Officially speaking, the 2013/14 Premier League campaign reaches its halfway mark this weekend as fans are treated to their third round of fixtures in the space of seven days.
The festive period has already provided its fair share of thrills and spills, but the English extravaganza will only continue with a bout of extremely promising matchups on the horizon.
Read on for a full prediction of this weekend's action, complete with a breakdown of the most enticing encounters ready to entertain.
|West Ham vs. West Brom||Dec. 28||12:45 p.m. GMT/7:45 a.m. ET||1-1|
|Aston Villa vs. Swansea City||Dec. 28||3 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET||2-3|
|Hull City vs. Fulham||Dec. 28||3 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET||3-1|
|Manchester City vs. Crystal Palace||Dec. 28||3 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET||3-0|
|Norwich City vs. Manchester United||Dec. 28||3 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET||2-3|
|Cardiff City vs. Sunderland||Dec. 28||5:30 p.m. GMT/12:30 p.m. ET||2-1|
|Everton vs. Southampton||Dec. 29||1:30 p.m. GMT/8:30 a.m. ET||2-0|
|Newcastle United vs. Arsenal||Dec. 29||1:30 p.m. GMT/8:30 a.m. ET||1-2|
|Chelsea vs. Liverpool||Dec. 29||4 p.m. GMT/11 a.m. ET||1-1|
|Tottenham vs. Stoke City||Dec. 29||4 p.m. GMT/11 a.m. ET||2-0|
Everton vs. Southampton
Everton's form coming into this weekend's clash against Southampton is one of the best in the Premier League, with Roberto Martinez's men unbeaten in their last 11 outings.
At the other end of the scale lies the Saints, who after a terrific opening to the 2013/14 campaign have seen their aspirations shrink thanks to a run of bad results going against the club of late.
Despite the bad run, Mauricio Pochettino is confident that his side can shirk their form, according to the Press Association's Simon Peach:
In fairness to the Argentine manager's side, the south coast outfit have had a very tough run of fixtures, including matches against Manchester City, Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea. But things don't get any easier with a trip to Goodison Park.
The Toffees have the best defence in the English top flight and have merely to move their attack onto the next level before truly establishing themselves as a top-four force, but even now the Merseysiders have enough about them to soak up anything Southampton can throw.
Prediction: Everton 2-0 Southampton
Newcastle United vs. Arsenal
Newcastle and Arsenal have seen out some terrifically entertaining fixtures between them over the last few seasons, the most recent of which was a 7-3 encounter last season, where the north Londoners emerged as victors.
It's another goalfest that all neutrals will be crossing their fingers for this time around, although Arsene Wenger would undoubtedly be pleased to just get another three points on the board.
The Magpies have recovered magnificently from a poor start to the season, Alan Pardew making do with a squad that initially suffered from a lack of summer activity but is now showing that there may be positives to a lack of change.
That being said, the Gunners are also a well-jelled squad and will be hoping that their superb scoring run away from home—an average of 2.13 goals scored per away trip this term—will be enough to improve recent form.
Prediction: Newcastle United 1-2 Arsenal
Chelsea vs. Liverpool
Who will come out on top at Stamford Bridge?
Not for some time have Liverpool and Chelsea met so closely contained in the Premier League title hunt, and it's arguably the Reds who head to Stamford Bridge as favourites for once this week.
Brendan Rodgers' side have been every bit the attacking monolith that Jose Mourinho wishes his side were, boasting the one reliable focal point in attack who has time and again made the difference for the Merseysiders this term.
With Luis Suarez enjoying a miraculous scoring streak of late (10 in his last four games), the Reds just can't be ruled out this weekend, but face a hard time against Mourinho's incredible Stamford Bridge record.
Prediction: Chelsea 1-1 Liverpool