The 2021 Premier League action is drawing to a close as the final round of fixtures this calendar year is set to take place this midweek.
Likewise, Aston Villa’s trip to Elland Road to face Leeds United will have to wait as the Whites are experiencing a COVID-19 induced havoc of their own.
Barring those two fixtures, the other four Premier League matches are expected to go ahead on Tuesday.
Crystal Palace vs Norwich City
Patrick Vieira’s absence from the dugout due to a positive COVID-19 test saw Crystal Palace suffer a dismal 3-0 defeat at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur on Boxing Day.
Taking the field winless in their last two Premier League matches (D1, L1), the Eagles will be desperate to escape from the bottom half of the Premier League table at the expense of rock-bottom Norwich City.
After going unbeaten in Dean Smith’s opening two league matches in charge (D1, L1), the Canaries have re-established their old habits, losing their last four top-flight games without scoring.
Keen to disregard their reputation as the ‘yo-yo’ club, the visitors will be seeking only their second Premier League victory in London at the 28th attempt (D6, L20).
Southampton vs Tottenham Hotspur
Southampton defied the odds on Boxing Day to eke out a 3-2 victory at West Ham United despite being pegged back twice at the London Stadium.
Fresh from halting a run of six Premier League fixtures without a win (D3, L3), the Saints face a rare opportunity of stringing together a pair of top-flight triumphs.
Standing between them and back-to-back league wins for the second time this season will be a high-flying Tottenham side that have undergone a renaissance under new boss Antonio Conte.
Since replacing Nuno Espirito Santo at the helm in November, the Italian manager hasn’t lost a single Premier League game (W4, D2), including Sunday’s 3-0 thrashing of Palace.
Inspired by their electrifying manager, Tottenham will be hot favourites to prove Southampton’s sparkling display at West Ham was nothing more than a fluke.
Watford vs West Ham United
Returning to Premier League action following a three-game hiatus, Watford go up against an out-of-form West Ham United.
Before a COVID-19 outbreak in the Vicarage Road camp halted the Hornets’ domestic engagements, Claudio Ranieri’s men were amid an underwhelming four-game losing streak in the Premier League.
Given West Ham’s ongoing three-match winning run in England’s top-flight (D1, L2), Watford will feel confident of launching a much-needed upturn in form to fashion escape from a terrifying 17th place.
Since ‘hammering’ Aston Villa 4-1 in late October, the Hammers have failed to win any of their four Premier League away matches (D1, L3), drawing a blank in the last two in a row.
They will see the encounter at Vicarage Road as the ideal opportunity to get their stuttering domestic campaign back on track.
Leicester City vs Liverpool
Injury-plagued Leicester City nearly stunned everyone on Boxing Day when they performed a storming comeback to make it 4-3 at Manchester City midway through the second half following a 4-0 half time deficit.
However, two late goals from Pep Guardiola’s team eventually sealed the Cityzens’ overwhelming 6-3 win at the Etihad Stadium, leaving the Foxes in a mid-table muddle.
Now 10th in the Premier League, Brendan Rodgers’ men will pursue vengeance against Liverpool following a heartbreaking Carabao Cup elimination last week.
Jurgen Klopp’s understrength side hit back from a 3-1 down to force their Carabao Cup quarter-final tie to a penalty shoot-out where they sent Leicester packing.
Despite losing their most recent Premier League H2H 3-1 at this venue in February, the Reds will enter their final league match of 2021 as warm favourites.
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