Gameweek 14 – English Premier League

With two rounds of fixtures within a week, the Premier League action is showing no sign of letting up. Liverpool beat Spurs in midweek to claim the top spot in the league while Chelsea lost back to back matches for the first time this season. City continue to struggle, Arsenal finally gained a point and Everton returned to winning ways.

Each team will play four fixtures over the next two weeks, starting this weekend in game week 14. Manchester United host Leeds in a huge rival encounter at Old Trafford while there’s a London derby at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea host West Ham. Liverpool face a tough match at Selhurst Park, Southampton could move towards the top with a win over City and Tottenham take on an inconsistent Leicester.

Below is the full fixture list for a jam-packed weekend of Premier League matches.

At this stage of the season, seeing Southampton above Man City in the league is a surprise. But this is thoroughly where the two teams deserve to be. The Saints have lost just one of their last 11 games and have won four of their last six (only Man United have a better recent record in the Premier League). City, on the other hand, dropped points for the first time this season with back to back draws against West Brom and United last week. Pep Guardiola’s side has now won just two in their last five matches.

Tottenham conceded a late goal in their 2-1 loss to Liverpool on Wednesday, their first loss in 10 matches and the first time they have conceded more than one goal in eight matches. Jose Mourinho’s side hosts an indifferent Leicester on Sunday. The Foxes dispatched Brighton 3-0 then lost 2-0 to Everton three days later. This pattern sums up Leicester’s season as they have won seven and lost five of their 12 matches in the Premier League. But, Brendan Rodgers’ side has won five of their six away games this season so it will be an intriguing encounter against the two sides at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

It has been nearly a decade since United and Leeds faced each other. The hatred between these two sides is one of the most intense in English football and both teams will be aware of the stakes this Sunday. United come into the match as the most in-form team in the Premier League, taking 13 points from their last 18 available. The Red Devils are unbeaten in their last five, winning four and drawing one. Leeds, however, are enduring a patchy run of form. They comprehensively beat Newcastle 5-2 on Wednesday evening but this was only their second win in five matches, losing two and drawing one.

Chelsea host an in-form West Ham side on Monday night in a fierce London derby. Chelsea is going through their worst patch of the season, losing two and drawing one in their last three games. But Frank Lampard’s side remains a force to be reckoned with at Stamford Bridge as they are unbeaten in their last nine at home. West Ham continued their impressive run of form with a 1-1 draw with Palace in midweek; the Hammers have now lost just twice in their last 10. David Moyes’ side has also won their last two on the road – back to back victories against Sheffield United and Leeds.

Players to Watch

  1. Mason Holgate

Despite missing most of the early season through injury, Everton’s imperious defender Mason Holgate has returned in excellent form. Holgate started at centre back for his first two games back, which the Toffees lost. However, Carlo Ancelotti shifted the talented defender to right-back for the last two matches and the move has paid off. Holgate hardly put a foot wrong in the 1-0 win over Chelsea, providing cover and intelligence to ensure his team kept a clean sheet. But he was even more impressive in the 2-0 win over Leicester, a constant threat in attack down the right-wing whilst maintaining a solid defensive position. He was rewarded with a poachers effort in the second half to cap two brilliant performances.

2. Jack Harrison

Jack Harrison has been one of Leeds’ most threatening players in attack this season. He drives forward with the ball, picks intelligent passes and brings others into play effectively. Harrison provided a goal and an assist in the 5-2 win over Newcastle in midweek, teeing up Rodrigo with a wonderful volley for Leeds’ second, then getting on the scoresheet himself with a thumping effort from 25 yards to put the game beyond doubt with his side’s fifth goal.

3. James Maddison

James Maddison is a player who represents his team perfectly. Sometimes spectacular, world-class, unplayable, sometimes average. He was outstanding in the 3-0 win over Brighton in game week 12, scoring two goals, his second of which was a contender for goal of the season. Maddison and Jamie Vardy linked up to devastating effect against Brighton and, on their day, the two are unplayable. However, against Everton in midweek, Maddison struggled to get into his rhythm. There will be plenty more to come from Maddison this season, definitely worth keeping an eye on. Just try to watch him on a good day!

Don’t Shoot the Messenger

There have been few surprises in recent weeks and that trend will continue in game week 14. The big results have also come to a halt and recent patterns show more cagey encounters are taking place each week. Agree or disagree? Either way, let us know in the comments section below.

If you miss this weekend’s games, fear not! The traditional Boxing Day fixtures take place just three days after game week 14 finishes. There are also Premier League matches between Boxing day and New Year’s day to keep us entertained throughout the festive period. Who will top the tree by 2021?