Manchester City will head into Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea in what is the Premier League's most intriguing contest for Matchday 9.
With both teams sitting in the top four of the table, this matchup would be the highlighted contest for most weeks.
Of course, this week is about more than that contest. Among others, we have Manchester United attempting to get on track while hosting Stoke City and Southampton looking to continue their surprise start against an underachieving Fulham.
Have a look at all the fixtures and my predictions for the week in what should be an entertaining slate of matches.
Manchester United vs. Stoke City
|Premier League Matchday 9 Fixtures and Predictions|
|Home Team||Away Team||Date, Time (BST/EST) and Location||Prediction|
|Crystal Palace||Arsenal||Oct. 26, 12:45 p.m./7:45 a.m., Selhurst Park.||Arsenal win, 2-0|
|Aston Villa||Everton||Oct. 26, 3 p.m./10 a.m., Villa Park.||Everton win, 2-1|
|Liverpool||West Brom||Oct. 26, 3 p.m./10 a.m., Anfield.||Liverpool win, 3-0|
|Manchester United||Stoke City||Oct. 26, 3 p.m./10 a.m., Old Trafford.||United win, 2-1|
|Norwich||Cardiff City||Oct. 26, 3 p.m./10 a.m., Carrow Road.||Norwich win, 2-0|
|Southampton||Fulham||Oct. 26, 5:30 p.m./12:30 p.m., St. Mary's.||Southampton win, 2-1|
|Sunderland||Newcastle||Oct. 27, 1:30 p.m./8:30 a.m., The Stadium of Light.||Newcastle win, 1-0|
|Chelsea||Manchester City||Oct. 27, 4 p.m./11 a.m., Stamford Bridge.||Chelsea win 3-1|
|Swansea||West Ham||Oct. 27, 4 p.m./11 a.m., The Liberty Stadium.||Swansea win, 2-0|
|Tottenham Hotspur||Hull||Oct. 27, 4 p.m./11 a.m., White Hart Lane.||Tottenham win, 2-0|
|Fixtures via premierleague.com|
It's been two steps forward and one back, or maybe it's one step forward and two back, for the Red Devils this year. Manchester United are an uncomfortable eighth in the table and eight points back of Arsenal.
The Red Devils have an Oct. 23 Champions League match against Real Sociedad before taking on Stoke, and they will hope to show better form than their last time on the pitch, which was a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford against Southampton.
Still, no matter what happens in that Champions League tie, if United doesn't emerge with three points against 16th-place Stoke, it will officially be time to panic.
The Red Devils will hold off that panic, but it won't be a dominant performance. Still, at this point, a 2-1 win over Stoke City will be a welcomed sight.
Southampton vs. Fulham
I finished painting a scene of gloom for Manchester United after a home draw against Southampton. That does not serve justice to Southampton's fine form this season.
Mauricio Pochettino has his team overachieving with 15 points and sixth in the table.
Southampton hasn't lost a match since Aug. 31. They've played six matches in that span and have won four of those. Along with the draw against the Red Devils, this team also has a 1-0 victory over Liverpool to post to the resume.
Fulham will try to bring that streak to an end by cracking a defense that has allowed just three goals on the season.
A win would give a needed boost to the underachieving Fulham season. With 10 points, the Cottagers are in 14th place. Unfortunately for them, they will not be able to improve on that point total in this match.
Prediction: Southampton 2, Fulham 1
Chelsea vs. Manchester City
While Chelsea struggled a bit to score as they adjusted to Jose Mourinho, the Blues have been dumping in goals left and right as of late. In all competitions in their last four matches, the Blues have outscored opponents, 14-2.
Meanwhile, Manchester City sits one point behind second-place Chelsea, but the Citizens league-leading plus-11 goal differential speaks to the scary explosiveness of this talented squad.
City has netted a league-leading 20 goals this season, and despite Chelsea's improved attack, this is where the best matchup will be. Chelsea has been stingy all year, allowing only five goals in their eight EPL matches.
As you can see in the above table, I picked Chelsea to cruise to a 3-1 victory. I love the way their offense is coming effortlessly, and City has been shaky on the road, having a 1-2-1 record as the travelling team.
Prediction: Chelsea 3, Manchester City 1