EPL Match Day 14: London and Merseyside Derbies Highlight The Week
A return to the EPL this weekend fills us with excitement over important derby matches in the the cities of London and Liverpool.
Welcome back to the English Premier League after a pulsating midweek in Europe. This weekend is seemingly filled to the brim with important derby matches in the the cities of London and Liverpool with three derbies taking place.
Liverpool host Everton in one of the derbies at their Anfield stadium while Arsenal host derby rivals Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates. The third will see Chelsea fans watch their side play host to Fulham as they aim to be within touching distance of Manchester city and Liverpool.
This week also sees a Friday night kick off as Cardiff host Wolverhampton wanderers.
Below are the match listings and preview for each game.
Cardiff City vs. Wolves (Friday, November 30th, 9pm)
Wolverhampton wanderers would be out for more blood than would be required since enduring the shock 2-0 loss at home to Huddersfield. Going away to a lively Cardiff side could see them battle it out on fairly equal terms as both teams would be desperate to gather the necessary points for survival.
Wolves have won two of the past three meetings, including 1-0 away in the Championship in April. However, it is worth noting that this is also their first top-flight encounter since Wolves claimed a 3-2 away triumph in February 1962.
The Bluebirds would be looking to make things as difficult as possible for the Wolves as they tend to perform better at home with seven of their eight points this season having come from home games.
Leicester City versus Watford (Saturday, December 1st, 4pm)
Jamie Vardy is available to start for Leicester against Watford on Saturday. The striker has been battling a groin strain and came off the bench last weekend to score as Leicester drew at Brighton.
Leicester have won once in the Premier League since the death of club owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and four others in a helicopter crash last month.
Watford have taken one point from their last three matches, but manager Javi Gracia should be in a positive mood after signing a new four-and-a-half-year contract this week.
Harry Maguire misses out again for Leicester due to a knee injury., while suspended James Maddison and injured Vicente Iborra will be available for the game.
Newcastle Utd Versus Westham Utd (Saturday, December 1st, 4pm)
Newcastle United will be hoping to make it four wins in a row when they host a Manuel Pellegrini led -West Ham side. Amidst all the ruckus within the management the Geordies would be hoping that the stroke of luck that has been with beleaguered coach Rafael Benitez would help in securing their fourth consecutive win.
West Ham have won just once since the start of October and are looking to get another before they get drawn into the drop zone.
West Ham striker Marko Arnautovic is set to start despite limping off with a hip injury last weekend. Carroll could feature along with Jack Wilshere, who has played only four times since his summer move from Arsenal and has been sidelined for 10 weeks following ankle surgery.
Manchester City versus Bournemouth (Saturday, December 1st, 4pm)
Premier League leaders Manchester City are in magnificent form ahead of Saturday’s showdown with Bournemouth.
Pep Guardiola’s men showed their steely side as they twice came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw at Lyon in midweek, which guaranteed a place in the Champions League knockout stages, but will be targeting an immediate return to winning ways here.
Eddie Howe’s men have suffered three straight defeats and face an enormous task in their quest to stop the rot here, for City have lost just one of their last 38 league matches on home soil. Bournemouth travel to Manchester as they face their toughest task of the season so far: Premier League leaders Manchester City.
Manchester City will be without Kevin De Bruyne and Benjamin Mendy, while Bernardo Silva is doubtful after he picked up a knock on international duty. Ilkay Gundogan and Gabriel Jesus will undergo fitness tests after missing the midweek Champions League game against Lyon.
Bournemouth will be without Adam Smith as he recovers from a long term knee injury he suffered earlier in the season. Jefferson Lerma will also miss out through suspension after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season against Arsenal.
Crystal Palace versus Burnley (Saturday, December 1st, 4pm)
Having picked up just two points at Selhurst Park and without a win in eight, the Eagles are hardly soaring. In fact, their Premier League campaign has barely gotten off the ground.
Their only two victories to date have come away at fellow strugglers Fulham and Huddersfield and whilst last week’s 0-0 draw at Old Trafford is an admirable result on paper, their opponents on Saturday, Burnley, are the only other team to fail to score against Manchester United in 13 Premier League games to date this season. A draw at the Theatre of Dreams isn’t the great result it once was.
Sean Dyche’s Burnley are certainly no great shakes either and last season’s sensational seventh placed finish feels like a long time ago now. Like Saturday’s opponents, Burnley have won only two of their 13 games to date, away at Cardiff, 2-1, and a bizarre 4-0 victory at home to Bournemouth. Monday’s 2-1 defeat at home to Newcastle was a hammer blow after a decent goalless draw at Leicester the week before.
Crystal Palace have no fresh injury concerns and may opt to name the same side that drew at Manchester United. Scott Dann and Connor Wickham are both available following long-term injury but Christian Benteke remains out.
Burnley are boosted by the return of James Tarkowski following a hernia operation and Johann Berg Gudmundsson after illness. Stephen Ward, Nick Pope and Robbie Brady are all still out but edging closer to a first-team return.
Huddersfield versus Brighton Hove Albion (Saturday, December 1st, 4pm)
Huddersfield Town face Brighton on Saturday at the John Smith’s Stadium in the Premier League with both sides looking to move up the table with a victory.
The Terriers have recovered from a poor start to the season in recent weeks and can make it four games without a defeat when they play at the weekend. David Wagner’s side were very impressive in their 2-0 win away at Wolves last week and could rise to as high as 13th in the table if they take all three points against the Seagulls.
Brighton will be hoping that their form away from home doesn’t falter again, having lost five of their previous seven when not playing at the Amex.
Chris Hughton’s Albion drew 1-1 last week against Leicester City despite playing against 10 men for the majority of the game and will be looking to get back on track this weekend.
Southampton versus Manchester United (Saturday, December 1st, 6:30pm)
Manchester United will be looking to return to winning ways in the Premier League when travelling to St Mary’s to face struggling Southampton this weekend.
The Reds are out to claim all three points on the back of the recent Manchester derby defeat against City at the Etihad Stadium and last weekend’s goalless draw against Crystal Palace at Old Trafford.
Summer signing Diogo Dalot is in line for his Premier League debutas he is set to play for a United team who are without injured duo Alexis Sanchez and Victor Lindelof.
Southampton manager Mark Hughes is under increasing pressure following a poor run of results which has left his team in the bottom three.
Southampton will again be without on-loan Liverpool forward Danny Ings, who has been carrying a hamstring problem which saw him miss both last weekend’s defeat at Fulham and the Carabao Cup exit at Leicester.
Defender Ryan Bertrand is struggling with a back issue which has kept him out of full training, so will be assessed. Striker Shane Long continues treatment on his ankle injury.
Chelsea versus Fulham (Sunday, December 2nd, 1pm)
Claudio Ranieri returns to Stamford Bridge on Sunday as Fulham kick off Derby Day with a clash against west London rivals Chelsea, live on Sky Sports. Ranieri managed Chelsea between 2000-2004, reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League and laying the platform for future success at the club.
He made a winning start at Fulham last weekend as Aleksandar Mitrovic scored twice in a 3-2 victory over Southampton.
Chelsea will be looking to bounce back after suffering their first defeat of the season against Tottenham last weekend. Maurizio Sarri woiuld be set to revert to his first-choice line-up against Fulham after making 10 changes on Thursday as they beat PAOK 4-0 in the Europa League.
Arsenal versus Tottenham (Sunday, December 2nd, 3:05pm)
Arsenal have the chance to move level with Tottenham when the sides meet at the Emirates Stadium in Sunday’s North London derby. The Gunners have finished behind their neighbours in both of the last two seasons, but are currently keeping up the pace after a run of 11 league fixtures without defeat.
Arsenal have won just one of their last eight Premier League matches against their north London rivals, although that win came at the Emirates last season.
This may be a tough task as the lilywhites seem to have hit form just in time. Spurs have won their last six matches in a row in all competitions and ended Chelsea’s unbeaten start to the season with a 3-1 victory last weekend.
Arsenal will assess the fitness of Lacazette, who returned to training this week. Nacho Monreal (hamstring), Konstantinos Mavropanos (groin) and Danny Welbeck (ankle) remain sidelined, while Mesut Ozil will be pushing for a recall after sitting on the bench at Bournemouth.
Erik Lamela is a doubt for Spurs after suffering a thigh injury in Wednesday’s Champions League win over Inter Milan.
Liverpool versus Everton (Sunday, December 2nd, 5:15pm)