4 EPL matches to watch | Klopp eager for City victory as Chelsea chase Arsenal’s record

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte [Photo credit: Daily Express

Liverpool vs. Man. City @Anfield @6:30pm on Dec.31

The heavyweight contest of the weekend where title credentials would be thoroughly scrutinised. A slip up from either team could mean more distance to league leaders, Chelsea, going into the second half of the season. Jurgen Klopp would likely field the same XI that started against Stoke last Tuesday while Sergio Aguero should come in to strengthen Pep Guardiola’s team. These two managers were contenders in Germany on uneven terms but the Reds will be competing against the Citizens on a level playing field.

Current Form: Liverpool [W-W-W-D-L]; Man. City [WW-W-L-D]

Head to head

02/03/16     PRL    Liverpool     3 – 0   Man. City

28/02/16     LEC    Liverpool     1 – 1   Man. City

21/11/15     PRL    Man. City     1 – 4   Liverpool

01/03/15     PRL    Liverpool     2 – 1   Man. City

25/08/14     PRL    Man. City     3 – 1   Liverpool

Prediction: Liverpool 2 – 1 Man. City

Chelsea vs. Stoke City @Stamford Bridge @4pm on Dec. 31

Can Chelsea beat Stoke City for a 13th consecutive league win and equal Arsenal’s record? It looks like that but Mark Hughes has said the Potters could be the team to stop the Blues’ run. Diego Costa and N’Golo Kante should return to the starting XI, though Pedro is suspended. If Antonio Conte can lead his team to another win then they will be going to Tottenham next week looking to set another record.

Current Form: Chelsea [W-W-W-W-W]; Stoke [L-D-D-L-W]

Head to head

05/03/16     PRL    Chelsea         1 – 1   Stoke City

07/11/15     PRL    Stoke City    1 – 0   Chelsea

27/10/15     LEC    Stoke City    1 – 1   Chelsea

04/04/15     PRL    Chelsea         2 – 1   Stoke City

22/12/14     PRL    Stoke City    0 – 2   Chelsea

Prediction: Chelsea 3-0 Stoke City

Man. Utd vs. Middlesbrough @Old Trafford @4pm on Dec.31

Jose Mourinho comes up against a former accomplice in Aitor Karanka, who will lead Middlesbrough to the Theatre of Dreams. Manchester United have definitely hit their stride and this looks like a sure banker win for Mourinho but Karanka’s team has already proven some pundits wrong this season. Jose’s man must be professional and clinical because they will not have many scoring chances.

Current Form: Man. United [W-W-W-W-W]; Middlesbrough [L-W-L-L-W]

Head to head

28/10/15     LEC    Man. United                       0 – 0   Middlesbrough

02/05/09     PRL    Middlesbrough       0 – 2   Man. United

29/12/08     PRL    Man. United                      1 – 0   Middlesbrough

23/09/08     LEC    Man. United                        3 – 1   Middlesbrough

06/04/08     PRL    Middlesbrough       2 – 2   Man. United

Prediction: Man. United 3-0 Middlesbrough

Arsenal vs. Crystal Palace @Emirates @5pm on Jan.1

Arsene Wenger kicks off the New Year, needing a win against Sam Allardyce and his Eagles. Allardyce’s direct way of playing has often times upset the rhythm of Wenger’s teams in the past and the new manager would be looking for another positive result after taking the reins from Alan Pardew. Wenger would be pondering whether to start Olivier Giroud or restore Alexis Sanchez while Allardyce would surely have taken Christian Benteke off penalty duties. So who would win the first London derby of 2017?

Current Form: Arsenal [W-L-L-W-W]; Palace [D-L-L-D-W]

Head to head

17/04/16     PRL    Arsenal         1 – 1   Palace

16/08/15     PRL    Palace           1 – 2   Arsenal

21/02/15     PRL    Palace           1 – 2   Arsenal

16/08/14     PRL    Arsenal         2 – 1   Palace

02/02/14     PRL    Arsenal         2 – 0   Palace

Prediction: Arsenal 3 – 1           Palace

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