Following an interesting midweek of Premier League action, it’s back for our viewing pleasure again this weekend.
Tuesday and Wednesday provided us with largely predictable results, but it was still an entertaining couple of days in England’s top flight.
Liverpool enjoyed a superb 3-0 win at Middlesbrough, returning to second in the table at Arsenal‘s expense, with the Gunners beaten by Everton at Goodison Park.
Chelsea made it 10 wins in a row after a narrow triumph at Sunderland, Man City and Tottenham overcame Watford and Hull City, respectively, while Man United left it late to win at Crystal Palace.
The bottom three are currently Swansea City, Hull City and Sunderland, all of whom were defeated in midweek.
This weekend gives us another 10 festive fixtures to look forward to—and here is the best of the action not involving Liverpool.
Christmas Cracker at the Etihad?
This is the kind of game when Reds supporters can sit back and enjoy it, safe in the knowledge that at least one of their rivals will drop points.
Clashes between City and Arsenal are always hard to predict, and this contest really could go either way at the Etihad on Sunday afternoon.
Pep Guardiola’s side are not convincing at the moment, but are always capable of brilliance, while the Gunners could be mentally weak after their defeat at Everton.
There is every chance that this could be a goal-filled 90 minutes, which for the neutral is a mouthwatering prospect. Defeat for either will feel disastrous.
Chelsea Favourites for 11th Win on the Bounce
There is nothing more frustrating than seeing a rival go on an unstoppable run at the top, and Chelsea really do look ominous right now.
They kept yet another clean sheet at Sunderland in midweek, and there is always at least one attacking player who will produce a moment of class in a game.
Next up for Antonio Conte’s title favourites is a trip to Selhurst Park, against a Palace side who continue to look like relegation candidates.
It really is hard to see anything other than an 11th straight win for Chelsea—not a pleasing outcome for fans of Liverpool and the rest of those going for the title.
Pulis vs. the Portuguese Pulis
There are signs that Jose Mourinho is finally starting to find his feet at United, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s late winner at Palace was vital in terms of their top-four chances.
Key players such as Paul Pogba are now more influential, and there is a more resolute look to them in general. No non-United fan wants to see that.
Saturday evening will be a big test of their credentials, however, as they head to the Hawthorns to take on an in-form West Brom side.
The Baggies look a top-half team under Tony Pulis—they are currently seventh, just four points behind United—and we all know how difficult his sides can be to break down.
This feels like a game where the first goal is crucial—if West Brom get it, United could endure a frustrating evening.
South Coast Derby at Dean Court
Who else loves a random, slightly more low-key derby? They invariably deliver great entertainment and controversy, and hopefully Bournemouth‘s clash with Southampton is just that.
The two sides don’t exactly detest each other in the way Saints and Portsmouth do, but there is still likely to be an edge to proceedings at Dean Court, as the boos for Dejan Lovren proved at the start of December.
Bournemouth have looked strong at home this season, and their win over champions Leicester City on Tuesday was another positive result for Eddie Howe’s men.
Southampton, meanwhile, are proving to be hit-and-miss this season, and they will be disappointed that they could only draw 0-0 at 10-man Stoke City in midweek.
Claude Puel’s side won’t want to suffer defeat to a smaller local club, but if you had to bet on it, you might sway towards the Cherries.
Spurs to Continue Mini Revival?
Tottenham‘s iffy run of form came to a halt on Wednesday night, with their routine win at home to Hull steadying the ship somewhat.
The north Londoners need to return to their form of last season, however, if they are to finish in the top four in 2016/17.
Saturday’s visit of Burnley is another great opportunity to get three points, and with most of the top teams either playing each other or facing tricky opponents, things could look a lot brighter for them by next week.
Burnley have shown that they possess plenty of fight, though, and while their away form has been wretched—they are yet to win on their travels this season—don’t rule out a shock at White Hart Lane.
Let’s face it, Spurs are capable of anything.
Fixtures & UK TV Info
Crystal Palace vs. Chelsea – Saturday 12:30pm, Sky Sports 1
Middlesbrough vs. Swansea – Saturday 3pm
Stoke vs. Leicester – Saturday 3pm
Sunderland vs. Watford – Saturday 3pm
West Ham vs. Hull – Saturday 3pm
West Brom vs. Man United – Saturday 5:30pm, BT Sport 1
Bournemouth vs. Southampton – Sunday 1:30pm, Sky Sports 1
Man City vs. Arsenal – Sunday 4pm, Sky Sports 1
Tottenham vs. Burnley – Sunday 4pm
Everton vs. Liverpool – Monday 8pm, Sky Sports 1
All kickoff times GMT.