Another fascinating round of Premier League fixtures await us this weekend, as the festive schedule edges ever closer.
Liverpool dropped points away to Southampton last Saturday, but the 0-0 draw was far from disastrous against a strong Saints side.
There are 10 matches to look forward to over the next two days – here’s a look at some of the best action on offer.
London Derby The Standout Game
Chelsea look in ominous form at the moment, winning their last six league games without conceding a goal. Antonio Conte’s 3-5-2 formation is working wonders, and it is tough to pick out a genuine weakness in their team.
The two sides do battle at Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening, in a match that will show what both London outfits are made of – and mean at least one of Liverpool’s rivals drop points.
In truth, Chelsea have had a relatively kind run of fixtures, but if they overcome Spurs in convincing fashion, their title chances will only be enhanced.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side are dangerous, though – they are only four points off the top, despite not finding top gear – and they will want to avenge the 2-2 draw that ended their title dream last season.
A Spurs win would be nice, but looks unlikely.
Can Burnley Do Liverpool A Favour?
The Clarets had been enjoying an above-par start to the campaign until that point, and they must now avoid going on a wretched run of form.
Up next for them is the daunting visit of Man City, who have recovered from a wobble to sit joint-second in the table with Liverpool.
Toure’s aforementioned match-winning display came out of nowhere, and if the Ivorian can find his top level again, he will feel like a new signing.
They are not a team you want to go 1-0 down against, and should they strike early, it will be interested to see how City respond.
Crucial Game At The Liberty Stadium
It may not be the most mouthwatering game of the weekend, but in terms of importance, Swansea’s clash with Crystal Palace is right up there.
Alan Pardew is reported to be on the verge of losing his job at Selhurst Park, having endured a miserable 2016, and defeat to the Swans could be the final nail in his coffin.
Palace are five points clear of their bottom-placed opponents as things stand, but if they lose to Bob Bradley’s team, they will be dragged right into the relegation mix.
In many ways, Swansea look too good a side to go down, but defensively they are poor and Bradley is taking time to get used to the Premier League.
This is sure to be tense 90 minutes in South Wales.
Return To Winning Ways For Arsenal?
Arsenal are such a peculiar side. They don’t feel as though they are hitting top gear, yet they have only lost once since March, in all competitions.
The 1-1 draw away to United was a poor performance from the Gunners, and having drawn three of their last four in the league, victory is required at home to Bournemouth.
These are usually the games in which Arsenal come to the fore and display their ruthlessness, although their form at the Emirates has not always been convincing this season.
Eddie Howe is doing a superb job at Bournemouth, with the Cherries currently 10th, and he will feel his side can cause an upset. They will be without Jack Wilshere, however, who is ineligible to face his permanent club.
A failure to win would see a bit of pressure cranked up on Arsene Wenger again, but it would be a surprise if they didn’t register all three points.
United & Everton In Need Of Momentum
Both have suffered a string of disappointing results, and the respective reigns of Jose Mourinho and Ronald Koeman have not ignited to date.
United host West Ham on Sunday afternoon, and if they have genuine title aspirations, they cannot afford to lose much more ground on those at the top. The gap between themselves and Chelsea is already nine points.
Koeman’s team have won just once in their last seven attempts in the league, and more dropped points against Saints are a distinct possibility.
Fixtures & UK TV Info
Hull vs. West Brom – Saturday 3pm
Leicester vs. Middlesbrough – Saturday 3pm
Liverpool vs. Sunderland – Saturday 3pm
Swansea vs. Crystal Palace – Saturday 3pm
Watford vs. Stoke – Sunday 12pm, Sky Sports 1