Tuesday 12/13/16 (11:45 AM PT)
Bournemouth vs. Leicester (3)
Though Bournemouth haven’t always been on the better end of results as of late, their matches have been great watches with goals in abundance (16 combined between them and their opponents in the last three fixtures). Leicester, meanwhile, exploded for four goals of their own (and also conceded a pair) on the weekend, so this has all the makings of a shootout. It might not be the prettiest football played in the midweek, but with tired legs and some fringe players potentially appearing, this one could get pretty interesting.
Everton vs. Arsenal (4)
For a short period of time, Everton looked to have a good thing going under Ronald Koeman. Now, with two points in their last five matches, they are simply struggling to stay in the top half of the table. That
Wednesday 12/14/16 (11:45 AM PT)
Middlesbrough vs. Liverpool (2)
Liverpool’s defensive problems are back, and if Jurgen Klopp doesn’t get them under control, his team could be looking at dropping points to another bottom-half team. The Reds have conceded six goals in their last two games, losing to Bournemouth and drawing with West Ham. Now, as they travel to Middlesbrough, the hosts seem to be catching Liverpool at a good time. Boro will still have plenty of work to do and are undoubtedly outclassed on talent, but if they can follow the blueprint that weaker teams have used to defeat Liverpool. they might just be able to squeak out an important point or three.
West Ham vs. Burnley (1)
The Hammers have easily been the most disappointing team in the league so far this year, and sitting just one point above the relegation zone, the midweek provides them an excellent opportunity to better their position. Burnley are not going to be slouches, coming in off a momentum-building win, but West Ham still should like their odds, especially at home. If the Hammers want to save a crumbling season, they must get points against weaker sides, so Slaven Bilic knows the importance of every fixture.
Sunderland vs. Chelsea (1)
Manchester City vs. Watford (3)
This isn’t quite the mismatch it looks like on paper, but the Citizens will definitely be heavily favored to get three points at the Etihad. While Pep Guardiola’s men have lost their last two PL games, the Citizens are nonetheless capable of scoring goals almost at will, even without the suspended Sergio Aguero. Meanwhile, Watford broke out of a bit of a rut this weekend with a win over Everton, and they have the kind of attack that can give City problems. Expect the Hornets to come out with a similar gameplan to the one Leicester used to blow away City this past weekend, and that could cause some real problems for the hosts.
West Brom vs. Swansea City (1)
Swansea finally seem to be figuring things out under Bob Bradley, and they can take another huge step this weekend at the Hawthorns. However, even with West Brom coming off a loss to Chelsea, the Swans will be big underdogs. The Baggies have been outstanding in recent weeks, even shutting down Chelsea for the majority of the contest before Diego Costa found a late winner. Bradley has finally gotten the Swans on the same page, but it’ll be a big ask for them to get three more points away from home this weekend.
While both of these teams are decent defensively, neither possesses quite the array of attacking talent necessary to make this game particularly intriguing. Plus, with both likely to be trapped in the middle of the table for much of the season, there isn’t going to be a whole lot on the line for either of these teams. Saints have allowed the third-fewest goals in the league so far while scoring the second-fewest, and with a Stoke side that lacks incisiveness going forward, this has all the makings of a low-scoring affair.
Crystal Palace vs. Manchester United (3)
Palace seem to have busted out of their slump over the last two games with a win and a draw, and now they’ll host a United side that’s in a similar spot. The Red Devils have been scuffling lately, but Jose Mourinho’s team grabbed a huge three points in a 1-0 win over Spurs on the weekend and will be looking to take that momentum with them to South London. One interesting thing about this game is that it’s a battle between a team that plays a lot of high-scoring games in Palace and one that tends to keep the tallies low in United, but that doesn’t exactly push it from a watchable game to a fantastic fixture.
Tottenham vs. Hull City (2)
This is going to be a massive game for both teams, but for very different reasons. Spurs need to start scoring goals again after reverting back to their attacking struggles against United, and they’ll have a golden opportunity to do so against a Hull defense that’s given up a league-high 32 goals. There’s no question that Tottenham are the favorites, and this should be a fairly straightforward one, but every game is important for Hull. Don’t sleep on the fact that four former Tottenham players — Michael Dawson, Jake Livermore, Ryan Mason, and Tom Huddlestone — currently suit up for the Tigers and will be eager to impress their old employers at White Hart Lane.