Now that we're 12 weeks into the 2013-14 Premier League season, a clearer view of the top of the table is starting to emerge. But it's not quite what was expected at the beginning of the year.
Defending champs Manchester United are out of the top four at the moment after a disappointing start and Southampton find themselves tied for the No. 4 spot.
The most surprising development of all is that Arsenal—yes, the Gunners, who seemingly underwhelmed in the offseason transfer window before being saved by Mesut Ozil—are four points clear at the top of the table.
With a handful of enticing matchups and upsets sure to unfold, there's no reason not to tune in and catch all of this weekend's action.
Here's a look at where you can catch the Week 13 Premier League slate of games.
|Sat., Nov. 30|
|10 a.m. ET, 3 p.m. GMT||Cardiff City vs. Arsenal||NBCSN|
|10 a.m. ET, 3 p.m. GMT||Everton vs. Stoke City||Extra Time|
|10 a.m. ET, 3 p.m. GMT||Aston Villa vs. Sunderland||Extra Time|
|10 a.m. ET, 3 p.m. GMT||West Ham vs. Fulham||Extra Time|
|10 a.m. ET, 3 p.m. GMT||Norwich City vs. Crystal Palace||Extra Time|
|12:30 p.m. ET, 5:30 p.m. GMT||Newcastle United vs. West Brom||NBC|
|Sun., Dec. 1|
|7 a.m. ET, noon GMT||Tottenham vs. Manchester United||NBCSN|
|9:05 a.m. ET, 2:05 p.m. GMT||Hull City vs. Liverpool||NBCSN|
|11:10 a.m. ET, 4:10 p.m. GMT||Chelsea vs. Southampton||NBCSN|
|11:10 a.m. ET, 4:10 p.m. GMT||Manchester City vs. Swansea City||Extra Time|
Extra Time = Premier League Extra Time
Cardiff City vs. Arsenal
The Gunners' start to the 2013-14 season is undoubtedly the most talked-about surprise of the EPL, but nobody saw Cardiff City's success coming.
Fresh off promotion to the big league, Cardiff beat Manchester City in their first home Premier League game to serve as a massive shocker early in the season. As if that wasn't enough, they pulled out a draw against United last weekend thanks to a stoppage-time goal.
Between those two results, Cardiff have been able to transform from a team unable to hang with the EPL giants to a dangerous club able to beat anyone—including Arsenal.
After seeing what Cardiff have been able to do through 12 weeks, it would be surprising to see Arsenal overlook this foe, especially playing on the road. While it may not be the most talented team the Gunners have faced by any stretch of the imagination, pulling out three points would be worth applauding.
Tottenham vs. Manchester United
Two clubs desperate to erase recent woes face off on Sunday when Manchester United travel to play Tottenham.
The Red Devils' less-than-stellar start to the season has been talked about ad nauseam, but the fact is that despite the draw to Cardiff last week, they still sit just one point shy of the final top-four spot. Depending on what Manchester City and Southampton do, David Moyes' club could get into the top four with a win.
On the other end of the spectrum, Andre Villas-Boas' tenure with Spurs has gotten off to such a rocky start that The Guardian reported this week that he is on the verge of losing his job. Still, Tottenham are just one point shy of United and two points shy of the top four with a home contest looming.
AVB's early-season struggles will be a distant memory if Spurs can pull out three points against Manchester United.
Chelsea vs. Southampton
As if the first few months of the season haven't featured enough surprises, Southampton have emerged as one of the most dangerous clubs in the entire league.
Meanwhile, Chelsea's transition into the Jose Mourinho era has certainly led to its fair share of struggles, but the Blues have still taken care of things enough in the EPL to sit at a tie for second place with 24 points.
Fresh off a Champions League loss to FC Basel, Chelsea will be looking to build some momentum and it certainly won't hurt to realize that Southampton would conceivably jump them in the table if they pulled out a road victory.
However this matchup ends should impact the top of the table for the coming weeks and that makes it a must-watch.