With Chelsea beating Manchester City and Liverpool losing to Bournemouth last week, we head into the next weekend of Premier League action with a wide-open title race and a series of teams seeking redemption. What will happen in the coming games? Let's look at the top bets and picks.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10
Watford vs. Everton
Watford has shown flashes of great form this season, but has also conceded rather too many goals as a result of poor defensive communication. Therefore it matches Everton, the early-season pace-setter which now finds itself lagging behind in the race for Champions League places.
Watford has every chance to grab a win at home, even having lost two on the trot, especially if it can get quick balls to its pacy attackers and put the Everton defence under pressure.
Arsenal vs. Stoke
Arsenal is now the principal challenger to Chelsea, with Liverpool having missed its chance to stay second. The team looks settled, and capable of winning against anyone. Stoke, who won last time out, will have a tough time away from home, in a match that the Gunners have to be favourites to take, especially given the scale of the 5-1 demolition of West Ham.
Burnley vs. Bournemouth
Burnley has lost three games in a row, and looks more vulnerable than it had for a while. Stoke, who beat Burnley at the Bet365 Stadium last weekend, has a similar footballing style to Bournemouth, a team riding high after beating Liverpool with a late, late show on Sunday.
This is going to be a close game, but with Burnley's extra strength at home, it's highly likely the Clarets will get something from the fixture.
Top Bet: 12/5 with Bet365 for a draw
Hull City vs. Crystal Palace
Alan Pardew knows all about bouncing back, and he saw his team hit the back of the net three times in what was a much-improved performance against Southampton, one of his former clubs and a hitherto-impressive side.
Although Crystal Palace fans will feel that was how the team should have been playing all along, it will come as a comfort to them that Hull City, with a defence that is vulnerable to the sort of pace offered by Wilfried Zaha, is coming up. Expect a Palace win here.
Swansea City vs. Sunderland
Swansea must have hoped for more than a 5-0 defeat against Tottenham, but that result leaves Bob Bradley's team desperate at the wrong end of the table. Sunderland is on improved form and David Moyes seems to have found a winning combination in attack with Jermain Defoe and Victor Anichebe both among the goals of late.
This is highly likely to be a Sunderland win.
Leicester City vs. Manchester City
With Leicester in freefall, you could argue that it is the right time for a Manchester City team short on confidence to visit the King Power Stadium. However, City has conceded far too many goals this season and is vulnerable to direct teams like the Foxes.
Expect a City win, but also expect Leicester to score at least once.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 11
Chelsea vs. West Bromwich Albion
With Chelsea rolling steadily on through the wins at the top of the league, it is a fine time to take on West Brom, up to seventh thanks to the enterprising, hard-working football of Tony Pulis's players.
At Chelsea's best, a win should be on the cards against Albion, especially with Eden Hazard, Diego Costa and company on the kind of form shown against City.
Manchester United vs. Tottenham Hotspur
It's a big test for Jose Mourinho's Manchester United project: can he get the sort of ground-out win against Spurs that his teams used to specialise in? Spurs seemed to have kicked out the jams in putting five past Swansea, and Mauricio Pochettino will have every confidence a win is possible here.
Top Bet: 11/4 with Bet365 for a Tottenham win
Southampton vs. Middlesbrough
These are two inconsistent teams, with Southampton having fallen to 12th on the back of the defeat to Crystal Palace, while Boro still can't string two games together with the same result. Given that both teams are among the Premier League's lowest scorers, it would be wrong to anticipate a goalfest here, with a low-scoring draw a far greater possibility.
Top Bet: 14/5 with BetVictor for a draw
Liverpool vs. West Ham United
Liverpool's utter capitulation against Bournemouth must have left Jürgen Klopp scratching his head - it was incredible and unexpected, and leaves the Reds in third having been top of the table only weeks ago.
How Liverpool reacts is important now, and West Ham, beaten by Arsenal 5-1 at the London Stadium, should be there for the taking. But with Klopp's team short on confidence and West Ham looking for a reaction, this could be a lot closer than form would indicate.
Top Bet: 5/1 with BetVictor for a draw
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