Chelsea seal late 1-0 Premier League win at Fulham

The three points will offer a timely boost for manager Frank Lampard as he aims to haul his team back into the race for Europe in the coming weeks.

It was visitors that dominated things in the first 45 minutes with only the woodwork and Alphonse Areola keeping them out before the break.

Mason Mount was inches away from putting Chelsea in front, as he spanked a volley off the bar, before Areola produced a fantastic stop to deny Antonio Rudiger.

And with Chelsea growing in confidence before half time their cause was helped even further as Antonee Robinson was dismissed for a lunge at Cesar Azpilicueta.

Lampard’s team continued to boss it after the break with Areola again called into action to deny Hakim Ziyech and Jorginho.

But with Chelsea continuing to ramp up the pressure on Fulham’s overworked back line, Mount eventually conjured up a breakthrough.

Ben Chilwell’s cross was only half cleared out by Areola and Mount stayed cool to steer home through a crowd of Fulham defenders.

Under fire German international Timo Werner should have made it 2-0 in added time but he dragged poor effort well wide of the post.

Full Time at Craven Cottage it’s Fulham 0 Chelsea 1

Brighton return to Premier League winning ways with 1-0 win at Leeds

Graham Potter’s side have avoided sliding into the relegation zone, thanks to Neil Maupay’s first half strike, as Leeds lost at home for the first time since December.

It was Brighton who were quicker out of the blocks than their hosts at Elland Road as Maupay deservedly slotted in front on 17 minutes.

The Seagulls burst through Leeds’ midfield on the counter attack, Leandro Trossard’s pass freed Alexis MacAllister inside the box and his square ball was tapped home by Maupay.

Brighton continued to press on from there as Trossard almost made it two as his deflected effort cracked against the bar.

Marcelo Bielsa’s side did come into more after the break though as Liam Cooper and Tyler Roberts tested Robert Sanchez.

However, the expected Leeds avalanche never really got going in the final stages as Brighton powered on to all three points.

Full Time at Elland Road it’s Leeds United 0 Brighton 1

Michail Antonio edges West Ham to crucial 1-0 Burnley win

In a game of sporadic chances at both ends it was fans favourite Michail Antonio’s early strike that made the key difference.

The Hammers looked positive in the opening minutes in East London and Antonio seized his opportunity to put them ahead on nine minutes.

Pablo Fornals’ whipped cross deceived Clarets defender James Tarkowski and Antonio kept his cool to fire past Nick Pope.

Moyes’ hosts could and should have extended their lead just before the break but Angelo Ogbonna’s header clattered back off the post.

West Ham continued to edge things after the restart with Jarrod Bowen flashing an effort just wide and Declan Rice testing Pope.

But despite dominating the majority of the game, West Ham’s inability to find a second goal almost came back to bite them as Dwight McNeil and Jay Rodriguez both wasted half chances but the Hammers had just enough to hold on.

Full Time from the London Stadium it’s West Ham 1 Burnley 0

Premier League Preview: Arsenal v Newcastle

Goals from Emile Smith-Rowe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang secured a 2-0 FA Cup win in that tie and Arsenal Mikel Arteta will be hoping for another positive result against Steve Bruce.

The Spanish coach is expected to shuffle his options however after his team slipped to a disappointing 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace in midweek.

Scottish international Kieran Tierney should be fit to come back in alongside the returning Thomas Partey and Nicolas Pepe.

Meanwhile the pressure continues to build on Bruce with no Premier League wins in over a month.

The former defender will make a few late fitness checks before naming his team with Jamal Lewis, Jonjo Shelvey and Jamaal Lascelles all battling to be fit.

Argentinian centre back Federico Fernandez has already been ruled out due to a thigh problem with Ryan Fraser serving a one game ban.

And Kick Off is all set for 8pm start on Monday night at the Emirates Stadium.

West Brom battle out vital Black Country derby win at Wolves

The result comes as Sam Allardyce’s first win as Baggies boss and brings them to within touching distance of moving out of the drop zone.

And it was the under pressure visitors who were the brighter side in the opening stages with Wolves gifting them an opener on eight minutes.

Willy Boly collided with Callum Robinson inside the box and star man Matheus Pereira calmly tucked home from the spot.

But that goal only served wake Wolves up as Adama Traore tested David Button and Portuguese international Pedro Neto lashed wide.

And with the traffic heading in one direction Wolves netted a quick-fire double to take the lead before the break.

Fabio Silva turned home his first Molineux goal before Boly made up for his penalty gaffe as he reacted quickest to smash home from a corner.

But despite ended the first period strongly the game was flipped on its head once again within minutes of the restart.

Centre back Semi Ajayi bulleted a header past Rui Patricio and Robinson tumbled inside the box once again and Pereira fired home.

The tie did rock back in Wolves’ favour in the closing minutes and Nelson Semedo missed perfect chance to nick a point.

Full Time on a cracker of an afternoon at Molineux it’s Wolves 2 West Brom 3

Premier League: Liverpool v Manchester United

There is plenty at stake in this crunch clash between the division’s top two sides at the weekend, with the chance to earn bragging rights further accentuated with the opportunity of topping the table.

First place is currently occupied by Manchester United, who went top of the league for the first time since 2013 on Tuesday thanks to a 1-0 victory over Burnley.

Paul Pogba’s deflected strike at Turf Moor ensured United leapfrogged Liverpool at the top – the first time they’d reached the Premier League summit since Sir Alex Ferguson left Old Trafford having scooped the club’s 20th top flight title.

United’s 20 titles is an English club record – but Liverpool closed the gap to their arch rivals with their first league crown in 30 years last campaign – their 19th in total.

The decline at Old Trafford since the departure of Sir Alex has coincided with Liverpool’s rise under Jurgen Klopp, with the Merseysiders arguably unlucky not to have picked up more than just the one Premier League title in recent years whilst United have languished.

Liverpool have however forged an incredible undefeated streak on their own patch during that period, going unbeaten at Anfield in the Premier League for more than three years.

As remarkable as that record is, Liverpool are still some way off Chelsea’s outrageous run at Stamford Bridge which came between 2004-2008 – even if the Reds didn’t lose at Anfield between now and the end of the season, their 78 games without defeat would still pail in comparison to the Blues’ 86 matches unbeaten.

Regardless of this, Liverpool’s stretch is no doubt an immense source of pride for Jurgen Klopp and his players, something which they will want to defend with increased determination.

A win for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will open up a six-point gap at the top, and with Manchester City quietly going about their business close behind, things are shaping up to be a fascinating title race.

Injuries have been a key factor in the narrative of Liverpool’s season to date, particularly in central defence, with three first team regulars out of action.

Virgil van Dijk remains a long term absentee with knee ligament damage, as does fellow centre half Joe Gomez with a similar problem.

Injury-prone Joel Matip has also been sidelined lately, but it remains to be seen whether the big game against United comes too soon for him after stepping up his recovery recently.

Diogo Jota is still in a knee brace and won’t be involved, neither will seldom seen Greek defender Kostas Tsimikas with an almost identical issue.

Naby Keita, another player with a chequered injury history, could be involved.

Manchester United welcomed Edinson Cavani back from injury against Burnley after suspension and is likely to once again be involved at Anfield – but there are concerns over fellow forward Anthony Martial who is rated touch-and-go to play following complaints of a tight hamstring midweek.

Nemanja Matic is another who is rated 50-50 with a tight groin, but Facundo Pellistri is ruled out due to testing positive for coronavirus.

Marcos Rojo is still in Argentina and won’t make the squad, neither will Phil Jones who continues his rehab for a knee injury.

Victor Lindelof sat out of the last two fixtures with back trouble but trained through the week and could be picked to face Liverpool.

Battle for top spot in the Premier League takes place on Sunday at 4.30pm as Liverpool take on Manchester United.

Premier League: Sheffield United v Tottenham Hotspur

Spurs will arrive at Bramall Lane in mixed form, having lost none of their last six games in all competitions, but having only picked up one win in their last six Premier League games – that being a 3-0 win over Leeds earlier this month.

As a result, Jose Mourinho’s side have gone from top of the table in December to 6th in January, and need a win over the Blades if they’re to keep up the pressure in the free-for-all that is the title race.

Much of Tottenham’s problems has been a lack of creativity, despite boasting the fearsome duo of Son Heung-Min and Harry Kane, who have contributed 23 of Spurs’s 30 league goals this season. The pair also have 16 assists between them, most of which have been for each other.

However despite the form of those two, killing games off has been an issue for Spurs, with Wednesday’s 1-1 draw at home to Fulham a perfect example.

Sheffield United will be hoping they can build on their 1-0 win against Newcastle, although Spurs are unlikely to be as easy to play against than the awful Geordies were.

Billy Sharp scored the winner in that game but will likely return to the bench, which Chris Wilder should be able to fill after injuries meant he could only name seven subs for the Newcastle game.

George Baldock and Enda Stevens missed that game as a precaution, but both should be back to feature in some capacity, but Oli McBurnie is expected to be absent. Sander Berge and Jack O’Connell are long-term absentees. Wilder did mention in Friday’s press conference that he has seven players unavailable, but didn’t say which new doubts he had after the Newcastle game.

Spurs only have two players with injury worries ahead of the trip to the Steel City, with Giovanni Lo Celso out with a thigh injury and not expected to play for a few weeks, and Gareth Bale not yet fully fit after a calf injury. Steven Bergwijn missed the draw with Fulham but should return after illness.

A win for Sheffield United could take the Blades off the bottom of the Premier League table for the first time, if West Brom lose to Wolves on Saturday afternoon, while three points for Spurs could take them as high as second in the table.

Sheffield United take on Spurs at Bramall Lane on Sunday, January 17th. Kick-off is at 2pm.

Premier League: Manchester City v Crystal Palace

City’s enterprising 1-0 win over Brighton midweek was their fourth league win on the spin and seventh in all competitions, with victories over Chelsea and Manchester United in that time.

Phil Foden’s goal was the difference as Pep Guardiola once again opted against starting a recognised striker, largely due to the recent absence of Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero.

Crystal Palace meanwhile did have forward options on the pitch in their clash with Arsenal on Thursday night, although the Eagles weren’t potent enough to register a goal against the Gunners with the game ending 0-0.

Palace reside 13th in the Premier League standings and as is often the case Roy Hodgson will look to Wilfried Zaha to make an impression, with the Ivory Coast international having scored a brace in away victories at Old Trafford and the Hawthorns already this season.

As for team news, fitness continues to be of concern to Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, who will once again be missing defenders Nathan Ake and Aymeric Laporte for the game.

Eric Garcia seems a likely candidate to step in, although speculation around his future at the Etihad Stadium continues to swirl amidst strong interest from Barcelona – and a positive coronavirus test rules him out of this one too.

Covid-19 has also put a stop to Sergio Aguero’s involvement, with the striker in self-isolation due to coming in to close contact with a carrier of the virus despite testing negative himself.

Crystal Palace won’t have at least 6 first team stars available to them against Manchester City, although none of those absences are coronavirus-related.

Goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey remains a long term injury victim, as do defenders Martin Kelly and Nathan Ferguson with calf and thigh strains respectively.

Jeffrey Schlupp and Mamadou Sakho are also ruled out for the trip to the Etihad having picked up muscle strains last week also.

Manchester City v Crystal Palace kicks off at 7.15pm on Sunday 17th January.

Premier League: Fulham v Chelsea

Cottagers boss Scott Parker sees his side contest a second London derby in a week after securing a valuable point away at Tottenham on Wednesday in a rearranged fixture he labelled as ‘scandalous’.

The outcome after 90 minutes was far from scandalous from a Fulham perspective however, with Parker’s side good value for the point against Spurs in what was their first Premier League game since Boxing Day.

The result at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was Fulham’s 5th consecutive draw in the top flight -and although it wasn’t enough to lift them out of the relegation zone, Brighton’s loss at Manchester City means the Cottagers are just three points from safety with two games in hand over the 17th placed Seagulls.

It would have seemed unusual just over a month ago to describe Fulham as the form team heading in to this encounter, but whilst Scott Parker’s side have seen improvement in recent weeks, Frank Lampard’s Chelsea team have gone completely off the boil.

Although off the back of a win last time out – a 4-0 FA Cup triumph against League Two Morecambe – the Blues’ top flight form has been rotten of late for a side touted by many to be in with a shout of Premier League glory.

Of their last 6 league affairs, the 3-0 home victory over West Ham before Christmas has been their only win, with defeats to Everton, Wolves, Arsenal and Manchester City in that time frame causing Chelsea to lose grip of their top 4 spot and plummet to 9th in the standings – 10 points from the top.

A win for Chelsea over Fulham won’t take them any higher than 7th come the final whistle – no doubt a concern considering the whopping £200m spent on players in the summer.

Despite his legendary status at Stamford Bridge, some will suggest Frank Lampard simply cannot afford to lose at Craven Cottage with the pressure regarding his managerial ability intensifying.

However, Chelsea rarely come unstuck at the Cottage, boasting an unbeaten record there since 2006 in the Premier League – a win for the Blues on Saturday would mark six wins in a row against Fulham.

Chelsea success at the weekend though will need to be achieved without the suspended N’Golo Kante, with the Frenchman – who also has a knock – unavailable due to an accumulation of yellow cards.

Defenders Andreas Christensen and Reece James have also been on the sidelines of late but both are expected to be available for selection again after recovering from knee and hamstring issues respectively.

Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek is on loan at Fulham for the season and therefore won’t be eligible to play for the Cottagers against his parent club.

Scott Parker also has a decision to make on the fitness of Aleksandar Mitrovic who has been suffering with a knock – teammates Tom Cairney and Mario Lemina have also had problems lately and it remains to be seen whether they feature.

Fulham v Chelsea at Craven Cottage is a 5.30pm kick off on Saturday 16th January.

Arsenal 0-0 Crystal Palace: Eagles halt Gunners’ winning run

Having won their last three league outings to end a barren spell, the Gunners were unable to find a way past their visitors – who came closest to winning the game through a James Tomkins header which hit the crossbar.

The 0-0 draw means Palace remain unbeaten in their previous five meetings with Arsenal and they stay just a point behind Mikel Arteta’s men.

Arsenal made two changes to the side that won 4-0 at West Brom in their last league outing – both enforced as Kieran Tierney and Pablo Mari were left out as precautions.

The hosts were largely frustrated by a Palace side playing on the counter-attack and on the few occasions they did get in behind, they largely wasted the opportunity.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang shot straight at Vicente Guaita in one moment of promise, while Hector Bellerin managed to take the ball off the foot of team-mate Alexandre Lacazette when the in-form France forward looked poised to strike.

It would be Palace who came closest to breaking the deadlock before the interval – firstly as Eberechi Eze’s deep free-kick was headed against the frame of the goal by Tomkins.

Then Bernd Leno was called into action, making a fine diving stop to keep out Christian Benteke’s effort moments later.

Arsenal were still struggling to unlock a rigid Palace backline after the restart and were restricted to pot-shots on Guiaita’s goal on the few occasions their attacks did not break down.

Arteta responded by introducing club-record signing Nicolas Pepe in place of Ainsley Maitland-Niles, with Bukayo Saka reverting to left-back as a result.

Palace were still a threat on the break and Zaha burst forward only to see his cross towards Eze cleared away by a backtracking Granit Xhaka.

Benteke miscued his header from the resulting corner and James McArthur turned the ball into the grateful grasp of Leno.

Zaha wanted a penalty after going down under pressure from Rob Holding but referee Andre Marriner correctly waved away the protests.

Arsenal suddenly moved up a gear as the game entered the closing stages but never looked like getting the goal to settle the contest and remain 11th in the table as a result.

Premier League: Leicester v Southampton

After 17 games, Brendan Rodgers finds his side slap bang in the middle of a title race no one seems to want to run away with, as the Foxes sit four points behind leaders Manchester United. And when United take on Liverpool on Sunday afternoon, a win could see Leicester just a point off top spot come Monday morning.

Perhaps it’s a blessing that no one seems to be talking about Leicester as potential title challengers, just as they didn’t in 2016 when Claudio Ranieri’s side pulled off the ultimate fairy tale by winning the lot.

Fast forward five years and there are still a few players that are still around from that team, with Kasper Schmeichel and Jamie Vardy still as important as ever. The Danish goalkeeper will make his 400th competitive appearance for the club on Saturday.

Speaking of the past, it’s hard to preview this game without mentioning what happened last season when these two sides met, when Leicester ran out 9-0 winners at St Mary’s, with Ayoze Perez and Vardy both scoring hat-tricks.

However, since that landmark moment, Southampton have been a different animal, and a similar score line is almost impossible to expect a repeat of. Ralph Hassenhuttl’s philosophy has been adopted by every member of the Saints squad, and they now look like a solid Premier League side capable of beating anyone on their day.

If they’re to get anything at Leicester on Saturday though, they’ll have to do so without Danny Ings, who is self-isolating after coming into contact with a COVID positive person recently. Jannik Vestergaard is out with a knee injury, while Moussa Djenepo and Nathan Redmond are also definitely missing.

Promising youngster Nathan Tella is also out, as is Michael Obafemi, who has undergone surgery on a muscle issue. There is some good news for the Saints though, as Alex McCarthy is back after missing the win over Liverpool, and Oriol Romeu and Che Adams should also be available.

Leicester have a much shorter injury list by comparison, with only Dennis Praet definitely out with a hamstring injury which requires surgery. The Belgian suffered the problem in the 4-0 win over Stoke City last weekend, a game in which James Maddison and Jamie Vardy weren’t risked with slight knocks.

The pair will be back for the visit of Southampton though, and both Ricardo Pereira and Caglar Soyuncu could also make the matchday squad, although both aren’t fully fit after injury. Soyuncu’s fellow Turk Cengiz Under should also be involved after an ankle problem.

Leicester take on Southampton at the King Power Stadium on Saturday, January 16th. Kick-off is at 8pm.