Wednesday 21 March 2018

Could Wednesday be pivotal night in Premier League title race?

Claudio Ranieri's Leicester and Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham meet on Wednesday for the second time in four days
Claudio Ranieri's Leicester and Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham meet on Wednesday for the second time in four days

A round of January midweek Premier League fixtures has thrown up some intriguing matches which could have significant bearing on the top of the table.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at the encounters involved.

Liverpool v Arsenal

The Premier League leaders head to Anfield as the top flight's in-form side. Five wins and one defeat - at Southampton on Boxing Day - in their last six matches and the second best away record and the second most goals at opponents' grounds make Arsene Wenger's side favourites. The return of in-form Mesut Ozil is a considerable boost against a team who have kept just three clean sheets in the last 38 meetings. Consistency is a problem for Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, partly because of a huge injury list which has crippled their effectiveness at both ends of the pitch. Twenty-two goals after 20 matches is the lowest in their history, although they are unbeaten in four at home.

Manchester City v Everton

Third-placed City boast the best home record in the league, winning eight, losing two and racking up an impressive 29 goals in 10 matches. Sergio Aguero has yet to hit top form after some niggling injuries but has scored twice in his last three matches while in Raheem Sterling, Kevin de Bruyne, Yaya Toure and David Silva they have considerable attacking options. City's Achilles heel is at the back, where they are desperately missing Vincent Kompany and continue to be vulnerable. That will delight Everton's in-form Romelu Lukaku, who is the league's joint top scorer with 15, hitting 12 in his last dozen matches in all competitions. Defence also is where Everton come up short with just five clean sheets this season, although captain Phil Jagielka's return to fitness should add extra stability.

Tottenham v Leicester

After an extended run in the top four, second-placed Leicester are no longer the surprise package, with Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez stealing the limelight. The former is expected to return from a minor procedure on a groin problem but, having not won since December 19, Leicester need to kick-start 2016. Whether White Hart Lane - where they drew 2-2 in the FA Cup on Sunday - is the place to do it, is another matter. Spurs have the meanest defence in the league, partly thanks to the impressive central-defensive partnership of Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld. Their main threat is 11-goal Harry Kane, who scored a late equaliser from the spot on Sunday, while midfielder Dele Alli's form has earned him a new contract.

Press Association

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