The English Premier League freewheels on into December, as the Manchester Derby headlines a packed weekend of EPL action.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer takes his Manchester United side to the east of the City on Saturday evening to take on Pep Guardiola’s defending champions, whose grip on the title has been loosened dramatically by the fizzing form of north west rivals Liverpool.
City looked like their old selves for the first time in a while in midweek, thumping Burnley 4-1 to remain third, three points behind Leicester in second and an alarming 11 points adrift of the Reds at the summit.
United are loitering in sixth but have gone four unbeaten, with their tentative upturn in fortunes highlighted on Wednesday by a satisfying 2-1 victory over ex-boss Jose Mourinho and his Tottenham side at Old Trafford.
Table-topping Liverpool are in action earlier on Saturday when they make the trip to Bournemouth. Jurgen Klopp’s men put the final nail in coach Marco Silva’s coffin at Anfield on Wednesday, whacking their Merseyside rivals 5-2 despite missing a host of key names.
The Cherries have slipped right off the radar in recent weeks, with Tuesday’s narrow loss at Crystal Palace their fourth on the spin. Everton fans won’t be comforted by having to kick off their post-Silva era at home to Frank Lampard’s Chelsea.
The Blues stopped the rot of back-to-back defeats in the week, rising to see off Aston Villa 2-1 at Stamford Bridge and remain comfortably fourth in the Premier League standings.
Purgatory is the theme for capital city rivals West Ham and Arsenal, who must wait until Monday night to try to turn their fortunes around when they meet at the London Stadium.
The Gunners were roundly booed off at the Emirates on Thursday as they fell to defeat against Brighton – their ninth game without a win in all competitions and their worst run since 1977.
Manuel Pellegrini’s Hammers, meanwhile, sit just two points above the relegation zone and lost 2-0 at Wolves in the week.
Leicester are out to keep the heat on Liverpool at the top when they play one of four Sunday fixtures in the EPL.
The Foxes make the short hop across the Midlands to face struggling Aston Villa – and they do so off the back of a 2-0 win over Watford, making it seven in a row in the Premier League.
Tottenham had been getting their act together under new boss Mourinho before slipping up at his former employers.
Spurs return to home turf for a Saturday clash with Burnley, who have dipped into the bottom half of the EPL table after back-to-back defeats.
Rock bottom Watford continue their desperate scramble for points on Saturday when they welcome high-flying Crystal Palace at Vicarage Road. Roy Hodgson’s side have recovered from a blip in form to record successive victories, most recently at home to Bournemouth on Tuesday.
Elsewhere on Sunday, Wolves’ top six credentials will be put to the test at Brighton. The Seagulls snatched three points at Arsenal on Thursday, while Nunu Espirito Santo’s men are unbeaten in ten Premier League fixtures.
Newcastle were shock midweek winners when they pulled off a 2-0 heist at Sheffield United.
Steve Bruce’s men have the chance to back that up at St James’ Park on Sunday when they host Southampton, who have hauled themselves out of the drop zone by virtue of three unbeaten games and seven points out of their last nine.
No such luck for Norwich, who were beaten by the Saints on Wednesday to stay 19th in the EPL standings ahead of their home tie with Sheffield United on Sunday at Carrow Road.