EPL: Top Five Fixtures in Match Day Seven

Match day seven in the EPL marks approximately one-fifth of the Premiership season complete, and though the English league is far from finished, some teams have established themselves as the teams to beat in the 2010 campaign. Last week featured some great fixtures featuring the mid-table clubs clawing it out for position as they head deeper into the season. Headlining for last weekend was Manchester City vs. Chelsea, and it did not disappoint. This weekend's top match once again involves Carlo Ancelotti's Blues as they play host to an Arsenal side looking to close the gap on the defending Premier League champions. Some of the interesting matches are as follows;

5. Sunderland vs. Manchester United

Sunderland manager Steve Bruce has never won against Sir Alex Ferguson. Manchester United are coming off a relieving 2-2 draw against Bolton last weekend, with Michael Owen securing the point in the 74th minute. The mighty Reds gave up seven goals over three matches in September, and they will be keen to shut down Sunderland's Darren Bent who leads his team with five goals including two against Liverpool in his last appearance. Quite frankly, United's defense has been lackluster of late and are suspect to very questionable goals. Are they in for yet another draw?

4. Stoke City vs. Blackburn

Stoke City's form is on the rise, especially since the arrival of Trinidadian striker Kenwyne Jones, who has scored in each of Stoke's last four fixtures in all competitions. After an abysmal August to start the season, the Potters have rebounded well, beating Aston Villa and Newcastle in September and drawing against West Ham to move into the mid-table. Blackburn also went undefeated last month, locking down draws against better sides Fulham and Manchester City before securing three points against Blackpool. If the Rovers can stop Jones from finding the net, they may continue their unbeaten streak.

3. West Brom vs. Bolton

Both West Brom and Bolton are coming off great results last weekend. West Brom, which currently sits sixth in the table, dealt a shocking 3-2 winning result against Arsenal at the Emirates, while Bolton managed a draw against Manchester United. Despite the triumphs against the top clubs, which team is destined to finish better? This matchup may very well give insight into that prospect. Bolton is struggling to find consistent form and winning results, but West Brom is off to a dream start in 2010.

2. Tottenham vs. Aston Villa

Two clubs that are no strangers to the top of the table will square off at White Hart Lane on Saturday. Tottenham is fresh off a 4-1 win in the Champions League against FC Twente, but are in search of better results in league play. Aston Villa will not be walk-in-the-park, but they will be without Gabriel Abonglahor, though he has yet to find the score sheet. Villa are doing surprisingly well despite the departure of James Milner, and an emerging Stewart Downing has led the club to a nice start. But new manager Gérard Houllier will have some work to do as his team has not played any top teams to date. This will be his first true test as the new head man for Villa.

1. Chelsea vs. Arsenal

Match day seven's top fixture is at Stamford Bridge when Arsenal takes on Chelsea. With the scoring capacity of either team, it is no surprise that both clubs are in the top three to start the year. Chelsea's +19 goal differential dwarfs Arsenal's +9, giving testament to the Blue's superior defense. It has been tough in the past for the Gunners to beat their opponent. November 30, 2008 was the last time Arsenal defeated Chelsea. Cesc Fabregas has already been ruled out of the game, so others like Samir Nasri and Marouane Chamakh will have to pick up some serious slack if Arsenal is to close the gap on the Premiership's top team.

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