Saturday 12/12/15 (4:45 AM PT)
Norwich vs. Everton (2)
While this could be an interesting match between two sides that score and concede a lot of goals for where they are in the table, the time in certainly off-putting. The Canaries will be desperate to get a home win and end a run of one win in their last 10 BPL games. On the other end, Everton are hoping to get back in the race for European football, and a win
(7:00 AM PT)
West Ham vs. Stoke (3)
This is an interesting clash of teams heading in opposite directions. Without Dimitri Payet and Diafra Sakho, West Ham are a different side, and their recent struggles reflect that. They’ll be up against a tough Stoke squad that gets better with each passing game, and if the Potters can play like they did last week against Man City, they should continue their solid run of form.
Sunderland vs. Watford (1)
Watford have been an interesting side this season, sitting in 10th place through 15 games. They should be able to keep it rolling against a struggling Black Cats team, although one that’s been much better of late since Sam Allardyce took over. Last week’s loss to Arsenal aside, Sunderland have looked a totally new squad since Allardyce’s appointment, and this is the kind of game they need to win to have a chance of staying up. However, given the other available choices in the time slot, this is an easy game to pass on.
Manchester City vs. Swansea (4)
Although Manchester City should win this one handily, there are plenty of intriguing subplots. Wilfried Bony will go up against his old side, although Sergio Aguero should be fit enough to start. Additionally, City will be trying to bounce back from last week’s disappointing loss to Stoke. They’ll have a good chance to do it against manager-less Swansea after the dismissal of Garry Monk, but the Swans have plenty of talent and could make things tough on their hosts. This is definitely one of the better options in the time slot, along with...
Crystal Palace vs. Southampton (4)
… the fascinating battle that will take place at Selhurst Park. There are only two points separating these teams in the table, even if Palace are ahead by six places. Talent-wise, though, the gap is certainly closer to the point value than the place one. Both of these teams are loaded with talent, and each has an excellent manager pulling the strings. They should combine for a phenomenal affair.
(9:30 AM PT)
Bournemouth vs. Manchester United (4)
Sunday 12/13/15 (5:30 AM PT)
Aston Villa vs. Arsenal (2)
Still winless since the opening day of the season, Aston Villa need to start winning games to pull themselves out of the relegation zone, but that doesn’t seem likely to happen against one of the best teams in the league. It’ll be a pair of French managers doing battle, as well as Aston Villa’s Remi Garde going up against his former coach in Arsene Wenger. That’s an interesting angle that gets added to what should be a desperate game for the Villans, but it doesn’t make it that much better. With the early wake up and the last place team in the league, this feels like a skippable one.
(8:00 AM PT)
Tottenham vs. Newcastle (2)
In a similar vein, a good Spurs side host a poor Newcastle one, and Tottenham will be the heavy favorites. However, these teams are coming off results that belie their places, with Spurs having drawn 1-1 at West Brom and the Magpies coming off a 2-0 win over Liverpool. Newcastle need to string some results together if they want to avoid the relegation dogfight, but that doesn’t seem likely against a Tottenham team that was excellent in the Europa League this week and will be looking to get their top four quest back on track.
Liverpool vs. West Brom (2)
Sunday has a bunch of BPL mediocrity, and this is just another example of that. With Liverpool coming off a loss, the Reds will be eager to right the ship, and playing at home against a mediocre West Brom team should give them ample opportunity to do so. The Baggies have gone three games unbeaten in the league, but their low goal output and defensive scheme mean they’ll need to defend for their lives against a Liverpool side that will keep most of the possession. There are interesting, contrasting styles on display, but this one probably won’t be the most compelling game of the weekend.
Monday 12/14/15 (12 noon PT)
Leicester vs. Chelsea (5)
Last time these teams met, league-leading Chelsea beat 17th-place Leicester 3-1 to open up a 13-point lead at the top of the BPL with the calendar turning to May. The times have most definitely changed. When these teams do battle on Monday, it’ll be the Foxes at (or near, depending on results this weekend) the top of the table, with the Blues hanging dangerously close to the drop zone. These have
Bonus European Game of the Week: Juventus vs. Fiorentina, Sunday 12/13/15, 11:45 AM PT
There are some fantastic matchups Sunday to take attention away from the mediocre Premier League slate, the best of which are taking place in Italy. While Napoli-Roma features teams closer in the table, the contest between Juve and Fiorentina will be critical in deciding the title race, even though it’s only December. The Old Lady can get right back into the mix at the top of Serie A with a win at home over La Viola, which would be their sixth straight league win. But if Fiorentina can get the three points, they’ll open up an eight-point gap on the defending champions, which would make another Juve title a long shot (though certainly not impossible). In what will be a hugely important fixture, there will be plenty of quality and tension on show, which should make for a highly watchable contest.