English Premier League Week 23: 5 Teams on Upset Alert This Week

Dan Talintyre@@dantalintyreSenior Analyst IIJanuary 18, 2013

WIGAN, ENGLAND - JANUARY 01:  Robin van Persie of Manchester United celebrates after scoring his second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Wigan Athletic and Manchester United at the DW Stadium on January 1, 2013 in Wigan, England.  (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
David Rogers/Getty Images

Everybody loves a good upset, and Week 23 of the English Premier League could provide just that, with several favorites on upset alert this weekend.

Several of the top teams have difficult matchups, including an all-London showdown between Arsenal and Chelsea, as well as United's tough road trip to Tottenham.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the table, West Ham find themselves facing a red-hot Queens Park Rangers side, Wigan are at home to Sunderland and Southampton will be looking to continue their incredible undefeated streak against Everton. 

Could there be an upset found in either of those matches?

Read on to find the five favorite teams that are on upset alert this week.


5. Newcastle United (home to Reading)

Kicking off our list here is Newcastle United, who have simply been nowhere near as good this season as they were last year in the Premier League.

Their attack doesn't have the same bite—especially now that they've sold Demba Ba to Chelsea—and their home form is nowhere near as dominant as it was previously, having lost nearly half their home fixtures this season.

In fact, the Magpies find themselves just a couple of points outside the relegation zone, and don't look like they're leaving there any time in the near future.

Reading will be looking to take points off the teams closest to them in the relegation battle this season—meaning they'll be attacking here against Newcastle.

Having come from two goals down to win last week, the Royals know they can win despite the odds, and with Newcastle seemingly being nowhere near the tough road trip that it once was, they could just pull off a surprise win this weekend.


4. Manchester United (away to Tottenham Hotspur)

Manchester United have only lost three times in the Premier League this year and just twice at Old Trafford—one of which came at the hands of Tottenham.

The Red Devils now find themselves playing away to the North London club, who are playing much better than they were when they won earlier in the year.

Their defense is looking better, their midfield is far stronger and their attack has been truly dominant in the second half—a time when United have typically been very strong against their opponents during the course of the 2012-13 season.

Tottenham are without Sandro here, which will hurt them, but the absence of Emmanuel Adebayor up front could be a blessing in disguise for Spurs. 

The Togo striker hasn't been at all good this year and has lacked direction up front. His absence allows former Fulham striker Clint Dempsey to start alongside Jermain Defoe, and the American will definitely be out to prove his worth to Andre Villas-Boas here.

United's defense has looked stronger of late, but they can still concede cheap goals under pressure, which Dempsey will no doubt bring plenty of. 

Sir Alex Ferguson's men haven't lost since November, when they played away to Norwich City, but will face one of their biggest tests in that time here. Tottenham are playing good football and, at home, simply must be considered to have a chance at pulling off the upset result this weekend.


3. Chelsea (home to Arsenal)

Arsenal aren't playing convincing football, their attack is sputtering with inconsistency and they are struggling to hang on to a top-four spot in 2013.

The Gunners clearly have their backs up against the wall this year and, heading to Stamford Bridge, seem to be well out of their class against the quality midfield and attack the Blues currently possess.

Juan Mata, Eden Hazard, Demba Ba, Fernando Torres against the likes of Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud and Abou Diaby would prove that to be true.

However, keep in mind that Chelsea are nowhere near a complete team this year, and for all the problems that Arsenal currently have, the Blues arguably have more. Their manager isn't wanted by the fans, they can't produce consistent results despite the squad they have, and importantly, they can't win at home.

At Stamford Bridge, the West London club have won once since Rafa Benitez took over—once in five matches, which included games against Queens Park Rangers, Southampton and Fulham. Their most recent match saw them squander a two-goal lead at home to Southampton—a team that is definitely not as potent as the Gunners can be.

Arsenal might not be traveling well, but neither are Chelsea.

Wenger's men clearly brought their A-game to their last London derby (5-2 over Tottenham); could we see a similar thing this time around?


2. Everton (away to Southampton)

It might surprise many to see Everton ranked this high on upset alert this week given the quality and consistency they've produced so far this season.

Yet what stands out most here is not the Toffees' absence of form, or their absence of skill, but rather the self-belief and current run that Southampton are on at the moment.

Southampton are undefeated in their past five league matches and have suffered just two defeats since the 5th of November—13 weeks ago.

They've conceded nearly half as few goals when playing at St. Mary's Stadium, and proved last week against Chelsea that they are more than capable of mixing it with the best teams in the league—even when things don't look like they're going their way.

The Saints have lost just one of their past six home matches, with their last game at home a 1-1 draw against the North London club, Arsenal.

The Merseyside club, on the other hand, have picked up just four wins from 11 matches away from home this year, and could well be left wanting in this one if the Saints continue their incredible run of form in the Premier League.

Any team that is capable of coming from two goals down at Stamford Bridge to finish with a 2-2 draw is certainly capable of winning at home to Everton.

Especially when they haven't lost in nearly a month of football.


1. West Ham (home to Queens Park Rangers)

Speaking of London derbies, West Ham are certainly no sure-thing at home to Queens Park Rangers at the moment—particularly given the direction that the two clubs are currently heading in.

The Hammers are dropping further and further down the ladder with every passing week, and have won just two of their past 10 matches.

QPR, on the other hand, have only lost three of their past nine matches and have posted great results of late against quality teams.

They beat Chelsea at the Bridge and kept Tottenham scoreless—proving that they are still a real chance at avoiding relegation.

With the news coming from The Independent, among other outlets, that Loic Remy and perhaps Yann M'Vila are joining the club also, Harry Redknapp's men have plenty to play for here and are on a real roll in the Premier League—something that the Hammers might not be able to stop this weekend.

Which EPL teams do you think are on #UpsetAlert this weekend?

Comment below or hit me up on Twitter: