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Premier League week 17: Two big games and other things to look out for this weekend

Thursday 15th December 2016
Well, after the midweek fixtures which caused some upsets, league football will continue to thrill us for the second time in the same week. The Premier League has entered into its busy festive period, and the halfway mark of the season is not far away now. This weekend features some tasty battles.
1. Chelsea will look to extend their lead at top

There's no denying that Antonio Conte has reinvigorated his side after their humiliating defeat against Arsenal. The London club is unstoppable at the moment. They have registered 10 consecutive league victories since their defeat to Arsenal; 8 of which were clean sheets. It's largely thanks to their stern defence, and star striker Diego Costa who is in red hot form.

Considering their form, Chelsea should easily see off Crystal palace. Alan Pardew's side are in lousy shape right now, as they have won just one in their last 10 league games (D2, L7). So, Chelsea will be clear favourites for this one.

2. United will look to grab third consecutive league victory to ease some pressure

Manchester United are finally finding their feet in the Premier League as of now. Jose Mourinho's men have collected vital points from rivals Tottenham Hotspur last week, and a victory over Crystal Palace last night have created a positive mood all around. It's like Manchester United are getting the reward for their hard work after all, and it's a fine start to build up a momentum in this busy festive period.

West Brom may be erratic but they shouldn't be taken lightly. They almost denied Chelsea last weekend with a solid defensive display. Tony Pulis's side is sitting just behind Manchester United in the table in 7th place. They definitely possess a threat to surprise the visitors.

3. Gunners face strenuous test at Etihad
The Gunners often get criticised for losing their momentum at this period as if they're jinxed. And it may prove out true this time too. Everton came from behind to beat Gunners at the Goodison Park and ended their tremendous unbeaten feat in the league.

Call it Arsenal hoodoo or the beauty of the Premier League, every side is capable of beating everyone else. Manchester City were trounced by the reigning Champions Leicester City the week before, but, whenever these two sides meet one thing is certain – goals! The last six Premier League meetings between these two sides have produced 24 goals – four per game, on average. Entertainment guaranteed!

4. The first Merseyside derby of the season
The weekend will wrap up in the most optimal manner with Liverpool taking on Everton in the heated Merseyside derby.

Liverpool's title credentials took a nasty turn when their star man Philippe Coutinho got injured last month. Since then Liverpool has won only one Premier League game (D1, L1). Manager Jurgen Klopp has also admitted that his side is missing their key player who offers fluidity, rhythm, and balance to the side.

Still, Liverpool is having a quite pleasant campaign so far sitting 2nd on the table at the moment. However, their defence is a real concern that has let in 20 goals so far. Scoring is not the problem for them as they are the highest goal scorers in the league till now.

Everton didn't have the bests of the start to the season, but Ronald Koeman's side has made the headline result in the midweek by defeating Arsenal. That, of course, sent a clear message that Everton still have the elements to surprise the top oppositions.
Zaid Pathan

A huge fan of Peter Drury's bombastic post-goal narration and an ardent football follower since his teens, Zaid believes the beautiful game is the best mode of escape from the daily hustle and bustle. He particularly loves to watch the Premier League and wants English clubs to dominate Europe again.

“Life may or may not be beautiful, but football surely is”

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