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Rediff.com  » Sports » What you must not miss in the EPL this weekend

What you must not miss in the EPL this weekend

December 12, 2014 09:04 IST
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Leaders Chelsea have seen their lead reduced to just three points after a shock defeat, and a revival from defending champions Manchester City. Manchester United are back in third after a run of five straight wins. If Chelsea slip agains, City continue to pile on the pressure and United keep the winning momentum it will make EPL battle further interesting

Resurgent United keen to add to Liverpool's woes

Manchester United vs Liverpool

When: Sunday, December 14

Time: 1900 IST

Manchester United's Robin van Persie (right) celebrates his goal against Hull City with teammates. Photograph: Darren Staples/Reuters

Manchester United will bid for a sixth straight Premier League victory to heap more misery on Brendan Rodgers and his beleaguered Liverpool side when the bitter rivals meet at Old Trafford on Sunday.

United, who finished seventh last season, continued to recover from their poor start to the campaign with a fortunate 2-1 win at high-flying Southampton on Monday that lifted them into third place for the first time since August 2013.

By contrast, last term's runners-up Liverpool are ninth and suffered an early Champions League exit with a 1-1 home draw in their final group game against FC Basel on Tuesday.

The Anfield club have struggled to recapture the form that took them to the brink of the title and, after two wins in their last six league matches -- including a 0-0 home draw with Sunderland on Saturday -- they have 21 points.

Chelsea look to bounce back

Chelsea vs Hull City

When: Saturday, December 13

Time: 2030 IST

Chelsea's manager Jose Mourinho attends a team training session in Cobham. Photograph: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

Table-topping Chelsea will look to bounce back when third-bottom Hull City visit Stamford Bridge on Saturday after Jose Mourinho's side suffered their first defeat of the season in a 2-1 loss at Newcastle United last weekend.

Chelsea had already qualified for the Champions League last-16 with a game to spare before easing past Sporting Lisbon 3-1 in their final group game on Wednesday.

Manchester City seek to consolidate

Manchester City vs Leicester City

When: Saturday, December 13

Time: 2030 IST

Manchester City's (left to right) Stevan Jovetic, Edin Dzeko and Frank Lampard warm up during a training session. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

Second-placed Manchester City took full advantage of Chelsea's slip by moving within three points of the leaders with a battling 1-0 home win against Everton.

However, they will have to do without their top scorer Sergio Aguero, who could miss up to six weeks with a knee injury, for Saturday's trip to bottom club Leicester City.

City reached the Champions League knockout stage with a gritty 2-0 victory at AS Roma on Wednesday.

West Ham not thinking about Champions League

West Ham United vs Sunderland

When: Saturday, December 13

Time: 2030 IST

Diafra Sakho (right) of West Ham United celebrates scoring his team's third goal against Swansea City with Andy Carroll. Photograph: Eddie Keogh/Reuters

West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce is not dreaming of qualifying for the Champions League just yet but that could change in January if his side continue their flying start to the Premier League season.

Fourth-placed West Ham, who have 27 points from 15 games, have surpassed expectations with a string of fine attacking displays and they will be hoping to record their fourth straight win when they travel to Sunderland on Saturday.

"If we're still here towards the end of January then we'll reassess our aims," Allardyce told a news conference on Thursday.

"By that point we'll have played 20 games, we'll have played everybody once so we should have a good indicator of where we are.

"We'll see what everybody has got in their locker, everybody would've seen what we have in ours so it'll be a question of whether we can carry it on."

'I have nothing but respect for Wenger'

Arsenal vs Newcastle

When: Saturday, December 13

Time: 2300 IST

Newcastle United's Papiss Demba Cisse (right) celebrates after scoring against Chelsea with Tiote. Photograph: Andrew Yates/Reuters

Having ended Chelsea's unbeaten start to the season, seventh-placed Newcastle travel to the Emirates Stadium to take on an Arsenal side who lost 3-2 against Stoke City last weekend.

Both sides have 23 points after 15 games, with Arsenal in sixth on goal difference, and Pardew defended the Gunners boss after he was jeered and sworn at by fans as he boarded his train following his side's defeat to Stoke.

Newcastle United's third choice keeper Jak Alnwick must seize his chance to impress after getting an unexpected chance in the limelight, manager Alan Pardew said.

The 21-year-old made his competitive debut for the club as a substitute in the 2-1 victory against Chelsea last week, replacing Rob Elliot who went off injured.

"It's a great opportunity for Jak and he's very keen to take it," Pardew told a news conference on Thursday.

Having ended Chelsea's unbeaten start to the season, seventh-placed Newcastle travel to the Emirates Stadium to take on an Arsenal side who lost 3-2 against Stoke City last weekend.

Both sides have 23 points after 15 games, with Arsenal in sixth on goal difference, and Pardew defended the Gunners boss after he was jeered and sworn at by fans as he boarded his train following his side's defeat to Stoke.

"I have nothing but respect for him and I've always enjoyed watching his teams," Pardew said.

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