English Premier League Week 12 Preview: Can Manchester United Put up a Challenge in the Manchester Derby?
With the last Premier League weekend upon us before another International break, this week poses some new questions, especially on Sunday. This weekend will definitely be highlighted by the Manchester Derby, hosted by table-leaders Manchester City. The Sunday blockbuster fixture will also feature some other competitive matches, including Chelsea against Everton and Arsenal hosting Wolves, all of which will feature in this preview. First, let’s see if ninth-placed Everton can challenge second-place Chelsea.
Chelsea vs Everton
Although Chelsea’s side might be less fit after their return from Belarus in the Europa League than their counterparts, both sides’ squads are near full fitness. Eden Hazard, Oliver Giroud and Etham Ampadu all played against BATE on Thursday and should be able to start once again, providing a strong attacking threat against Everton.
For Everton, Phil Jagielka and Jonjoe Kenny are back to fitness and will probably start against the Blues. However, Everton has not beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea’s home ground, in TWENTY-FIVE years. History, fitness and the current league standings all seem to be on Chelsea’s side. Chelsea will want to find victory in a quest to go top of the Premier League table.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-0 Everton
Manchester City vs Manchester United
Manchester United’s season has not been as good as many would expect, but they have refound form as of late in their comeback victories against Bournemouth and Juventus this week. They now face their biggest challenge yet, going to the other side of Manchester in an attempt to move out of seventh-place and push for fifth.
Manchester City, who are currently in first place with nine wins and no losses this season, have managed their squad extremely well. The possible line-up would be daunting to Manchester United fans, with the only absentee from the Manchester City line-up being midfielder Kevin De Bruyne. Otherwise, Raheem Sterling, Riyad Mahrez, David Silva and Sergio Aguero are all at full fitness with Gabriel Jesus, who scored a hat-trick earlier, also able to play.
Unfortunately, unlike their rivals, Manchester United do have some injury problems to worry about. Striker Romelu Lukaku, Antonio Valencia, Diogo Dalot, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo will all have to sit out, preventing Manchester United from possessing a full-strength squad heading into the Manchester Derby.
Last time around, Manchester United did win 2-3 miraculously after losing 2-0, but this time, Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho knows his side cannot concede goals that easily. That will be a hard task with the likes of Antonio Valencia and Phil Jones missing and adding on Manchester City’s powerful attack. Unfortunately, the gap between these two teams will perhaps be too much for Manchester United to climb and will have to succumb to Manchester City’s power.
Prediction: Manchester City 3-1 Manchester United
Arsenal vs Wolves
The last fixture this weekend sees fifth-place Arsenal trying to refind that winning feeling against eleventh-place Wolves. Although Wolves had an excellent start this season, losses to Tottenham and Watford have pushed Wolves below the half-way line in the table. Arsenal, sitting strongly in fifth, are undefeated in fifteen matches now, but have drawn their last two Premier League matches.
In an attempt to regain the fourth-placed spot, Arsenal will have to do without Danny Welbeck, who suffered a major injury against Sporting Lisbon on Thursday in the Europa League. They’ll also be without Stephan Lichtsteiner, Mohamed Elneny, Laurent Koscielny and Dinos Mavropanos, all due to injury.
Wolves will be without Diogo Jota once again in their search of improving from eleventh to possibly ninth place at Arsenal’s home ground, The Emirates, on Sunday. However, despite a near fully fit squad for Wolves, Arsenal has plenty of excellent backup options in Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding and Sokratis Papastathopoulos, which will create a tough challenge for the likes of Wolves.
Prediction: Arsenal 2-0 Wolves
Other English Premier League Predictions:
Cardiff City 2-1 Brighton and Hove Albion
Southampton 2-1 Watford
Leicester City 3-0 Burnley
Huddersfield 1-2 West Ham
Newcastle 0-3 Bournemouth
Crystal Palace 0-2 Tottenham Hotspurs
Liverpool 4-0 Fulham