After most of the league spent the weekend competing in the FA Cup, the English Premier League will return for midweek action in Matchday 23.
Entering the week, the table is as competitive as ever. The top three clubs are separated by just two points, while the next three have just one point between them. Even the bottom of the table remains close as the clubs in the relegation zone are just two wins away from 10th place.
With big-time matchups like Manchester City and Tottenham as well as Liverpool and Everton, a lot can change by the end of the week. Here is a look at previews and predictions for the top matches on Tuesday and Wednesday.
|Date||Time (ET)||Time (GMT)||Home||Predicted Score||Away|
|Jan. 28||2:45 p.m.||7:45 p.m.||Manchester United||3-1||Cardiff City|
|Jan. 28||2:45 p.m.||7:45 p.m.||Norwich City||1-2||Newcastle United|
|Jan. 28||2:45 p.m.||7:45 p.m.||Southampton||0-2||Arsenal|
|Jan. 28||2:45 p.m.||7:45 p.m.||Swansea City||2-2||Fulham|
|Jan. 28||3 p.m.||8 p.m.||Crystal Palace||0-1||Hull City|
|Jan. 28||3 p.m.||8 p.m.||Liverpool||1-0||Everton|
|Jan. 29||2:45 p.m.||7:45 p.m.||Aston Villa||1-1||West Bromwich Albion|
|Jan. 29||2:45 p.m.||7:45 p.m.||Chelsea||2-0||West Ham United|
|Jan. 29||2:45 p.m.||7:45 p.m.||Sunderland||2-1||Stoke City|
|Jan. 29||2:45 p.m.||7:45 p.m.||Tottenham||1-3||Manchester City|
via ESPN FC
Southampton vs. Arsenal
At the start of the year, Southampton was riding high in the table thanks to their outstanding defense. However, things have not gone as well lately after they have given up multiple goals in six of 11 league matches.
Without a consistent attack, they have only won two matches in that span.
This is not a good sign as they are set to host the top club in the EPL. Arsenal have been an offensive force all year, and they are only getting better now that they are healthy.
Santi Cazorla scored twice in the last EPL match while Aaron Ramsey, Olivier Giroud and others are also capable of scoring at any time. They simply have too many weapons to stop, and Southampton will struggle to keep the Gunners off the scoresheet, even at home.
Meanwhile, Jay Rodriguez has slowed down lately with only one goal in the last four matches. If he cannot come through, this will be an easy win for Arsenal.
Prediction: Arsenal 2, Southampton 0
Liverpool vs. Everton
This matchup is a classic battle between the best scorer in the league against one of the best defenses.
Tim Howard has been solid in net while an excellent back line for Everton has been quite impressive all year. The unit does not make mistakes and has the quickness to cover some of the better offensive players in the world.
On the other hand, Luis Suarez has been almost unstoppable this season with 22 goals in 17 matches. According to the Premier League Twitter account, he has been on a historic pace:
When he is not scoring, he also has shown great vision in recent matches to find Daniel Sturridge and others for assists. This attack might be too difficult for Everton to contain, and the Reds will find a way to get the ball in the net at least once.
Although the Reds have struggled defensively as of late, they should be able to hold on for a narrow win.
Prediction: Liverpool 1, Everton 0
Tottenham vs. Manchester City
When these two clubs played earlier in the year at Etihad Stadium, it was not pretty. Jesus Navas scored in the first minute for Manchester City, and the floodgates remained open for the rest of the match as the home team finished with a 6-0 win.
While fans should expect a closer battle this time around at White Hart Lane, it will not necessarily be a favorable result for Tottenham.
Even with Alvaro Negredo likely out, City still have a number of other scorers between Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure, Edin Dzeko and many others.
Spurs have struggled against the top clubs in the league this year, and this rematch will be no different. Although they might be able to get one goal across, they will not be able to last on defense and will fall once again to the talented foe.
Prediction: Manchester City 3, Tottenham 1
Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for the latest breaking news and analysis.