After a thrilling Week 20 to open the 2014 portion of the schedule, the Premier League will continue on in Week 21. The table is beginning to get rather interesting at the top, and there are several matches in Week 21 that will impact the rankings.
As it stands currently, Arsenal lead the table and are dominating opponents with 45 total points and a 14-3-3 record. They are trailed closely by Manchester City (44 points, 14-2-4) and Chelsea (43 points, 13-3-4), and future meetings involving the squads will have major implications.
For now, Arsenal head into Week 21 with a favorable matchup against Aston Villa. Villa just lost in the FA Cup Third Round at home to Sheffield United, and Arsenal aren't the best opponents to bounce back against.
Here's how the rest of the table stacks up heading into Week 21 action.
|Premier League Table, Pre-Week 21|
Tottenham vs. Crystal Palace
White Hart Lane will play host to Tottenham and Crystal Palace on Jan. 11, and this match will give fans a great look at that type of mentality Tottenham have after losing 2-0 to Arsenal in the FA Cup Third Round.
Luckily for Tottenham, Crystal Palace have lost seven of nine away matches on the season. Palace are 5-4-1 over the last nine matches, though, and Tottenham have to be careful not to play down to the No. 18 team on the table.
At No. 6 (37 points) on the table, Tottenham are still within striking distance of the top. They cannot afford losses to lesser teams anymore, however. Tottenham have to start beating up on the teams ranked below them in an effort to pick up points. Of course, they'll also have to start handing losses to those teams that are on par with themselves.
Palace are going nowhere this season, but they will continue to try to play spoiler to other squads as the season continues. This is a match that can easily go wrong for Tottenham if they aren't careful.
Newcastle vs. Manchester City
Newcastle are 2-0 in recent weeks but 2-3 in their past five matches overall. Manchester City, on the other hand, are 4-0-1 over their past five matches.
The Blues have also won each of the past five meetings between the two teams. This one has all the makings of a cakewalk for the No. 2 team on the table, but Newcastle can't be taken lightly.
The match will take place at St James' Park, but that won't be an advantage for Newcastle this time around. The team has too many obstacles to overcome, especially given the recent knee injury to defender Fabricio Coloccini.
BBC Sport reports that Coloccini will miss up to six weeks with the injury. Newcastle sit at No. 8 on the table, and they are still alive in the Premier League. Losing Coloccini for an extended period of time is not conducive to success, however.
Look for the Blues to come through with a victory as a result.
Hull City vs. Chelsea
Chelsea are 4-0 in their most recent winning streak, while Hull City are 2-2 over that same time. Chelsea's win at Liverpool on Dec. 29 represented a quality victory for the Blues, and Hull City's best victory recently was the 6-0 rout against Fulham.
Needless to say, Chelsea have been far more impressive in the past month or so.
Then again, Chelsea are the better team overall. Their 43 points are representative of the consistency they've displayed this season, and they are in good position to possibly move up the table if Man City falter against Newcastle.
While a loss would be devastating against an inferior Hull City team, losing wouldn't endanger Chelsea from dropping past No. 3 either. Liverpool sit four points behind at No. 4.
Chelsea are also 9-0-1 at Stamford Bridge this season. The chances of them dropping this match are slim to none.
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