Thursday, December 24, 2020

Week 15 Preview

Beginning with Friday's Boxing Day slate, the Premier League is in action for nine of the next ten days over the holiday period. Following are the matches being played this weekend.

Saturday Matches 

Boxing Day kicks off with third place Manchester United visiting second place Leicester.   Surging Manchester United have won all six of their away matches this season while Leicester has lost four of its seven home matches. An away win versus the Foxes would mark an eleventh consecutive away win dating back to last season for the Red Devils, equaling the Premier League record.  The four home defeats for the Foxes, meanwhile, is more than that suffered by all but four Premier League clubs this season.  

Chelsea will visit struggling Arsenal in a London Derby which would seem a mismatch.  The Gunners could be facing a home Boxing Day loss for the first time in nineteen years.  

Everton seeks a fourth win in a row when it visits hapless Sheffield United.  The Blades will be looking for history to repeat itself as Everton was the victim the last time a bottom dwelling club was victorious on Boxing Day, a Sunderland win in 1993.  

An improving Fulham side could cause problems for visiting Southampton who will likely be without striker Danny Ings when they visit Craven Cottage.  The Saints, though, have won their last nine league contests versus promoted clubs.  

Manchester City will look to extend its current five match unbeaten run when the Citizens welcome Newcastle to the Etihad. City have been victorious in their last eleven home matches against the Magpies, their longest home winning streak versus any opponent.  

Aston Villa will have a three-match unbeaten run on the line when Crystal Place visits Villa Park.  The Villans will look to add to their league leading seven clean sheets when they face an Eagles side which has been blanked five times this season, most recently in last week’s 7-0 flogging by Liverpool.

Sunday Matches

Spurs visit to Wolves features two clubs that play a similar counterattacking style.  Jose Mourinho’s Spurs team, however, have weapons in Son Heung-min and Harry Kane that the Wolves can only dream about.  Both clubs could sorely use a victory.  Spurs has tumbled down the table with two straight losses while Wolves have lost three of their last four matches and are reeling from the loss of striker Raul Jimenez.  

Strikingly different styles will be on display when Burnley visits Leeds.  Tacticians will enjoy seeing the Leeds attacking open style of play matched against the strictly north/south and battened down Clarets.  

West Ham will need to be on guard against visiting Brighton.  The Seagulls, despite a number of close matches, must recognize a growing relegation threat from their current five match winless run. The Hammers will be looking to respond after their disappointing derby performance versus Chelsea.  

Liverpool is home to West Brom, continuing a rude reception for Big Sam’s return to the Premier League.

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