a side in disarray.

Fulham coach Rene Meulensteen must find a way to plug his team's leaky defence for the trip to Arsenal.
Fulham coach Rene Meulensteen must find a way to plug his team's leaky defence for the trip to Arsenal.Steve Bardens/Getty Images

The Cottagers may have won impressively against an insipid Norwich side in the FA Cup midweek, but the worst goal difference in the league tells a different story. Fulham have conceded 46 goals in 21 games, per ESPN FC.

By contrast, that will be music to the ears of an Arsenal side with a record of 41 strikes in 21 outings that boasts attacking talents to make Fulham's creaky defence quake.

If Sunderland are capable of scoring four against Rene Meulensteen's side, then this game has the potential for a thrashing.

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