We're only one-third of the way through the Premier League season, but the table is already starting to take shape.
At the top it's Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool leading the title race, while everyone from fourth-place West Ham to 10th-place Leicester is in a battle for the last Champions League spot. In the basement it's Newcastle United still looking for a first win this season.
The upcoming week is loaded with action thanks to some thrilling midweek ties, including the small matter of a Merseyside Derby.
Here's everything you need to know.
Everton vs. Liverpool
Wednesday, Dec. 1 at 3:15PM ET | Live stream
Result: Everton (+600), Draw (+375), Liverpool (-250)
Goals: 2.5 — Over (-188), Under (+150)
The Merseyside Derby, perhaps more than any other rival clash, signifies physicality.
While soccer fans worldwide will tune in for the bi-annual, can’t-miss event, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is less than excited.
"It's always a completely different game, so I really very often don't like the intensity of the game, it's too much for me," said Klopp on Saturday. "I like physical football, I have no problem with that, we play that, other teams play that, but in that game very often people put too much in. I can't say it's my favourite game of the year to be honest.”
In a game Liverpool should win comfortably, Klopp will hope he doesn’t lose any players to injury in the process.
Since falling to West Ham earlier in November, Liverpool has caught fire. The Reds have won their last three games by a combined score of 10-0, including thrashing Southampton 4-0 on the weekend. Klopp’s “perfect signing” Diogo Jota scored twice on the occasion, this masterful play from Mohamed Salah setting up the second:
SALAH ASSISTS JOTA TO DOUBLE THE LEAD 🤝 pic.twitter.com/k0NCxc2P7d
— DAZN Canada (@DAZN_CA) November 27, 2021
Everton slayed the dragon last season with a 2-0 win in February, defeating their neighbours for the first time since 2010, but repeating the feat in consecutive derbies feels unlikely.
The Toffees are currently closer to relegation than competing for a place in a European competition and haven’t won a match since Sept. 25 vs. Norwich.
Striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin has been injured since August, but that’s not enough to explain these woes. They’ll hope Richarlison, who was suspended for Everton’s loss to Brentford on the weekend, can repeat some Merseyside magic from last season.
The Richarlison goal that put Everton on their way to an historic victory at Anfield 🔵🇧🇷
Liverpool’s defence 😬pic.twitter.com/vPed7kCAjF
— GOAL (@goal) February 21, 2021
Man United vs. Arsenal
Thursday, Dec. 2 at 3:15PM ET | Live stream
Result: United (-106), Draw (+260), Arsenal (+275)
Goals: 2.5 — Over (-138), Under (+110)
A few weeks into the season, Arsenal was in the gutter and manager Mikel Arteta’s job was hanging on by a thread, while Manchester United looked ready to compete for the Premier League trophy.
Fast forward a couple months, Gunners fans have several reasons to be optimistic, and the Red Devils have fired a manager. Thursday’s tilt is a true defining test for both historic English clubs.
Is Arsenal for real? Or are they just a team that can beat up on the bottom half of the Premier League?
Can United be among England’s best with a new man on the touchline? Or was the horrific stretch under Solskjaer far more than a fluke?
The Red Devils haven’t lost since Michael Carrick took over as caretaker manager. They won midweek at Villareal and salvaged a draw at Chelsea over the weekend, despite the questionable XI Carrick put out.
An encouraging sign in both results was $100-million man Jadon Sancho’s emergence. He scored his first United goal vs. Villareal and his first in the Premier League tally vs. Chelsea – many thanks to Jorginho.
DISASTER FOR JORGINHO 🙈
SANCHO SCORES FOR UNITED 👀 pic.twitter.com/LfGWMrnlwe
— DAZN Canada (@DAZN_CA) November 28, 2021
The Red Devils will hope this is a sign of good things to come for Sancho and the club as interim manager Ralf Rangnick gets set to take over.
Arsenal has been in great form. They beat winless Newcastle 2-0 over the weekend as Bakayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli poured in electrifying goals at the Emirates. Still, they haven't managed well against the league's best with losses to Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool this season.
United no longer find themselves in that category, but a win for the Gunners at Old Trafford would serve as a significant statement.
West Ham vs. Chelsea
Saturday, Nov. 20 at 7:30AM ET | Live stream
Chelsea bulldozed through October and November with nine wins, two draws and zero losses.
The Blues, and Jorginho in particular, will punch themselves for not taking care of business despite dominating the play against Man United. At least the captain redeemed his blunder by converting a penalty to keep the unbeaten run alive.
The full range of emotions for Jorginho in the space of 19 minutes 😅 pic.twitter.com/KmzFYxboqG
— DAZN Football (@DAZNFootball) November 28, 2021
They’ll begin December with a favourable matchup at Watford midweek, but that unbeaten run will face a threat when the club travels to East London to face West Ham United.
The Hammers have provided their fans with yet another season to be proud of: They're contenders for a Champions League berth yet again as the fourth-place club in the EPL and they're onto the knockout stages of the Europa League.
On the other hand, they've lost their last two Premier League meetings and their marksman, Michail Antonio, is scoreless in five games.
They'll have a chance to return to the same electric form that led them to victory over Liverpool with a midweek clash against Brighton, and they'll need three points because those are hardly guaranteed against Chelsea.
Also, several clubs are nipping at their heels in the table, including Arsenal, Wolves and Spurs. If the Hammers don't find a result in either of the contests, it's more than likely a new club will be occupying the fourth spot once the double week is over.
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