With three huge Premier League matches coming up live on Sky Sports, we think it’s best you get up to speed ahead of the action
Sky Sports Premier League round-up
It’s a new year and footballing maestro/all-round smooth operator Pep Guardiola has managed to ease his Manchester City side even further ahead in their ruthless surge towards the title. The Premier League title race may look to be over, but fear not, because the battle for the top four still has a very long way to go.
This weekend sees three of the country’s top scoring and most entertaining teams all feature on Sky Sports on Virgin TV, as pressure mounts in the race for UEFA Champions League qualification. Chelsea, Spurs and Liverpool face away trips to strugglers Brighton, Southampton and Swansea respectively – and it’s all to play for.
If any of these three slip up and fail to end the campaign in the top four, then this season will most certainly be seen as a failure. This weekend’s tasty trio of fixtures are sure to be tense, but before you sit down and watch the drama unfold, here are the big questions ready to be answered…
Will it be a jolly on the coast for champions Chelsea?
Brighton & Hove Albion v Chelsea, Saturday 20 January, 11.30am, Sky Sports Premier League/HD (CH 512/502) + Sky Sports Main Event/HD (CH 511/501)
In the summer, one of these clubs (hint: they’re owned by a Russian billionaire) spent more on one player – Alvaro Morata – than the other spent on all of their transfers combined. Almost double, in fact. And with the rest of Chelsea’s recruitment topping £170m, this is very much a David versus Goliath situation. But we all know how that ancient tale ended…
Antonio Conte’s men should be wary as they face a Brighton side that’s only lost once at home since their opening day defeat to Manchester City. The Seagulls are organised and hard to beat at the Amex Stadium, and it might just take a piece of magic from one of the visitors’ megastars to secure them all three points.
Can the Saints keep Kane at bay?
Southampton v Tottenham Hotspur, Sunday 21 January, 3.30pm, Sports Premier League/HD (CH 512/502) + 4pm, Sky Sports Main Event/HD (CH 511/501)
Here’s an interesting statistic for you. Did you know that Harry Kane scored more goals in 2017 than anyone else in Europe’s top leagues? Of course you did. It was everywhere. Furthermore, the indomitable Kane blasted his way to a record 39 Premier League goals in a calendar year. And now, it’s up to struggling Southampton to see if they can keep the Spurs man from getting on the scoresheet yet again.
Kane has netted five goals in his last four games against the Saints, including a hat-trick the last time these two teams met in December, so the hosts are going to have to do all they can to keep the fantastic forward from stealing the show again. Oh, and they’ll have to do it without giant centre-back Virgil Van Dijk, following his £75m move to Liverpool.
Will Liverpool’s “Fab Three” flatten Swansea?
Swansea City v Liverpool, Monday 22 January, 7pm, Sky Sports Premier League/HD (CH 512/502) + Sky Sports Main Event/HD (CH 511/501)
Swansea City played 11 games in the final two months of 2017, winning just once. Their slide down the table was more befitting of a lame duck than a graceful swan, leading to the sacking of manager Paul Clement. Former Sheffield Wednesday manager Carlos Carvalhal is now in charge, and despite winning his first game at the helm against Watford, the Portuguese manager will have a tough task getting his players to silence Liverpool’s majestic strike force.
Why? Because Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, and Sadio Mané are as cracking a trio of attackers as you’re likely to find in the Premier League. True, the Merseysiders are now without Philippe Coutinho after the Brazilian’s mega-money transfer to Barcelona, but that’s not a bad triumvirate to call upon if you’re in the business of scaring the life out of the opposition.
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