Don’t expect Saints to march away with win
So, Louis van Gaal, why the long face?
Questionable selections? Rigid tactics? Lack of entertainment? Too much money wasted?
Oh, that IS your face. Sorry Louis, just thought you were down in the dumps after the most expensive squad in English football was relegated to the Europa League.
Apparently, though, Van Gaal is still insisting that progress is being made and in doing so wholly underestimating the size and expectations of the club he is in charge of.
Or maybe the Dutchman's swagger and arrogance is blinding himself to the fact he's done a bang average job so far at Old Trafford. Just a thought.
11am kick offs unless stated
Norwich City v Everton
Six defeats in eight for Norwich and they are a team on the slide — not what you want ahead of the busy Christmas period.
Everton are playing some excellent football and have an attack spearheaded by Romelu Lukaku. What a terrible decision by José Mourinho.
Crystal Palace v Southampton
Unpredictable Saints — four games without a win — need a boost but they are unlikely to find any charity from Palace, who are a dangerous outfit full of pace. The demolition of Newcastle is still fresh in the home fans' minds.
Man City v Swansea City
Swansea have failed to score in seven of their past 11 games, which is one major reason why Garry Monk is now unemployed.
City have David Silva back available, while Raheem Sterling is in fine form. Still shaky at the back but Swansea should not provide too many problems.
Sunderland v Watford
Sunderland's Duncan Watmore picked up his first-class degree this week but it doesn't take a genius to work out his side need urgent points. Watford have been a pleasant surprise this season — disciplined and with a potent strike force.
West Ham v Stoke City
A shout out to Ryan Shawcross, who makes a huge difference to the Stoke team at the heart of the defence. If Phil Jagielka can win 38 caps then there is no reason why Shawcross can't, surely.
West Ham have numerous injury problems and Stoke are on a roll.
Bournemouth v Man United
United actually showed some attacking intent in Europe but were undermined by a shoddy defensive display in Germany. There is growing unrest among fans at the direction — or lack of one — being taken by their team. The blend of personnel is not right: too many players past it, inexperienced or lacking the leadership qualities required.
Bournemouth will be dangerous opponents after they defeated Chelsea last time out.
Aston Villa v Arsenal
Villa have improved but that's a relative thing. Arsenal, who hammered their opponents in the FA Cup final last season, will be on a high after their Champions League turnaround in Greece.
Rémi Garde has the chance to get one over his mentor, Arsène Wenger. He won't.
Liverpool v West Brom
Daniel Sturridge is out, again, with another injury which barely registers as news. West Bromwich have taken some stick in this column for being dull but, Tony Pulis's side have done well and are unbeaten in three games.
Jürgen Klopp will demand a response after the unexpected defeat at Newcastle.
Tottenham v Newcastle
Was the win over Liverpool the start of a revival or a one-off? My guess? A one-off. Spurs to trample all over the new-found optimism.
Leicester City v Chelsea
Chelsea produced one of their best performances of the season in beating Porto in the Champions League in midweek but the problem has been transferring that to the domestic league.
They go up against Leicester, who have been sensational. Looking forward to seeing Riyad Mahrez go up against a suspect Chelsea defence.