(4:45 AM PT)
Tottenham vs. Sunderland (2)
After losing pace with the top contenders following their 1-0 defeat to Leicester, Spurs will look to rebound against Sunderland, who, despite sitting in the relegation zone, have won their past two fixtures. The Black Cats are slowly clawing their way up the table after a five-game skid and now look poised to potentially make a charge out of the drop zone. Despite coming into the fixture in better form than
(7:00 AM PT)
Chelsea vs. Everton (3)
The pair of sides is coming off draws but will certainly feel different about their midweek performances. The Toffees weathered a major storm against Manchester City, which included 22 shots, and defended valiantly to earn a point in a goalless draw at the Etihad. Meanwhile, Chelsea blew a pair of leads to an average West Brom side, and while Guus Hiddink hasn’t lost since being appointed manager, he still hasn’t produced quality results, with three draws in their last four. Both teams have generally leaky defenses and plenty of attacking talent, so this could be an open affair.
Bournemouth vs. Norwich City (1)
From an excitement standpoint, this isn’t the game to watch in the time slot, but the fixture is a critical one for both sides, as they sit in 15th and 16th, with Norwich holding a two-point edge. Bournemouth’s newest forward, Benik Afobe, was brought in from Wolves to score the goals the Cherries hope will keep them in the top flight, but he sputtered on multiple chances in the midweek, potentially feeling jitters during his BPL debut. He will most likely get another start, and Norwich will need to be wary of the talented youngster, who could prove to be a thorn in many Premiership sides should he find form.
Newcastle vs. West Ham (2)
The Hammers are back and mean business, having won three in a row, the latest of which was spurred by Dimitri Payet’s brilliant return in the midweek, in which he provided a free kick goal and an assist (LINK). Newcastle have improved a bit as of late, and their gutsy draw with Manchester United should help from a moral standpoint, but the Magpies will have their hands full with West Ham at St. James’ Park. Given the disparity in table position, it's not a great matchup, and better can be found in the busy time slot.
Manchester City vs. Crystal Palace (3)
For a while this year, Palace have looked like a serious top-four threat, but with just two points in their last four games and coming off a loss to Aston Villa (the Villans’ first win since the opening day), the Eagles seem to be dropping back to the mid-table, where most expected them to be this season. They have a great opportunity to prove the doubters wrong with a tough fixture against Manchester City, who have a league-best 25 points at home. The Citizens are in a mini-slump of their own, having won just twice in their last five, and are desperate to keep pace with
Southampton vs. West Brom (2)
With both sides coming off good results this midweek, Southampton and West Brom meet at St. Mary’s trying to capitalize and further distance themselves from the relegation scrap. Both are sitting on 27 points, nine above the drop zone. While the Baggies enter the contest on better form, having gone three games in a row unbeaten, Saints are probably the more talented side, and they’ve demolished top-half sides Watford and Arsenal in their last four games. This is an interesting contest because of where the teams sit at the moment, but neither plays all that compelling of football, so this could be one to skip.
(9:30 AM PT)
Aston Villa vs. Leicester (4)
After each got vital 1-0 wins this week, Aston Villa hosts Leicester in a crucial game at both ends of the table. The Villans will look to build on their first BPL win since August and get closer to safety. Their task of staying up still seems a monumental one, however, and it’ll be tough for them to get points against the phenomenal Foxes. They’ll take a bit of solace from the fact that a year ago, Leicester sat at the bottom of the table, and they currently lead the league. But getting points from the game against the Foxes is probably unlikely. Still, this is an important game for both sides to try and get closer to achieving their goals.
Sunday 1/17/16 (6:05 AM PT)
Liverpool vs. Manchester United (5)
Even though neither is playing up to the standards they’ve set for themselves in the past, it’s still a spectacle when the two most dominant clubs in English football do battle. The rivalry remains a ferocious one, and the quality both sides possess makes this a game to look forward to. Additionally, both Liverpool and United are coming off extraordinary 3-3 draws, and there’s reason to think that both are going to bring their best to Anfield on
(8:15 AM PT)
Stoke City vs. Arsenal (4)
This looks like a great game that favors Arsenal on first glance, but Stoke will bring a ton of confidence with them against the Gunners. The Potters enter on a solid run, having won three of their last four league games, and they somehow haven’t lost to Arsenal at home since February 2010. Arsenal are also in good form, without a loss in three BPL contests and with five wins in seven, and they’ll have a good shot to end their Stoke woes. But Arsene Wenger will no doubt be wary of a good Potters side that’s had a lot of success against the Gunners.
Swansea City vs Watford (2)
Swansea find themselves in big trouble, just one point above the relegation zone, and they could be in the bottom three when this one kicks off. They’ll have a great opportunity to gain some breathing room though against the scuffling Hornets, who have lost three in a row after their phenomenal first half. There should be goals in this one, as neither side is very solid defensively, and both have players who can score. That being said, it’s not the best matchup in the Monday afternoon slot.
Bonus European Game of the Week: Saint-Etienne vs. Lyon, Sunday 1/17/16, Noon PT
In a bunched up Ligue 1 table, rivals Saint-Etienne and Lyon each have 29 points, one behind fourth place and four back of third-place Monaco. But with a number of upstarts among the top group, they are probably two of the favorites to nab France’s final Champions League spot. Neither side has been consistent this season, and both have struggled at times defensively, but that shouldn’t take away from a very important contest this weekend. There’s also a major rivalry between these teams due to their close proximity, so that should add some fire to what will already be a massively important clash in determining the look of the French table come the end of the season.