A quick glance at the Matchweek 12 schedule and you’ll be wishing the Premier League wasn’t on a hiatus this weekend.
The Merseyside derby gets us underway in the early kick-off on Nov. 23, and what better way to whet the appetite for the weekend ahead.
Southampton, who have been the team of the season so far, will look to close the gap on league leaders Arsenal when they travel to the Emirates. The Saints currently sit a remarkable third in the table, and a win would see them go level with the Gunners on 25 points.
Manchester City and Tottenham will be hoping to banish the memories of Super Sunday when they clash at the Etihad, while Manchester United will look to continue their climb up the table when they travel to Wales to take on Cardiff City.
Here’s a look at a full slate of predictions and a breakdown of Everton vs. Liverpool and Man City vs. Spurs.
|EPL Week 12 Picks|
|Nov. 23, 12:45 p.m GMT||Everton||vs.||Liverpool||Liverpool win, 2-1|
|Nov. 23, 3 p.m GMT||Newcastle||vs.||Norwich||Draw, 2-2|
|Nov. 23, 3 p.m GMT||Fulham||vs.||Swansea||Swansea win, 2-1|
|Nov. 23, 3 p.m GMT||Stoke||vs.||Sunderland||Draw, 1-1|
|Nov. 23, 3 p.m GMT||Hull||vs.||Crystal Palace||Hull win, 1-0|
|Nov. 23, 3 p.m GMT||Arsenal||vs.||Southampton||Arsenal win, 2-1|
|Nov. 23, 5:30 p.m GMT||West Ham||vs.||Chelsea||Chelsea win, 4-1|
|Nov. 24, 1:30 p.m GMT||Man City||vs.||Tottenham||City win, 2-0|
|Nov. 24, 4 p.m GMT||Cardiff||vs.||Man United||United win, 2-0|
|Nov. 24, 8 p.m GMT||West Brom||vs.||Aston Villa||W Brom win, 2-1|
|Schedule via premierleague.com|
Everton vs. Liverpool
Liverpool are unbeaten in their last six contests with Merseyside rivals Everton, and boss Brendan Rodgers will be hoping to extend that run when his side travel to Goodison Park.
The Reds’ last victory away to Everton came in 2011—per 11v11—when they clinched a 2-0 win, courtesy of goals from Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez, the latter of which will be hoping to provide the inspiration once more.
Roberto Martinez has made Everton a difficult team to beat since arriving on Merseyside, and the Toffees are one of only two teams to have lost just once in the league this campaign.
But the concern for the former Wigan boss will be his side’s lack of activity in front of goal.
In their 0-0 draws against Spurs and Crystal Palace, who have one of the worst defensive records in the league, Everton mustered just three shots on target. They will need to find a way to better service Romelu Lukaku up front if they’re to find a way past Liverpool.
If Philippe Coutinho plays well, then he could hold the key to a Liverpool win.
Everton are solid throughout the centre of the pitch, and it takes a creative player in the mold of the Brazilian to pick holes in their rearguard.
If the 21-year-old, who returned from injury in Liverpool’s 4-0 win over Fulham, is afforded space and time on the ball in midfield, then he will pose problems. If given room to weave his magic, Coutinho will look to bring Daniel Sturridge and Suarez into play, and that is when Liverpool are at their best.
Manchester City vs. Tottenham
The last thing Andre Villas-Boas and Manuel Pellegrini needed after a tough loss was an international break. Both managers would have been eager to get their troops back out on the training pitch after their unexpected defeats to Newcastle and Sunderland, but instead they have time to reflect on what has been an up-and-down opening 11 games to the season.
For City, the message is clear: They must overcome their travel sickness if they’re to challenge for title honours. They are the only team in the league to win all of their home games so far this term, but away from home, they have struggled with just one win in six.
They look like a different side when they play in front of their own fans. They are more fluid in attack, they create and convert more chances, they look more comfortable on the ball, and overall, they just look like a better team.
Spurs fans would probably take a draw right now. Spurs have an abundance of talented, solid players at their disposal, but they have struggled to create many chances in front of goal, scoring just nine times this campaign.
Part of this is down to their lack of width, Andre Villas-Boas’ tendency to sway on the side of caution, and the poor form of Roberto Soldado, who it must be said has had scraps to work with since arriving in North London.
The longer their drought in front of goal continues, the more questions will be raised about the presence of both Erik Lamela and Jermain Defoe on the bench.
Both teams will be looking to right the wrongs of Gameweek 10 when they clash, but expect City to come away with the spoils.
The Manchester outfit have won four of their last five games against Spurs, and their form at the Etihad should see them through.