Preview: Spotlight on Suarez at the Bridge, following biting incident
Dejection reigns in the camp of the Merseyside Reds who were the victims of questionable officiating in Thursday’s super match away to Manchester City. Sterling was wrongly called off for offside while Luis Suarez had a genuine penalty appeal turned down.
The visitors ended up losing the game 2-1, consequently conceding the first spot to Arsenal. This came much to the fury of Brendan Rodgers who interrogated the honesty of the English FA.
Preview: Sherwood and Hughes contemplating victory at all cost
Tottenham Hotspur missed the opportunity to finish Matchday 18 above the Red Devils of Manchester United. Both teams have 31 points but Spurs’ dreadful defensive record (the worst in the top-half of the Premier League table with 24 goals conceded) puts them in eighth, one spot behind.
Mental power and aggressiveness inspired Spurs to a vital 3-2 win away to Southampton last weekend. But there was not much to cheer about on Boxing Day as the team failed to click in their 1-1 draw against West Bromwich Albion.
Preview: A titanic clash
Manchester City have maintained a perfect home record this season, with eight wins. They’ve conceded only five goals at the Etihad, three of those coming in the epic goal fest against Arsenal in mid-December.
Since their convincing 3-0 victory on the first day of the month, the Citizens have been unable to keep a clean sheet in the Premier League. They struggled to record a 4-2 win at Fulham last weekend, bringing their tally to eight goals allowed in only four matches.
Preview: Man United hopeful of avoiding third consecutive defeat in the league
David Moyes will be hopeful of avoiding a third consecutive loss for United in the league, if he fails in doing so it will only be the first time since 2001 the Red Devils drop all three points in three successive matches.
And Moyes will surely have his work cut out with last season’s top scorer Robin Van Persie ruled out for a month with a thigh strain. The 30 year old scored a hat-trick last time the two sides met and he will be sorely missed when the two sides meet at Villa Park.
Preview: A game of high tempo expected
It is with a blend of disappointment and pride that the Black Cats enter Saturday’s late kick-off at home to Tottenham Hotspur. Scoring three goals against Europa League champions Chelsea is a difficult thing to achieve, so conceding one more strike to eventually lose is what hurts most.
Sunderland were on the brink of doing something great on Wednesday. If it wasn’t for Eden Hazard’s outrageous performance, the Stadium of Light would still be dazzling with euphoria by now. But the seven-goal thriller was split 4-3 with Bardsley’s 86th minute strike not enough to snatch a point for the hosts.
Preview: Mark Hughes to face another litmus test for Potters’ new approach
Things were never going to be the same at Britannia Stadium when Mark Hughes was officially named as the replacement of long-serving manager Tony Pulis in the summer.
Pulis was the man behind Stoke’s consistent presence in the Premier League but the approach towards the game had seemingly gotten to everyone’s nerve. Now, the club has a manager who is a pure antithesis of the former manager.
Preview: Spotlight on Luis Suarez
The Uruguayan is undoubtedly the man of the moment in England. His undisputable talent was exhibited in midweek when Liverpool hosted Norwich City. The game was of high importance – not so much because of the opposition’s size on paper, but because of the Merseyside Reds’ obligation to bounce back from their shocking 3-1 loss away to Hull City last weekend.
Buoyed by his individual great record against Norwich, Luis Suarez went on to do more than what was expected of him. He scored four goals – all of which were stunning – and provided an assist to Sterling as his side rounded up a fantastic 5-1 win.
Preview: Saints hopeful of avoiding fourth consecutive loss
Mauricio Pochettino’s men started the current campaign on a strong note until the dreaded month of November began. In their last five games, the Saints have lost four times which has resulted in them sliding down to the eighth spot in the league table. After losing to London sides Arsenal and Chelsea in consecutive fixtures, Southampton were unable to notch any points in their match against Aston Villa losing 3-2 to the Villans.
Southampton will definitely be disappointed, having failed to maintain consistency in recent matches but can take confidence from the fact that the Saints are at the moment 10 points better than they were last season at this stage.
Preview: Magpies to add to David Moyes’ misery
The Red Devils are currently on a downward spiral as far as performances are concerned with their loss against Everton at Old Trafford last time out spreading the difference between themselves and league leaders Arsenal to 12 points.
Man United have failed to register a win in any of their last three matches and their winless streak might last a little longer with the defending champions set to be without star strikers Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney for Saturday’s early kick off.
Preview: Two London sides desperate for a win
Fulham and Tottenham will both be looking to put an end to their winless streaks when they meet each other at the Craven Cottage on Wednesday. The Cottagers have lost all of their last four matches in the league and five in all competitions, their antics have resulted in Fulham dropping down into the relegation zone. The inevitable sacking of Martin Jol resulted in former Manchester United coach Rene Meulensteen appointed as the manager of Fulham and the Dutchman is set to take charge of an English team for the first time in the match against Tottenham.
Even though the manager might have changed, the players are the same and Meulensteen will have some task at hand to motivate players who have tasted defeat in five consecutive matches. But the former Man United coach has insisted that his experience with his former club has allowed him to gain the necessary attributes to deal with such challenges.
Preview: Chelsea poised to continue fine form against Sunderland
After disappointing showings in consecutive games against Newcastle United and West Bromwich Albion, Chelsea have finally returned to winning ways scoring back to back victories over West Ham and Southampton. They now face Sunderland, a side Chelsea have performed remarkably well against with the Blues having won their last eight top flight games against the Black cats.
Sunderland have seemed like an improved side under the management of Gus Poyet but are still in 19th place just one point adrift of table bottomers Crystal Palace and Chelsea will surely be looking to take advantage of their misery. The London side have an easy run of games and will be hoping to take it to their advantage by closing the gap between themselves and league leaders Arsenal. Away trips to Sunderland and Stoke will be followed by a home fixture against Crystal Palace and Chelsea will be disappointed not to pick nine points from their next three games.
Preview: Spotlight on Martinez, Moyes and Fellaini
It will be an emotional reunion between current Manchester United manager David Moyes and his former beloved club, Everton. But during the 90 minutes, friendship will not count as both teams will do their best to beat each other.
Interestingly, the Toffees rank above the Red Devils in the English Premier League standings. The Liverpool-based side has only lost once in the campaign and counts 24 points, two more than Man United. A few days after recording an emphatic 4-0 victory at home to Stoke City, Roberto Martinez will be looking to embarrass his predecessor at the Theatre of Dreams.
Preview: Both sides enter this match off motivating victories
Few people would have expected Arsenal to be top of the Premier League table after 13 matches, but the truth is that they have deserved it thus far. Great collective play, fighting spirit, and five cleansheets in their last six matches have contributed to their brilliant start.
Despite their injury concerns, the Gunners have managed to remain competitive. The absences of Theo Walcott, Lukas Podolski and Oxlade-Chamberlain were just three of the injuries Arsene Wenger has had to deal with.
Preview: Liverpool poised to get back on track
The Merseyside Reds had an off day last Sunday. They underperformed and were punished by Hull City, losing 3-1 in the end. Key player Glen Johnson did not win a single tackle in the match while Luis Suarez seemed to miss his partnership with injured forward Daniel Sturridge. Manager Brendan Rodgers was left in shock by the defeat.
“If we were going to lose a game in that run of five, I wouldn't have expected it to be at Hull. That's no disrespect to them but this was a game where we should come and do much better,” the ex-Swansea boss told Sky Sports on Monday.
Preview: City looking to improve away form in the league
The Citizens have climbed up to the third spot in the league thanks to two consecutive league wins which has seen them score nine goals without conceding any. Much for their dominant performances at the Etihad, City have not been the same side away from home winning just a single of the six away games they have played so far.
French playmaker Samir Nasri, who has blossomed this season under the tutelage of Manuel Pellegrini scoring twice in City’s last outing against Swansea lamented his team’s away form and insisted that it must improve if they are to emerge as title contenders this season.
Preview: Saints looking to take advantage of inconsistent Chelsea
Southampton will be looking to justify their top four credentials with a strong performance against Chelsea. The Saints have performed admirably under the tutelage of Mauricio Pochettino and have begun the new season strongly. Their antics have earned them a place in the top five and the residents of St Mary’s stadium are just two points behind Chelsea, which means that a win will allow them to leapfrog the London side into the top four.
The Saints have produced excellent performances against big teams, picking up points from matches against Liverpool and Manchester United. However Southampton failed to do the same when they clashed against Arsenal at the Emirates last time out. Even though they played admirably throughout the match, they were unlucky to concede two foolish goals courtesy of a horror from goalkeeper Artur Boruc who gifted Olivier Giroud possession in front of the goal before Jose Fonte needlessly pulled Per Mertesacker’s shirt inside the box to gift the Gunners a penalty and thus another goal.
Preview: Citizens looking to extend perfect home run
The Sky Blues have been impeccable at home this season having scored 26 goals in the six games they have played at home turf this season and was it not for their disastrous away form, City would definitely be higher up in the table.
The Citizens have scored goals for fun this season and Premier League’s top scorers have notched ten goals in the last two matches something the Swansea defence should be wary of. In their last Premier League outing City ran riot scoring six goals against a Tottenham side which prior to their match against the Etihad side had only conceded six goals in 11 games.
Preview: Arsenal out to gun down the Blue Birds
Arsenal will travel to Wales to take on Cardiff City, in a match that will have some significant meaning for Aaron Ramsey. The Welsh captain spent all of his youth career at the club, as well as two seasons at the senior level before he was transferred to Arsenal in June of 2008.
He will now get a chance to showcase his talent, and the timing could not be better. Ramsey is off to a flying start, as he has already scored 11 goals in 20 appearances for Arsenal this season.
Preview: United eyeing a top four berth
Manchester United’s form has improved in recent weeks. The Red Devils are obviously known for famous comebacks after initial problems during a season. United knows how to complete the marathon; they do not always win the race.
Prior to the international week, they found a way past Arsenal using simple tactics – by defending as a team and by taking their chances. Indeed, a Robin Van Persie header dealt the Gunners a blow.
Van Persie will not be available for David Moyes this week due to injury. Nemanja Vidic is set to miss out too following a concussion against Arsenal a fortnight ago.
Preview: Two teams looking to keep up with their rivals
Losing to Newcastle United before the international break means that Spurs resume their English Premier League campaign in seventh position. However, travelling supporters will be buoyed by the fact that their team seats above Man City – even if it is only by one point and two ranks following the results of Saturday's matches.
Both sides share the ambition of breaking into the Top Four zone but the competition at the top of the table is so tight that the slightest mistake has a big impact on the standings. After Matchday 11, only six points separated 2011/2012 EPL champions City from current league leaders Arsenal but between this gap, there were six teams, including surprise package Southampton.