With the New Year upon us, the English Premier League carries on as they continue toward the season’s halfway point. With talks of a two-week shutdown in January due to a record number of positive COVID-19 cases league-wide with 18, players will be wondering if they should plan on their usual schedule or if they’ll see a big gap in their immediate futures. After this round of matches, they’ll already take a weekend off and pick back up on January 12 as it’s scheduled, but time will tell if that break will turn into something longer. Until then, though, we’re carrying on with the season so let’s take a look at what Week 17 has in store.
Best of Week 17
Chelsea v. Man City
Sunday, January 3, 11:30a.m. ET
Stamford Bridge, London
Watch on NBCSN & Telemundo
Here are two teams that we’re used to seeing in the top four consistently, but now they’re both fighting to climb the table as sixth-place Chelsea is a full six points out of first place, but tied on points with eighth-place Man City who will be looking to leapfrog a few clubs ahead of them as well. City are on a two-game winning streak while going unbeaten in their last six after falling to a near season-low 13th place just before this run started. They’re continuously trending upward while the story looks a little different for Chelsea. The Blues, who held third place for several weeks, have only won once in their last five outings which includes three losses. They’re fresh off a 1-1 draw against Aston Villa which put them in sixth place, but a battle against Man City won’t be an easy task. This will be the first meeting between the two clubs this season, though the last time they met in June ended in a 2-1 win at home for Chelsea, which is something they’ll be hoping to replicate this weekend as well.
Worst of Week 17
Crystal Palace v. Sheffield United
Saturday, January 2, 10:00a.m. ET
Selhurst Park, London
Watch on NBCSN
There’s a reason Sheffield keeps showing up in the “Worst of the Week” section, and it’s simply because they truly are the worst team in the league. There’s no way around it. After 16 games, they’ve still yet to win even once, although they have pulled off two draws so they at least have a couple points on the season. they’re sitting six points behind 19th-place West Brom, and a full nine points behind 17th-place Brighton who are just beyond the relegation zone. Sheffield are fresh off a 1-0 loss to Burnley earlier in the week, and will hope that this weekend will finally, finally see their first win of the 2020-21 season. While faring slightly better, Crystal Palace are in a run of bad form themselves having gone winless in their last five outings, two of them being losses. They’re still recovering from the 7-0 shellacking Liverpool gave them just a couple weeks back, but last week they earned a huge point in a 1-1 draw with third-place Leicester City.
Week 17 Sleeper
Tottenham v. Leeds
Saturday, January 2, 7:30a.m. ET
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London
Watch on NBCSN
The once-mighty Tottenham, who held first place for nearly a month, have gone winless in their last four with two losses and have fallen all the way to seventh place. Those two losses were tough match-ups against Liverpool and Leicester. The Spurs most recently ground out a 1-1 draw against Wolves last week. With the Spurs’ midweek match against Fulham postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak on the Fulham side, the Tottenham squad will have a few unexpected days of rest before they take on 11th-place Leeds who have been climbing out of a hole themselves in recent weeks. United stayed in the top 10 for quite a while near the beginning of the season, but fell as low as 15th after a run of bad form. Now they’re riding a two-game winning streak while winning three of their last four, and they’re looking to make moves back into the top 10 which they could certainly do this weekend if things go their way. They took down West Brom earlier in the week with a massive 5-0 win and will look to build on that as they head to London to face off against the Spurs.
This Weekend’s Full Schedule
All times listed are Eastern.
Friday, January 1
Saturday, January 2
7:30a.m.: Tottenham v. Leeds United — NBCSN
10:00a.m.: Crystal Palace v. Sheffield United — NBCSN
12:30p.m.: Brighton & Hove v. Wolverhampton — NBC
3:00p.m.: West Brom v. Arsenal — Peacock
Sunday, January 3
Monday, January 4
3:00p.m.: Southampton v. Liverpool — NBCSN, Universo