Dec 21, 2013, 11:30 PM EST
With a festive feast of Premier League action heading your way over the next 12 days, Sunday sees two top clashes which will have major implications on the top half of the standings.
Four teams who love to get the ball down and stroke it around will face off, with managerless Tottenham facing a tough task against young upstarts Southampton.
Can the Saints pile the misery on the North London side after AVB’s departure and two straight-defeats?
Ex-Swansea manager Roberto Martinez takes his hugely talented Everton side down to South Wales for a battle of tactical nous and wit, as both teams will be looking to keep their recent good form going.
Let’s take a look at what we can expect from both games on a busy Sunday before the Boxing Day madness begins.
Southampton vs. Tottenham Hotspur, live on NBCSN, 8:30am ET
A real treat awaits at St. Mary’s on Sunday as Southampton host Tottenham in their first PL game since Andre Villas-Boas was sacked. Saints are without a win in five games, after such a promising start to the season, but will see this as the perfect time to face Spurs with interim boss
Tim Sherwood in charge and the North London team reeling. Mauricio Pochettino‘s men have drawn against Man City and Newcastle in their last two matches, while Spurs were slaughtered 5-0 by Liverpool and lost late on to West Ham in a League Cup quarterfinal on Wednesday. Both sides are desperate for a win, so expect Saints’ usual high-pressure approach to be more ferocious than usual and Sherwood to set Spurs out in a solid 4-4-2 formation with Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor up front.
A rousing clash will take place down on the South Coast, as Saints have a terrific home record vs. Spurs after winning five of their last six and Spurs have only scored on one occasion.
Swansea City vs. Everton, live on NBCSN, 11am ET
The Swans and Toffees are easy on the eye, so expect a real free-flowing affair down at the Liberty Stadium. Swansea have been getting better as the season has gone on, while Everton are real contenders for the top four after Robert Martinez has performed a masterful transition from the David Moyes era.
The Toffees have kept their solid base but have added a shed load of goals with Romelu Lukaku, Kevin Mirallas and goals from all over the pitch pushing them into the upper echelons of the table and looking the real deal. Swansea have lost just one of their last six games and with the likes of Michu back fit and raring to go, expect a passionate crowd in South Wales to spur their team on.
The Swans will also be welcoming back former manager Martinez, and worryingly for him, he’s never beaten his old side in four previous attempts as a manger.
- Premier League Power Rankings: Top four shuffle, as pivotal stretch arrives – Week 28 0
- Ranking the candidates for MLS’s next two expansion teams (after Don Garber’s Tuesday Q-and-A) 2
- MLS Season Preview: Ranking the top 10 midfielders 0
- U.S. Soccer confirms three-game send-off series ahead of 2014 World Cup 2
- Eddie Johnson got paid: New D.C. United forward signs Designated Player deal 2
- Is Adam Lallana the man England should build their World Cup dreams around? 0
- FC Dallas Unveil 2014 Home Kit
- Eddie Johnson's Bumpy Road to Designated Player Status
- Adidas & Nike Unveil Hybrid Cleats to Change Soccer Forever
- Preview: Sporting KC at Seattle Sounders FC
- Chelsea Face Stiff Test When Tottenham Visit the Bridge
- Egyptian Player Banned for Using 'Sisi' Sign
- Houston Dynamo Players to Watch During the 2014 MLS Season
- Vancouver Whitecaps: Players to Watch During the 2014 MLS Season
- Expectations for the Chicago Fire, Back to the MLS Playoffs!
- FC Kansas City Signs First International Player