For all football lovers out there, Premier League will return tonight two days after Gameweek 15. Welcome to the Christmas Period. We are in for lots of entertaining clashes as the teams look to get their season on tracks as it reaches the halfway mark.
League leaders Chelsea will take on bottom side Sunderland, while Arsenal will be up against Everton at the Goodison Park. Manchester United travel to Selhurst Park as they face Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace whereas Pep Guardiola’s City will look to bounce back against Watford at the Etihad. Elsewhere Liverpool will look to regain momentum against Middlesbrough after two disappointing games along with Tottenham who will be up against Hull City at the White Hart Lane.
In another promising line-up of matches, we take a look at five players to watch out for this match week:
The mercurial Spaniard has been on fire for Chelsea since the beginning of the season and has already scored 12 times, including their only goal against West Bromwich Albion on Sunday to guarantee them three points.
Having got himself on the scoresheet five times in the past 6 league games, Costa is one of the primary reasons for Chelsea’s sustained period of success since October which has also seen him become the highest scorer in the league at the moment.
With the Blues set to face off against strugglers Sunderland who have had a poor defensive record under David Moyes, the former Atletico marksman will look to capitalise and add more goals to his tally. Also with 4 yellow cards for the season, he is just one more booking away from a one-match suspension, so keep an eye out for that as well.
The Arsenal centre-backs, Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi have been extremely solid this season but with Mustafi out injured for three weeks, we could see Gabriel partnering up the Frenchman at the heart of the defence. Gabriel has had a limited amount of game-time this season and has been used as a right-back during the time when Hector Bellerin was injured. So, with the Gunners set to travel to Goodison Park to take on Everton, it will be very interesting to see how he will fare against Romelu Lukaku.
The Belgian had a good game over the weekend, against Watford, as he scored a double, despite Everton losing the game 2-3 to the Hornets and has already scored 9 times this season. He could prove to be a nuisance and Gabriel will have a task on his hands to keep the Belgian quiet.
The Manchester United captain did not feature in the match against Tottenham but with an injury to Henrikh Mkhitaryan could lead to his reinstatement to the side against Crystal Palace.
Rooney is just one goal away from equaling Sir Bobby Charlton’s record of 249 goals for Manchester United but has scored only once in the Premier League so far, this season. But it remains to be seen if Mourinho will play the England captain at the Selhurst Park. Having scored just twice in 9 games against the Eagles in the past, could this prove to be the game when he does go level with Sir Bobby or even go past him to become the Red Devils’ highest goalscorer ever?
The 31-year old, after struggling in the early parts of the season, has finally got his goalscoring boots on for Swansea City. He has scored four times in the last three games for the Welsh outfit that includes the stoppage-time winner against Crystal Palace two weeks back. And manager Bob Bradley will be looking at Llorente for goals to help the Swans out of the relegation zone.
With Swansea facing West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns in midweek, he will go up against a side that is brilliant in defence and very hard to break down. But having scored twice against Sunderland in the previous game should give him enough confidence to hurt Tony Pulis’ side.
In Sergio Aguero’s absence due to suspension, the mantle of scoring goals for Manchester City has fallen to Iheanacho. The Nigerian has a highly impressive strike-rate of 95.45 minutes per goal in the Premier League, the best in the English top-flight since last season.
He has shown good form this season having scored thrice and assisted three in the 10 appearances that he has made, the most memorable among them will be the winner against local rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford back in September. But he was completely negated in City’s previous game against Leicester City by the physicality of Robert Huth and Wes Morgan.
After an ineffective display against the Foxes at the King Power Stadium, all eyes will be on the 20-year old as City look to bounce back from the humbling defeat.