Premier League return for midweek matches

United visit Watford while City host Southampton

Nkem Ibeawuchi | Tuesday, 28 November 2017 1:07pm | sport

source: epl

Premier League teams return to midweek action as they look forward to face the hectic period in which fixtures come fast and thick. Thebusinesspost sport desk previews the matches to be played on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Watford vs Man Utd

Mourinho and his men will be determined to put pressure on their city rival Manchester City with a win against the Hornets but it is yet to be seen if United will claim a point at the Vicarage Road.

United are boosted with the return of several players from injury in recent matches. The likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovich and Marcos Rojo are back on the pitch ones again. United are further boosted by the return of captain Micheal Carrick and FA’s decision not to ban Lukaku after the camera captured him kicking Brighton’s defender during the weekend clash.

United will still be without Phil Jones and Eric Baily still remains a doubt ahead of the Vicarage visit. United have switched to a more of attacking formation in their last two matches starting both Martial and Rashford at the same time.

However, though the former Chelsea coach sees it as a way to shut his critics up, he insisted that the approach has added something to united’s attack and at the same time taken something away from the balance of the team.

Watford players will be full of confidence entering into the encounter following their 3-0 demolition of Rafa Benitez men at St James' Park on Saturday.

Jose Mourinho is aware of the treat his fellow Portuguese compatriot Marcos Silva poses ahead of the crunch encounter. Watford sit in 8th position with 21 points after winning 6 matches, draw 3 and lost 4.

While the Hornets can call upon centre-forward Troy Deeney after he served a three-match ban, the likes of Younes Kaboul, Isaac Success, Nathaniel Chalobah and former Red Craig Cathcart have all been sidelined of late but Kiko Feminia proved his fitness at Newcastle, in an impressive 3-0 win for Marco Silva's men.

Leicester vs Tottenham

Tottenham have not been at their best in the league in recently. The lilywhites followed up the north London derby defeat to Arsenal with an impressive Champions League comeback win against Borussia Dortmund, but Mauricio Pochettino's side faced familiar Wembley frustrations on Saturday as West Brom left the capital with a 1-1 draw.

Mouricio Pochetino’s men needs to be at their best against 2015-16 champions Leicester if Spurs are to stand any chance of catching Manchester City in the title race. They are currently 13 points adrift of the top and are in fifth position.

Pochetino will be boosted by the return of Erik Lamela who is set to be named in Tottenham's squad for the first time in over a year. Lamela has not played since October 25, 2016 after undergoing operations on each of his hips but he has told Mauricio Pochettino he is ready for a competitive return. Danny Rose is also likely to come back in but Harry Winks has fallen ill and will have to be assessed while Toby Alderweireld (hamstring) and Victor Wanyama (knee) are both out.

The appointment of Claude Puel has breathed in life into the Leicester squad and they are going into this one at the back of a 1-1 draw against struggling Westham. Puel will be looking forward to putting more misery on Tottenham.

Leicester boss Claude Puel will have an unchanged squad/ Central defender Robert Huth (ankle) and midfielder Matty James (Achilles) remain out injured but they are the only players unavailable to the Frenchman.

Man City vs Tottenham

Pep Guardiola’s side are continuing to run away with the Premier League title, having taken a record number of points from their opening 13 fixtures and currently they still look like a team that is totally unstoppable.

Goals from Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling helped to restore City’s 8 point lead at the top after resilient Huddersfield gave them initial scare on Sunday evening. Huddersfield was a goal up at half time but couldn’t withstand the pressure from Manchester City attack.

Guardiola will be hopping his team tear Southampton apart to maintain their lead at the top of the table. Man City are only without long-term absentees John Stones and Benjamin Mendy.

Pellegrino faces by far the toughest task of his time in England, as he prepares to gear his side up to face a team who have netted 24 times in six games at home. The Spanish tactician has an array of incredible talent to select from each week, even with key player, like John Stones missing games.

Pellegrino will be hopping Charlie Austin continues his prolific form when both teams meet. Austin netted twice on his return to the Saints’ starting eleven. The Saints remain only without Matt Targett through injury.

Chelsea vs Swansea

Premier League champions Chelsea will be hopping to build on the team spirit that propelled them to equalize against Liverpool on Saturday late kickoff. The blues will be facing a less standard match when the face Swansea. Antonio Conte’s side have been far from their best at home this season, but they’ll still be firm favourites against the Swans.

The Blues secured a late draw at Anfield on Saturday, keeping them third in the table. Willian scored a late equaliser after former Chelsea player Mo Salah opened the scoring. Chelsea need to claim all three points if they are to be up there competing with united and city for title run.

Kenedy could come back into contention after missing out with a little muscular problem and Michy Batshuayi remains sidelined with an ankle injury, while Charly Musonda is nursing a knee injury.

Swansea ended their run of five straight defeats on Saturday following their goalless draw against at home to Bournemouth. The stalemate didn’t have a significant effect as they are still rooted at the relegation zone.

Frederico Fernandez will miss out once more. The defender has returned to Argentina following the death of his father. Tammy Abraham is ineligible to play against his parent club, meaning Wilfried Bony should start up front.

Kyle Bartley remains out with a knee injury but is closing in on a return to training.

Arsenal vs Huddersfield Town

Arsenal seems to be back to their normal form after their unstable performance earlier in the season. In the premier league weekend encounter against Burnley, Arsenal scored a stoppage time winner just as they did last season. The Gunners were far from their best, but still managed to make it four wins in five in the league.

Arsenal defense looks to be back to shape, Arsenal have kept a clean sheet in all five matches that Shkodran Mustafi, Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal have started at the back together.

Mesut Ozil will miss out once again through illness. The German midfielder travelled with the squad to Burnley but was ruled out by the club doctor, with Wenger confirming afterward that he’d be short for Wednesday. The German missed the win against Mesut Ozil.

Theo Walcott could return to the squad after missing Sunday’s win while Santi Cazorla is a long-term absentee.

A Nicolas Otamendi own goal would have given David Wagner’s side a win against Man city before Man City came back. Huddersfield ended the match with 10 men. Goals from Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling helped to restore City’s 8 point lead at the top after.

Only West Ham, Everton and Crystal Palace have picked up fewer points on the road than Huddersfield this term. Huddersfield have conceded 12 and scored none in their last six away games, losing five of those.

They will be without suspended Rajiv van La Parra following his sending off at the weekend. Elias Kachunga is expected to start in his place. Michael Hefele and Jon Stankovic are still a couple of weeks away from training.

Philip Billing is another long-term absentee and is targeting a return in early 2018 following ankle surgery.

Full matchday 14 fixtures

Tuesday 28th Nov 2017

Brighton vs Crystal Palace

Leicester City vs Tottenham Hotspur

Watford vs Manchester United

West Bromwich vs Newcastle United

Wednesday 29th Nov 2017

AFC Bournemouth vs Burnley

Arsenal vs Huddersfield Town

Chelsea vs Swansea City

Everton vs West Ham United

Manchester City vs Southampton

Stoke City vs Liverpool