This weekend marks the 17th round of matches in the Premier League, as we inch closer towards the halfway mark of the season. Can you believe that?
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With the busy holiday schedule, teams will play four matches in three weeks in one of the most important stretches of the season.
Manchester City vs. Arsenal
You’ll have to wait until Monday, as the last match of Week 17 is the biggest one. Arsenal sits in second place on the table just one point ahead of Man City, as this match between title favorites could help determine the final standings in May. Sergio Aguero looks set to return from injury for City, as getting their leading scorer back would be a huge boost for Manuel Pellegrini‘s men.
Arsenal have won three straight in all competitions, and if Leicester falters at Everton, the Gunners could take the top spot with a win over Man City. Both of these sides love to fly forward on the attack, and with the amount of talent on both sides, we should be in for a good one.
Can Chelsea turn things around post-Mourinho?
Sitting just a point above the relegation zone, Jose Mourinho was sacked at Chelsea just months after leading the club to the Premier League title. It has been an absolute disaster at Stamford Bridge, as the Blues have dropped nine of their opening 16 matches after losing just nine games over the past two seasons. Luckily for Chelsea, a visit from struggling Sunderland is a good opportunity to get things back on track. It is likely a caretaker will be in charge on Saturday before a new manager is appointed, but no matter who is on the touchline, the players must focus on taking all three points.
High-flying Palace visits defensively-sound Stoke
One of the most intriguing matches of the weekend pits Crystal Palace, a team that loves to bomb forward on the attack, against Stoke City, a team that has conceded just two goals over their past seven matches. Palace sit sixth on the table and the Potters 11th, but just three points separate the sides. One of the keys to Stoke’s defensive success has been the play of center-back Ryan Shawcross and goalkeeper Jack Butland, who has kept a league-high seven clean sheets. However, the Potters can be dangerous on the attack as well, as Bojan pulls the strings for the likes of Marko Arnautovic and Xherdan Shaqiri. For Palace, look for the always dangerous Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha to try and create chances from the wings.
Watford looks to make it four wins on the spin
While everyone has been talking about Leicester City’s amazing season and Chelsea’s disastrous one, Watford has quietly climbed all the way up to 7th on the table. The newly-promoted Hornets came into the Premier League with a new manager and tons of new faces, yet have performed well and earned 25 points through 16 games, currently on a three-match win streak. Quique Flores‘ side hosts Liverpool on Sunday, and getting a result over Jurgen Klopp would be massive. If a win is in store, look for production from Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney, as the pair has scored 15 of the club’s 18 goals this season.
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Will Manchester United get back on track against Norwich?
With Mourinho out at Chelsea, some are calling for Manchester United’s Louis Van Gaal to be the next manager sacked. Despite sitting fourth on the table, the Red Devils are winless in their past five matches in all competitions, scoring just four goals over that span. After losing away at Bournemouth last weekend, United needs to respond with a win on Saturday against Norwich City. Even if United gets a win, supporters will want to see intent on the attack and more than just one goal against a team that has some troubles defensively.