Saturday 2/11/17 (4:30 AM PT)
Arsenal vs. Hull City (3)
Suddenly, the Gunners look very vulnerable, and though Hull City will still find it very difficult to capitalize on the road, this fixture could be very tight. The Tigers have been improving as of late, and after a 2-0 win over Liverpool, they will certainly feel they have the chops to pull another upset against a top-six side. With Arsenal also almost surely out of the title race, the
(7:00 AM PT)
Stoke City vs. Crystal Palace (2)
Palace are flirting with disaster now and need to start getting points against more than just the bottom-feeders if they want a chance to survive the season. Stoke present a good chance to do so, with the Potters themselves stumbling to just two points in their last three games, albeit against some solid sides. It’s certainly a more important game for the Palace, but even with a fire lit beneath them, it is hard to believe they are going to respond well given their ongoing free fall.
Manchester United vs. Watford (4)
At long last, after 14 games unbeaten in the Premier League, this could be the first weekend since the very beginning of the season that United break back into the top five. Having sat in sixth for the majority of the last three months, the Red Devils are itching to move up the table, but they might struggle against a rapidly improving Watford team. The Hornets were awful throughout the middle part of the season, although two draws followed by two wins (including one over Arsenal) in their last four games have vaulted Watford back into the top half, at least for now. Similarly to the early game, what looked like a blowout just a month ago could actually be a pretty fascinating watch, and it is probably the best game in the time slot.
Middlesbrough vs. Everton (3)
Without an PL win since December 17 (and a league low four victories total), Boro have tumbled and now sit just one point clear of safety, and they are desperate for the points that will help their fans feel secure again. Everton, however, are not going to let anything come easy for the underdogs after scoring six last weekend against Bournemouth, four of which came from Romelu Lukaku and vaulted him to the top of the scoring tables. The Toffees haven’t lost in their last seven and rightfully sit as the outfit closest to breaking into the top six (though that remains a longshot). Expect the in-form Toffees to roll on the road.
West Ham vs. West Brom (2)
Though these two sides sit in eighth and ninth, and that should lead to a competitive match, it is hard to care too much about this contest given the lack of importance on how the relegation and top-six races are shaping up. West Ham have fully recovered from their awful start, and West Brom have been a pleasant surprise of consistency this season as they’ve stuck in
Sunderland vs. Southampton (2)
They still sit at the bottom of the table, but Sunderland have started to turn their season around over the past month. The Black Cats have kept consecutive clean sheets and enter with a ton of momentum after a huge 4-0 win over Crystal Palace. While Southampton are undoubtedly the better side, they’ve struggled against Sunderland over the past few years and limp into the Stadium of Light with losses in six of their last seven league games. At this stage, David Moyes knows how important it is to capitalize on positive momentum, and Sunderland will know a vital result is well within reach this weekend.
(9:30 AM PT)
Liverpool vs. Tottenham (5)
As five sides jostle for positioning in what’s become a fascinating fight for Champions League football, a scuffling Liverpool team hosts Tottenham in a critical battle for both. On the surface, this game looks far more important for the Reds. Liverpool has won just once in all competitions in 2017 and come in after a dismal 2-0 defeat to lowly Hull City. The story is different for Spurs, who are unbeaten in their last nine PL games and have allowed just three league goals since the turn of the calendar. The pair have drawn all three of their matchups since Jurgen Klopp’s arrival at Anfield, but that doesn’t take any of the luster off what is undoubtedly the game of the weekend.
(5:30 AM PT)
Burnley vs. Chelsea (3)
While Chelsea remain on course for their second league title in three years, this weekend’s trip to Turf Moor will be a tricky one. Burnley are extremely difficult to beat at home; the Clarets have the third-most home points in the league and have won five in a row in front of their fans. They’ve also displayed an ability to defend intensely when they need to, which they will almost certainly have to do against the league leaders. Chelsea will have the majority of the ball, but the Blues will have to find a way through one of the tougher defenses in the division in order to avoid a hiccup Sunday.
(8:00 AM PT)
Swansea City vs. Leicester City (2)
Swansea have turned their momentum around under Paul Clement after a miserable first half of the season, and after winning three of their past five games, the Swans will be confident of continuing their form against Leicester. The defending champions have experienced a stunning swoon this season, and the Foxes now find themselves in a serious relegation battle after losing four straight league games. With a
Bournemouth vs. Manchester City (3)
Bournemouth’s defense has been extremely leaky lately, and that should give Eddie Howe some headaches as he prepares for his side to host one of the league’s most dangerous sides. Manchester City have scored six goals in two games since Gabriel Jesus entered the starting lineup, with the Brazilian notching three of those. As the top-four fight becomes closer and closer, City will have no lack of motivation in this one and should be the favorites against the struggling Cherries. Bournemouth need to get a few points, too, if they want to pull away from the bottom six that’s gaining ground, but it’ll be tough to do so against the Citizens.
Bonus European Game of the Week: Lazio vs. AC Milan, Monday 2/13/17, 11:45 AM PT
Both of these teams are battling for European positioning in a fascinating Serie A race, and with such a nice kickoff time Monday, this should be a great watch. Milan overcame two red cards to eke out a 1-0 win over Bologna in the midweek as they snapped a three-game skid, a result that assures that Milan remains within striking distance of the Champions League places. Lazio currently sit in fourth, five points back of Napoli and the final UCL spot in Italy, but just three points ahead of Milan. These sides are both solid defensively and dangerous enough going forward, and this has all the making of an interesting game in a contest with major implications.