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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Liverpool face tricky Leicester test, Arsenal vs. Saints and Stoke at United

Liverpool face a tricky trip to Leicester on Tuesday, while Southampton travel to Arsenal and Manchester United host Stoke on a busy round of Premier League matches.

ESPN FC's club bloggers preview their match and give a prediction. Do you agree or disagree? Have your say below by voting in the match poll.

ARSENAL: Having taken just two points from the last nine, it's imperative that Arsenal get back to winning ways against Southampton on Tuesday night. The return of Alexis Sanchez will certainly provide a boost and with Francis Coquelin fit, Arsene Wenger has options again for key areas of the team.
Prediction: Arsenal 2-0 Southampton -- Andrew Mangan

SOUTHAMPTON: Confidence at Southampton is sky high after a run of three successive Premier League victories without conceding. Ronald Koeman's side thrashed the champions elect 4-0 at St Mary's as recently as Dec. 26 and Charlie Austin is set to make his full league debut after scoring the winner at Manchester United.
Prediction: Arsenal 1-2 Southampton -- Alex Crook

LEICESTER: Leicester start a tricky trio of games that will define whether they can genuinely claim the title. The Foxes will look to avenge their 1-0 loss at Anfield in December against a hit and miss side they will fancy beating at home.
Prediction: Leicester 2-0 Liverpool -- Ben Jacobs

LIVERPOOL: Ten days' rest should do Leicester the power of good while the Reds' two-hour battle with Stoke and an FA Cup tie with West Ham only adds to their difficulties. Yet Liverpool have been saving their best performances for the greater challenges. That and the home side's nerves might give the visitors the edge.
Prediction: Leicester 2-3 Liverpool -- Steven Kelly

NORWICH: Norwich City collapsed in dramatic fashion to lose 5-4 at home to Liverpool at Carrow Road last time out in the Premier League. Expect plenty of personnel changes from manager Alex Neil, but Tottenham are an emerging force who have the class to expose any fresh vulnerability.
Prediction: Norwich 1-2 Tottenham -- Paddy Davitt

TOTTENHAM: Even with Jan Vertonghen out for at least two months, Mauricio Pochettino will still believe he has enough in Kevin Wimmer to hold off the threat of Norwich's new signing Steven Naismith. Nacer Chadli's return to form has also given Spurs a greater threat going forward.
Prediction: Norwich 1-3 Tottenham -- John Crace

SUNDERLAND: Gone are the days when Sunderland relished a visit by Manchester City, with four successive 1-0 wins prior to 2013. Kevin De Bruyne tormented Sam Allardyce's side in City's 4-1 canter at the Etihad on Dec. 26. Few Sunderland fans expect much better at the Stadium of Light.
Prediction: Sunderland 1-3 Manchester City -- Colin Randall

MAN CITY: Fresh from securing a League Cup final berth, City should be flying at the Stadium of Light with Sergio Aguero back on the goal trail. Sam Allardyce has yet to make an appreciable difference and Sunderland will be mindful of an earlier 4-1 drubbing by City in the League Cup and Premier League.
Prediction: Sunderland 1-3 Manchester City -- Simon Curtis

WEST HAM: Even the staunchest Aston Villa supporter seems to have given up hope of avoiding the Championship. Remi Garde's men look short of quality and West Ham -- always finding extra under the Upton Park floodlights -- will be looking for a convincing win.
Prediction:  West Ham 3-1 Aston Villa -- Peter Thorne

ASTON VILLA: Remi Garde's men have put a modest unbeaten league run together, beating Palace and drawing with Leicester and West Brom. It's a steady but unspectacular improvement and a trip to face a top six West Ham side will be a stern test, particularly with Dimitri Payet fit again and pulling the strings in the Hammers' midfield
Prediction: West Ham 2-1 Aston Villa-- Kevin Hughes

CRYSTAL PALACE: Palace's run of six league games without a win has heaped untold pressure on what should be a routine home win over Bournemouth. Hopefully new striker Emmanuel Adebayor can help the Eagles find some much needed goals and points.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 2-0 Bournemouth -- Jim Daly

BOURNEMOUTH: A much-changed Bournemouth team will take on Crystal Palace in the Premier League. Eddie Howe gave squad players a run-out at Portsmouth in the FA Cup on Saturday, but the league is his priority. New signing Benik Afobe has scored in successive games and is the visitors' main threat.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-1 Bournemouth -- Steve Menary

MAN UNITED: Defeat at Stoke on Dec. 26 was one of the lowest points of what has been a ghastly season and quite how Louis van Gaal remained manager after that is a mystery. Defeat again would push him closer to the exit door but executive vice chairman Ed Woodward's dithering might save him ... again.
Prediction: Manchester United 1-2 Stoke -- Alex Shaw

STOKE: Stoke will be looking to heap more misery on beleaguered Manchester United boss Van Gaal by completing an unprecedented double over his side. The game should see Bojan Krkic, Marko Arnautovic and Xherdan Shaqiri reunited in attack, giving the Potters the best chance possible of all three points.
Prediction: Manchester United 0-2 Stoke -- James Whittaker

WEST BROM: After two consecutive poor performances, West Brom will want to get their season back on track and pull clear of the relegation zone with a win against Swansea. Stephane Sessegnon's creativity will be vital as West Brom look to rediscover their attacking prowess.
Prediction: West Brom 1-1 Swansea -- Matthew Evans

SWANSEA: Swansea are coming off back-to-back league victories for the first time all season, though they were lucky to beat Everton last time out. West Brom don't have Everton's firepower and played an FA Cup game two days before this match. Swansea also won the reverse fixture.
Prediction: West Brom 0-2 Swansea -- Max Hicks

EVERTON: Seven days on from a crushing League Cup exit against Manchester City, pressure mounts on Roberto Martinez. There has been no progression from last season -- if anything, Everton are going backwards -- and neither team nor manager are learning from mistakes. The Blues look incapable of winning league games at present.
Prediction: Everton 1-1 Newcastle -- Luke O'Farrell

NEWCASTLE UNITED: Steve McClaren's men will go into this game with three new players in Henri Saivet, Jonjo Shelvey and Andros Townsend ready to make an impact. Failure to win will leave the Magpies in the relegation zone so wins and not performances are now vital.
Prediction: Everton 1-1 Newcastle -- Lee Ryder

WATFORD: The addition of Mario Suarez is an interesting option. A player of some pedigree, he should add genuine quality to the midfield. Quique Sanchez Flores will be encouraged by his team's return to form in their previous game against Newcastle, but they will need to raise their game again here. Don't expect lots of goals.
Prediction: Watford 0-1 Chelsea -- Michael Moruzzi

CHELSEA: The win and performance at Arsenal has provided significant encouragement that Chelsea might be finally getting their act together. It might also be a good time to play Watford as one of the surprise packages of the season have lost four of their last five league games. That said, Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney have been electric all campaign and will pose problems.
Prediction: Watford 1-2 Chelsea -- Phil Lythell


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