Liverpool, United renew fierce rivalry as Premier League enters game week 16

Man City vs Everton

Etihad Stadium, Manchester

Saturday, 15-12-2018 @03: 30 pm

Referee: Craig Pawson

Man City relinquished top spot for the first time in a while when they lost 2-0 at Chelsea last time out. They currently trail Liverpool by a point and have a chance of temporarily going back top with a win over Everton on Saturday afternoon. They come up against a side that has been struggling lately win no win in any of their last three games.

Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero could return to face Everton after a four-match absence with a groin injury. Playmaker Kevin De Bruyne, Fernandinho, John Stones and Danilo might also be fit but David Silva is out with a hamstring problem.

Everton midfielder Idrissa Gueye was substituted against Watford on Monday night because of a minor injury and he is a doubt. Manager Marco Silva otherwise has a fully-fit squad at his disposal.

Manchester City have only won two of their past seven league and cup games against Everton, keeping a solitary clean sheet (D3, L2). The three most recent Premier League meetings at the Etihad Stadium have been drawn but Everton are winless in seven top-flight trips to Manchester City since December 2010. Everton’s only Premier League victory against City in the last 10 attempts was by a 4-0 scoreline at Goodison Park in January 2017.

Manchester City are unbeaten in 51 league matches against teams outside the established top six since a 4-0 defeat at Everton in January 2017 (W44, D7). City lost, and conceded more than one goal, for the first time in 22 league games last Sunday at the hands of Chelsea. It is two years since they lost consecutive league games, while they have never gone successive league matches without scoring under Pep Guardiola. City have won their last nine Premier League home fixtures, scoring a total of 33 goals. Raheem Sterling has scored 17 goals and provided nine assists in 21 Premier League home appearances since the start of last season. Guardiola has won all five competitive matches as a manager against Marco Silva, by an aggregate score of 19-2.

Crystal Palace vs Leicester City

Selhurst Park, London

Saturday, 15-12-2018 @06:00pm 

Referee: Michael Oliver

Palace will be without suspended key players Wilfried Zaha and James Tomkins, who both received a fifth booking of the season last week. Scott Dann is available but Christian Benteke remains on the sidelines.

Leicester City are boosted by the availability of Jamie Vardy after a two-match absence with a groin problem. Harry Maguire could play after being an unused substitute last week on his return from a knee injury, but Ben Chilwell is a doubt with a knee issue.

Crystal Palace completed the league double over Leicester last season, scoring eight goals without reply over the two games. The Eagles could win three consecutive top-flight fixtures against Leicester for the first time. There have been 16 goals in the four most recent meetings.

Huddersfield Town vs Newcastle United

The John Smith Stadium, West Yorkshire

Saturday, 15-12-2018 @06: 00 pm 

Referee: Anthony Taylor

Both encounters last season between these two sides were won 1-0 by the home team. Huddersfield are looking to secure back-to-back top-flight home wins over Newcastle for the first time since April 1955. The most recent five top-flight meetings have produced just four goals.

Huddersfield midfielders Aaron Mooy and Danny Williams are both sidelined by medial knee ligament damage. Abdelhamid Sabiri and Tommy Smith are also out, but Jonathan Hogg and Terence Kongolo are fit and Philip Billing returns after a one-match ban.

Newcastle are boosted by Fabian Schar’s return but DeAndre Yedlin is suspended and Federico Fernandez is out after he suffered a calf injury last week. Jonjo Shelvey remains unavailable due to an ongoing thigh issue.

Tottenham Hotspurs vs Burnely

Wembley Stadium, London

Saturday, 15-12-2018 @06: 00 pm

Referee: Graham Scott

Tottenham’s exceptional achievement in the Camp Nou should leave no-one in any doubt they are a force to reckoned with. To recover from such a terrible start to the game – let alone the group – speaks volumes. Burnley’s own European campaign seems an age ago. They may well want to forget that had things worked out differently against Olympiakos in August, they would have hosted AC Milan on Thursday night.

Tottenham are unbeaten in eight matches in all competitions against Burnley, winning five of them. The Clarets’ sole Premier League win against Spurs was 4-2 at home in May 2010. Burnley’s most recent league win at Tottenham came in October 1974 – however, they did win 4-1 in an away League Cup quarter-final in 1983.

Tottenham are assessing the fitness of several players, including Serge Aurier, Kieran Trippier, Davinson Sanchez and Juan Foyth. Mousa Dembele and Victor Wanyama are certain absentees but Jan Vertonghen returns from a domestic ban.

Burnley midfielders Steven Defour and Johann Berg Gudmundsson are both struggling for fitness. Defour has a calf problem and Gudmundsson was substituted last weekend because of a tight hamstring. Manager Sean Dyche has been struggling all week with sciatica but is expected to take his place in the dugout.

Watford vs Cardiff City

Vicarage Road, London

Saturday, 15-12-2015 @06: 00 pm

Referee: Andy Madley

Watford pair Will Hughes and Andre Gray remain out because of a bruised hip and calf respectively. Sebastian Prodl and Adalberto Penaranda are also sidelined and Etienne Capoue is suspended but Tom Cleverley is available after long-term injury.

Cardiff City will assess the fitness of Kenneth Zohore, Danny Ward and Greg Cunningham, who have all been nursing injuries. Jazz Richards is expected to remain out because of a hamstring problem.

This will be the first top-flight fixture between Watford and Cardiff. The most recent meeting came in December 2014, with Watford winning 4-2 away to end Cardiff’s six-match unbeaten run in the fixture.

Wolves vs Bournemouth

Molineux Stadium, West Midlands

Saturday, 15-12-2018 @ 06: 00pm

Referee: Simon Hooper

Wolves head coach Nuno Espirito Santo must decide whether to recall regular starters Joao Moutinho and Raul Jimenez, who were both substitutes against Newcastle last weekend. Jonny Castro Otto is training after a knee injury and could be involved.

Bournemouth’s leading scorer Callum Wilson should be fit to return from a hamstring problem. Dan Gosling is out following a knee operation, while Lewis Cook and Adam Smith are long-term absentees.

This is the inaugural top-flight meeting between the two sides. Bournemouth have won 2-1 in each of their last three games against Wolves in all competitions. Wolves have gone five matches without a win against Bournemouth since beating them 3-1 in December 1989.

Fulham vs West Ham United

Craven Cottage, London

Sunday, 15-12-2018 @08:30 pm

Referee: Mike Dean

Fulham have won on three of the last four occasions they have hosted West Ham. The sides last met in the 2013-14 season, with West Ham’s 3-0 victory at Upton Park in November 2013 resulting in Fulham boss Martin Jol getting sacked. Fulham beat the Hammers 2-1 at Craven Cottage a month later – one of only four wins in 20 Premier League meetings.

Fulham will be without Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, who was sent off against Manchester United last weekend. Defender Maxime Le Marchand is still injured but Calum Chambers, Floyd Ayite and Kevin McDonald are all fit and available.

West Ham midfielder Jack Wilshere will miss a third consecutive match due to an ankle problem. Forward Lucas Perez is a doubt because of a cut foot, with Michail Antonio or Andy Carroll set to replace him.

Brighton vs Chelsea

The American Express Stadium, East Sussex

Sunday, 16-12-2018 @03:00 pm 

Referee: Scot Attwell

Chelsea are riding high on confidence following their 2-0 victory over Man City last time out. However, they remain 8 points off top spot and know they cannot risk any more slip ups as they risk falling out of the title race early. The visit to Brighton presents a chance at three points against a side they have defeated on all of their last eight meetings.

Glen Murray is available for Brighton along with Alireza Jahanbakhsh, who has recovered from a hamstring problem.Jose Izquierdo (knee) could be in contention while defender Shane Duffy is suspended.

Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata is a doubt with a knee injury. Kepa Arrizabalaga, Antonio Rudiger, Eden Hazard, Cesar Azpilicueta and N’Golo Kante are poised to return to the starting line-up after being rested for Thursday’s Europa League tie with Vidi. Mateo Kovacic, Gary Cahill and Victor Moses missed the trip to Budapest through injury and are expected to be absent again.

Brighton have lost each of their last eight games against Chelsea in all competitions, conceding 18 goals and scoring just once in return. Chelsea have won each of their six games against Brighton in league competition; their best 100% record against a single opponent in league history. Brighton are looking for their first victory against Chelsea in any competition since January 1933, when they won 2-1 in an FA Cup third round tie. Chelsea have won their first two Premier League games against Brighton without conceding (2-0 and 4-0) – the only other team they have won their first three games against in the competition without conceding is Portsmouth (won the first six without conceding). Brighton have lost just one of their last 10 home Premier League games (W5 D4). However, 80% of their home defeats in the competition have been against ‘big six’ opposition (4/5). Chelsea’s Eden Hazard has provided an assist in each of his last three Premier League games (4 assists in total). He’s never assisted a goal in four consecutive games in the competition before, with Cesc Fabregas in September 2014 the last player to do so for Chelsea.

Southampton vs Arsenal

St. Mary’s Stadium, Hampshire

Sunday, 16-12-2018 @04:30 pm

Referee: Chris Kavanagh

Arsenal continue their remarkable form ever since game week two of the Premier League. The Gunners have gone 22 games unbeaten in all competitions and will be hoping to make it 23 when they host a Southampton side that is in all sorts of trouble at the moment. A change in management at St. Mary’s has not yielded results yet, losing all of their last two games ever since Ralph Husenhuttl took over.

Danny Ings, Shane Long and Cedric Soares are in contention to play for Southampton. However, full-back Ryan Bertrand and centre-back Jack Stephens are out with injury.

Arsenal are without four central defenders. Laurent Koscielny is the only recognised centre-back available but has only just returned from a long-term Achilles problem. Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Shkodran Mustafi are suspended while Rob Holding (knee) and Konstantinos Mavropanos (groin) are injured, with striker Danny Welbeck (ankle) and midfielder Emile Smith Rowe (hip) also sidelined.

Southampton are winless in their last four games against Arsenal in all competitions (D1 L3), since a 2-0 victory in the League Cup quarter-final in November 2016. Arsenal have lost just two of their last 17 games against Southampton in the Premier League (W9 D6), with both of those defeats coming in 2015 with Ronald Koeman in charge of the Saints. Among teams they have faced at least five times in the Premier League, Southampton’s win percentage against Arsenal is their lowest against any opponent in competition history (15.8 per cent – 38 games, six wins). Arsenal have won only one of their last seven away games against Southampton in the Premier League (D4 L2), with that lone victory coming in May 2017 (2-0). Southampton’s Charlie Austin has scored in all four of his Premier League games against Arsenal. Only Raheem Sterling versus Bournemouth (6 games) has a better 100 per cent record of scoring against a specific opponent in Premier League history. Arsenal boss Unai Emery has made more substitutions before the start of the second half of Premier League games than any other manager this season (14). The Gunners have also had their substitutes score a league-high eight goals in 2018-19.

Liverpool vs Man United

Anfield Stadium, Liverpool

Sunday, 16-12-2018 @07:00 pm

Referee: Martin Atkinson

The biggest rivalry in English football opens a new chapter on Sunday afternoon as Liverpool host Man United at Anfield. Both sides are having different season at the moment with Liverpool sitting top of the League and still unbeaten while United is languishing in 6th, 16 points behind their rivals (Liverpool) and with only one victory in their last 5.

Liverpool will be forced into a defensive reshuffle with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez all out injured. James Milner could replace Alexander-Arnold at right back, while Nathaniel Clyne may return to the squad having not played since September.

Meanwhile, Mourinho is hopeful some of his injured players will be available. Marcos Rojo joined the ranks of sidelined defenders during Wednesday’s loss to Valencia and looks certain to miss out along with Victor Lindelof and Alexis Sanchez. Chris Smalling, Diogo Dalot, Anthony Martial, Matteo Darmian, Luke Shaw and Scott McTominay are all also doubts. David de Gea and Nemanja Matic, who were both rested for the trip to Spain, will return, while Mourinho must decide whether to again leave out midfielder Paul Pogba, who failed to impress at Mestalla.

This will be the 201st meeting between Liverpool and United in all competitions, with the Merseysiders winning 65 and suffering 80 defeats (55 draws). United are looking to win back-to-back league games against Liverpool for the first time since January 2016, when they won four in a row. Liverpool are winless in their last eight Premier League games against United (D3 L5) – they haven’t gone longer without a win against the Red Devils in league competition since April 1988 (12 games). This is the most points United have been behind Liverpool in the league table before Christmas since Christmas Eve 1990 (16 points), while it’s the most points Liverpool have been ahead of United ahead of a top-flight meeting between the sides since March 1990 (21 points). Liverpool are currently on their joint-best Premier League unbeaten run (17 games). They last had a longer run in the top-flight between March-November 1990 (23 games). Liverpool haven’t conceded more than once in any of their last 19 Premier League games (seven conceded in total), their longest such run in the top-flight since a run of 38 between April 1978 and April 1979. United manager Jose Mourinho has won 50% of his Premier League away games at Anfield (4/8); the best win percentage among managers with 5+ such games in the competition. Liverpool’s attacking trio of Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are all yet to score or assist in a Premier League game for the club against United (combined total of 855 minutes played).




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