Leicester City could move ten points clear at the top of the table this weekend with Spurs having to wait until Monday night for their game with Stoke City.
Here we take a look at some interesting stats surrounding each of the weekend fixtures.
Norwich v Sunderland
The threat of relegation means that both sides will be going all out to win this match and Sunderland’s defensive vulnerabilities on their travels this season could hand Norwich an advantage. The Canaries are the division’s sixth most efficient finishers in home matches, taking an average of just 8.5 shots for each goal scored, while their visitors’ defence has been the least resilient in away games. The Black Cats have soaked up just 6.5 efforts for each time that their opponents have found their net: the worst record in the top flight.
Everton v Southampton
Everton’s growing injury list isn’t likely to be their only problem this weekend, with Southampton’s aerial abilities also looking likely to make life difficult for Roberto Martinez’s side. The Toffees have conceded more goals from headers than anyone, with 12 finding the back of their net so far, and this is the same number that the Saints have scored: also the highest tally in the Premier League this season.
Man Utd v Aston Villa
Manchester United may not be having the season they hoped for but they have at least looked solid at Old Trafford, where no side has soaked up more shots for each goal conceded. The Red Devils are a model of resilience compared to weekend visitors Aston Villa, who have struggled to keep the ball out of their net on their travels – only Bournemouth have faced fewer shots for each goal conceded – and are therefore very likely to end up second best here.
Newcastle v Swansea
Newcastle are running out of opportunities to preserve their Premier League status, but home matches like this one are far more likely to yield the points they need. The Magpies’ finishing has been almost twice as clinical in front of their own fans than when on the road, so if they can’t get on the score sheet here then their prospects will look bleak.
West Brom v Watford
We’re unlikely to witness a high-quality attacking display here, with these two sides both among the Premier League’s three least accurate shooters. West Brom are the only top flight club to have fired in fewer than ten efforts per match this season and they’ve also gotten the division’s smallest share of attempts on target. Visitors Watford may have been a bit more productive but they’ve been almost as wasteful, with Championship-bound Aston Villa the only side other than the Baggies to have gotten a smaller share on target than the Hornets.
Chelsea v Man City
Chelsea may be unbeaten at home since Guus Hiddink took over, but they’ve looked far from invincible. The Blues haven’t kept a clean sheet in any of their last nine home matches – the worst run in the Premier League – so the firepower available to Manchester City gives them a good chance of inflicting a second successive defeat on the defending champions.
Bournemouth v Liverpool
As Liverpool demonstrated to dramatic effect on Thursday night, their impressive performances going forward are often undermined by their worrying porousness at the back. With weekend hosts Bournemouth one of only two top flight sides to have soaked up fewer shots for each goal conceded than the Reds, we could see plenty of goals here if both sides’ strikers are able to take advantage.
Leicester v West Ham
Leicester have looked vulnerable in the air this season, conceding a higher percentage of goals from headers than any other Premier League side, which gives West Ham a way to beat them. The Hammers are the division’s joint-highest scorers from the air this season with 12 headed goals, so the Foxes’ defence will have to keep close tabs on the likes of Andy Carroll if they’re to maintain their lead at the top of the table.
Arsenal v Crystal Palace
Arsenal are no shrinking violets on their own turf, with only three Premier League sides firing in more shots per home match, and Palace’s permissive defence could struggle to cope with them. The Eagles have allowed opponents more shots than any other side on their travels this season, so the Emirates crowd should be witnessing mostly one-way traffic this weekend.
Stoke v Tottenham
Long range shots have been Stoke’s Achilles Heel this season, with the 12 goals they’ve conceded from outside the box the division’s highest. Only two teams have outscored Spurs from this range so far and, with a young deputy goalkeeper between the sticks for their hosts, the likes of Christian Eriksen will surely be tempted to let fly here.