Wolves are on top at Southampton with Moutinho whipping in a couple of dangerous corners into the box but nothing has come of them.
Crystal Palace look set to stick at least nine men behind the ball for the entire game and they seem pretty happy to sit back and rely on Zaha to counter-attack. Mendy already looks dangerous going down the left with a couple of dangerous crosses.
Bubbles are blowing around Stratford, so we must be closing on kick-off.
Are the wheels coming off for Leeds?
Mary Waltz wants United to pay up: “After United is dragged around the pitch Sunday the 68 million will seem reasonable.”
The report from Vicarage Road …
Manchester United do need some new players …
Simon McMahon is here to fill the gaps I leave short of the border: “ Scottish Cup fourth round today, though tie of the round is not until tomorrow when high flying Championship leaders Dundee United welcome Hibs to Tannadice. The pick of today’s matches with potential for upsets include Aberdeen v Dumbarton, Ayr v Ross County, Bonnyrigg v Clyde, Hamilton v Edinburgh City, Hearts v Airdrieonians, Kilmarnock v Queens Park, and St. Mirren v Broxburn. Partick Thistle v Celtic is a tea time kick off. Worth mentioning also the Scottish League Two fixture between leaders Cove Rangers and chasing Cowdenbeath, aka the Blue Brazil.”
Full-time: Watford 0-0 Spurs
Deeney saw a penalty saved and Lamela had a last-gasp chance cleared off the line to ensure the game ended goalless.
Sheffield United’s forwards will be hopeful of getting some spare change out of an Arsenal back four consisting of Maitland-Niles, Mustafi, Luiz and Saka.
Pepe Reina comes straight into the Aston Villa XI after arriving from Milan this week. Can he make the difference in the relegation battle?
Sterling up against Riedeweld could be fun if Guardiola decides to go that way. It’s more likely to be Bernardo Silva against the left-back, which also seems a mismatch.
Starting lineups: Norwich v Bournemouth
Norwich: Krul, Aarons, Zimmermann, Godfrey, Byram, Tettey, McLean, Buendía, Duda, Cantwell, Pukki
Subs: Trybull, Drmic, Rupp, Hanley, Hernández, Lewis, Fährmann
Bournemouth: Ramsdale, Smith, Cook, Aké, Rico, Billing, Lerma, Gosling, Wilson, Wilson, Fraser
Subs: Surridge, Simpson, Cook, Boruc, Solanke, Francis, Surman
Starting lineups: Southampton v Wolves
Southampton: McCarthy, Soares, Stephens, Bednarek, Redmond, Hojbjerg, Ward-Prowse, Redmond, Armstrong, Long, Ings
Subs: Gunn, Vestergaard, Adams, Djenepo, Romeu, Boufal, Obafemi
Wolves: Patricio, Doherty, Coady, Saiss, Jonny, Dendoncker, Moutinho, Neves, Neto, Traore, Jimenez
Subs: Ruddy, Jordao, Gibbs-White, Giles, Kilman, Ashley-Seal, Rasmussen
Starting lineups: Brighton v Aston Villa
Brighton: Ryan, Webster, Dunk, Propper, Stephens, Bernardo, Alzate, Mooy, Connolly, Maupay, Trossard
Subs: Button, Duffy, Bissouma, Gross, Jahanbakhsh, Murray, Montoya
Aston Villa: Reina, Konsa, Mings, Hause, Guilbert, Nakamba, Drinkwater, Targett, El Ghazi, Grealish, Trezeguet
Subs: Nyland, Chester, Luiz, Lansbury, Hourihane, Elmohamody, Vassilev
Starting lineups: West Ham v Everton
West Ham: Randolph, Cresswell, Zabaleta, Diop, Ogbonna, Noble, Rice, Fornals, Snodgrass, Lanzini, Haller
Subs: Martin, Reid, Balbuena, Cardoso, Masuaku, Ajeti, Ngakia
Everton: Pickford, Coleman, Dige, Mina, Holgate, Davies, Delph, Bernard, Walcott, Kean, Calvert-Lewin.
Subs: Stekelenburg, Baines, Schneiderlin, Sidibe, Niasse, Gibson, Gordon
Starting lineups: Man City v Crystal Palace
Man City: Ederson, Cancelo, Stones, Fernandinho, Mendy, Gundogan, David Silva, Bernardo Silva, De Bruyne, Sterling, Aguero
Subs: Bravo, Walker, Rodrigo, Otamendi, Foden, Mahrez, Jesus
Crystal Palace: Guaita, Kelly, Cahill, Tomkins, Riedewald, McArthur, McCarthy, Kouyate, Zaha, Ayew, Tosun
Subs: Hennessey, Ward, Dann, Wickham, Woods, McGregor, Keutcha
Starting lineups: Arsenal v Sheffield United
Arsenal: Leno, Maitland-Niles, Mustafi, Luiz, Saka, Torreira, Xhaka, Pepe, Ozil, Martinelli, Lacazette.
Subs: Martinez, Bellerin, Ceballos, Holding, Willock, Guendouzi, Nketiah.
Sheffield United: Henderson, Baldock, O’Connell, Basham, Egan, Stevens, Fleck, Lundstram, Norwood, Mousset, McBurnie.
Subs: Verrips, Sharp, Robinson, Jagielka, Freeman, Osborn, Besic.
Speaking of being busy in January …
Norwich have brought in a couple of new faces from the Bundesliga this week in the form of Ondrej Duda and Lukas Rupp. Will they slot into the side today and can they make the requisite difference to the team?
Could Reiss Nelson start for Arsenal today?
How will City lineup today? Will Pep start Aguero and Jesus once more? Will he stick Sterling up against whichever left-back Hodgson is forced to play? Who will be at the back? Will Angelino be brought back in for no reason whatsoever?
Guardiola is not looking up.
Ps Happy Birthday, Pep!
In a strange turn of events for a Saturday at 3pm there are plenty of intriguing games happening in the Premier League.
Firstly, Manchester City host Crystal Palace. Roy Hodgson loves testing himself against Pep Guardiola and has done pretty well in the past. The Eagles were victorious at the Etihad last season thanks to a helluva strike from Andros Townsend, so the former England boss will be hoping for similarly positive result this time around with his ramshackle bunch. Wilfried Zaha will also been keen to show what he can do against a side not known for its defensive competence as he looks to prove he should be playing for a top four side.
There is also a fascinating tussle at the Emirates where Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal welcome Sheffield United, a side in fantastic form and looking up the league rather than down. The Basque has put an imprint on this Arsenal side already, making them more creative and energetic, with slightly more competent back four to go with it. Chris Wilder has certainly got his trademark pending on the Blades with their aggressive and slick style of play which few have been able to cope with since their promotion and will undoubtedly cause problems in north London.
Is it too early to discuss ‘six-pointers’? Well, Norwich host Bournemouth in a must-win match for both sides as they look to arrest their miserable form and give themselves some hope of staying up. It’s 20th versus 19th and neither side has won in their last five games and really something needs to budge if they are to give themselves a sniff of survival.
- Arsenal v Sheffield United
- Brighton v Aston Villa
- Manchester City v Crystal Palace
- Norwich v Bournemouth
- Southampton v Wolves
- West Ham v Everton