Week 19 officially marks the midway point of the Premier League season, as the final matches before 2016 kick off on Monday.
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There are some big matchups across the league, as Leicester City and Manchester City battle at the top of the table, while Louis Van Gaal fights for his job at Manchester United.
Here are five things to look out for this week in the Premier League.
Leicester look to stay top against Manchester City
Leicester City sit top of the table, three points ahead of third-place Manchester City as the two sides meet on Tuesday, Dec. 9 at the King Power Stadium. Leicester suffered just their second defeat of the year to Liverpool on Boxing Day, held scoreless for the first time all season. On the other hand, Manchester City cruised to a 4-1 win over Sunderland in a dominant performance that saw the Citizens score three goals in the opening 25 minutes. Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri has said he wants his side to relax and enjoy their football, although they will surely be thinking about their position on the table with this huge match.
Manchester United vs. Chelsea with LVG’s future on the line — FULL PREVIEW
Four straight losses and winless in seven, Manchester United needs a win against Chelsea or Louis van Gaal will likely be on his way out at Old Trafford. Following a defeat to Stoke on Boxing Day, LVG said that he could resign rather than get sacked, although to this point, the club has not made any statements on the manager’s future. There have been rumors that Jose Mourinho could take control should Van Gaal be fired, and it would be an ironic ending if Mourinho’s former club Chelsea was the team to push LVG out. Not only does United need the three points, but Guus Hiddink is in search of his first win back in charge at Chelsea as the Blues look to climb up the table.
Which Arsenal team will show up?
In Week 17, Arsenal beat Manchester City and looked like a team ready to win the title. In Week 18, Arsenal was thrashed 4-0 by a Southampton side that was winless in six. In Week 19, which Arsenal team will show up against Bournemouth? Supporters will be hoping it’s that of Week 17, as Bournemouth have been in great form, unbeaten in six and up to 14th on the table.
Watford’s Odion Ighalo is second in the Premier League in scoring with 13 goals, and Tottenham’s Harry Kane is right behind him with 11. Both are in stellar form, as Ighalo has scored six in his last five PL matches and Kane scoring ten in his last nine. Not only is Monday’s match between Watford and Tottenham a chance to watch these two top strikers face off, but it’s also a huge match in the standings. Spurs sit fourth but are just three points ahead of the Hornets, who are unbeaten in five and continue to impress.
Mid-table battle between Everton and Stoke
Tied on points, Everton sit 9th and Stoke 11th as we reach the midway point of the season. Both sides are coming off of big wins on Boxing Day, Everton a last-minute victory over Newcastle and Stoke a convincing performance against Manchester United. Stoke have kept a clean sheet in eight of their past ten matches, and the Potters defense will be put to the test against Romelu Lukaku and Everton, who have scored the second-most goals in the league.