5 best Premier League fixtures for the month of December
The English Premier League halted momentarily for international fixtures to take place across the globe. While fans were happy to watch Cuba's 4-0 loss to the USA, Spain's five-goal party at Romania's expense, and Northern Ireland's unsurprising 6-1 beating in the hands of Germany, many cannot wait to get back to the twists and turns the most popular football league in the world.
A quick recap
Earlier in November, the most recent EPL round of matches saw Watford pick up the only red card of the week, while Liverpool took home all three points to further cement their position at the top of the table, and Mauricio Pochettino oversaw his last game as Tottenham Hotspurs' manager.
While Pochettino's dismissal and Jose Mourinho's new job at the New White Hart Lane have overtaken sports headlines everywhere, other managers may also be in line to be replaced sooner rather than later. Unai Emery's Arsenal have not won a league match since the 6th of October when they beat Bournemouth 1-0 at home, and in recent games, the Gunners have shown a knack for throwing away important leads with silly defensive errors. Up north at Goodison Park, Everton are also flailing and unable to find their form. While they beat Southampton 2-1 on the road in their last match, losses to Sheffield United, Brighton and Hove Albion, Bournemouth, and Aston Villa have dragged them down to 15th position.
At the very top of the table, Liverpool have an eight-point lead which they have a good chance of increasing when they face Crystal Palace on Saturday. Leicester City, in second place, are arguably one of the best defensive outfits in the EPL this season, having conceded only eight goals in their last twelve games. Chelsea sit in third position, only one point above Manchester City, thanks to the Cityzens' loss at Anfield. Notably, Chelsea have conceded the most goals (17) in the top 9 clubs, alongside Arsenal, but they will be thankful they have an attacking force that keeps churning in goals.
An exciting month ahead
There's bound to be a lot of EPL drama in the coming weeks, and December will certainly have its fair share. Within the next six weeks, will Jose Mourinho carry Tottenham out of their current four-positions-from-relegation slot into a much better standing? Will Liverpool start dropping points and shortening the lead for Leicester or Chelsea to swoop in? How many managers will still have their jobs by New Year's Day?
Some matches have the potential to become a do-or-die affair, and they could certainly lead to winning the league by just one point, or even aiding a board in making the decision to fire a long-serving manager.
Without further ado, let's dive in and take a look at five of those EPL matches you can't afford to miss this December.
5. Southampton v Norwich City: December 4
The Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl has led his team to six defeats out of their last seven games, and the appalling 9-0 record loss to Leicester City only adds to their woes. Southampton have conceded the most goals this season, obviously thanks to Leicester, and it's very difficult to see how Hasenhuttl won't get the axe before the New Year comes rolling in.
On the other side, Norwich City started the season in exciting form and they brought about - in a shocking manner - Manchester City's first EPL loss since January. Their main striker Teemu Pukki was in very fine form, and it looked like the Canaries would join fellow promoted team Sheffield United in the upper echelons of the table. Alas, the rigours of the Premier League caught up with the Canaries, and they have been unable to replicate their exciting form ever since.
Both teams will face each other in a couple of weeks and the result of the matchup could mean certain relegation for one side, and perhaps a fighting chance for survival for the other.