We did it. We made it through the final international break of the year and the Premier League now comes back uninterrupted until the FA Cup at the beginning of January. Uninterrupted may not even be a strong enough word as not only is there Premier League action every weekend from now until January, but in an effort to maximize popularity
and ensure England have no chance at winning Euro 2016 the Premier League gives us extra match days throughout December.
Since we couldn’t wait any longer for domestic football to come back, let’s get right into it. (All times Eastern)
Watford vs. Manchester United (7:45 AM Saturday)
It was not a good stretch between the last two international breaks for Manchester United, as the period became highlighted by United’s inability to score goals as they drew three straight Premier League games 0-0. Meanwhile, despite a predictable setback against Leicester City, Watford had a very good run during in the last part of the season which included winning back-to-back games against Stoke and West Ham, moving the Hornets six points clear of the relegation zone.
Manchester United are facing a bit of a selection dilemma ahead of Saturday’s contest with Michael Carrick, Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial all looking like they will miss out due to injuries. Ultimately that means United will likely do what they do best, play out an incredibly boring and frustrating match that ends in a 0-0 draw.
Chelsea vs. Norwich (10:00 AM Saturday)
Right now it seems that the only player who is performing for Chelsea is Willian, who has managed to bail Chelsea out enough to keep them afloat in the Champions League. A few weeks ago, Norwich went to the Etihad and had it not been for a moment of brilliance from Kevin de Bruyne, would have pulled out a draw against Manchester City. If that Norwich side shows up to Stamford Bridge this weekend, they’ll have enough for a 1-1 draw.
West Brom vs. Arsenal (10:00 AM Saturday)
Last time we saw Arsenal they were being stymied at home in the North London Derby by Tottenham, requiring a late goal from Kieren Gibbs to salvage a draw, despite being thoroughly dominated in most of the match. The match showed us that Arsenal are dealing with about one too many injuries with Aaron Ramsey, Hector Bellerin, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Danny Welbeck, and Theo Walcott all missing out.
While Arsenal fans may blame injuries for the dip in form, it’s almost impossible to have not seen this coming since it happens to Arsenal every year and manager Arsene Wenger has no idea what the words squad depth mean. Lucky for Arsenal, West Brom are no Tottenham and the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Mesuit Ozil will be enough to get them a 1-0 win.
Manchester City vs. Liverpool (12:30 PM Saturday)
The biggest game of the weekend, but that’s really in name only. Liverpool haven’t been a top club in years and the arrival of new manager Jurgen Klopp hasn’t brought about the immediate winning fans were hoping for. That’s not necessarily unexpected, though. Klopp has a long road of rebuilding in front of him.
Manchester City on the other hand have been rolling and they haven’t allowed injuries to Sergio Aguero or David Silva to stop them. They did have a minor blip in a 0-0 draw to Aston Villa last time out, but they’ll move past that in a 3-1 win.
Tottenham vs. West Ham (11:00 AM Sunday)
The actual best game of the weekend takes place Sunday morning when number five and six teams in the table do battle at White Hart Lane. The two teams are even on points and are separated by just three goals in goal difference. By now we all know West Ham have made a habit of playing fantastic away from home against good teams while slipping up at home against poor teams. Lucky for them they’re away this week.
However it won’t be easy for West Ham. They meet a Tottenham side where things are going really well. Not only is Harry Kane back to doing Harry Kane things, but Dele Alli is starting to emerge as one of the best central midfielders in England. His partnership with Eric Dier in the middle of the field is starting to shift away from reliable and more toward remarkable. Tottenham win 2-1.
Rest of the games
Aston Villa are coming off their shocking draw with Manchester City but that won’t carry over to Goodison Park as Everton win 2-0.
Southampton look to continue their good form, but Stoke will prove to be a tough task as Stoke will hold them to a 1-1 draw.
An injury forced Jamie Vardy to miss out on an England cap this week, whether he’s fully fit or not won’t matter as Leicester win Newcastle.
Swansea will become the latest team to beat up on injury ravaged Bournemouth in a 1-0 win.
Finally on Monday night Sunderland travel to London where they will be no match for a Crystal Palace side looking to climb back into the Europa League spots. Palace win 2-0.
Enjoy the games!