Frank Lampard would be "a fool" to say Chelsea can catch Liverpool and Manchester City quickly, but he is confident with new signings they can challenge in the Premier League again.

Due to Chelsea being under a transfer embargo when Lampard took over ahead of the 2019-20 season, the former England international has relied heavily on academy products during his first campaign in the dugout.

The head coach was eager to bolster his squad in the January transfer window but no new signings arrived at Stamford Bridge.

Despite the initial constraints Lampard operated under, his team sat fourth in the Premier League when the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, league leaders Liverpool have 34 more points than Chelsea and City are nine clear of them.

Lampard is staying patient about guiding Chelsea to the level of the top two but is confident they will get there.

"I think I'm always the first to criticise myself, look at what we could have done better. You can always lean on certain games, certain results, I think you kind of have to get beyond that. It's more thinking I'm pretty happy with being in fourth position," Lampard told Sky Sports.

"It was always going to be a competitive, difficult year for us to be in and around that top four and we're there at the moment. It's more about how can we progress from here?

"We know we have some youth, we know we've been searching at times for consistency. So really, I've been looking and saying, 'Yeah, I'm happy with where we're at but I want a lot more.'

"But I think a bit of reflection time has been pretty good, not just for myself but also the staff and how we want to work, and can we get a bit more out of us going forward?"

On whether this Chelsea group can be serious contenders for the Premier League title again, he said: "I don't want to jump the gun because what Liverpool and Manchester City have done in the last two or three seasons has been very clear.

"I think I'd be probably a bit of a fool to make that claim that we will bridge that gap very quickly, because there's been a lot of hard work at those two clubs of recruitment of top players, of great coaches, of players working and improving themselves.

"We have to be part of that process. Our way has to look different, we can't try and copy that, but we have to look at that. We have the good young players, we have had experienced players around them that have helped them this year, but we know there are little areas within the squad and some of that's us and what we have on the ground already and some of that's how we might look to recruit going forward.

"With this period now and what's going on in the world it's made it very difficult to plan too much on that front. We have to have different versions of plans going forward of how it looks. But going into this break I certainly felt like we were going in the right direction.

"With continued progress and work on the day to day and attitude of the club, of myself and the players, and with potentially bringing in some players in key areas that we think can help us to try to bridge that gap to Liverpool and City then, yeah, I've got a strong belief that we can."

Harry Kane's future continues to make headlines.

Since saying he would not stay at Tottenham "for the sake of it" in his pursuit of silverware, Kane has been linked to Manchester United and Real Madrid.

Now, Spurs have reportedly named their fee for the England international.

 

TOP STORY – TOTTENHAM SET KANE PRICE

Tottenham will allow star striker Harry Kane to leave for £200million, according to the Daily Mail.

Kane has been heavily linked to Premier League rivals Manchester United and LaLiga giants Real Madrid.

Spurs are reportedly keen on some extra funds amid the coronavirus pandemic.

ROUND-UP

Lautaro Martinez to Barcelona? Not necessarily. The Sun claims Manchester City are favourites to sign the Inter forward, despite the Argentina international being tipped to move to Camp Nou.

- Fabrizio Romano says Juventus will consider moving for Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic if they are unsuccessful in their pursuit of United star Paul Pogba. Brescia's Sandro Tonali and Gaetano Castrovilli of Fiorentina are also on the list.

Barca are desperate to strengthen their squad. Martinez is the priority up front for the LaLiga champions, but Mundo Deportivo says they want more. Barca are eyeing a midfielder, with Napoli star Fabian Ruiz and Tottenham's Tanguy Ndombele being considered. The Catalan giants are also looking for a central defender and have been linked to City centre-back Aymeric Laporte, Dayot Upamecano of Leipzig and Sevilla's Diego Carlos.

Inter are interested in Bayern Munich midfielder Corentin Tolisso, reports Calciomercato. The Frenchman is also being followed by United and Arsenal.

- Signing Mauro Icardi remains the main objective for Juve, according to Calciomercato. The Serie A champions are keen to sign a striker amid links to Inter's Icardi, who is on loan at Paris Saint-Germain. Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland, Timo Werner of RB Leipzig, City forward Gabriel Jesus, Arkadiusz Milik of Napoli, Lyon's Moussa Dembele and Kane are also on Juve's radar.

Bayern Munich could sign Leroy Sane for as little as €30million but head coach Hansi Flick would prefer Timo Werner, according to Michael Rummenigge.

Sane had appeared likely to join the Bundesliga champions last August until an anterior cruciate ligament injury left a transfer impractical.

The Germany winger was close to making a comeback for Manchester City until the season was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic, and it is believed Bayern will consider another move for him in the next transfer window.

They have also been heavily linked with RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner, who reportedly has a release clause in his contract worth in the region of €60m that will become active after 2019-20.

Rummenigge, who won three league titles and three domestic cups with Bayern between 1982 and 1988, thinks Werner is the preferred choice of Flick as he explores the idea of a system using two strikers.

However, he thinks Sane could be available for a reduced fee given he is close to the final 12 months of his contract and City could be keen to recoup some funds.

"Bayern have put their concrete transfer plans on hold and, during the coronavirus break, are concentrating primarily on contract extensions. This is completely understandable," he wrote in his column for Sportbuzzer.

"Nevertheless, they'll already be looking at the squad for the coming season. Two names in particular are mentioned again and again: Leroy Sane and Timo Werner.

"It all depends on the price, but I can't imagine Bayern getting both national-team players, especially since I heard Joshua Zirkzee will be promoted even more in future.

"Hansi Flick has already indicated he could play with two up front in his team in future. In short: Werner would be a really good buy, who would suit [Robert] Lewandowski and who could get even better alongside him.

"I wonder why top teams don't play with two strikers more often. In home games especially, it provides a lot more danger and more work for the opposition defenders. Werner would be a suitable candidate for this change in system.

"He'd have a fixed fee of between €50m and €60m. Bayern have these funds and I also believe Flick would prefer Werner's arrival to Sane's transfer. The cruciate ligament tear, which he suffered last August, leaves traces and slows down his development. It will probably take some time before Sane returns to his old level.

"Bayern would have bought him for €100m to €120m before the cruciate ligament rupture; a deal now could be significantly cheaper and maybe only cost €30m to €50m, because Sane's contract with Manchester City ends in 2021.

"If the Champions League ban for City persists, the club will also need money at some point in this coronavirus period to pay their salaries."

Could Lionel Messi swap Barcelona for Inter?

Messi has been linked to Inter since ex-president Massimo Moratti said the six-time Ballon d'Or winner joining the Serie A club was not a "forbidden dream".

The 32-year-old's future at Camp Nou has made headlines throughout the 2019-20 season.

 

TOP STORY – INTER WANT MESSI

Inter are seriously working on trying to sign Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi, according to TNT Sports.

Former Inter president Massimo Moratti said the Nerazzurri luring Messi – contracted until 2021 – to San Siro was not impossible and speculation has intensified since those comments.

TNT Sports says Inter are ready to push through negotiations for the six-time Ballon d'Or winner, while boyhood club Newell's Old Boys have also made an offer.

 

ROUND-UP

- AS Diario claims Manchester United and Juventus are both chasing Real Madrid outcast James Rodriguez. Napoli and Everton have also been linked to the Colombia international.

Philippe Coutinho is close to returning to the Premier League. Sport reports the former Liverpool star is nearing a loan switch to Chelsea from Barcelona. The Brazilian has spent the 2019-20 season on loan at Bayern Munich.

Milan are interested in signing in-demand Brescia star Sandro Tonali, according to Calciomercato. The Italian has been linked to the likes of Juve, Inter and United.

- Juve star Paulo Dybala is set to sign a new contract with the Serie A champions, says Calciomercato. Meanwhile, the same outlet reports that Juve are interested in Roma midfielder Bryan Cristante.

- Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane is chasing Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga, says AS Diario. The Frenchman wants to sign the 17-year-old if Madrid are unable to lure Paul Pogba from United.

- Mundo Deportivo reports Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham are among the clubs battling for Achraf Hakimi. The Moroccan full-back has spent the past two seasons on loan at Borussia Dortmund from Madrid. Juve, Bayern and Paris Saint-Germain are also reportedly interested.

Cristiano Ronaldo has been linked with a stunning return to Real Madrid, but it seems that is just about impossible.

The Juventus star only left the Santiago Bernabeu in 2018, yet recent reports linked him with a Madrid return.

However, it appears that is unlikely.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID RETURN FOR RONALDO RULED OUT

Real Madrid are not thinking about bringing Ronaldo back, according to both Marca and Sport.

It has been reported that Juve would consider selling Ronaldo for €60million, which is €40m less than what they paid in July 2018.

Ronaldo had scored 25 goals in 32 games this season before it was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

ROUND-UP

- Neymar continues to be linked with a return to Barcelona. Sport reports Paris Saint-Germain would be willing to accept payment in instalments from Barcelona, something that proved to be an issue last close season.

- Paul Pogba looks set to leave Manchester United for either Juventus or Real Madrid. AS reports the France midfielder will prioritise an offer from the LaLiga giants.

- On loan at PSG from Inter, Mauro Icardi's future is uncertain. Sport reports PSG have decided they will use their purchase option of €70m to land the forward permanently.

- It seems Barcelona know what they want for Philippe Coutinho. The LaLiga giants have set their price for the attacker, who is on loan at Bayern Munich, at €90m, according to Sport.

- David Silva will leave Manchester City at the end of the season and where he ends up remains to be seen. CalcioMercato reports AC Milan met the playmaker's agents over a possible move.

- It is shaping as a busy close season at Barcelona. Sport reports PSG left-back Layvin Kurzawa, out of contract at campaign's end, wants a move to Barcelona. Meanwhile, AS reports Barca are also eyeing Real Madrid's 19-year-old midfielder Cesar Gelabert.

Lothar Matthaus believes Bayern Munich should target Timo Werner rather than Leroy Sane to reduce "the risk of agitation and bling-bling".

Former Bayern and Germany captain Matthaus has also predicted Manuel Neuer will move on at the end of the season, ending a nine-year stay at the club.

Head coach Hansi Flick, who has agreed a three-year deal after a successful spell in interim control, is expected to stamp his mark on the Bayern squad this summer.

That is likely to see a new forward joining, and Matthaus would prefer to see RB Leipzig frontman Werner arrive rather than long-time target Sane.

"My soft spot for Timo Werner is well known," Matthaus wrote in a column for sport.sky.de.

"And I don't mean to say that I don't think Leroy Sane is great. But you get the feeling that Flick and [Bayern board member Oliver] Kahn are more likely to see Timo Werner as the player who could be better suited to this club in many respects.

"He is more flexible on the pitch, his character may correspond a little bit more to the wishes of those in charge."

The comments from Matthaus alluding to Sane's character may cause some upset.

"The risk of agitation and bling-bling is significantly lower," Matthaus said. "He [Werner] can play at the very front in [Robert] Lewandowski's place, hanging behind or play on the wings. And he should also be cheaper."

Matthaus said Werner has "clearly developed this season, while pointing to Sane's lack of action at Manchester City due to a knee injury.

"I don't want to be misunderstood," Matthaus added. "Both players would bring added value to Bayern. But if I had to choose today, I would go for Timo Werner if I was in Bayern's place."

Matthaus sees Neuer, meanwhile, as approaching the end of the road at Sabener Strasse.

Bayern have signed Schalke goalkeeper Alexander Nubel, in a deal that will take effect at the end of the season, yet 34-year-old Neuer is reportedly seeking a long-term contract.

Matthaus suggested Neuer, whose current deal expires next year, should accept a three-year contract rather than push for greater security, but he has a hunch the long-standing number one will move on.

"I think the signs point to goodbye," Matthaus said.

"He wants to play. He wants to play more and longer. This is totally understandable with his quality. I don't think he will play in Munich again next season."

The signs that Jack Nicklaus was destined for golfing immortality came early in his decorated career.

Fifty-seven years ago on April 7, the 18-time major winner recorded one of his most incredible achievements on the verdant greens of Augusta.

Sharp shooting of a different kind was taking place in Texas on this day last year.

Here we look back at some of the major events to have happened in the world of sport on April 7.

 

1963 - Jack Nicklaus becomes youngest Masters winner

Having won his first major in a playoff with Arnold Palmer less than a year into his professional career, Jack Nicklaus made history with the first of six victories at Augusta.

A six-under second round of 66 was crucial for Nicklaus, who trailed Mike Souchak by a stroke at the 36-hole mark.

Souchak endured a third-round collapse, though, Nicklaus benefitting from the halfway leader tumbling down the board by shooting a seven-over 79.

Nicklaus subsequently held on to his one-shot lead, a three-foot putt on the last earning him a green jacket at the age of 23.

2018 - United comeback denies City title-clinching win

The prospect of clinching the Premier League title against their bitter rivals lay before Manchester City on this day two years ago.

Despite taking a 2-0 lead at the Etihad Stadium, Pep Guardiola's men missed the chance to do so as they were undone by a remarkable Manchester United comeback.

Vincent Kompany and Ilkay Gundogan had seemingly put City in command but Paul Pogba levelled matters with two goals in the space of three second-half minutes.

Chris Smalling was the unlikely hero for United, completing a stunning turnaround by volleying home Alexis Sanchez's free-kick.

City still cruised to the title, finishing the season with 100 points, with Jose Mourinho's United 19 points back.

2019 - Rockets break their own record

The Houston Rockets have long been known for their reliance on the three-pointer, and they displayed incredible accuracy from beyond the arc in a dominant win over the Phoenix Suns.

Houston already owned the record for the most three-pointers in a game, and the Rockets broke it by nailing 27 in a 149-113 victory.

James Harden scored 30 points in just three quarters, converting on five three-point attempts.

Eric Gordon drilled home eight, with Austin Rivers hitting the record-breaking effort with one minute and nine seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.

Pep Guardiola's mother has died aged 82 after contracting coronavirus, Manchester City have confirmed.

Dolors Sala Carrio passed away in Barcelona on Monday, with the club releasing a statement on their official Twitter account.

It read: "The Manchester City family are devastated to report the death today of Pep's mother Dolors Sala Carrio in Manresa, Barcelona after contracting coronavirus. She was 82 years old.

"Everyone associated with the club sends their most heartfelt sympathy at this most distressing time to Pep, his family and all their friends."

Guardiola was reported to have returned home to Spain before the country was put on lockdown in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19.

He made a €1million donation to the Angel Soler Daniel Foundation last month, with a view to boosting investment in medical equipment in Catalonia.

Spain has been affected by COVID-19 more than any other European country, with over 135,000 confirmed cases as of Monday.

More than 13,000 people have lost their lives after contracting the virus, which emerged in China late last year.

Kyle Walker risks punishment from Manchester City following allegations about his private life that included a breach of the UK's coronavirus lockdown.

City said they were "disappointed" following Sunday newspaper claims that Walker hosted a party with a friend and two women at his home in Cheshire on Tuesday.

The club said Walker's behaviour "directly contravened" their efforts to support key public services during the pandemic, and said he would face a disciplinary investigation.

Walker's alleged breach of social distancing guidelines follows a separate episode involving Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish, who apologised after visiting a friend last weekend.

City said in a statement: "Manchester City FC are aware of a story in a tabloid newspaper regarding the private life of Kyle Walker in relation to a breach of the UK lockdown and social distancing rules.

"Footballers are global role models, and our staff and players have been working to support the incredible efforts of the NHS and other key workers in fighting the effects of the COVID-19 coronavirus, in any way we can. Kyle's actions in this matter have directly contravened these efforts.

"We are disappointed to hear the allegations, note Kyle’s swift statement and apology, and will be conducting an internal disciplinary procedure in the coming days."

Walker, 29, has made 21 Premier League appearances during the current campaign, his third season at City.

The England full-back won back-to-back titles during his first two seasons after joining the club from Tottenham.

He expressed regret for stepping out of line amid the allegations against him.

"I want to take this opportunity to issue a public apology for the choices I made last week," Walker told The Sun.

"I understand that my position as a professional footballer brings the responsibility of being a role model.

"As such, I want to apologise to my family, friends, football club, supporters and the public for letting them down."

Manchester City became the first Premier League club to confirm that their non-playing staff will not be furloughed due to the coronavirus pandemic after leaders Liverpool were heavily criticised for their handling of the crisis.

A number of Liverpool's non-playing staff were suspended on furlough, it was announced on Saturday, leaving them free to claim 80 per cent of their wages from the United Kingdom government while the club tops up any shortfall in their pay.

Tottenham, Newcastle United, Norwich City and Bournemouth took similar action by utilising the government's furlough scheme, prompting widespread criticism of wealthy clubs opting to put further strain on public funds.

Former Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy was among those to slam the quintet, describing their actions as "grotesque".

City took a divergent move on Sunday, with a club spokesperson saying in a statement: "We can confirm, following a decision by the chairman and board last week, that Manchester City will not be utilising the UK Government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (government funded furloughing).

"We remain determined to protect our people, their jobs and our business, whilst at the same time doing what we can to support our wider community at this most challenging time for everybody."

City are second in the Premier League table, 25 points behind Liverpool, and the league announced on Friday that play will not resume in early May as had been planned.

Premier League clubs met on Friday to discuss the prospects for completing the season, and the possibility of players taking a 30 per cent wage reduction was also discussed.

Atalanta can continue their impressive run in the Champions League and go all the way to the final, according to Zico.

The Serie A side have been a surprise package this season, recovering after losing their opening three group games to reach the knockout stages in their debut campaign in Europe's leading club competition.

They then saw off Valencia 8-4 on aggregate - winning both the home and away legs in the last-16 tie - to continue their progression before the Champions League was suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Their performances have certainly impressed Zico, with the Brazil legend putting Atalanta alongside Atletico Madrid - who knocked out last year's winners Liverpool to reach the last eight - and Manchester City as potential candidates for glory.

"A month ago, I'd have said Liverpool were the favourites to win the Champions League, but they dropped in form too quickly and were eliminated," Zico said in an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Now Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid are among the candidates. When you beat the reigning champions, it means you can go all the way with extra belief. I believe Manchester City and Pep Guardiola are the best.

"Among the Italians, I'd say Atalanta. They play fantastic football, have a very strong collective and I can see them reaching the final.

"Beating Atalanta is very difficult, Manchester City realised that."

Atalanta are on course to qualify for the Champions League again through their league exploits, too. They sit fourth in the Serie A table, three points clear of nearest rivals Roma with a game in hand.

However, it is unclear when action will resume. Italy has been one of the countries to suffer the most during the COVID-19 pandemic, with over 15,000 recorded deaths from the virus.

Neymar is reportedly preparing for a return to Barcelona as Paris Saint-Germain accept the star's exit is "inevitable".

The Brazil international arrived at PSG from Barca in 2017 but has regularly been linked with a move back to Camp Nou.

Speculation over Neymar's future continues and he seems to be nearing a Barcelona return.

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR PREPARES FOR BARCELONA RETURN AS PSG ACCEPT 'INEVITABLE' EXIT

Neymar is preparing for a Barcelona return and PSG are getting a strategy ready to sell the 28-year-old as it is 'inevitable' he will move on, according to Sport.

Neymar spent four seasons at Barca before a world-record €222million move to PSG.

The forward scored 18 goals in 22 games for PSG before this season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

ROUND-UP

- Jadon Sancho is linked with a Premier League move this close season. But The Sun reports the Borussia Dortmund star is ready to reject Manchester United if they fail to secure a spot in the Champions League. United were fifth in the Premier League when the season was suspended.

- Mauro Icardi's future remains uncertain. Corriere dello Sport reports Icardi will leave PSG, where he is on loan from Inter, at the end of the season and Juventus are once again interested.

- With Manchester United again seemingly interested in Matthijs de Ligt, a swap deal could be on the cards. The Sun reports United are ready to swap Paul Pogba – who has been linked with a return to Juventus – for defender De Ligt.

- It may not be the only swap deal involving a Manchester club and Juventus. The Sun says Juve are ready to offer Douglas Costa to Manchester City in a bid to land Gabriel Jesus.

- Ivan Rakitic appears likely to leave Barcelona. Marca reports Atletico Madrid want the midfielder, while Sport reports Barcelona are unaware of their rivals' interest in the Croatia international.

- Barcelona were reportedly prepared to use Junior Firpo in a deal to sign Inter star Lautaro Martinez, but the left-back could head elsewhere. Sport reports Napoli are the most recent club to contact Barca over Junior's availability.

Robert Lewandowski has made himself the "most complete striker in the world", according to former Borussia Dortmund team-mate Ilkay Gundogan.

The pair were together at Dortmund from 2011 until 2014, before Lewandowski hopped across Germany to join Bayern Munich.

Gundogan left BVB in 2016 for Manchester City, where he plays with Argentina striker Sergio Aguero and Brazil forward Gabriel Jesus.

But he has kept a close eye on Lewandowski's development and now sees the Poland international as being unparallelled in world football.

This season had seen 31-year-old Lewandowski score 25 goals in 23 Bundesliga appearances for Bayern, and 39 goals across all competitions, before the coronavirus pandemic hit Europe.

He was on his way back to fitness after a tibia fracture when the Bundesliga was put on hold.

"It was a huge joy to play with him. He improved again and again," Gundogan told DAZN.

"Technically he was always great, now he also has the coldness. The way he scored the goals is phenomenal.

"For me [he is] currently the best, most complete striker in the world."

Lewandowski recently revealed Sergio Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo tried to persuade him to sign for Real Madrid after a Champions League game three years ago.

As the world continues to battle against the coronavirus pandemic, football fans across the globe face another weekend scratching around for something to fill the void.

The domestic calendar in England has been halted in a bid to reduce social gatherings and the Premier League has confirmed its fixtures will not resume at the start of May.

While we cannot say for sure how this weekend's Premier League fixtures would have gone, our friends at Opta have come up with a system to predict the outcomes.

What chance would your team have had? Take a look below.

Predictor explainer:

The Opta Predictor estimates the probability of each match outcome (win, draw or loss) given each team's attacking and defensive quality. The team's attacking and defensive qualities are based on four years of historic results, with more weighting given to their most recent results. The model will take into account the quality of the opposition that a team scores or concedes against and reward them accordingly.

ASTON VILLA v WOLVES

Home win: 27 per cent
Draw: 28 per cent
Away win: 45 per cent

Struggling Aston Villa were rated as unlikely to get a key victory in their battle against relegation in their scheduled fixture at home to Wolves. A home win is the least likely of the three results, with Villa having lost five straight matches across all competitions. Top-four chasing Wolves have only won five of 14 top-flight away games this season, but are backed to pick up a sixth here.

BOURNEMOUTH v NEWCASTLE UNITED

Home win: 39 per cent
Draw: 29 per cent
Away win: 32 per cent

The predictor percentages for this match are all in a very close range across the three results, indicating how hard it would have been to call. Home advantage sees Bournemouth, who sit in the bottom three, rated as narrow favourites, as they were bidding to end a four-match winless run against a Newcastle side sitting five places and eight points above them.

ARSENAL v NORWICH CITY

Home win: 67 per cent
Draw: 21 per cent
Away win: 12 per cent

The predictor rated Arsenal versus Norwich City as the most one-sided match of the week, with the Gunners given a massive 67% chance of victory. No other team got over the 50% mark. Three straight wins boosted Mikel Arteta's men prior to the disruptions caused by COVID-19. Meanwhile, bottom-of-the-table Norwich only have one win in 15 away attempts in this season's Premier League.

BRIGHTON v MANCHESTER UNITED

Home win: 25 per cent win
Draw: 29 per cent
Away win: 46 per cent

Of the 10 away teams in action, Manchester United were rated as the second-most likely to earn victory in their contest at Brighton and Hove Albion. Prior to the halt in football, United had closed within three points of Chelsea in the race for fourth place, while struggling Brighton are still yet to win a match in 2020.

CRYSTAL PALACE v BURNLEY

Home win: 41 per cent
Draw: 30 per cent
Away win: 29 per cent

No game in this match week was rated as more likely to end in a draw than the mid-table battle between Crystal Palace and Burnley at Selhurst Park. Sitting 10th and 11th, Palace and Burnley are level on points and also have the same goal difference, with Sean Dyche's side only ahead in the table due to goals scored. It is Roy Hodgson's hosts who would have gone into the clash with a narrow advantage in win probability.

WATFORD v SOUTHAMPTON

Home win: 39 per cent
Draw: 29 per cent
Away win: 32 per cent

Another tight match would have seen Watford host Southampton as Nigel Pearson's side continue their battle against relegation. Playing at home and with a win over Liverpool in their last contest at Vicarage Road, they would have gone in as very slight favourites, but Saints sit seven points better off and this is another that goes down as too close to call. 

SHEFFIELD UNITED v TOTTENHAM

Home win: 32 per cent
Draw: 30 per cent
Away win: 38 per cent

A game between two teams chasing a European place, Sheffield United and Tottenham, was the one the predictor had significant trouble calling a winner for. At 30%, it is tied with the Palace v Burnley contest as the most likely draw of the weekend. Interestingly, Spurs – who have not won for six games - do go in with a better chance of victory despite the contest being held at Bramall Lane and Sheffield United, by contrast, being on a six-match unbeaten run.

WEST HAM v CHELSEA

Home win: 25 per cent
Draw: 27 per cent
Away win: 48 per cent

Of the 10 away teams, Chelsea are given the best chance of victory in their match on the road against West Ham. Frank Lampard's men thumped Everton 4-0 before the break in action and are given a 48% chance of following that up with a win over their London rivals West Ham, who are on a poor run of one win in 10 games.

MANCHESTER CITY v LIVERPOOL

Home win: 46 per cent
Draw: 27 per cent
Away win: 27 per cent

Unquestionably the biggest match of this week was due to be second-placed Manchester City's clash with runaway league leaders Liverpool. After an almost perfect season, Jurgen Klopp's men had finally started to show some vulnerability prior to the suspension of action. They had lost three of their last four games in all competitions and the predictor believes they were most likely to go down to another defeat here, although surely it would not have been enough to derail their title bid.

EVERTON v LEICESTER CITY

Home win: 36 per cent
Draw: 29 per cent
Away win: 35 per cent

The closest match of the week is the game that was going to be the Monday night contest between Everton and Leicester City. The predictor can hardly split the two teams, with Everton given a 36% chance of winning, compared to 35% for the Foxes. Of the teams who are favourites, Carlo Ancelotti's men have the lowest percentage. They would have come into the game having collected only one point from three games, but those were against Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea. Leicester are third but without a win in three top-flight away fixtures.

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