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As we start to head towards the holidays, the fixture list in the Premier League starts to get awfully crowded. All of the teams have two matches to play this week, and they're going to be the big focus of the global soccer scene as a result.
Everton vs. Arsenal, Tuesday, 2:45 p.m. ET ( NBC Sports Network )
Ronald Koeman probably wishes that he had stayed at Southampton at this point. The new Everton boss has really struggled trying to assert his ways this season, and there's already talk that he could end up getting sacked sooner rather than later. He's got a fantastic player in Romelu Lukaku, but there's just no balance in this roster whatsoever. It's a bad time for sure to run into Arsenal, even at home, as this is a team that is playing well and is averaging close to three goals per game in the EPL thus far this year. If the Gunners are going to put more than one in the back of the net on Tuesday, this should end up being a relatively easy match for the visitors.
Crystal Palace vs. Chelsea, Saturday, 7:30 a.m. ET ( NBC Sports Network )
"Plucky Palace" as they're known can be a real thorn in the side of a lot of the top teams in England, particularly at home. The Eagles are only 2-1-4 this year at Selhurst Park though, and if that doesn't improve, they could end up in the middle of the relegation scrap when it's all said and done with. Chelsea leads the Premier League and has absolutely dominated this season at 12-1-2, but there are flaws in the game for sure. The team is far more passive on the road than at home, and it has only outscored foes 12-7 outside of Stamford Bridge. This is a tough test for sure against a CP team that has a better defense than 29 goals allowed in 15 matches would suggest, and it wouldn't be shocking if the sudden favorites to win the EPL end up dropping points in this one.
Manchester City vs. Arsenal, Sunday, 11 a.m. ET ( NBC Sports Network )
This is the biggest match of the week for sure, and it's going to end up going a long way towards determining whether either of these teams can legitimately challenge for the EPL title or not. Pep Guardiola has been under some fire for sure at the outset of this season, as fourth place and seven points behind Chelsea isn't sitting well with fans that legitimately had dreams of a treble this season as Guardiola has been able to pull off with Bayern Munich.
Arsene Wenger is no stranger to scrutiny, and he's managed to survive every wave that Arsenal supporters have thrown his way over the course of the last several decades. He's got a team that has yet to lose on the road this year, and unlike the match against Everton earlier in the week which should be a walk in the park, this one is going to be much different. We've already seen the Citizens struggle this year at the Etihad, going 3-3-1 in seven English matches played here, and that won't cut it the rest of the way. This is a match that Guardiola really has to win to keep the supporters of the Sky Blues on his side as we head into the toughest stretch of the season.
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