The fortunes of the current Premier League champions Chelsea continue to take a turn for the worse, and after dropping 11 points in their last five games they have quickly surrendered the lead and dropped into the chasing pack. The absence of influential duo Frank Lampard and John Terry has certainly contributed to their downfall in recent weeks. Both players could be fit enough for a return to action on Saturday when they welcome Everton at Stamford Bridge.
Everton have an impressive recent record at Chelsea, currently unbeaten in their last four trips to Stamford Bridge having secured a share of the spoils each time. Last season the two sides played out a thrilling 3-3 draw, Everton twice coming from behind to snatch a point. These recent success stories for the Toffees could see them add to the woes of Carlo Ancelotti’s side.
Like Chelsea, Arsenal will put their title credentials on the line at the weekend when they face Fulham at the Emirates. After a agonising defeat in the North London derby, the Gunners quickly got back to winning ways with a 4-2 victory over injury hit Aston Villa at Villa Park. Fulham are still yet to record a victory on the road this season and have lost five of their last six visits to Arsenal, offering little in the way of hope for the trip to the Emirates.
With back to back wins over Arsenal and Liverpool, Tottenham have no reason to fear anybody this season and Spurs boss Harry Redknapp has reiterated that his side firmly believe they are challengers for the Premier League trophy. They travel to St Andrews at the weekend to take on a Birmingham side that are yet to rediscover the form that secured a top 10 finish last season and will be eager to do so before getting dragged into a relegation scrap.
Manchester United made a significant move last weekend, a 7-1 demolition of Blackburn saw them overtake Chelsea at the top of the Premier League and take a narrow two point lead in the title race. Saturday they make the short journey to top flight newcomers Blackpool, who have continued to surprise everyone since their shock promotion last season and having already given Manchester City an almighty scare at Bloomfield Road, are sure to make United work for the three points.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Manchester City look to sustain their renewed title challenge against a Bolton Wanderers side that appear to be thriving under the guidance of manager Owen Coyle this season.
Finally, two of the promoted sides from last season West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle United square off at the Hawthorns on Sunday afternoon. Having slid further and further towards the bottom three in recent weeks, the Baggies secured a much needed three points with an impressive 4-1 victory over Everton last week and could move above their opponents into the top 10 should they make it back to back wins at the weekend.
A Premier League meeting with Manchester United at Bloomfield Road was just a speculative dream for Blackpool fans 12 months ago. A remarkable season in the championship where they defied the odds time after time have made it reality though, as Iain Holloway prepares to try and out wit one of the most successful managers of all time in Sir Alex Ferguson.
Blast from the past: 18th October 2003 – Manchester City 6-2 Bolton
The Trotters took a shock lead on 25 minutes through Kevin Nolan, before goals either side of the break from Shaun Wright-Phillps and Sylvain Distin put the hosts in the driving seat. Wright-Phillps added his second on 56 minutes before Nicolas Anelka wrapped up the points two minutes later. Ivan Campo gave the away side hopes of a comeback but they were quickly squashed as Anelka added another before Claudio Reyna completed the rout.
On this day : 10 years ago – 2000/2001
A goal a piece from strike duo Stan Collymore and Peter Beagrie in the closing minutes gave Bradford a 2-1 win against Coventry City, who joined their hosts in the bottom three as a result.
Five years ago – 2005/06
Tottenham added to the troubles of struggling Portsmouth, coming from a goal behind at half time to register a 3-1 win and move into the top four while Chelsea opened up a 10 point gap over 2nd placed Manchester United with a 1-0 win over Wigan.
One year ago – 2009/2010
A resolute Everton side twice fought back from a goal down to hold league leaders Chelsea to a 3-3 draw at Stamford Bridge. However, Chelsea’s lead was still extended as Aston Villa secured a narrow 1-0 victory over Manchester United, their first victory at Old Trafford for 26 years.
Round 16 fixtures
Saturday 4th December
Arsenal vs. Fulham – 15.00
Birmingham vs. Tottenham – 15.00
Blackburn vs. Wolves – 15.00
Chelsea vs. Everton – 15.00
Manchester City vs. Bolton – 15.00
Wigan vs. Stoke City – 15.00
Blackpool vs. Manchester Utd – 17.30 – Live on ESPN
Sunday 5th December
West Brom vs. Newcastle – 13.30 – Live on Sky Sports
Sunderland vs. West Ham Utd – 16.00 – Live on Sky Sports
Monday 6th December
Liverpool vs. Aston Villa – 20.00 – Live on Sky Sports