As we approach the holidays and Europe’s other top leagues make plans for their winter breaks, the English Premier League is revving up for the busy “festive period” with a full round of midweek matches.
Everton vs. Arsenal
On Tuesday the high-flying Gunners will head north to Goodison Park to face Everton. Arsene Wenger’s side extended their unbeaten run with a 3-1 win over Stoke City on Saturday. Arsenal sit second in the table, three points behind Chelsea and made it through November – traditionally a difficult month for them – relatively unscathed.
The Gunners were dealt something of a blow on Monday when despite topping their Champions League group, they nonetheless managed to draw Bayern Munich in the next round. But that’s another matter and for now, Wenger needs to keep his team focused on a Premier League title challenge that looks to be shaping up as a two-horse race between Arsenal and Chelsea.
Everton have struggled this season, despite some improvements under new manager Ronald Koeman. The Toffees lost to Watford on Saturday and despite recent draws against Manchester United and Swansea City, haven’t won a game since October 30.
Despite going behind early, Arsenal made relatively easy work of Stoke on Saturday and Wenger was able to withdraw the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain early. The Frenchman is likely to start the same squad that was so effective against Stoke on Tuesday, although he could make rotations with an eye towards Sunday’s clash with Manchester City.
Despite winning against Stoke, Arsenal suffered their first major injury blow of the season with defensive mainstay Shkrodran Mustafi ruled out with a hamstring until the end of the year. Despite this, the Gunners’ ascendant form should see them past an inconsistent Everton.
Watch Everton vs. Arsenal on Tuesday, December 13 at 2:55 p.m. EST on NBC Sports.
Crystal Palace vs. Manchester United
With back-to-back wins against Zorya Luh in the Europa League and Tottenham in the Premier League, there’s a growing sense that Jose Mourinho could be beginning to right the ship at Manchester United. The Red Devils have been inconsistent thus far under the leadership of the self-styled “Special One.”
But the emergence of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and the return to form of players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo have helped bring about an uptick in form for United.
United will head to Selhurst Park on Wednesday to face a Crystal Palace side that sits 15th in the league. Manager Alan Pardew’s side has also undergone an up-and-down run of late. After snapping a six-game losing streak with a win against Southampton last week, Palace drew with Hull on the weekend.
Pardew’s team has been conceding an average of two goals a game. While United have not been scoring as many goals as perhaps they should, United should have enough firepower to take all three points back to Manchester.
Watch Crystal Palace FC vs. Manchester United FC on Wednesday, December 14 at 2:55 p.m. EST on NBC Sports.