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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Leicester & Arsenal in showdown, City vs. Spurs & United vs. Sunderland

Arsenal may never have a better chance to end their 12-year wait for a Premier League trophy but Leicester stand in their way and remain the story of the season.

The pair clash on Sunday when the top four are all in action against one another. Manchester City, fighting Arsenal and Leicester in the title race, face a Tottenham side who have emerged as surprise contenders as well.

Manchester United, meanwhile, seek to get closer to those above them in the hunt for the top four and the Champions League spots. Louis van Gaal's men kick the weekend's action off with a trip to relegation-threatened Sunderland.

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

ARSENAL: If Arsenal are to shake off the reputation of finding it difficult to get going when the going gets tough, this is a game they have to win. With Alexis Sanchez back, Mesut Ozil pulling the strings and plenty of experience in the side, the Gunners will respond and take three points.
Prediction: Arsenal 3-1 Leicester -- Andrew Mangan

LEICESTER: Claudio Ranieri's men are fully capable of completing an unlikely hat trick of improbable Premier League wins against Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal. The Gunners thrashed the Foxes 5-2 in the corresponding fixture back in September, but Ranieri's confident City are defending far better and can take at least a point from the game
Prediction: Arsenal 2-2 Leicester -- Ben Jacobs

Who will win?

MAN CITY: This is an absolute crunch fixture for City against a side that have won their past four league matches. It could not be tougher for Manuel Pellegrini's embattled, injury-plagued men. As usual when the chips are down, and they are certainly down now, we must expect the unexpected.
Prediction: Manchester City 3-2 Tottemham -- Simon Curtis

TOTTENHAM: City are the Premier League's Jekyll & Hyde. On their day they are world beaters; on an off-day they are also-rans. Spurs haven't had a great track record at the Etihad in recent years, but it's a grittier, stronger and more confident side this time. Spurs to edge it.
Prediction: Manchester City 1-2 Tottenham -- John Crace

Who will win?

SUNDERLAND: The home side must raise their game to overcome even an unconvincing Manchester United at the Stadium of Light. Manager Sam Allardyce's task is to make his players, from the ever-dangerous Jermain Defoe to new boys Jan Kirchhoff and Wahbi Khazri, believe an upset is possible.
Prediction: Sunderland 2-1 Manchester United -- Colin Randall

MAN UNITED: Sunderland last won in the Premier League a month ago, but their past three games -- two losses and a draw -- have been closer than their relegation place suggests. United, with a revived Wayne Rooney and improved attacking form in their past three, should narrowly prevail.
Prediction: Sunderland 1-2 Manchester United -- Musa Okwonga

Who will win?

ASTON VILLA: The visitors have a great recent record in this fixture, having won the past four Premier League encounters here. Villa's 2-0 victory against Norwich just about keeps slim survival hopes alive but Remi Garde's team need to follow that with further wins to stand any chance of staying up.
Prediction: Aston Villa 1-2 Liverpool -- Kevin Hughes

LIVERPOOL: The Reds go to Villa Park with more firepower than they've had available all season, as Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi and Philippe Coutinho all came through the midweek loss at West Ham and will help lighten the load on in-form Roberto Firmino, who has five goals in his past five Premier League starts.
Prediction: Aston Villa 0-2 Liverpool -- Dave Usher

Who will win?

CHELSEA: Newcastle would happily settle for a draw which is all Chelsea under Guus Hiddink seem capable of at Stamford Bridge. Supporters harbouring hopes that Hiddink will rest key players for the forthcoming Champions League game with PSG and give the youth a chance to play with purpose will probably end up disappointed.
Prediction: Chelsea 1-1 Newcastle -- Mark Worrall

NEWCASTLE UNITED: The visitors head to Stamford Bridge on the back of what has become a rare winning feeling. Chelsea have been up-and-down this season but much depends on the performance of Georginio Wijnaldum, who can't seem to tick away from home.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-1 Newcastle -- Lee Ryder

Who will win?

EVERTON: Three clean sheet wins in a week has reinvigorated Everton as they prepare for the visit of West Brom on Saturday. But the home side must be wary against a defensive visiting team primed to crash the Goodison party like so many others through this season and last.
Prediction: Everton 1-0 West Brom -- Luke O'Farrell

WEST BROM: The Baggies have just one league win in 2016 and their squad has been decimated by injuries to several key players. Ben Foster will need to keep up his good form if Tony Pulis' side are to get anything from the game at Goodison Park.
Prediction: Everton 1-0 West Brom -- Matthew Evans

Who will win?

CRYSTAL PALACE: After stemming the run of five straight defeats with a draw at Swansea last weekend, Palace will be hoping for their first win of 2016, against a stuttering Watford side. Connor Wickham is back and most fans are hoping Alan Pardew will play him with Emmanuel Adebayor up front in a more adventurous 4-4-2.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-0 Watford -- Jim Daly.

WATFORD: The Hornets were understandably defensive against Tottenham last weekend and although they avoided a thrashing, they never looked like getting a positive result. With Palace in woeful form they must try to be a little braver at Selhurst Park, but goals remain a big problem for both teams and it's unlikely to be a thriller.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-1 Watford -- Michael Moruzzi

Who will win?

BOURNEMOUTH: Eddie Howe's men need more bite up front against Stoke City after struggling to hit the target in their last game, when Arsenal eased home 2-0 on the South Coast. With relegation rivals picking up points, a win is vital. Matt Ritchie and Benik Afobe will want to produce better performances.
Prediction: Bournemouth 2-1 Stoke -- Steve Menary

STOKE: Fans will be hoping that a trip to the seaside will revive Stoke's ailing fortunes. A long-awaited return for Ryan Shawcross is on the cards, but should he not make it, the rest of the team will need to dig deep to overcome a side enjoying an impressive debut in the top flight.
Prediction: Bournemouth 1-1 Stoke -- James Whittaker

Who will win?

NORWICH: The defeat at relegation rivals Aston Villa was the tipping point for many Norwich fans. Alex Neil needs a positive result after six straight losses to check the clamour for managerial change. City must cash in on any signs of FA Cup fatigue from the visitors.
Prediction: Norwich 2-1 West Ham -- Paddy Davitt

WEST HAM: Slaven Bilic's men had an exhilarating but tiring extra time win against Liverpool in the FA Cup and Norwich should view this as a must-win. Expect Neil's men to heap the pressure on and look to exploit weary legs.
Prediction: Norwich 1-1 West Ham -- Peter Thorne

Who will win?

SWANSEA: Francesco Guidolin's Swans are still a work in progress. The side look far better overall, but still have trouble turning leads into wins. In-form Southampton are not going to make Guidolin's task any easier this Saturday, but with Swansea playing better defensively of late, another stalemate wouldn't be a surprise.
Prediction: Swansea 1-1 Southampton -- Max Hicks

SOUTHAMPTON: After taking 13 points from their past five matches, Southampton are right back in the shake-up for a European place, thanks to a new-found defensive solidity. You have to go back to their FA Cup third-round defeat at home to Crystal Palace for the last time they conceded a goal.
Prediction: Swansea 0-2 Southampton -- Alex Crook

Who will win?


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