It’s our first midweek wakeup report of the season as the Premier League takes center stage again Tuesday and Wednesday with a handful of enticing matchups.
Tuesday 11/28/17 (11:45 AM PT)
Brighton vs. Crystal Palace (3)
For the first time in the Premier League, these two sides do battle in one of England’s most interesting rivalries. Despite being located 40 miles apart, Palace and Brighton developed a strong distaste for each other during years of play in the lower leagues over
Leicester vs. Tottenham (3)
Spurs have hit a serious bump in the road over their past four Premier League games. Mauricio Pochettino’s side is dealing with a handful of major absences through injury and has scored just two goals in its last four EPL contests, and that could make Tuesday’s trip to the King Power Stadium very difficult. The potential return of long-term absentee Erik Lamela could be a big boon for Tottenham, but even that addition won’t make this an easy tie. Leicester have had a good deal of success against Spurs over the past two seasons, and while the Foxes aren’t in exceptional form, they’ve found new life under manager Claude Puel. Even with their recent struggles, Spurs are the favorites, but this is a more evenly matched game than it might appear to be.
(12 noon PT)
Watford vs. Manchester United (4)
In a matchday lacking in top-tier contests, this might be the most important matchup. Watford have recovered from their recent three-game skid by winning their last two contests, outscoring West Ham and Newcastle by a combined 5-0 margin. Meanwhile, Manchester United seem to have found their stride again, with Paul Pogba’s return to the lineup coinciding with consecutive wins as well. At Vicarage Road, the Hornets will be bursting with confidence, and Marco Silva will back his team to put on a performance against the Red Devils. Again, United will certainly expect all three points, but Watford are more than capable of springing a shock and continuing their excellent first half of the season.
West Brom vs. Newcastle (1)
A month or two ago, this might have been one of the premier matchups of the midweek slate, but it’s lost most of its luster in recent weeks. Since winning their first two games of the season, West Brom have fallen on hard times with an 11-game EPL winless run, and while they’ll have gotten some confidence back with a hard-fought 1-1 draw at Spurs over the weekend, they’re sitting in 17th place and desperately need to start winning games. With a Newcastle team that’s lost four in a row to sink down to 14th visiting the Hawthorns, they’ll have a great opportunity to do so. Both teams are looking to put some distance between themselves and the bottom three, and that could create a tense environment, but the lack of goals between the sides makes this an easy pass.
Wednesday 11/29/17 (11:45 AM PT)
Bournemouth vs. Burnley (2)
Bournemouth have marched up the table over the past month with three wins, a draw, and a loss in their last five games. They’ve been a pleasant distraction after struggling severely to start the season, but even so, the Cherries can’t hold a candle to Burnley. Sean Dyche’s Clarets have been the best story of the year to this point, and even a last-second loss to Arsenal over the weekend doesn’t do anything to change that. Burnley sit seventh in the table, but they’ve been
Arsenal vs. Huddersfield (3)
The Gunners are hot after beating Spurs and nipping Burnley late, but they best not overlook Huddersfield this weekend. The Terries put in a quality display against Manchester City, and though they lost, the performance was inspiring nonetheless. That should help the Terriers get up for their second big game in a row, but it might not make much difference as Arsenal have been a perfect 18-for-18 points at home this season. It'd be a surprise to see them lose that streak here, even on short rest.
Chelsea vs. Swansea (1)
Though a draw with Liverpool last weekend ended the Blues’ four-game winning streak, Chelsea remains the league’s hottest side not named Manchester City. That means there's little reason to believe that the 19th-placed Swans are going to do anything to slow their roll. Swansea haven’t won since matchday eight and have collected just a single point since, which came in last weekend’s goalless outing against Bournemouth. Expect the visitors to sit deep and defend for their lives against Antonio Conte’s high-powered attack.
(12 noon PT)
Manchester City vs. Southampton (3)
After being left for dead at the start of the year, Southampton have turned up in style this season and have fought well to sit in 10th place in the table. Their 4-1 win over struggling Everton over the weekend is reason to believe even more is achievable, but it would be nothing short of a shock to see them get a point at the Etihad this weekend. City have looked great all year (even on short rest), as Pep Guardiola has been fantastic with his squad rotation. In all likelihood, the Citizens should roll to another victory.
It's a shame to think about how far both of these sides have fallen in the past few years. The Hammers have been awful since the opening of their new stadium, while Everton’s misery this season has been well documented. Still, this fixture presents a huge opportunity for both teams. Everton could put some distance between them and the bottom three with a win over their old boss David Moyes, while West Ham could escape the drop zone with three points. Predicting a result is nearly impossible, though, given how poor and inconsistent both outfits have been.
Stoke vs. Liverpool (2)
Liverpool will feel disappointed that they did not get three points against Chelsea and sneak into the top four on the weekend, but they have a great chance to keep the pressure on the rest of the top six against Stoke. The Potters have won just one of their last six games and are fighting for air in 15th place while struggling to piece together any sort of attractive football. Stoke will have to put in a traditional dogged defensive effort at home, but that will be easier said than done for the current squad, which has sputtered at the back all year so far. Liverpool’s rampant attack should be able to find a way through.