Friday, December 11, 2020

Week 12 Preview: Manchester Derby; Will Anyone Score at the Emirates?

Top of the Table

Spurs will be looking to extend their stay at the top of the table to a fourth consecutive week when they face Crystal Palace this weekend.  The league leaders are unbeaten in their last ten matches against the Eagles.  

Liverpool, second to Spurs on goal differential, defend their sixty-five-match home unbeaten streak when they host Fulham.  The Reds attack seems in top gear following a four-goal outburst versus Wolves last week.  

Chelsea, unbeaten in their last nine league matches, travel to Goodison Park where they have lost to Everton on their last two visits.  Christian Pulisic is a question mark for the Blues with continuing hamstring concerns. 

Leicester hopes to avoid a fourth home loss this season when Brighton visits.  Four losses would be as many as the Foxes dropped at home over the entirety of last season.  

Danny Ings will be seeking his fiftieth Premier League goal when Southampton plays Sheffield United.  The Saints have been beaten only once in their last nine league matches.  

The Manchester Derby features two teams rapidly climbing the table in recent weeks.  Manchester United have won four straight matches while rising to sixth in the table, one point above Manchester City. The Citizens have emerged victorious in three of their last four visits to Old Trafford.

Mid Table

West Ham looks to recover from last week’s disappointing loss to Manchester United when they visit Leeds.  An opening goal by the Hammers would mark a club record seventh consecutive match scoring first.  Leeds have conceded the joint highest number of first half goals in the league this season.  

An Everton attack which has sputtered in recent weeks will face a stern test against a Chelsea defense which has conceded the league’s joint second lowest goal total.  Everton have lost three of four matches as they try to recapture the form which saw such a bright start to the season.  

Aston Villa’s visit to Wolves features two teams in need of a boost.  After a fine start to the season Aston Villa has now lost four of their last five matches. Wolves are reeling from a 4-0 defeat at Liverpool last week and are without injured striker Raul Jimenez.  Villa’s done well on the road this season winning three of four away matches. Wolves have allowed fewer goals at home than any other Premier League team.  

Crystal Palace hosts league leading Spurs.  Striker Christian Benteke’s brace versus West Brom last week matched his goal total from his previous 31 Premier League matches.  A re-energized Benteke would make the Eagles a much more dangerous team.  

Newcastle returns from a COVID dictated off week to resume play at St. James’ Park against West Brom.  Manager Steve Bruce indicates the Magpies will still be missing several their first team players. Newcastle has lost five of its last seven league home matches.  

Arsenal face Burnley, one of only three teams to have scored fewer goals than the Gunners this season.  Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has hinted at giving playing time to some of his younger players who have contributed to the Gunners success in their undefeated Europa League group play.  An injured Thomas Partey and suspended Nicolas Pepe will unavailable versus Burnley.

Bottom of the Table

Brighton, hosting Leicester this weekend, has never beaten the Foxes in the Premier League and has failed to score in four of the six meetings between the clubs.  

Fulham has conceded more goals than all but one other team as they face the league’s highest scoring team in Liverpool.  

Burnley manager Sean Dyche will be looking for his first victory over Arsenal when his Clarets visit the Emirates.  Burnley have failed to score in six different matches this season while Arsenal have failed to score in five of their eleven matches.  

West Brom, playing at Newcastle, hopes to pick up the pieces from an embarrassing 5-1 defeat to Crystal Palace last week.  Conor Gallagher has scored in two consecutive games for the Baggies, matching Callum Wilson as the Baggies’ leading scorer.  

Sheffield United’s visit to Southampton highlights what a difference a year can make.  After eleven matches last season, the Blades were sixth in the table while Southampton was in the relegation zone.  Going into this weekend’s match, the fifth place Saints are nineteen points above the bottom dwelling Blades. 

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