All Access Soccer

WEEK12 PREMIER LEAGUE PREVIEW

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By: MATT CARROLL, ALL ACCESS SOCCER’S PREMIER LEAGUE EXPERT, courtesy of TRUSOX.com

 

Matchday 12
With the final international break of the year in the rearview mirror and the field of thirty-two teams for the summer’s World Cup in Russia officially set – which will be without world footballing giants such as Italy, Netherlands, and Chile to help ease the sting of the USA missing out – the English Premier League returns to action with a massive showdown in the capitol to kick off Matchday 12 on Saturday morning. Full focus will be on the league over the next few months with only a handful of teams navigating Champions League responsibilities so be sure to tune in bright and early as the campaign really starts to heat up with every game available live on the NBC family of networks or online at NBC Live Extra.
Saturday (all times eastern)
7:30am – Tottenham @ Arsenal – Emirates Stadium, NBC Sports Network
Tottenham avoided defeat for the second time in as many weeks when Son Heung-Min became the highest-scoring Asian player in Premier League history with his 64th minute strike enough to see Spurs past the desperate Crystal Palace 1-0 in their London Derby. They will kick off the weekend in the biggest capitol derby of them all when they travel across town to visit arch rivals Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium for the North London Derby, with the Gunners still licking their wounds after they became just the next team in a growing line so far this season to be run over by Manchester City in a 3-1 defeat.
Any hopes of mounting a title challenge were effectively put to bed with the defeat as Arsenal find themselves in sixth place in the table and twelve points back of the runaway league leaders. A top four finish will be the new goal although the Gunners, sitting four points back of their weekend opponent and three back of fourth place Chelsea, cannot afford to fall further off the pace against a Spurs side who are enjoying their longest ever unbeaten run against their rivals, having not left empty handed from their last six meetings in the league (W2 D4) and their last three trips to the Emirates Stadium (D3).
10am – Manchester City @ Leicester City – King Power Stadium, NBC Sports Network
The victory over Arsenal made it ten wins from their eleven league outings so far this season for Manchester City (D1), with the thirty-one-point haul and matching goal differential marking the best ever start to a top flight campaign at this stage. They will look to maintain their stranglehold on the top of the table when they travel to the King Power Stadium for a matchup with Leicester City, who for the third-year running shared the points on the road with Stoke City in a 2-2 draw to stay unbeaten in their last five in the league, the last two of which came with new manager Clade Puel at the helm (W2 D3).
With losses in three of their first four league games to open the season (W1) and languishing near the bottom of the table, Leicester City seems to have righted the ship following the dismissal of Craig Shakespeare and the appointment of Puel, although they will face the unenviable task tomorrow of trying to slow down a rampaging City side that, despite dropping two of the last three meetings with the Foxes (W1) including this fixture last season, are unbeaten on the road in the campaign (W5) and have lost only one of their last eight trips to the King Power Stadium (W4 D3).
Sunday (all times eastern)
11am – West Ham United @ Watford – Vicarage Road, NBC Sports Network
Following weeks of speculation, West Ham United finally parted ways with manager Slaven Bilic after his side slept walk through the first half in an eventual 4-1 defeat to Liverpool just before the international break. A familiar face has been handed the reigns and will be on the touchline for his 500th Premier League match as manager when David Moyes and the Hammers visit Watford at Vicarage Road for the only game on the Sunday slate and the Hornets still reeling after squandering a two goal second half advantage against the offensively challenged Everton to fall for the third week in a row 3-2.
While a sputtering Watford side may look like a good spot to get his tenure off on the right foot Moyes, eager to shake off his disastrous spell at Manchester United and his relegation while calling the shots at Sunderland just last season, takes over a West Ham side that have managed three points only once in their last thirteen league matches on the road (W1 D6 L6) visiting a Watford side that have dropped only one of their last six in the league between the two (W3 D2) and just one of the last five times they have entertained the Hammers at Vicarage Road across all competitions (W2 D2).

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