The inaugural Premier League winter break is ongoing, but that doesn’t mean the action stops.
Gameweek 26 has been staggered across two weeks as teams take turns to jet off for warmer climates, putting their feet up for a much-needed rest before the final sprint.
The first weekend featured three games, with in-form Everton beating Crystal Palace, Brighton and Watford drawing at the bottom and Sheffield United continuing their charge toward Europe with a win over Bournemouth.
Next up, following their time off, league leaders Liverpool travel to Norwich City, Chelsea host Manchester United and West Ham travel to Man City for their rearranged clash among the final seven fixtures of this gameweek.
As ever, two of our writers have predicted the result of each match below. There are also percentile odds, based on the Smarkets betting exchange, for every result possible in the first group of games.
Wolves vs Leicester City
Chris Smith: Out of the Carabao Cup and faltering in the Premier League, Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester suddenly don’t look quite so invincible. Wolves have won just one of their last eight games, however, so a draw might be a good result all round. Wolves 2-2 Leicester.
Harry Edwards: This is a tough one to call. Both teams have had excellent seasons with Leicester 10 points clear of fifth and Wolves still in with a chance of at least qualifying for the Europa League. However, they are also both going through a poor patch of form. Leicester won just one of their past four league games and, likewise, Wolves have collected one victory from six. This will all depend on how teams used their mid-season break. Wolves 1-1 Leicester.
Player to watch: Raul Jimenez has been directly involved in 17 Premier League goals (scored 11, assisted six) this season, more than any other Wolves player.
Wolves win: 37.04%
Leicester win: 32.79%
Southampton vs Burnley
CS: Southampton absolutely didn’t deserve to lose 4-0 against Liverpool last time out, and you could argue they should have beat Spurs in their FA Cup fourth-round replay, too. Those positive performances should pay dividends at home to Burnley next time. Southampton 1-0 Burnley.
HE: Southampton were so unlucky to lose to Tottenham in the FA Cup but their performance showed just how good Ralph Hasenhuttl can get his side playing. With that said, Burnley were also in good form going into their mid-season break with two wins and a draw in their past three games against Leicester, Man Utd and Arsenal. Expect a close one. Southampton 2-1 Burnley.
Player to watch: Danny Ings’ FA Cup goal against Tottenham ended a run of four games without scoring for Southampton.
Southampton win: 54.35%
Burnley win: 19.23%
Norwich City vs Liverpool
CS: Norwich are hanging on by a thread and will be cursing themselves for not getting a deserved win against Newcastle, given how the teams above them got on last time out. Can they be the surprise team to finally end Liverpool’s winning run? Don’t count on it. Norwich 0-3 Liverpool.
HE: Will there be a more one-sided fixture in the Premier League this season? After showing some promising signs in the opening few matches of the season, Norwich look all but guaranteed for relegation. At the same time, Liverpool have been almost perfect and are chasing history in more ways than one. The Reds will take a step closer with this game. Norwich 0-5 Liverpool.
Player to watch: Jordan Henderson has both scored and assisted in two of his past three Liverpool games.
Norwich win: 8%
Liverpool win: 76.92%
Aston Villa vs Spurs
CS: It really feels like Aston Villa are only staying clear of the relegation zone right now thanks to the teams around them being so bad. Tottenham are very much grinding their way through results at the moment so, despite Villa’s struggles, a draw isn’t out of the question. Aston Villa 1-1 Tottenham.
HE: Tottenham scraped through in the FA Cup fourth round replay but Jose Mourinho should be happy with his team showing fight. This newfound mettle is something they will look to take into their next game after the break, against a Villa side teetering on the edge of the relegation zone. Dean Smith’s side have been very inconsistent of late and don’t look like putting up too much of a fight. Aston Villa 0-2 Tottenham.
Player to watch: Steven Bergwijn became the 13th Dutchman to score on his Premier League debut against Man City.
Aston Villa win: 22.73%
Tottenham win: 51.28%
Arsenal vs Newcastle United
CS: Arsenal have drawn their last four league games and have just six wins from 25 games so far. Newcastle are picking up results despite looking bereft of creativity and excitement could finally hand the Gunners a victory in this one. Arsenal 2-0 Newcastle.
HE: We’re 25 games into the 2019/20 season and goal difference separates Arsenal and Newcastle in 10th and 12th respectively. The Gunners have been building an unbeaten run under Mikel Arteta in 2020, but they’ve drawn their past four games including a drab 0-0 against Burnley last time out. Their opponents have also been racking up the stalemates of late, drawing three of their past four matches, which doesn’t bode too well for those travelling to the Emirates. Arsenal 1-1 Newcastle.
Player to watch: Allan Saint-Maximin has averaged 5.55 completed take-ons per 90 minutes in the Premier League this season.
Arsenal win: 68.49%
Newcastle win: 10.87%
Chelsea vs Manchester United
CS: With just six points between these two, Monday night’s meeting is a huge game in the race for fourth place. Given their inconsistencies, it feels like neither side really wants to qualify for the Champions League, though. They may not win, but expect United to continue their strange habit of turning it on against the big sides having failed to beat Burnley and Wolves in their last two league games. Chelsea 1-1 Man Utd.
HE: Man Utd will be looking to get a third win of the season over Chelsea and close the gap on the Blues. But both teams are in bad patches, without wins in their past three games in the league and only one victory in their past five. That said, Chelsea’s home form has been poor – as has their record against fellow ‘Big Six’ sides – which could come back to bite them. Chelsea 0-1 Man Utd.
Player to watch: Bruno Fernandes enjoyed an impressive debut against Wolves, having 111 touches and attempting 88 passes.
Chelsea win: 52.08%
Man Utd win: 21.28%
Manchester City vs West Ham United
CS: Every time Man City look like getting back to their ruthless selves, another gut-wrenching defeat seems to appear from around the corner, flooring Pep Guardiola. So, what better way to get back on track (again) than with a comfortable win over a West Ham side in absolute freefall? Storm Ciara may have given West Ham a stay of execution in this one, but it’s not a permanent one. Man City 3-0 West Ham.
HE: Man City are in a strange place right now, with regards to the Premier League, needing a miracle to catch Liverpool at the top but also safe in the Champions League place barring a monumental fall of their own. West Ham will be hoping Man City’s focus switches to winning the Champions League but, regardless, the Hammers look unlikely to get anything from the Etihad. Man City 4-0 West Ham.
Player to watch: Raheem Sterling is without a goal in his last seven games across all competitions.
Man City win: 89.29%
West Ham win: 3.33%