Premier League Matchday 16: Arsenal look to stay top ahead of World Cup
The final round of Premier League drama before the World Cup is upon us with all 20 sides in action on Matchday 16.
A busy Saturday sees Arsenal, Manchester City, Tottenham, Chelsea and Liverpool play, while Brighton's encounter with Aston Villa and Manchester United's trip to Fulham are on Sunday’s menu.
Read on as we preview all 10 games.
Manchester City vs Brentford (Saturday, 12.30pm, BT Sport 1)
City continue their efforts to chase down Arsenal at the summit as they host Brentford in Saturday’s early kick-off.
Having been knocked out of the Carabao Cup by League Two Gillingham on Tuesday night, things will not get any easier for the Bees as they face a side they lost home and way to last season without scoring a goal.
What is more, City have won each of their last 16 home games, last dropping points at the Etihad in last April's 2-2 draw with Liverpool.
Away trips have proved to be Brentford’s downfall this term, with Thomas Frank’s men one of only four Premier League teams yet to win on the road.
Bournemouth vs Everton (Saturday, 3pm)
Just four days after Bournemouth thrashed Everton 4-1 to dump the Toffees out of the Carabao Cup, the pair do battle once again in the Premier League.
That result means the Merseysiders have just a single win in seven visits to the Vitality Stadium, including no league successes in five attempts (two draws, three defeats).
But the Cherries have hit a difficult period under caretaker boss Gary O’Neil having lost their last four league games.
Midfielder Alex Iwobi has been involved in 55% of Everton’s Premier League goals this season (six out of 11), the highest ratio of any player.
Liverpool vs Southampton (Saturday, 3pm)
Liverpool will look to set themselves up for a more successful campaign post-World Cup by beating Southampton, with Nathan Jones taking charge of his first game for the Saints.
The South Coast club confirmed the Welsh boss as Ralph Hasenhuttl’s successor on Thursday after impressing at the helm of Championship outfit Luton.
It looks an ominous first game for Jones but his 18th-placed side face a Reds team whose 29-game unbeaten league home run came to an end in their last clash at Anfield — a late 2-1 loss to Leeds.
Jurgen Klopp’s men have won nine of their last 10 clashes with Southampton, while they also have not lost in their last eight home league matches against Saturday's visitors.
Nottingham Forest vs Crystal Palace (Saturday, 3pm)
Nottingham Forest are another side buoyed by their cup heroics after knocking Spurs out on Wednesday, with Crystal Palace the next London club to visit the City Ground.
The hosts have never lost a Premier League game against the Eagles, though this is their first top-flight meeting since April 1995.
Palace have climbed into the top half after securing three wins in their last four, while Steve Cooper’s men remain bottom after just a single victory in their last 12 league outings.
Jesse Lingard finally scored his first goal for the Reds against Tottenham — the former United man will now look to net his first Premier League strike since September 2021.
Tottenham vs Leeds (Saturday, 3pm)
A positive result for Tottenham against Leeds will ensure Antonio Conte’s men spend the World Cup hiatus in the top four of the Premier League, but they will be looking for all three points on Saturday.
It is a fixture Spurs have found particular joy in, having won seven of the pair’s last nine league meetings — including five straight home successes.
But the mood is not all rosy in N17 with four losses in their last seven having suffered back-to-back defeats to Forest and Liverpool in the last week.
This will be Whites manager Jesse Marsch’s first game against Spurs. American bosses have lost all four of their Premier League games against the North Londoners, failing to score and conceding 13 goals.
West Ham vs Leicester (Saturday, 3pm)
As Leicester’s recent resurgence has seen them climb further away from the relegation spots, West Ham are in danger of slipping closer to danger.
David Moyes’ men have just a single win in their last five Premier League games, while the Foxes have picked up three victories in four outings.
James Maddison’s selection was one of the big stories of England’s World Cup squad announcement — with 13 strikes and nine assists, Harry Kane (33) is the only Three Lions player to have been involved in more league goals in 2022.
Hammers frontman Michail Antonio has been involved in five goals (four goals, one assist) in four league starts against the Foxes, with four of those coming at the London Stadium.
Newcastle vs Chelsea (Saturday, 5.30pm, Sky Sports)
Newcastle head into their home clash with Chelsea sitting ahead of their opponents for the first time since May 2012.
Blues boss Graham Potter is feeling the heat after three defeats in four across all competitions as they come up against a Magpies side who have six wins in their last seven league outings.
Toon favourite Miguel Almiron will look to net his ninth goal of the season — the same tally he had in his first 110 Premier League games prior to the current campaign.
Meanwhile, Blues striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has nine goal involvements in nine matches against the Geordies (six goals, three assists), more than he has against any other English side.
Wolves vs Arsenal (Saturday, 7.45pm, Sky Sports)
Arsenal will be top of the Premier League at Christmas for the first time since 2007-08 if they can claim victory at Wolves on Saturday evening.
The home side recently installed Julen Lopetegui as their new manager, though caretaker boss Steve Davis will remain in the dugout as the 19th-placed Midlanders look to end a four-game top-flight winless run.
The Gunners have had three players sent off across their last two trips to Molineux, with Gabriel Martinelli seeing red last season, while both David Luiz and Bernd Leno were given their marching orders in February 2021.
England star Bukayo Saka scored his first Premier League goal against Wolves in July 2020 and is in fine form coming into this clash, with 10 goal involvements (four goals, six assists) in as many league games.
Brighton vs Aston Villa (Sunday, 2pm, Sky Sports)
Unai Emery will take plenty of positives from a win and a defeat against United as Villa head to Brighton for his third game in charge.
The Villans have picked up two wins in their last three Premier League matches, as many as they had in their previous 15 (five draws, eight defeats). They are looking to record back-to-back league victories for the first time since May.
They remain winless away from home this term but are without defeat in their last six trips to face the Seagulls.
Both Brighton and Villa have scored a league-high six goals in the opening 15 minutes of games. For the away side, it accounts for 43% of their overall tally with five of those six coming in recent home wins over Brentford and United.
Fulham vs Manchester United (Sunday, 4.30pm, Sky Sports)
The final Premier League game for six weeks sees Fulham test themselves against United.
The Red Devils have lost only two of their last 28 matches against the Cottagers and have won on their last five trips to Craven Cottage.
Andreas Pereira is set to come up against his former employers having created 14 chances for Aleksandar Mitrovic this term — no player in the division has conjured more for his team-mate this season.
Bruno Fernandes could make his 100th Premier League appearance.
He has 38 goals and 26 assists in his 99 games so far, with only three players claiming more in their first 100 for United — Eric Cantona (84), Ruud van Nistelrooy (78) and Dwight Yorke (66, in 96 games).