Premiership Match Day 17, 12-13 December
The games come thick and fast in the Premiership in December with a full midweek fixture list. Featuring a number of games involving top versus bottom, points are increasingly vital at both ends of the table as recently appointed managers look to turn the fortunes of their new clubs around.
West Ham United V Arsenal - Wednesday 13th December Kick off @ 2000hrs
- One of those newly appointed managers is David Moyes at West Ham United. He will have been heartened by the last two games ahead of Arsenal's visit to the London Stadium. Having lost to title favourites Manchester City through a late David Silva goal, they followed it up with a home win over last season's champions Chelsea to stop the rot of no wins in 8 games. It was a win which saw them move up to 18th position, level on points with West Bromwich Albion who sit one place above, just outside the relegation zone. West Ham have tightened up at the back even without injured Jose Fonte, while Adrian will hope he continues to keep England's keeper Joe Hart out of the side for the visit of Arsenal. London derbies are intense affairs and Arsenal will be looking to repeat the form they showed in this fixture last season when an Alexis Sanchez hat-trick helped them to a 5-1 win. While rumours circulate about Sanchez and Ozil's futures at the club Arsenal will look to leading scorer Alexandre Lacazette to lead the line with Giroud in reserve from the bench if required, as he was for the late leveller at Southampton. That draw kept Arsenal in fifth as they pursue a Champions League spot and will hope to have defender Mustafi fit again for the trip to their London rivals, but with only two league wins on the road so far a revitalised West Ham will fancy their chances.
Southampton v Leicester City - Wednesday 13th December kick off @ 1945hrs
- Leicester City's upturn in form will not have gone unnoticed by Southampton fans. The two sides meet at St Mary's with ex-Saints manager Claude Puel bringing his Leicester team looking to maintain the run that has seen them rise to 8th in the league. He has been in charge for 7 games and is getting the best from top scorer Jamie Vardy and talisman Riyad Mahrez, Leicester having won their last three games. Saturday saw an unchanged team win 3-2 at Newcastle thanks to a late own goal in a performance that also saw Demarai Gray score his 4th goal of the season as he finally gets an extended run in the side. Leicester will need to be aware of in-form Charlie Austin, Southampton's top scorer who has scored 4 goals in his last three games playing the lone striker role the Saints manager Mauricio Pellegrino is employing. Sitting 11th in the table they are still just 5 points above the relegation zone and with 6 draws in their 16 games need to start converting these in to wins.
Swansea City v Manchester City - Wednesday 13th December kick off @ 1945hrs
- In a top versus bottom clash the Manchester City juggernaut goes to Swansea next. With another three points picked up in the Manchester derby in a record 14th consecutive win they stand 11 points clear at the top of the Premiership. Having shown their mettle with three late winners in previous games they will go to Swansea with the luxury of being able to bring back the club's all time greatest goalscorer Sergio Aguero, though defender John Stones remains sidelined. Swansea will have been buoyed by their first win since October against West Brom which took them off the bottom of the table. Leading scorer Tammy Abraham could return, though Wilfried Bony's winner may see him keep his place.
Tuesday 12th December - kick off @ 2000hrs (unless stated)
- Burnley v Stoke City - kick off @ 1945hrs
- Crystal Palace v Watford
- Huddersfield Town v Chelsea
Wednesday 13th December - kick off @ 2000hrs (unless stated)
- Newcastle United v Everton - kick off @ 1945hrs
- Liverpool v West Bromwich Albion
- Manchester United v AFC Bournemouth
- Tottenham Hotspur v Brighton & Hove Albion