The Premier League Big Match-Ups – Gameweek 12. Following the international break, the Premier League resumes play this weekend, with football matches now running nonstop until March 2022. Over the course of Saturday and Sunday, a number of fascinating matches will be played, including a significant test for Liverpool and Arsenal, a must-win game for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and a battle of wits between Antonio Conte and Marcelo Bielsa in Tottenham against Leeds. 

Leicester vs Chelsea

The Blues have been the greatest team in the Premier League so far this season, as proven not just by their top-of-the-table status but also by their domination against opponents. Thomas Tuchel’s team has only conceded four goals in 11 games, averaging 0.36 goals per game. That is just remarkable. Despite being tenacious and structured at the defense. At the same time, they have scored more goals than any other club in the league save Liverpool.

Brendan Rodgers, who spent the international break wondering if he would leave Leicester for Manchester United, gave the Foxes a significant boost this week when he officially committed to the club. Leicester has struggled with injuries this season, and being without star Youri Tielemans, most likely till Christmas, comes at a bad time.

Liverpool vs. Arsenal

Talk about one of the season’s most remarkable turnarounds. Arsenal has not lost a match since losing its first three EPL games, including a 5-0 thrashing by Man City in August. After eight league games, Arsenal is in fifth position, two points and a spot behind Liverpool in the table. On the heels of Mohamed Salah’s spectacular start to the season, Liverpool appeared like it was going to run away with the championship, or at the very least be in a two-horse battle with Chelsea.

The Reds have only won two of their past five league games (one of which was an amazing 5-0 triumph against Manchester United), with their most recent encounter being a depressing 3-2 loss to West Ham United. There’s no need for Jurgen Klopp and his team to be concerned, but a visit from an in-form Arsenal side will put them to the test.

It’s not only that Arsenal has been playing well; Mikel Arteta’s players are raising their game and pushing themselves into the general limelight. For a lot of the Gunners’ English players, it was a significant international break. The visitors will have a chance against an always difficult Liverpool team with a fit Thomas Partey in the middle surrounded Arteta’s youthful ensemble of future stars.

Even with recent setbacks, Liverpool is a formidable force  and this match should be more evenly contested than if it were played even a month ago. Despite the club’s recent record, it’s difficult to envision Liverpool losing two games in a row, playing at home.

Manchester City vs. Everton

Last but not least, Manchester City will face Everton at the Etihad Stadium. While things haven’t been going well for the visitors, Pep Guardiola’s team is in second position, three points behind leaders Chelsea. After this encounter, expect the Sky Blues to keep the pressure on the regular Blues.

On the short journey over the English northwest, Rafa Benitez’s Toffees have their job cut out for them. Despite going nearly two months without a win, Everton hasn’t performed particularly badly; it simply hasn’t put together an entire match. The Toffees have lacked the killing edge needed to succeed in this league, whether it’s going behind early or relinquishing leads.

Everton will not be able to turn things around in this game, which might cause problems for Benitez, who is already under fire after a poor start to his first season in charge. After a loss against City, he’ll probably be granted some leeway…but forthcoming games against Brentford, arch-rivals Liverpool, and Arsenal may make or break the season.

By Clive Banda

Football Dialogue is the Home to Football News & Content that is both instructive and timeless.

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