EPL fixtures at a glance: All eyes on top of table clash

AFTER the final international break for 2023, fans of the English Premier League will no doubt be captivated by the top-of-the table clash between reigning champions Manchester City and 2nd place Liverpool.

Round 13 of matches will provide quite a few other intriguing matches but none quite as enticing as the clash of the titans at the Etihad Stadium. FocusM takes a look at some of the talking points from the upcoming fixtures.

Manchester City v Liverpool (Sat, 8.30pm)

It is early days yet but already this has been billed as a title decider with the top two facing off. The reigning champions were handed a few injury scares during the international break with Eerling Haaland and Rodri both picking up knocks but the Norwegian goal machine has declared himself fit.

On the other side, Liverpool have Mo Salah in brilliant form and Jurgen Klopp will have to decide between Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota, Cody Gapko and the mercurial Darwin Nunez to fill the other two attacking spots.

The Merseysiders, though, have issues with central midfield with Wataru Endo not yet quite up to speed with the pace of English football while the absence of the flying Scot, Andy Robertson will also impact the balance of the side.

Burnley v West Ham United (Sat, 11pm)

Vincent Kompany insists he is not under pressure despite Burnley having lost all six home games this season. He is refusing to press the panic button believing his squad can still turn things around although he acknowledges the gap between the Championship and Premiership is quite significant.

Burnley welcome a West Ham side struggling with injury problems and this may represent their best chance yet to finally secure a home win. The Hammers will fancy their chances at inflicting further misery on a Burnley side clearly short on confidence.

Luton Town v Crystal Palace (Sat, 11pm)

Another side yet to taste victory at home is Luton Town. If they are to stay up, they will need to beat sides like Crystal Palace at Kenilworth Road. Backed by a vociferous crowd, the small stadium can be quite intimidating, as Liverpool found out when they struggled to earn a point against a highly disciplined Luton side.

Had the home team been a bit more adventurous, they could have secured a famous victory. The onus will be on The Eagles to take the game against the home side ensconced in the relegation zone, but they will need to be wary of the Hatter’s ability to spring quick counters.

Newcastle v Chelsea (Sat, 11pm)

It is tight at the top with competition for a place in next season’s Champion’s League looking increasingly fierce. Aside from Manchester City, up to seven teams will be vying for the remaining four places, including Chelsea and Newcastle.

Chelsea will be especially keen after missing out on European competition completely this campaign but the silver lining is that this gives Mauricio Pochettino ample time during the week to knock his bloated squad into shape.

Nottingham Forest v Brighton & Hove Albion (Sat, 11pm)

Divock Origi (Photo credit: Nottingham Post)


Taiwo Awoniyi is hugely important to Forest as he is their main goal threat, having scored 10 in his last 14 outings. Forest have not won the last eight league games since the Nigerian striker was absent. That Awoniyi will be out for up to four months following surgery on a groyne issue is indeed bad news for Gary Cooper.

The Forest manager will be hoping loan signing Divock Origi can fill the void as the Belgian forward shares similar traits with Awoniyi.

Otherwise, Forest might find themselves being sucked into a relegation battle. They will also need to be wary of Brighton’s high press which can be devastatingly effective against slow and dawdling defenders.

Sheffield United v Bournemouth (Sat, 11pm)

A relegation six-pointer with both teams having endured miserable starts to the season. The Blades picked up just one point from the opening ten games while Bournemouth were struggling to adapt to new coach Adoni Iraola’s style of play.

But both have shown recent signs of recovery with the home side picking up four points from their last two matches. The Cherries are also beginning to show they can implement Iraola’s fast and fluid attacking style. This is a game neither side can afford to lose.

Brentford v Arsenal (Sun, 1.30am)

The late kick-off was originally slated for Manchester City v Liverpool but was switched to avoid potential crowd trouble in the top-of-the table clash. Mikael Arteta will be hoping to have captains Martin Odegaard and Gabriel Jesus back for this London derby. The latter played in Brazil’s 1-0 loss to Argentina in midweek after being sidelined for a month but Arteta will be wary of the travel impact after such a long layoff.

He will not be taking things for granted against a Brentford side that famously won their first game in the Premiership against Arsenal a few seasons ago. The Bees have established themselves in the top flight and fear no one as Thomas Frank has built a side capable of competing with the very best, despite having a comparatively minuscule budget.

Tottenham Hotspurs v Aston Villa (Sun, 10pm)

Aston Villa are in a lofty fifth and could very well move into the top four if other results go their way. They have been much improved since Unai Emery took the helm and are looking strong contenders for a spot in the Europa League, at the very least, next season. Their style of play has received much praise and Ollie Watkins has been the main beneficiary as he is banging in the goals for fun.

Spurs have lost their last two and seem like a different proposition without James Maddison in the side. Ange Potecoglou will need to find a new creative outlet for a team that is looking a tad lacklustre after their blistering start to the campaign.

Everton v Manchester United (Mon, 12.30am)

Sean Dyche

Everton will be feeling extremely hard done by the tenten-pointduction handed out by the Premier League for financial irregularities. It is the heaviest sanction ever handed out and there are planned protests scheduled before, during and after the game. Can Sean Dyche’s team harness that rage and turn it into something powerful on the pitch, beginning with the visit of Manchester United? Only time will tell as the Toffees start their uphill battle to avoid the drop.

Erik Ten Haag’s Red Devils come into this fixture on the back of two one-nil wins, neither of which were convincing.  The cauldron of a seething Goodison Park will test the mettle of his players and whether they have the appetite for the fight.

Fulham v Wolverhampton Wanderers (Tues, 4am)

Fulham look extremely blunt since striker Aleksandar Mitrovic forced a lucrative transfer to the Saudi pro-league in the summer. Raul Jimenez has not looked the same player since he suffered that life-threatening head injury whilst at Wolves and will be looking to prove a point against his old side.

The Cottagers sit seven points above the drop zone and couple of defeats could see them sucked into an unwanted relegation dog fight. The Wolves, meanwhile, are in 12th place and will be hoping to improve on it with an away win which could take them into the top half of the table. – Nov 25, 2023


Main photo credit: The Independent

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