It’s Derby Day this weekend as the top 2 go head to head at Old Trafford and Liverpool look to take their impressive goalscoring form into the Merseyside Derby at Anfield.
When Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side make the short journey to Old Trafford this on Sunday they won’t just be playing for Manchester bragging rights, they will be effectively playing for the league title.
A victory will see City move 11 points clear of Utd before Christmas, at the same time extending their league win streak to 14 games, breaking the Premier League record currently held by Arsenal and Chelsea. This would also mean they had only dropped 2 points after 16 games so it seems unlikely that they will drop 11 more points that Utd in their remaining 23. City can afford to draw this game, but Pep Guardiola is not the type of manager to enter a game looking for anything other than a win.
The loss of Paul Pogba during last week’s game at Arsenal was huge for Mourinho and his side and although a win would be huge for The Reds, they simply cannot afford to lose this game. Unfortunately for the neutral we could see another pragmatic performance from this Manchester Utd side.
Everton have scored 6 and haven’t conceded in their last 2 games but Sam Allardyce may have to pull off a minor miracle if Everton are to make it 3 wins and 3 cleans when they visit Anfield on Sunday. Klopp’s side put 7 past Spartak Moscow in the Champions League, Firmino, Coutinho, Mane and Salah all getting on the scoresheet. Their front 4 are in phenomenal form and finding a way to keep all 4 out is Big Sam’s first big test as Everton Manager.
The other Sunday game sees Arsenal take on Southampton at St Mary’s. Arsenal recorded a 2-0 win in this fixture at the end of last season but their last 2 winter visits to St Mary’s have ended in defeat, including a humiliating 4-0 loss on Boxing Day in 2015. Arsene Wenger rested key players in their Europa League victory over BATE but will need them back and firing to bounce back from last week’s defeat to Man Utd.
On Saturday Chelsea have a London Derby with West Ham to contend with. West Ham put in a good performance last time out despite eventually losing 2-1 at Man City. David Moyes will need his side to match those commitment levels if his side are to take anything from this game. Eden Hazard has been in sublime form for Chelsea and stopping him will be the key to any success for The Hammers.
Spurs host Stoke at White Hart Lane as they look to find some form in the league and Stoke may be the perfect opposition for them to do that against. Stoke have suffered three 4-0 losses in a row to Pochettino’s side and will hope that they can take advantage of Spurs’ league struggles to stop that run.
Crystal Palace, who last time out climbed off the bottom of the table, play a Bournemouth side in decent form. Bournemouth have 7 points from their last 12 while consecutive 0-0 draws mean Palace have taken 5 from a possible 9.
Newly promoted sides Brighton and Huddersfield face off in the Premier League. Both teams will be relatively pleased with their season’s so far but will both be acutely aware of the need to continue picking up points. The busy Christmas schedule can see significant changes to the table in a matter of days and both teams will want to secure 3 points to avoid getting dragged into any real trouble.
Newcastle vs Leicester and Swansea vs West Brom completes this weekend’s set of fixtures.