Saturday 11/5/16 (8:00 AM)
Manchester City vs. Middlesbrough (3)
Simply put, the Citizens are rolling, and for Boro, this could be one of the worst times to match up with the joint league leaders. After a dip in form, City smashed West Brom last weekend and followed that up by beating Barcelona in the midweek in the Champions League. Middlesbrough are playing solidly as well, with four points in their last two PL fixtures, and they will have the advantage of not playing a tiring midweek fixture against one of the best teams in the
West Ham vs. Stoke (3)
Two of the season’s biggest underachievers meet this weekend, but both look like they could be on the verge of finding their form. West Ham were pegged back last weekend by a solid Everton side, but they won six points in the two games before that and seem to have patched up their leaky defense. Meanwhile, the Potters have won their last three games (only conceding once) and haven’t lost in their last five. Given the teams are in 12th and 17th places, it isn’t the greatest matchup on paper, but the squads have a ton of quality between them — and have played some questionable defense so far — so there could be fireworks on display.
Burnley vs. Crystal Palace (2)
With each sitting on 11 points –– just four clear of the relegation zone –– both of these sides needs three points to put space between itself and the drop zone. After seemingly solving their 2016 woes, Palace regressed and have just one point to show from their last four games, but they are a resilient squad who have earned the majority of their points on the road. The Clarets, meanwhile, have been about as expected with their wins and losses (minus their upset of Liverpool), so with an opponent on the same level, expect a tight match.
Bournemouth vs. Sunderland (1)
Bournemouth currently sit in 10th place, and if they have serious aspirations of finishing in the top half of the table, getting three points against the Black Cats this weekend is critical. Sunderland are still the only team without a win –– and they have just two draws –– and there are few redeeming qualities from their play this season. David Moyes’ seat is only getting hotter every week, and even though this game isn’t against the upper echelon of the league, it is hard to see Sunderland escaping with three points. At Dean Court, they are certainly overmatched.
(10:30 AM PT)
Chelsea vs. Everton (5)
It’s been difficult to figure out just how good Everton is this season, but this weekend’s match at Stamford Bridge will go a long way towards answering that question. Early in the season, it looked like Ronald Koeman’s army could put up a serious challenge not only to the top four but for the title itself, but the Toffees were then hampered by a poor run of form. There is still plenty of time to recover, as they are just
Sunday 11/6/16 (4:00 AM PT)
Arsenal vs. Tottenham (5)
As far as North London Derbies go, this probably isn’t one of the biggest ones simply because it’s still only November, but it’s a titanic matchup every time Spurs and Arsenal meet. This one has a few aspects that increase its importance. Tottenham are in the midst of a bad run, as Spurs are winless in their last six games in all competitions, and Wednesday’s Champions League loss to Bayer Leverkusen was one of the worst games they’ve played under Mauricio Pochettino. On the other side, while Arsenal haven’t lost a single game in any competition since the opening day of the Premier League season, the Gunners have a notably poor record under Arsene Wenger in the month of November. Add in the sheer hatred between these two teams and fanbases, and all the pieces are in place for a classic at the Emirates, one that makes the horrendous wakeup time significantly more bearable.
(6:15 AM PT)
Hull City vs. Southampton (2)
After their outstanding start to the season, Hull have reverted to the form most expected from them: they’ve lost six straight games and now sit in the relegation zone. They’ve also conceded a league-high 23 goals, three more than anyone else, and they’ve scored just three times in their last six games. Those facts make it hard to expect anything other than a Southampton win Sunday. Saints aren’t in outstanding form either, with a loss and two draws in their past four matches, but they’ve gotten at least a point from their last three road games. With the talent disparity between the teams, it would be very surprising to see that run end.
Liverpool vs. Watford (3)
Watford have flown under the radar in the early going, but the Hornets have hit their stride of late with two wins and two draws in their past four outings. Maybe more impressively, they’ve done that with Odion Ighalo finding the net just once after he scored 15 league goals last year. If he can start finding the net with consistency, Watford will be a real threat to maintain their form and finish in the top half, but they still won’t have an easy time getting a result at Anfield. Liverpool are red hot with just one loss in 10 league games, and they’ve outscored opponents 11-3 this year on home soil. Watford showed last season that they can give some of the big teams problems, though, and Liverpool should be wary not to overlook this game ahead of the international break.
(7:00 AM PT)
Swansea vs. Manchester United (4)
Bob Bradley’s continued search for a first Premier League win won’t be the biggest storyline in this game. Despite the Swans’ struggles and current nine-game winless run, Jose Mourinho has stolen the headlines once again following his dismissal from last week’s scoreless draw against Burnley, United’s third straight goalless effort in the PL. Patience at Old Trafford seems to be wearing thin already, and Thursday’s Europa League loss to Fenerbahce won’t have lightened it at all. Mourinho won’t be on the sidelines Sunday due to a touchline ban, but that won’t make this contest any less crucial — for either side involved.
(8:30 AM PT)
Leicester City vs. West Brom (2)
With their place in the Champions League knockout round all but secure, it’s time for Leicester to turn their full attention to the Premier League for the time
Bonus European Game of the Week: PSG vs. Rennes, Sunday 11/6/16, 11:45 AM PT
Despite losing Zlatan Ibrahimovic, PSG were big-time favorites in Ligue 1 this year, but with the emergence of a streaking Nice side, the Parisians find themselves in third place, six points back of the leaders. Rennes, meanwhile, currently sit in fifth place, and they have been grinding out gritty results all year, as can be seen by their plus-one goal differential. Rennes have never played in either the Champions or Europa League, so they have plenty of motivation moving forward to continue their hot start and jump into one of France’s European places (the top four). This weekend will be a great measuring stick for both sides, although the visitors, who did not have to play a tough midweek European match, will be well-rested for the huge clash.