With Christmas just around the corner, football fans look to be in for a real treat over the festive period as the Premier League title race remains wide open ahead of a crucial clash at the Emirates on Monday.
Any one of four teams could find themselves top of the table at some point over the weekend, and with a host of sides battling it out for a Champions League spot, this season’s Premier League is as intriguing and unpredictable as ever.
The pick of the weekend’s games sees league leaders Arsenal host Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea, with both clubs coming off the back of damaging defeats that have cast fresh doubts over their title credentials.
After Arsenal were outclassed and overpowered by Manchester City last weekend, Chelsea threw away victory from their grasp as Sunderland shocked the Blues to dump them out of the League Cup in midweek.
Both teams will be eager to get back to winning ways with what could prove a crucial three points, but the question marks remain over both sides as to whether or not they have what it takes to go all the way.
A fine start to the season means the Gunners continue to lead the way at the summit, but could find themselves as low as fourth come Monday night if results go against them.
Bar an opening day slip up to Aston Villa, Arsenal have shown they have the consistency and a new found defensive resilience to pick up wins that have turned them into title contenders.
However their form against the top sides still leaves many pundits questioning their ability to win the league.
Defeats against both the Manchester clubs this season gives their upcoming game with Chelsea greater importance, and has become arguably their biggest game of the domestic season so far.
While a win for the Gunners would keep them top, a defeat would see rivals Chelsea leapfrog them by a point, providing a real incentive for Jose Mourinho and his team despite their somewhat hit-and-miss form.
With their strikers struggling to hit a consistent run of goal-scoring form, uncharacteristically for Chelsea they are also struggling at the back, with their defensive frailties highlighted by a lack of clean sheets in recent weeks.
Question marks remain over their best team, and with Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto’o and Demab Ba all failing to stamp their authority on the team, finding a prolific striker still remains a real problem, with arguably their best forward playing his football on loan at Everton.
However despite all this, the fact that a win at Arsenal could see them leading the way at Christmas despite being nowhere near their best, is an ominous sign for the rest of the chasing pack.
Meanwhile, kicking things off this weekend with a home match with Cardiff, Liverpool could somewhat surprisingly be sitting top of the tree come this evening.
After last week’s stunning victory over Tottenham, and boasting arguably the league’s best player in Luis Suarez, the Reds can’t be discounted at this stage however their priority will no doubt remain finishing in the top four come May.
If they fail to pick up three points, Manchester City could pounce with victory at Fulham as they bid to lead the way on Christmas way.
An imperious display in their 6-3 defeat of Arsenal was tainted by the news that star striker Sergio Aguero is sidelined for a number of weeks through injury.
Clearly they have no shortage of firepower, yet inconsistent away form could again be their undoing against a rejuvenated Fulham side who have picked up recently since the dismissal of Martin Jol.
And they we come to the host of sides vying for the top four. Everton, and Newcastle both face tricky away trips to Swansea and Palace respectively, looking to continue their fine form of recent weeks as the battle for Europe continues.
A battle which also sees Southampton and Tottenham face off at St Mary’s, with Spurs still reeling at the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas earlier this week.
And last but not least we mention the reigning champions; Manchester United. Back in a lowly eighth position, is it too late for them to make a genuine challenge at the title.
Well after three consecutive wins, without conceding a goal, it seems David Moyes and his side may have turned a corner in recent weeks.
Victory over West Ham at Old Trafford would see them cut Arsenal’s lead at the top to seven points, an ambitious thought yes, but surely not out of the question given the unpredictability of the season so far.
All that can be for certain, is that there will be numerous twists and turns before the season ends, and predicting this season’s winners is anybody’s guess.
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