Manchester United and Everton both need points to keep pace at the top of the table, and while their title challenges are slim at this point, the fight for the Champions League is bloated, and any slip-ups could see them shoved aside.
Both will have the opportunity for points today, as Manchester United welcomes defensively porous West Ham to Old Trafford and Everton visits Southampton at 11:30 a.m. ET.
[ WATCH LIVE: Manchester United vs. West Ham United live on NBCSports.com ]
Mkhitaryan’s exclusion from the starting lineup continues to be the most baffling as they struggle to score goals, with just four in their last five matches. The Armenian international impressed midweek in the Europa League win, but still cannot crack Jose Mourinho’s starting eleven. Zlatan Ibrahmiovic returns after yellow card suspension, while Anthony Martial doesn’t even make the matchday squad.
West Ham, meanwhile, sees captain Mark Noble return after suspension, while Winston Reid misses out due to a ban, with manager Slaven Bilic utilizing a back three to minimize the effects of losing a first-choice full-back.
[WATCH LIVE: Southampton vs. Everton live on NBCSports.com ]
Ronald Koeman returns to the place he left this summer, and could face mixed reactions from the home fans at St. James Park. Both teams are in poor form, and a win for either could give them a real boost moving forward, with the Toffees looking to challenge at the top of the table, while the Saints just want to get back into the top half.
For Everton, they get Gareth Barry back from suspension and he slides right into the starting lineup, but much of the lineup remains the same despite just one win in their last seven. Southampton, meanwhile, has also been struggling, with just one win in six. Manager Claude Puel does have stalwart defender Jose Fonte in the lineup despite a foot injury, while the creative Dusan Tadic is not fit enough to make the squad, with a broken nose keeping him out.
Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Jones, Rojo, Darmian, Herrera, Pogba, Rashford, Mata, Lingard, Ibrahimovic.
Subs: Romero, Blind, Fellaini, Schweinsteiger, Mkhitaryan, Young, Rooney.
West Ham: Randolph; Kouyate, Collins, Ogbonna; Antonio, Noble, Obiang, Cresswell; Payet, Sakho, Lanzini.
Southampton: Forster; Cedric, Fonte, Van Dijk, Bertrand, Romeu, Hojbjerg, Ward-Prowse, Sims, Redmond, Austin.
Subs: Taylor, Yoshida, Clasie, Long, Rodriguez, Reed, Mcqueen.
Everton: Stekelenburg; Baines, Jagielka, Williams, Coleman, Barry, Gana, Bolasie, Barkley, Lennon, Lukaku.
Subs: Joel, Deulofeu, Mirallas, Cleverley, Valencia, Funes Mori, Holgate.