Week 12 of the English Premier League will no doubt be like every other week that has come before it this season and in all of the seasons before that.
There will be thrilling matchups, there will be spectacular goals, and there will be key victories for certain teams—season-defining victories perhaps.
And just like every other week in the Premier League, Week 12 possess the chances for some key upsets to take place. Some might not be as big as upsets as others, but the fact remains that we could well see several upsets take place this week.
Which Premier League favorites are on upset alert this week?
Read on as we check out the top five teams.
The Gunners head into their North London derby as firm favorites over Tottenham Hotspur, despite the fact that Spurs currently sit above them on the league ladder.
Despite losing their last two matches to Wigan Athletic and Manchester City, Tottenham have shown they are still a genuine chance at the top four this season and still find themselves sitting above Arsene Wenger's men, who have struggled for points this year.
Their well-known attacking inefficiencies aside, this is still a very strong Gunners squad. The fact they enter this clash against Tottenham Hotspur as the stronger of the two sides and the better form in terms of current injuries means that they will start as deserved favorites.
But this is a local derby, and to an extent, form counts for little.
This is a derby where the last two fixtures at the Emirates Stadium have seen a team take a 2-0 lead, only to lose the match. Derbies—like we say in Merseyside already this year—can change in an instant, and despite boasting the stronger squad, it could well change for Arsenal on Saturday.
Tottenham Hotspur are a good team again this year; they might just prove how good they with their performance against Arsenal at the Emirates.
Chelsea get a mention on our upset alert here not because they are a side in danger of losing points, but more as a recognition of how well West Bromwich Albion are playing this season—particularly when they play at the Hawthorns.
Currently sitting in fifth position, the Baggies have picked up home wins over Liverpool and Everton, and were terribly unlucky not to take anything out of their match against Manchester City, when Edin Dzeko stole the points in the final minute.
Steve Clarke has this side playing some confident football, and the results are coming in to match—no doubt making this no easy victory for the Blues.
Chelsea have recorded key victories over Arsenal, Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur this year, but with a recent loss to Manchester United and consecutive draws to Swansea City and Liverpool, they enter this match without a win since the 20th of October.
That's nearly a month of football without a Premier League win, and with a huge Champions League match against Juventus coming up during the week ahead, Roberto Di Matteo's men could well have a few concerns this week.
Particularly if West Brom come out to play.
Believe it or not, Liverpool haven't lost a Premier League match since the 23rd of September, when they were unlucky to go down 2-1 to Manchester United.
Since that time, the Reds have posted two wins and four draws to keep their season heading in the right direction, and with consecutive strong performances against Everton, Newcastle United and Chelsea, the Merseyside club are definitely the favorites here.
But Wigan Athletic are a surprise package every time they play and, after a disappointing home loss last week, will be out to prove themselves this week.
The Latics have in fact won more points away from home this year than they have at the DW Stadium, and whilst the journey to Anfield is a tough trip to make, you have to think that a team capable of winning at White Hart Lane is capable of winning in Merseyside also.
This could be another tough week for Brendan Rodgers.
2. West Ham
Picked as the top team last week to win on upset alert last week (which they dutifully did over Newcastle United), I've got West Ham down as a team to avoid this week against Stoke.
The Hammers were good against Newcastle, but the Magpies dominated most of the match against the London club and, were it not for one defensive lapse, would most likely have kept West Ham from scoring all together.
They are in sixth position and they are at home, but to establish them as clear-cut favorites over one of the best defensive teams in England seems like a little bit of a dangerous move to me—particularly when they average just 1.27 goals per game themselves.
Stoke have gone down in their past two away matches this year, leaving not the greatest form line to go off, but we do know they are capable of hanging in there against the top teams—taking points off Arsenal and Manchester City already this year.
Can they add another top-10 scalp to their list this week?
1. Newcastle United
Newcastle are not playing good football at the moment.
They are creating opportunities and their midfield is playing well, but when it comes to finding the back of the net and picking up points, then Alan Pardew's men are continuing to fall short week in and week out at the moment.
Even with the supposed "fortress" that the Magpies have up north at St. James' Park, they've only managed to win there three times this year—one of which coming on a dubious penalty call and the other coming in the final seconds of stoppage time.
They've only won one game since the 23rd of September—nearly two months—and are only averaging a single goal per game at home, despite having an attack that boasts the likes of Papiss Cisse, Demba Ba and Yohan Cabaye.
Swansea, on the other hand, are seemingly back in the right direction after their four-game losing streak earlier in the year threw them off course.
They've only lost one game since September—thanks to a Carlos Tevez wonder goal. Having already hung in there against good attacking teams over the past month or so, they could well do the same against Newcastle and hope for a goal against the run of play.
Michu and company can be deadly on the counterattack, and it's not at all out of possibility that they relegate Newcastle to consecutive Premier League losses.
They'll need their defense at their best and the Magpies to misfire again. Which, as we've seen so far, isn't at all an unrealistic expectation.
Which teams do you think are on upset alert in the EPL this week?
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