Although it will be hard for the Premier League to top last week's action, the clubs will do their part to provide the fans with plenty of entertainment.
Last week alone saw Manchester City's 6-3 demolition of Arsenal, Liverpool's 5-0 thrashing of Tottenham Hotspur and comfortable wins for Everton and Manchester United.
From top to bottom, Matchday 17 isn't loaded with a wealth of mouth-watering fixtures. However, Sunday features two intriguing matches, while the marquee fixture of this week's action is Arsenal and Chelsea's Monday night clash.
Looking ahead to Matchday 17, here's a prediction for how the matches could play out.
|EPL Week 17 Predictions|
|Sat., Dec. 21|
|Liverpool||Cardiff City||LIV, 3-1|
|Fulham||Manchester City||MC, 3-0|
|Manchester United||West Ham United||MANU, 1-0|
|Stoke City||Aston Villa||Draw|
|Sunderland||Norwich City||NOR, 1-0|
|West Brom||Hull City||Draw|
|Sun., Dec. 22|
|Southampton||Tottenham Hotspur||TOT, 1-0|
|Swansea City||Everton||EVE, 2-1|
|Mon., Dec. 23|
Fulham vs. Manchester City
Surely Manchester City will start playing better on the road sooner rather than later? They have won all eight of their home matches by a combined score of 35-5, yet they've taken eight points from the same amount of away matches.
Once they can find consistency, City will be positioned to win the league.
Fulham are showing signs of life under Rene Meulensteen, but the Cottagers remain one of the worst teams in the league.
The key for City will be getting the first goal. They'll want to get Fulham on the back foot as early as possible in order to prevent Dimitar Berbatov from getting into one of those moods where he's actually running and making a concerted effort.
Going down early could kill Berbatov's drive and erase Fulham's belief.
City get the edge. Their midfield is too good, and even without Sergio Aguero, they have more than enough attackers to drop a couple of goals on Fulham.
Prediction: Manchester City 3, Fulham 0
Southampton vs. Tottenham Hotspur
Sometimes you see that "new manager bump" where clubs respond well to having somebody different on the touchline. It can be liberating, as the new guy undoes some of what went wrong under the old guy and gives the players more freedom.
Tottenham announced Tim Sherwood will take over for the sacked Andre Villas-Boas.
Former manager Harry Redknapp is confident of Sherwood's ability, per The Sun (via Sky Sports):
Tim should get the job permanently and work alongside Les Ferdinand. Together they are old-school Spurs and would do a tremendous job. I brought them both back to the club because they understand the place. They are great coaches and don't forget, Tim was captain at Blackburn when they won the league in 1995.
It could go either way for Spurs. They could finally fulfill their preseason expectations, or the struggles will be the same, just under somebody else.
Southampton have struggled in recent weeks, losing three and drawing two in their last five games. Although Saints have been better at home, there's no question that this team is different from the Saints side that got into the top four.
On their best day, Tottenham win this match. The question is whether their attack will remain ineffective, or find their footing.
With the players looking to impress under Sherwood, it should be a strong performance under the club—at least strong enough to snatch a goal and remain organized in defence, which has been Spurs' calling card the entire season.
Prediction: Tottenham 1, Southampton 0
Arsenal vs. Chelsea
Arsenal haven't had the best of records against top opposition, and that's often been the reason that many have dismissed the Gunners as title contenders.
The 6-3 loss to City didn't help matters.
But now Arsenal have a golden opportunity to shed that label for the time being and strengthen their league position in the process.
Chelsea haven't looked assured this season. Samuel Eto'o and Fernando Torres have their fair share of issues up front, while set pieces continue to give the Blues trouble.
Jose Mourinho will set Chelsea out defensively for this game, hoping things play out as they did against Manchester City back in October.
However, Arsenal will be eager to rebound from that loss to City. Playing at home, they should score the first goal, which will help to open up the game and force Chelsea out of their shell.
Prediction: Arsenal 2, Chelsea 1
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