One of football’s biggest rivalries is a mouth watering prospect for this weekend. On the 15th and 16th of December, the Premiership heavyweights Liverpool and Manchester United meet at Anfield. Approaching the hectic Christmas period, teams at both ends of the table will be looking for a confidence boosting win heading into the new year. Off the back of a draw against Arsenal and a resounding win over Fulham, Manchester United will be happier with their form ahead of the derby on Sunday. Liverpool remain favourites having overtaken Manchester City to lead the Premiership.
Striker Mo Salah, scored a hat-trick in their 4-0 demolition of Bournemouth, and he remains the top goalscorer so far this season. Liverpool have improved defensively this season by only conceding 6 goals in 16 Premier League games – 20 less than United. Jose Mourinho seems to have his current United side playing with more urgency along with Marcus Rashford’s work-rate notably improved. Anthony Martial is United’s top scorer with 7 goals, and Romelu Lukaku, who has scored 6, returned to the starting line-up against Fulham.
The ‘Northwest Derby’ has always been the major rivalry, and even more so since the Premiership formed. It's a game that doesn’t need any additional hype, and past fixtures have contained enough action to get the blood pumping. They are often heated and passionate affairs, but Liverpool are desperate to get back to their glory days. Having seen Manchester United dominate the Premier League era, Liverpool will see this game as a great chance to show how the pendulum has swung in their favour. The last two matches at Anfield have ended goalless, a result that United would probably settle for at the moment. Legends of the modern era such as Gerrard, Fowler, Cantona, and Beckham have graced this fixture. Cantona made his comeback against Liverpool in 1995 after an 8 month ban.
Fulham host West Ham, and are desperate for a win as they remain rooted to the bottom of the Premier League with just nine points. Newly appointed manager Claudio Ranieri knows their defensive frailties are a huge problem at Fulham. After conceding 40 goals already this season, they are the only team not to have kept a clean sheet. Upfront, their leading scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic will need to remain sharp, and add to the 7 goals he has notched this season. West Ham have improved of late with 3 wins on the bounce, which has moved them up to 11th in the table. Felipe Anderson is West Ham’s in-form player, and manager Manuel Pellegrini has ambitiously challenged his team to finish in the top 6.
Southampton entertain Arsenal with both sides looking for three points to help their cause at opposite ends of the table. Southampton recently sacked manager Mark Hughes after a poor run, which has condemned them to one place off the bottom of the league. Struggling offensively, they have only scored 13 goals – four of which Danny Ings has scored. Southampton are without a win in all competitions, the longest losing streak since 1998. Arsenal head to St Mary’s on the back of a 21 game unbeaten run in all competitions. Although, it did take a last minute winner to overcome Huddersfield last time out. Arsenal are sitting 5th in the table despite the incredible statistic that they have yet to lead a game going into half time. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is Arsenal’s top scorer racking up 10 goals. However, their defence remains under serious scrutiny after conceding 20 goals in 16 games.
The full schedules of the remaining games for week seventeen on the 15th and 16th of December are below.
Saturday 15th December:
Sunday 16th December:
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