As we reach the stage of the season when the Premier League fixture schedule begins to look very busy, Arsenal v Manchester City stands out as the pick of the bunch.
Indeed, the festive period is nearly upon us, and the games are starting to come thick and fast in the Premier League.
This weekend, Liverpool will look to extend their lead at the top when they host Watford at Anfield, while City’s quest to close the gap sees them travel to Arsenal.
Meanwhile the best of the rest, Leicester City, welcome Norwich City to the King Power, and Manuel Pellegrini’s job may be on the line as West Ham United visit Southampton.
As usual, we’ve had two writers take a look at all 10 fixtures and make some predictions. There are also percentile odds, based on the Smarkets betting exchange, for every result possible in each game.
You have to be 18+ to gamble. For more information, go to BeGambleAware.org. Odds accurate at the time of writing (20:00, 12/12/2019).
Liverpool vs. Watford
Steve Jennings: Nigel Pearson will hope to take something away from his first game as Watford manager, but it won’t be three points. It’s unlikely to even be one point as Liverpool will surely continue their fine run. Liverpool 4-0 Watford.
Chris Smith: Don’t expect a new manager bounce from Watford here as they travel to a Liverpool side with 15 wins from 16 games and an eight-point lead at the top of the Premier League table. Complete polar opposites. Liverpool 3-0 Watford.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Joe Gomez has made more interceptions per 90 minutes (1.83) in the Premier League this season than any other Liverpool player and will come into the side in place of the injured Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip.
Liverpool win: 83.33%
Watford win: 4.76%
Burnley vs. Newcastle
SJ: One of those mid-table clashes that could easily go either way. It feels like Burnley are due a win and Newcastle are due a defeat, and the home advantage should give the Clarets hope of securing a much-needed victory. Burnley 2-0 Newcastle.
CS: Burnley have lost their last three and face a Newcastle side much improved in recent weeks. Both sides are experts of the low block, so don’t expect too many fireworks. Burnley 0-1 Newcastle.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Jonjo Shelvey has scored in each of his last three Premier League games and has four goals in his last six outings.
Burnley win: 47.62%
Newcastle win: 23.81%
Chelsea vs. Bournemouth
SJ: Bournemouth have lost their last five league games and Eddie Howe is struggling to get the best out of an injury-ridden defence. Stamford Bridge isn’t the ideal fixture to change that. Chelsea should win comfortably. Chelsea 3-1 Bournemouth.
CS: Frank Lampard’s side have been rather inconsistent of late, cycling between impressive wins and lacklustre defeats. Bournemouth, on the other hand, have been consistently terrible recently – expect five straight defeat to become six at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea 3-0 Bournemouth.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Mateo Kovacic has made the most successful passes (997) and completed the most dribbles (42) of any Chelsea player in the Premier League this season.
Chelsea win: 77.52%
Bournemouth win: 7.41%
Leicester vs. Norwich
SJ: It’s difficult to imagine Leicester losing at the moment. Jamie Vardy’s form coupled with a strong defence has ensured an incredible run of victories. Surely Norwich aren’t the side who will end that? Leicester 3-0 Norwich.
CS: It’s looking more and more like Leicester are going to be the only side capable of keeping any sort of pace with Liverpool and expect them to do so again at home to struggling Norwich. Leicester 4-1 Norwich.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Jamie Vardy has scored in each of his last eight Premier League games.
Leicester win: 80%
Norwich win: 6.45%
Sheffield Utd vs. Aston Villa
SJ: Sheffield United are better on the road than at home, at least in terms of results. They will have to improve on their performance from the defeat to Newcastle if they are to get more than a point here. Sheffield Utd 1-1 Aston Villa.
CS: The Blades ended a four-game winless run with a 2-1 win over Norwich last time out and will fancy their chances against an Aston Villa side slipping uncomfortably close to the relegation zone. Sheffield Utd 2-0 Aston Villa.
PLAYER TO WATCH: John Fleck has created more chances (25) in the Premier League than any other Sheffield United player this season.
Sheffield Utd win: 50.02%
Aston Villa win: 22.73%
Southampton vs. West Ham
SJ: There is a good chance Manuel Pellegrini will lose his job this weekend. The Chilean will be hopeful his players can secure a result on the south coast, but it will be tough with Southampton also requiring the points. Southampton 2-1 West Ham.
CS: West Ham’s 1-0 win over Chelsea in November has done nothing to lift the spirits around the London Stadium and a run of six defeats in seven games has put immense pressure on manager Manuel Pellegrini. Southampton have won each of their last two home matches and will be confident of making it three here. Southampton 2-1 West Ham.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Danny Ings has scored 50 per cent of Southampton’s 18 Premier League goals this season – no individual player in the English top-flight has made a higher contribution for their team.
Southampton win: 50.51%
West Ham win: 24.39%
Man United vs. Everton
SJ: Impressive back-to-back victories over Tottenham and Manchester City have seen the plaudits for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer return, but he faces a test against Duncan Ferguson’s reinvigorated Everton. A tight draw could be on the cards here. Man Utd 1-1 Everton.
CS: Duncan Ferguson inspired Everton to a much-needed 3-1 win over Chelsea last time out and has been given control of the team once again for this weekend’s trip to Old Trafford. The Red Devils are unbeaten in five domestically and have managed wins over Tottenham and Man City in their last two games, they should make that three here. Man Utd 2-1 Everton.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Marcus Rashford has been directly involved in 14 goals in 16 Premier League appearances this season (10 goals, four assists).
Man Utd win: 54.53%
Everton win: 19.61%
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Wolves vs. Tottenham
SJ: Tottenham have had one more day to prepare for this one after both sides were in European action in midweek. But Wolves’ attackers are in just as good form as Spurs’, meaning we could be treated to a thrilling draw. Wolves 2-2 Tottenham.
CS: Despite defeats to Man Utd and Bayern Munich, there’s no doubting Spurs look improved under Jose Mourinho. However, a point away from home will be seen as a positive result against a Wolves side unbeaten in their last 11 Premier League games. Wolves 1-1 Tottenham.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Only four players have made more tackles in the Premier League this season than Joao Moutinho (48).
Wolves win: 28.99%
Tottenham win: 42.37%
Arsenal vs. Man City
SJ: Arsenal have shown admirable desire to come back in their last two games, beating West Ham and drawing with Standard Liege. But they will find it difficult against a Manchester City side desperate to turn their poor league form around. Arsenal 0-2 Man City.
CS: Man City simply aren’t the daunting prospect they have been over the last two seasons anymore but, then again, Arsenal are struggling like hell themselves. A 3-1 win over West Ham last time out will lift the spirits of Freddie Ljungberg’s side but City should still be good value for a win here. Arsenal 1-3 Man City.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Kevin De Bruyne has created at least nine more chances than any other Premier League player this term (60).
Arsenal win: 13.89%
Bournemouth win: 68.03%
Crystal Palace vs. Brighton
SJ: Multiple injuries in defence somehow haven’t hurt Palace yet. But the Eagles could come slightly undone against a side determined to win another derby at Selhurst Park. Crystal Palace 1-2 Brighton.
CS: Palace keep on churning out results, while Brighton ended a three-game losing streak with four points against Arsenal and Wolves. We look set for a tight, cagey draw in this one. Crystal Palace 0-0 Brighton.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Wilfried Zaha has completed 74 dribbles in the Premier League this season, at least eight more than any other player.
Crystal Palace win: 37.04%
Brighton win: 32.79%