English Premier League: Four Games to Watch This Weekend
With the most recent international break almost over, fans of all nationalities can celebrate the return of Premier League action this weekend.
Estonians will likely be more eager to see the end of the break than, say, the Irish, but there are four fantastic games in the upcoming week that should keep all fans happy.
Match Day 12 of EPL action has plenty of intriguing story lines for fans to follow, and a couple of matchups could prove to be some of the best of this early season.
Norwich City vs. Arsenal: Carrow Road (11/19)
Arsenal began the season in abysmal form, but lately they have experienced a resurgence and have worked their way to seventh in the Premier League table. Robin van Persie has put the Gunners on his back and, so far, hasn’t relinquished his extensive responsibilities. RVP is the single most valuable player to any club in the league and is the season leader in goals scored. As van Persie goes, so goes Arsenal.
Norwich City are a club that were not expected to make any noise in the Premier League, but they are currently the highest promoted club in the Premiership. Only two spots behind Arsenal, the Canaries could present a problem for an Arsenal club desperate to prove they have serious Champions League ambitions.
X-Factor- The game will be played at Carrow Road, home of Norwich City. The Canaries have only lost a single game at home this season, and have proven tough to play against on their own ground. Arsenal will have to come ready to play if they hope to secure a result on Saturday.
Prediction- Norwich City 1 Arsenal 2
Manchester City vs. Newcastle: Etihad Stadium (11/19)
Saturday we will see a matchup between the two remaining unbeaten teams in the Premier League. Manchester City has been unquestionably the best team in the league, but Newcastle have surprised many in their undefeated start to the campaign.
With the amount of money that City have spent to improve their squad, it shouldn’t come as too big a shock that they have usurped their cross-town rivals as the best team in the league.
Newcastle might not have the names of an elite squad, but they have surely been playing like one. Their teamwork and solid defense have been good enough to have them sitting at third in the league table, just two points out of second. If Toon can find a way to get a result against the Blues, it will be time to stop treating them as a pleasant surprise and realize that they may be a serious title contender.
X-Factor- There is a reason that Manchester City have spent gratuitous amounts of money on their players and it has shown this season. City have too much talent for Newcastle to deal with, and the Toon defense will not be enough for Sergio Aguero and Co.
Prediction- Manchester City 3 Newcastle 1
Chelsea vs. Liverpool: Stamford Bridge (11/20)
Chelsea and Liverpool meet on Sunday in what FOX has been calling the most heated rivalry in England. The truth in that label is debatable, but the match should be a cracker.
Chelsea haven’t been in great form of late, losing two of their last three league games. They have been known as pensioners this season, with so many of their players aging, and they are starting to show their age. However, they have been playing well enough to remain in the top four.
Liverpool have had a rough couple of seasons, with their last Champions League appearance two years ago. Over the past year, though, the Reds have added considerable talent to their squad with Suarez, Carroll, Adam, etc, but these players haven’t made the difference needed to catapult Liverpool back into the top four.
X-Factor- Frank Lampard, the 33-year-old Chelsea midfielder, has been in scintillating form this season. He has been the difference for club and country in recent games, and that will continue at Stamford Bridge.
Prediction- Chelsea 1 Liverpool 0
Tottenham vs. Aston Villa: White Hart Lane (11/21)
This may be a match that many wouldn’t expect to see on a “must watch” list, but lately, Spurs have been the most entertaining team in the Premier League. Tottenham haven’t been beaten since August, after their two bad losses to the Mancunians. Spurs may have been lucky to escape Craven Cottage with a victory last match day, but three points are still three points.
Aston Villa have been playing decent football this season and are currently sitting eighth in the Premier League. Gabriel Abonglahor has been in fine form, and Villa are a team that hope they can hit a good run of form and contend for a Europa League spot. On their day, Villa have the ability to challenge the better teams in the league.
X-Factor- Much like Manchester City, Spurs also have too much quality for their opponents this week. Villa aren’t a bad team, but they won’t be able to handle the quality of play they will see against Tottenham. Look for Scott Parker to continue his amazing play.
Prediction- Tottenham 3 Aston Villa 1