Week 15: Top Premier League storylines — Can Swansea stop Jamie Vardy?

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December football is upon us as Week 15 of the Premier League season gets underway this weekend.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

The run from now until the January transfer window can shape a team’s season, as getting a good string of results before the New Year is crucial for a club’s title (or survival) hopes.

Here are five things to look out for in Week 15 Premier League action.

Will Swansea beat Leicester and stop the rot?

After a hot start to the Premier League campaign, Swansea City has hit a real rough patch, falling all the way to 15th on the table. With a big match at home against Leicester City on Saturday, Garry Monk‘s men have a massive opportunity to turn things around. The Swans are winless in their last four league matches, and have scored just two goals over that span. Bafetimbi Gomis needs to get back on the scoresheet, as a loss could see the Swans drop as low as 17th. Swansea needs a burst of life, and ending Jamie Vardy‘s scoring streak with a win at the Liberty Stadium would do just that.

Surprisingly-hot Sunderland look to stun injured Arsenal

Sunderland has rattled off consecutive wins to climb out of the relegation zone for the first time this season. While a trip to the Emirates is never an easy task, Sunderland is facing Arsenal at just the right time. Arsene Wenger‘s men have a plethora of injuries, with key men Alexis Sanchez and Santi Cazorla both ruled out for this weekend’s match. With a must-win Champions League clash at Olympiacos next week, this is a trap game for the Gunners, who could be caught looking ahead. Look for the young Duncan Watmore to have a potential breakthrough performance for Sunderland, as Big Sam’s side could make it three wins on the spin.

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Can Chelsea keep climbing?

Chelsea still sit 14th on the table, but Mourinho’s men have strung together two good performances in the Premier League, a win over Norwich City and a draw at Tottenham. Add in a Champions League win between those matches, and Chelsea are playing some of their best football of the season. With a home match on Saturday against a Bournemouth side that hasn’t won since September, the Blues will look to keep on climbing. What has been more encouraging than the recent results for Chelsea are the performances, as Eden Hazard is finally starting to pick up his play while Willian continues to impress. The key to Chelsea making a run into the New Year is Hazard playing like his old self, as he is the key man for the Blues’ success.

“Boring” Manchester United could kick-start a holiday run

Louis Van Gaal‘s Manchester United side has taken tons of criticism this year, as the goals have been lacking in LVG’s possession-based style of play. While United isn’t playing extremely attractive football, they’re playing extremely effective football. The Red Devils have conceded the fewest goals in the league and sit just one point off the leaders. Saturday’s match against a banged up West Ham side is a good opportunity for LVG to get a big win over a top-half opponent. After West Ham, the Red Devils have favorable matchups against Bournemouth and Norwich City, which means this “boring” United side could very well head into Boxing Day with 37 points, a five-point improvement from last season.

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McClaren’s future at Newcastle up in the air

Newcastle faces a tough test against a red-hot Liverpool side on Sunday, and the goal for the Magpies is to simply avoid embarrassment. After going up 1-0 against Crystal Palace last weekend, Newcastle broke down and ended up losing 5-1. Back in the relegation zone, Steve McClaren‘s first year in charge at St. James’ Park could be nearing an end. A result against Liverpool would be a bonus, but another heavy defeat could give the Newcastle board some big decisions to make.