The turkey has been eaten and you’ve already gone to the stores to get all the Black Friday deals. So when Saturday rolls around, it’s Premier League time, and there are some tasty matches this week.
Please let me take this time to remind you that the date is November 27 and Leicester City are sitting atop the Premier League. They hold a one-point lead over Manchester United. Guess who they’re playing this week?
(All times eastern)
Manchester City vs. Southampton (10:00 AM Saturday)
What is going on with Manchester City? They were flying high just a few weeks ago and now they’ve dropped points to lowly Aston Villa followed by back-to-back losses to Liverpool and Juventus. It’s quite an enigma especially with Raheem Sterling and Kevin de Bruyne finally starting to click together and Sergio Aguero returning to the team. Unfortunately, at this point, City are completely dependent on whether Yaya Toure feels like showing up for games and lately he hasn’t.
Meanwhile Southampton have quietly been doing their thing once again this season. Prior to last week’s 1-0 loss to Stoke, the last time the Saints lost was in mid-September to Manchester United. All logic says that Southampton should grab a 1-1 draw in this match, which means City will probably blow them out.
Leicester City vs. Manchester United (12:30 PM Saturday)
Let’s go back to September 2014. Manchester United just thumped QPR at home and looked very good in doing so. A week later they travel to the King Power Stadium and before you can blink they have a 2-0 lead. Then Rafael da Silva displayed some incredibly bad defending and the next thing you know lowly Leicester City has won the match 5-3.
So this is the match United fans have been waiting for. The return trip to the King Power Stadium for revenge. There’s only one problem. Leicester City weren’t supposed to be top of the league and United aren’t going to be able to get their revenge. United have fallen back into their habit of sitting back and barely giving the opposition’s goalkeeper anything to worry about. Sure they managed a late winner last week at Watford, but that seems to be far more like the exception than the rule it used to be.
Leicester, meanwhile, aren’t scared of anyone. They like to take the game to you. This blew up in their face against Arsenal but against United’s very calm and passive style it won’t. In fact, it’ll be rather difficult for United to play their death-by-possession style and manage to break Leicester down at the same time. That’s why this week’s *Upset pick of the week*, which really shouldn’t be an upset because the Foxes are No. 1 in the league, is Leicester wins 2-1.
Tottenham vs. Chelsea (7:00 AM Sunday)
It’s trip down memory lane week, so let’s now go back to January 1, 2015. Chelsea went to visit Tottenham for a trip that Chelsea traditionally dominates. Diego Costa scored early to put the Blues up 1-0, as he usually did, but then things took an unexpected turn. Harry Kane announced himself as Sir Harold Kane when he scored a hat-trick and Tottenham won 5-3.
Since then it’s been a complete role reversal for the two teams. Chelsea limped to the Premier League title, mainly because no one challenged them, and are in the bottom half of the table this season. Kane has scored 24 goals in 2015, Costa has scored just 10.
Kane also saves his best for the big occasions. The English striker has scored 12 goals in 14 career London derbies, and has three goals in two derbies this month alone. Costa has not scored against a London club since New Year’s Day. The Spurs will be missing star midfielder Dele Alli and Kane won’t be grabbing a hat-trick this time, even against a John Terry-less Chelsea defense, but Spurs win 3-2.
West Ham United vs. West Bromwich Albion (9:05 AM Sunday)
A few weeks ago this game would have been rather enticing, but now not so much. That’s not because West Ham lost 4-1 to Spurs last week, but because West Ham lost Dimitri Payet to injury a few weeks ago. West Ham isn’t as bad as the 4-1 loss they suffered last week but the loss of Payet is that big.
On the other side of the pitch, West Brom is finally looking like they’re starting to put things together. However, every time they’ve looked like that so far they then slip up again. Nevertheless West Ham hasn’t been good at home, and West Brom have one more good game in them before a slip up next vs. Tottenham. West Brom win 2-0.
I was a big fan of Crystal Palace early in the season but it seems that they are finally coming back down to Earth. They’ve also been oddly awful at Selhurst Park this season. Luckily they face Newcastle this week, who have ranged from really bad to very inconsistent. Let’s just call this one a draw and move on.
Bournemouth showed signs of life last week when they rallied from 2-0 to draw Swansea. Unfortunately this week they get Everton, who are riding great form and will grab a 3-0 win.
Stoke seem to be back to their pesky ways of not giving up goals and doing just enough to win the game. Expect more of that this week in a 1-0 win over Sunderland.
The downside to having such awesome games this week is that you also get duds like Aston Villa and Watford. The Hornets have been sneaky decent away from home this year and they’ll continue that with a 1-0 win.
If Liverpool want to be taken even remotely seriously they’ll need to follow up their 4-1 win over City with a win over awful Swansea. They’ll likely get it, but don’t be shocked by a draw either.
The injuries keep racking up for Arsenal lately and it will certainly hurt them against some of the league’s better sides. But as they proved this week in the Champions League, they can still get results despite the injuries. They’ll pull out the 2-0 win they so desperately need over Norwich this weekend.
Enjoy the games!