Surman v Bojan
Mark Hughes has worked hard to transform Stoke City's image, but statistics suggest that his preferred tactical model is not well suited to his creative players. Bournemouth will expect to dominate possession on Saturday with their short-passing, aesthetically pleasing style of football; though Hughes may not approve of his side being forced to play on the counter, this is the only way they can end their five match losing streak.
Stoke have earned just seven points from games in which they have held the majority of possession this season, and 26 points from games in which they finished with less than 50%. This is a remarkably lopsided statistic, and one that has become exaggerated in recent weeks (as lowering morale leads to greater carelessness and fear when in possession); Stoke dominated the ball in their last three games (against Everton, Man Utd, and Leicester) but lost by an aggregate of 7-0.
Bournemouth are similarly more vulnerable when holding the ball, but for different reasons. Eddie Howe's team play in a highly fluid formation, swirling around the pitch to create a tiki-taka style. This often leads to huge open spaces between the lines of defence and midfield, and an absence of the tight defensive shell needed to prevent good central-focused counter-attacking teams from flourishing; West Ham (through Dimitri Payet), Arsenal (through Mesut Ozil), Everton (through Ross Barkley) and Man City (through Raheem Sterling) have all scored freely in games against Bournemouth this season. On each occasion, the central attacking midfielder has scored or assisted at least twice.
Drew Surman sits in between defence and midfield, and thus sweeping up in the large spaces is his responsibility. He will most likely struggle when Stoke break forward via Bojan, with Xherdan Shaqiri and Marco Arnautovic drifting inside to overload this area.
Back Stoke to win at 13/5
Man City high full-backs v Spurs long balls
Sunday, 16:15, Live on Sky Sports 1
Tottenham have added variation to their game this season via long, diagonal passes into the channels - aimed at speeding up transitions and getting the front four on the ball as quickly as possible. This tactic should prove fruitful against Man City's chaotic defence and high full-backs - and in a similar way to Leicester's dominant win last weekend.
Spurs make 31.8 successful long passes per game (sixth most in the division), and the majority of these are lateral. Against Watford, they attempted 78 long balls, and most (40) came from the four defenders. Harry Kane frequently makes runs into the left channel to collect these passes, whilst Kieran Trippier and Ben Davies play virtually as wingers to help stretch the pitch.
It is easy to see this being successful against Man City's Pablo Zabaleta and Aleksandar Kolarov. Leicester City were able to get in behind both of these players far too easily last weekend; given that Manuel Pellegrini failed to adapt his tactics despite Leicester's strengths being well known, we can expect him to be similarly ignorant against Spurs this time.
Christian Eriksen will lurk out on the left touchline to dominate space behind Zabaleta, and the sweeping long passes of Toby Alderweireld (13 attempted per game, more than any other Premier League outfield player) should release Kane in all sorts of space.
Back Spurs to win at 5/2
Ozil/Sanchez v Kante
Sunday, 12:00, Live on Sky Sports 1
It is easy to predict the tactical pattern of this game. Leicester City - masters of defending deep and springing forward on the counter - face the league's most possession-dominant team (55.4%). Arsenal won the reverse fixture 5-2 with an Alexis Sanchez hat-trick, but much has changed since that day in September - not least the performances of N'Golo Kante, arguably the most important player on the pitch this Sunday.
Arsenal attack relentlessly down the left (39% of attacks - only Man United use this area more frequently), largely because this is where Alexis Sanchez operates and Mesut Ozil, a left footer, naturally drifts. Leicester City are superb at denying space in the final third (their 4-4-2 formation is only around thirty yards in total length, ensuring that nobody is given time in possession), and thus Arsenal will struggle to score during periods of sustained pressure.
However, they will be most dangerous from counter-counters (winning the ball back after a failed Leicester counters). In this instance Kante, playing from right-centre midfield, will need to cut off the passing lines and intercept the ball before it reaches Sanchez or Ozil in that left channel.
Kante's ability to stamp out the counter-counter is probably the most important - and most impressive - aspect of his game. It allows his fellow players to jog back into rigid shell formation, and thus keep games tight despite bursting forward in high numbers when the opportunity arises. Kante averages 4.2 tackles and 4.1 interceptions per match, amassing 12 of these actions against Man City last weekend. A similar performance will be needed on Sunday.
Back over 2.5 goals at 4/5
Zaha v Ake
Between them, Watford and Crystal Palace have earned just five points from their last ten matches; both are in desperate need of a win on Saturday to prevent an unexpected relegation battle from developing. Both are struggling for goals of late, and thus the key battle here will between Palace's one bright spark - Wilfried Zaha - and Nathan Ake.
Zaha has remained in excellent form despite the performances of his team-mates; he has amassed 19 dribbles in his last four games (4.75 per game), a significant increase from his season average of 3.4. His end product is still in need of work, but when he is in such agile form, and given space in the final third, he remains dangerous (nine key passes across the last four matches).
Ake has been superb this season for Watford, making more tackles (3.3 per match) and more interceptions (3.4 per match) than any other Watford player. He is strong and quick for a full-back, and is especially adept at recovery tackles made during opponents' counter-attacks; given Alan Pardew's focus on this style of play (Palace hurtle down the flanks after absorbing pressure), Ake will need to be at the top of his game to keep Zaha quiet.
Back under 1.5 goals at 7/4