The Premier League’s Christmas fixture interval is at all times a pivotal time within the season, and with the division’s “massive six” golf equipment battling for simply 4 Champions League locations this 12 months’s festive interval is about to be essential.
Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester Metropolis, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur all have seven league matches to play between this weekend and 2018’s first spherical of video games, after which the FA Cup third spherical will present a short respite.
ESPN FC’s membership correspondents check out the fixture record, present a prediction for every match and provides an outline of their staff’s prospects over the following month.
ARSENAL: Arsenal are coming into this busy interval with a well-rested and almost totally match squad, due to Arsene Wenger’s rotation coverage within the Europa League. December presents an awesome likelihood to make the most of that, particularly as two away video games towards London golf equipment will restrict their journey. The house video games towards Liverpool and Chelsea might show decisive within the battle for prime 4, but it surely’s equally vital to keep away from any slip-ups towards the “lesser” golf equipment. — Mattias Karen
Dec. 10: Southampton (A) – W
Dec. 13: West Ham (A) – W
Dec. 16: Newcastle (H) – W
Dec. 22: Liverpool (H) – D
Dec. 28: Crystal Palace (A) – W
Dec. 31: West Brom (A) – W
Jan. three: Chelsea (H) – D
Whole factors: 17
CHELSEA: It isn’t an exaggeration to say that any hopes Chelsea nonetheless harbour of defending the title rely upon how they fare in December. The hole to Manchester Metropolis is already 11 factors and can’t be allowed to develop any additional. On the plus facet, the fixture schedule that has so irritated Antonio Conte this season appears decidedly kinder within the coming weeks.
Chelsea do not face one other top-six facet till a visit to the Emirates Stadium to face Arsenal on Jan. three. Throughout their six December video games, solely matches on the highway towards London rivals West Ham and a Sam Allardyce-rejuvenated Everton carry the air of potential banana skins. Collected fatigue might take its toll towards the Gunners, who’ve been sturdy at residence and carried out surprisingly effectively in a feisty goalless draw at Stamford Bridge in September.
General, Chelsea could be optimistic of taking near most factors from their festive run, and nothing much less will do by way of the title race. Extra doubtless, although, is an effective fairly than nice return that retains them on monitor for third place. — Liam Twomey
Dec. 9: West Ham (A) – D
Dec. 12: Huddersfield (A) – W
Dec. 16: Southampton (H) – W
Dec. 23: Everton (A) – D
Dec. 26: Brighton (H) – W
Dec. 30: Stoke (H) – W
Jan. three: Arsenal (A) – L
Whole factors: 14
LIVERPOOL: Jurgen Klopp has been fast to level out Liverpool’s bloated schedule over the festive interval, however the fixtures might have been worse for his facet. All 9 of the video games over this era are greater than winnable for the Reds, together with Arsenal away. However there are just a few tough fixtures forward. Allardyce at all times enjoys getting one over Liverpool, and Everton will likely be hoping he can information them to their first victory at Anfield since 1999.
For as soon as, Liverpool’s damage record is fairly quick, with Nathaniel Clyne the one participant with a long-term damage. In stark distinction to final season, Klopp will be capable to use the squad depth he believes he has at his disposal, with rotation throughout this group of fixtures extra a necessity fairly than a risk. It is the second for summer season signings Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Andrew Robertson to shine. — Glenn Worth
Dec. 10: Everton (H) – L
Dec. 13: West Brom (H) – W
Dec. 17: Bournemouth (A) – D
Dec. 22: Arsenal (A) – W
Dec. 26: Swansea Metropolis (H) – W
Dec. 30: Leicester Metropolis (H) – W
Jan. 1: Burnley (A) – L
Whole factors: 13
MAN CITY: Manchester Metropolis’s journey to Previous Trafford is the largest recreation of the season and a victory would open up an unbelievable 11-point lead on the prime of the desk. A lot will rely upon how Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho approaches the sport as a result of Pep Guardiola will not alter his recreation plan one jot from every other event — he’ll need a win. United have the very best defensive file within the Premier League and it would not be a shock to see a recreation of few possibilities and a draw.
5 of Metropolis’s different video games would look like pretty simple — other than the Watford conflict, all of them towards groups within the backside seven and struggling for kind. The opposite recreation is towards Tottenham, who’ve received simply one in every of their final six video games, and Metropolis will hope to ship a probably deadly blow to Spurs’ slim hopes of catching them. — Jonathan Smith
Dec. 10: Manchester United (A) – D
Dec. 13: Swansea (A) – W
Dec. 16: Tottenham (H) – W
Dec. 23: Bournemouth (H) – W
Dec. 27: Newcastle (A) – W
Dec. 31 Crystal Palace (A) – W
Jan. 2: Watford (H) – W
Whole factors: 19
MAN UNITED: After the derby with Manchester Metropolis on Sunday, Manchester United have gotten a run of video games over Christmas and New Yr that they’ll anticipate to win. Mourinho has obtained a squad that needs to be sufficiently big to deal with the additional workload. he is aware of find out how to handle his gamers and the identical interval final season coincided with United’s finest run of kind — 9 straight wins in all competitions. They are going to want one thing related this time in the event that they hope to be in contact with Manchester Metropolis on the prime of the desk within the new 12 months.
Having Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo again earlier than the festive fixtures is an enormous enhance. Ibrahimovic’s early return ought to permit Romelu Lukaku to get a break sooner than anticipated. It’s a essential interval for United and Mourinho will hope the hole to Metropolis is considerably fewer than eight factors by the point the Champions League restarts in February. — Rob Dawson
Dec. 10: Manchester Metropolis (H) – D
Dec. 13: Bournemouth (H) – W
Dec. 17: West Brom (A) – W
Dec. 23: Leicester (A) – W
Dec. 26: Burnley (H) – W
Dec. 30: Southampton (H) – W
Jan. 1: Everton (A) – W
Whole factors: 19
TOTTENHAM: Tremendous-fit Tottenham have been the very best staff over Christmas in every of the final two seasons, successful seven straight matches between Dec. 14 and Jan. 14 final 12 months. However Mauricio Pochettino, their supervisor, has already warned that it might be completely different this season as a result of Spurs are working additional than ever earlier than on Wembley’s massive pitch. Their 4 residence video games look beneficial on paper however Stoke, Brighton, Southampton and West Ham will certainly copy the profitable blueprint set by different lesser groups on the nationwide stadium by dropping deep, flooding the centre and making an attempt to frustrate Spurs. Even so, the Champions League win over Apoel Nicosia has modified the temper and their momentum and they need to have sufficient to win not less than three of them.
On the highway, Man Metropolis might earn the resounding win they deserved towards Spurs on the Etihad final season and a visit to Burnley isn’t simple. Injured Toby Alderweireld and Davinson Sanchez, who’s suspended for the following three video games, will likely be sorely missed however Erik Lamela’s return will lesser the burden on Spurs’ different artistic varieties. — Dan Kilpatrick
Dec. 9: Stoke (H) – W
Dec. 13: Brighton (H) – W
Dec. 16: Manchester Metropolis (A) – L
Dec. 23: Burnley (A) – D
Dec. 26: Southampton (H) – D
Jan. 2: Swansea (A) – W
Jan. four: West Ham (H) – W
Whole factors: 14
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