Saturday 12/17/16 (4:30 AM PT)
Crystal Palace vs. Chelsea (2)
It wasn't as clear cut as it could have been for Chelsea against Sunderland at the midweek, but the Blues showed the grit of champions in their 1-0 win, and there's no reason why another three points won't be in store this weekend. With just one win in their last 10, Palace are sputtering to say the least, and while Alan Pardew’s men have looked decent at times this year, they are well outclassed by their fellow Londoners. Expect the Eagles to put up a good fight, as they generally do, but it's hard to see the points ending up anywhere but Antonio Conte’s pocket.
(7:00 AM PT)
Middlesbrough vs. Swansea (2)
There's still much of the season to go, but Boro and Swansea are sitting in 17th and 18th, respectively, so
Stoke vs. Leicester City (3)
The jury is still out on what Leicester City is in 2016-17. The Foxes crushed Manchester City on the weekend only to have their offense again falter in a loss to Bournemouth on Tuesday. Stoke, meanwhile, are starting to round into form, with five wins and two draws in their last nine, so expect them to be up for whatever Leicester team shows up. In a time slot full of average matches, this is probably the best watch.
Sunderland vs. Watford (2)
Though they come in on a two-game losing streak, credit should be given to the Black Cats, who have looked much improved of late. They are starting to put up a serious challenge in most fixtures, and Watford, who have been average recently, need to be careful to not overlook the last-placed squad. Sunderland has scored 10 of their 14 goals this season at the Stadium of Light, while the Hornets are sixth worst in the league in goals conceded on the road with 16. The Hornets are definitely still favorites, but this one could be much tighter than expected.
West Ham vs. Hull (2)
The Tigers are the only team in the league that hasn’t recorded a win in the last five games, so they badly need to get their gears churning again. The Hammers are coming in off a win, but that was over lowly Burnley and they haven’t really looked too solid at any point this season. Somehow, the Hammers are still yet to clear themselves from the relegation scrap, but a win against Hull this weekend could go a long way towards finally putting some distance between them and their worst nightmare.
(9:30 AM PT)
West Brom vs. Manchester United (4)
Don’t look now, but West Bromwich Albion are a different team than they have been in past years. The Baggies are coming off a 3-1 win over Swansea in which Salomon Rondon scored a hat trick that pushed them up to seventh in the table, four points behind Manchester United. The Hawthorns will be rocking for the visit of the Red Devils, and the pieces are in place for a fascinating fixture. United are in
Sunday 12/18/16 (5:30 AM PT)
Bournemouth vs. Southampton (3)
The Cherries can jump over their neighbors with a win at Dean Court, and the smallest stadium in the Premier League should be shaking. Southampton enter after a scoreless draw against Stoke in which they couldn’t muster much despite playing most of the game a man up, so they’ll be eager to right the ship offensively. Bournemouth doesn’t have the stingiest back line out there, but the Cherries have some momentum after recent wins over Leicester and Liverpool. It’s an early kickoff, but this has the potential to be a fascinating contest.
(8:00 AM PT)
Manchester City vs. Arsenal (5)
Few matchups in the Premier League have as much talent between the teams as this one. City are a bit short-handed, and Arsenal finally saw their lengthy winning run end in the midweek against Everton. Nonetheless, both of these teams have quality in abundance and managers who know how to win games. With the pair currently separated by just one point, expect a thriller at the Etihad.
Tottenham vs. Burnley (2)
On the other hand, this may well be a snoozer. Spurs haven’t been great this season, but they are remarkably consistent both at home and against teams near the bottom of the table. This matchup gives them both. Burnley have picked up some key wins in recent weeks, but the Clarets have just one goal and one point away from home all season, and it’s highly unlikely that they’ll be the ones to hand Spurs their first home defeat of the year.
Monday 12/19/16 (12 noon PT)
Everton vs. Liverpool (5)
With both teams entering fresh off big wins in the midweek, this edition of the Merseyside Derby promises to be a cracker. The Reds did exactly what they had to do in beating Middlesbrough 3-0 on Wednesday, getting a good showing all around, while the Toffees came from behind to shock Arsenal. Neither of these teams is that solid defensively, and there’s plenty of attacking quality within the teams.
Bonus European Game of the Week: Juventus vs. Roma, Saturday 12/17/16, 11:45 AM PT
We discussed this game a bit during the week in our Team of the Week entry about Roma, but it’s worth examining again here. The Old Lady are four points ahead of their opponents at the top of the Serie A table, and they are threatening to run away with the league if they can get a win Saturday. These are the two highest-scoring teams in the league, and each has a ton of talent. With the stakes in this one, there are few better watches anywhere this weekend.