Let’s get right to it!
Watford vs. Tottenham, Saturday, 7:30 a.m.
Can Watford, one of the hottest clubs in the English top flight not named Liverpool, make it five wins in six? It would be an incredible feat should it happen against North London side Tottenham, a side still in the European hunt for next season. Hugo Lloris may make his return to the pitch for Spurs, as he has returned to training following an elbow injury.
Arsenal vs. Sheffield United, Saturday, 10 a.m.
The Gunners will look to avoid the season sweep against the Blades, but will have to do so without Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who saw red last weekend against Crystal Palace. In addition, Arsenal have a few lads in the training room, which could limit Mikel Arteta’s choices. The North Londoners only have one win at home in their last seven. Should Sheffield win, it would be its first double over Arsenal since 1946-47, and the first time a promoted side have pulled the trick against Arsenal since 1992-93, when Blackburn Rovers did it.
Brighton Hove & Albion vs. Aston Villa, 10 a.m.
Both BH&A and Villa posted defeats last weekend, with Villa sitting rather uncomfortably in the relegation zone. A win Saturday for Villa would put it on equal footing with Brighton on points. Brighton, though, are unbeaten at home in its last two. Brighton’s Neal Maupay hasn’t scored in the last five, but he has to be drooling at the chance to break that skid against a side that allowed six to Manchester City. And speaking of…
Manchester City vs. Crystal Palace, 10 a.m.
Pep Guardiola conveyed no new injuries at the Etihad, and City will look to continue its solid run of form (four consecutive wins) while Palace will look to extend its good fortune (four consecutive unbeaten). But let’s also keep in mind: Crystal Palace’s last trip to the Etihad resulted in a 3-2 victory.
Norwich City vs. Bournemouth, 10 a.m.
Bournemouth could conceivably get out of the relegation zone with a win away to Norwich.
Southampton vs. Wolves, 10 a.m.
An interesting tilt at 10, as Southampton are looking for its third successive victory in the league, one which would put the Saints level on points with Wolves. Wolves have no wins in the last three, and will look to pull out all the stops against another team finding its form.
West Ham vs. Everton, 10 a.m.
The Toffees are without Richarliason (knee) and Gylfi Sigurdsson (groin) Saturday. Everton have won three of four in the league since Carlo Ancelotti took over in the dugout.
Newcastle United vs Chelsea, Saturday, 12:30 p.m.
Chelsea have won seven on its 11 matches on the trot, and will have the lunchtime fixture against Newcastle United.
Burnley vs. Leicester City, Sunday, 9 a.m.
The hosts are in a poor run of form at the mo (four straight defeats), and Leicester City will look to make it five on Sunday morning.
Liverpool vs. Manchester United, Sunday, 11:30 a.m.
The Red Devils are looking for their fourth win in their last five in the league, while Liverpool are looking to keep its hot streak going with a 13th successive victory. Manchester United sold Ashley Young the other day, and are expected to be without Marcus Rashford following his injury against Wolves in the FA Cup. Fabinho and Joel Matip are expected to be in contention for Liverpool.
A couple of notes as we enter the weekend:
You’ve probably heard by now: LA Galaxy have signed Mexican international midfielder Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, making the former Chivas de Guadalajara youngster the highest paid player in the league. Major League Soccer has wanted Chicharito for quite a while, and now he’s in the perfect market to draw Mexican soccer fans to matches. LA now has Chicharito and Carlos Vela within city limits — Vela, obviously, with LAFC — so we’re expecting the ratings numbers in LA to absolutely explode.
WPRO’s Tom Quinlan spoke about the Revs on Friday, previewing the season. His podcast is here.
Ismael Tajouri-Schradi signed a new deal with New York City FC earlier this week. I still see his counterattack against the Revs in 2018 in my nightmares. NYCFC also recently signed Gedion Zelalem, formerly of Arsenal and Sporting Kansas City. For my money, a depth piece.
Mallory Pugh, traded from the Washington Spirit to Sky Blue FC. Big moves for the Colorado native. Hopefully Sky Blue’s move into Red Bull Arena will see additional ticket sales for Pugh’s arrival. And Sky Blue need a goal scorer, given its eighth place finish in NWSL last year, and last place in 2018.
Pugh was left off the US women’s Olympic qualifying roster. Samantha Mewis of Hanson, Mass. was not.
US men will play Wales in the second international break of the new year.
Great to hear that Mike Riley — the Sarge — from WBZ-FM 98.5 will be the new voice of the Revs. He’s done it a few times, and he has a long resume when it comes to public address.
Atlanta United announced that Ezequiel Barco, Franco Escobar, and Eric Remedi all received permanent U.S. resident status, while opens up space on their international slots. The same goes for FC Cincinnati’s Allan Cruz and Mathieu Deplagne.
Speaking of FCC, it looks like the Blue and Orange are moving on from Emmanuel Ledesma, as well as striker Fernando Adi and goalkeeper Jimmy Hague. Interesting to me that these moves are occurring in the hours before preseason begins for MLS clubs not in the Champions League. It’s not like Cincinnati had, you know, three months to do this.
One-time Revolution player Mark Segbers has landed in Memphis to play for Memphis 901 FC in the USL Championship.