Welcome to week 14 of the Barclays Premier League season. Last week I got back to my old habit of going 2 and 2 with my picks. I was right in picking Liverpool over Manchester City as well as Chelsea over Norwich City. I was wrong to pick Watford to beat Manchester United as United pulled off a victory in extra time. I also was wrong to pick Arsenal to beat West Brom as West Brom pulled off the biggest upset of the weekend. There was some midweek Champions League and Europa League action, so let’s take a look at which big teams may have been affected by those games…
Manchester City vs Southampton
Details: Saturday 7:00 am EST / 4:00 am PST at the Etihad Stadium
TV: NBC Sports Network
Odds: bovada.com has Man City favored at -180 while a Southampton win is at +450. The draw is +330
Significance: Man City can temporarily jump from third to first with a win. Southampton can temporarily jump from 8th to 6th with a win.
Injury updates: City are missing Hart, Mangala, Kompany, Zabaleta, and Nasri. But their attack will be boosted with Silva and Bony back. Southampton will miss top scorer Pelle.
Player(s) to Watch: Aguero returned to action last week and what a goal he scored. Keep an eye on him again. Sadio Mane is one to watch for Southampton.
Mancini’s Take: City lost 1-0 in Italy on Wednesday against Juventus. Their defensive line is decimated. I will go with a 1-1 draw here.
Leicester City vs Manchester United
Details: Saturday 12:30 pm EST / 9:30 am PST at the King Power Stadium
Odds: bovada.com has Man U to win at +130 while Leicester to win is at +215. The draw is +230.
Significance: Leicester and Man U are in first and second place respectively. No one would have guessed Leicester to be top of the table at this point, so they will want to keep that up. Man U will of course want to dethrone them.
Injury updates: Man U are missing Jones, Herrera, Carrick, Shaw, and Valencia. No big misses for Leicester.
Player(s) to Watch: Vardy has scored in 10 consecutive games for Leicester, watch for him to keep that streak going. Man U need more goals and they will rely on Martial and Rooney.
Mancini’s Take: Man U tied PSV 0-0 on Wednesday in Champions League. They are missing Herrera and Carrick which leaves two huge holes in the midfield. I say Leicester win 2-0.
Tottenham vs Chelsea
Details: Sunday 7:00 am EST / 4:00 am PST at White Hart Lane
TV: USA Network
Odds: bovada.com has Tottenham to win at +145 while Chelsea to win is at +185. The draw is at +235
Significance: Tottenham are in 5th so a win will help them break into the top four. Chelsea will try to go for two league wins in a row to get closer to the top half of the table.
Injury updates: Tottenham will miss Alli, Lamela, Bentaleb, and Chadli while they welcome back Walker, Dembele, and Rose. Chelsea will possibly be without John Terry while Falcao and Courtois are out. They should have Fabregas fit.
Player(s) to Watch: Tottenham’s Harry Kane loves scoring on London rivals. Diego Costa scored last week, can he do it again?
Mancini’s Take: Chelsea played a champions league game in Israel on Tuesday while Tottenham played a europa league game Thursday in Azerbaijan. I don’t think Tottenham will be as ready so I’ll pick Chelsea to win 2-1.
Liverpool vs Swansea City
Details: Sunday 11:15 am EST / 8:15 am PST at Anfield
TV: NBC Sports Network
Odds: bovada.com has Liverpool favored at -220 while Swansea to win is at +600. The draw is at +350.
Significance: Liverpool are showing real promise under Klopp and try to win to help reach their top four goal. Swansea have been poor this season and will want to win for their manager whose job is on the line.
Injury updates: Coutinho will be a gametime decision for Liverpool. They have Lucas Leiva suspended and Sturridge (the man made of glass) picked up a new injury in training this week. Swansea will be missing Shelvey due to suspension.
Player(s) to Watch: Firmino had his best game against City last week, let’s see if he can replicate that performance. Ayew has probably been Swansea’s best player this season.
Mancini’s Take: Liverpool may be fatigued from Europa League on Thursday and Lucas will be a big miss for them. I say this ends in a 1-1 draw.
Norwich City vs Arsenal
Details: Sunday 11:15 EST / 8:15 PST at Carrow Road
TV: NBC Sports Live Extra
Odds: bovada.com has Arsenal favored at -165 and Norwich to win at +400. The draw is at +315.
Significance: Norwich are just outside the bottom three spots, they will be playing to avoid relegation danger. Arsenal have recently dropped from first to fourth place, so they’ll be trying to get back to the top.
Injury updates: Sanchez has a tight hamstring for Arsenal but he’s expected to play. Arsenal have Ramsey and Ox back. They’re missing Wilshere, Arteta, Coquelin, Walcott, Welbeck and Rosicky. Norwich are missing Tettey, and Jarvis.
Player(s) to Watch: Ozil is the man to watch for Arsenal and Hoolahan for Norwich.
Mancini’s Take: Arsenal win 2-0
Last week: 2-2