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Liverpool v Arsenal and 2 more mid-week talking points

| 11.01.2016

The Premier League returns on Tuesday after the weekend of FA Cup action and there is lots to look forward to as teams prepare for mid-week encounters.

The results of these matches will resonate at both the top and the bottom of the table, as with more than half the season already played games are beginning to have increased importance.

Here are three big talking points for the next set of fixtures:

Liverpool v Arsenal

The most eye-grabbing encounter of the week comes on Wednesday, with the table-topping Gunners heading to Anfield looking to widen their two point lead atop the Premier League.

When they played at the Emirates, Petr Cech and Simon Mignolet stole the show in an end-to-end goalless draw and a repeat of that scoreline is priced at 10/1.

However, that result came in the third gameweek, with an unbeaten Liverpool being managed by Brendan Rodgers looking strong. A lot has changed since then.

The Reds have been inconsistent all season, failing to put together a run of more than two consecutive wins, and are without 11 players through injury.

Conversely, the Gunners have won eight of their last ten across all competitions and backing them to win at 7/5 would be a wise investment.

Players v fans at Villa Park

Being bottom of the league is bad enough, but occupying that position while playing dire football and having your supporters and footballers hurling expletives at each other makes for a severely miserable Aston Villa.

Brad Guzan and Joleon Lescott are reported to have dismissed fans annoyed at them with some succinct swearing and there is now a clear divide at Villa Park between those on the pitch and those in the stands.

Crystal Palace are the opponents as the Midlanders return home following the draw at Wycombe and a win for the Eagles at 7/5 is a safe bet against a team who have lost 14 of their 20 Premier League matches.

The battle at the bottom

Villa look destined for the drop, but the two teams who will join them in heading for the Championship is still debatable.

Two contenders to fill those unwanted spots are Swansea City and Sunderland, with those two meeting on Wednesday.

The Mackems are four points behind their 17th-placed opponents and a victory would be a huge boost for Sam Allardyce’s hopes of survival.

However, the last three meetings between these two have ended level and another stalemate looks a likely option at 5/2.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Dan Ross

After a brief stint as a commentator, Dan took his passion for football into writing and went on to gain an NCTJ in sports journalism. A lifelong Walsall fan, he's followed the Saddlers through the highs, getting to Wembley for the first time ever last season, and the lows, namely relegation to League Two in 2006.