While every match in the English Premier League season is important, Week 16 features some battles that will truly have a lasting effect throughout the year.
In the first match of the weekend, Manchester City defeated Arsenal at home to narrow the gap on top of the table.
This kicked off an exciting set of matches, including Newcastle against Southampton and Liverpool vs. Tottenham. These battles all had a big impact on the current league table as the season nears its halfway point.
Here is a look at the latest standings and full results from Matchday 16.
|16||West Bromwich Albion||16||3||6||7||-5||15|
|17||West Ham United||16||3||5||8||-6||14|
|Dec. 14||Manchester City||6-3||Arsenal|
|Dec. 14||Cardiff City||1-0||West Bromwich Albion|
|Dec. 14||Chelsea||2-1||Crystal Palace|
|Dec. 14||Newcastle United||1-1||Southampton|
|Dec. 14||West Ham United||0-0||Sunderland|
|Dec. 14||Hull City||0-0||Stoke City|
|Dec. 15||Aston Villa||0-3||Manchester United|
|Dec. 15||Norwich City||1-1||Swansea City|
via ESPN FC
Easily the most highly anticipated match entering the week was between Arsenal and Manchester City. This battle pitted the top club in the league against a team that won all seven previous matches at home.
Theo Walcott scored two goals in his first start since September for Arsenal, but City's offense was simply too tough to stop. Five different players scored in a 6-3 win that sent a message to the rest of the league.
Bleacher Report UK provided a look at how dominant the club has been at Etihad Stadium this year:
Pellegrini's Fortress Etihad: 8 EPL Games, 8 Wins, 35 Goals #mcfc— Bleacher Report UK (@br_uk) December 14, 2013
Newcastle United and Southampton were also involved in a thrilling match between two squads fighting on the top half of the table. Each side struggled in the final third in this one, but they were both able to come away with one score in a 1-1 draw.
Chelsea were able to get a win at home against Crystal Palace, but it was not as easy as it should have been with the road team challenging throughout the match. However, the Blues got goals from Fernando Torres and Ramires to leave with a 2-1 victory.
Football analyst Iain Macintosh points out that the crowd was not thrilled with the effort despite the win:
FT: 2-1, but you'd never know from the mood of the crowd. Sustained applause from Palace support. An old-fashioned look from Chelsea fans.— Iain Macintosh (@iainmacintosh) December 14, 2013
Everton had an easier time with Fulham, dominating the opponent for a 4-1 victory. Only a Dimitar Berbatov penalty shot prevented another clean sheet for the home club.
The action continues on Sunday with some of the most popular clubs in England.
Manchester United will look to end their recent slide with a road match against Aston Villa. After losing the last two EPL contests at home, perhaps this trip to Villa Park could be beneficial.
Meanwhile, Tottenham are hoping to continue their recent strong offensive play after scoring two goals in three straight matches. Of course, this will be necessary against Liverpool, who can score with anyone in the league.
These battles and more help create the weekly excitement in the always-competitive English Premier League.
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