Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Midweek Schedule

The busy holiday season ramps up this week with Match “Week” 15 being played Tuesday through Thursday. Two clubs involved in the relegation battle are in action Tuesday when barely safe Luton Town hosts league leading Arsenal and currently relegation bound Burnley visits Wolverhampton. Burnley could have a puncher’s chance as mid-table Wolves is in a rough patch, losing three of their last four Premier League matches. The Clarets are unbeaten in their last seven topflight meetings with Wolverhampton.

Wednesday will feature a clash of top five clubs when Manchester City visits Aston Villa. Villa Park has been a fortress for the home side with Aston Villa having won 17 of their last 18 home matches across all competitions. Manchester City will be highly motivated to end a run of three draws in the league. The normally solid Manchester City defense conceded seven goals across draws to Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur with only the 1-1 scoreline with Liverpool befitting the club’s usual defensive standards.

The drama at Manchester United continues to unfold as four media outlets were banned from Eric ten Hag’s press conference preceding Wednesday’s home contest with Chelsea. The measure was taken in response to negative stories regarding player morale at the club. Marcus Rashford, perceived to be one of the unhappy players, will be looking forward to scoring a goal at Old Trafford for the first time this season.

Chelsea, meanwhile, is coming off a 3-2 home victory over Brighton on Sunday and has won three of its last four away matches.

Brighton will try to get back on track when the Seagulls host Brentford on Wednesday. The Bees, like Chelsea, are three points behind eighth place Brighton in the table.

Chris Wilder begins his second tenure as Sheffield United Manager when the Blades host Liverpool as part of the busy Wednesday schedule. The manager takes on a massive challenge should there be any expectation for survival this season. If Liverpool scores two or more goals on Wednesday, the Blades will set a Premier League record for most goals conceded after 15 matches.

Bournemouth Manager Andoni Iraola appears to have turned around the Cherries’ fortunes after three wins and a draw in the Cherries’ last five matches. Iraola gets the chance to change the club’s unfortunate recent history against Crystal Palace on Wednesday. Bournemouth has lost its last five Premier League matches versus the Eagles and has failed to score a single goal against Palace in the last five meetings between the clubs across all competitions. Fulham also hosts Nottingham Forest on Wednesday in a mid-table tilt.

Thursday sees Tottenham Hotspur home to West Ham in a London derby. Spurs ended a run of poor form by capturing an impressive point at the Etihad this past weekend. Center back Cristian Romero returns from suspension for Tottenham Hotspur as the club attempts to defeat the Hammers for a fourth consecutive time across all competitions.

Anthony Gordon, the scorer of the winning goal against Manchester United Saturday, is a doubt for the Magpies’ Thursday match with Everton after sustaining a knock against the Red Devils. Gordon’s absence would add to the injury woes of Manager Eddie Howe who already has 11 first team players unavailable.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin is a doubt for Everton as the Toffees continue their struggle to overcome the draconian point penalty that put them in the relegation places.  

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