Premier League: What you need to know this weekend

Craig Forrest and James Sharman look at a busy weekend of Premier League action, with Arsenal taking on Manchester United.

The Premier League continues this weekend with Matchday 15, and Sportsnet will have live coverage of five games:

Saturday, December 2
• Everton vs. Huddersfield Town, 9:30 a.m. ET (Sportsnet East, Ontario, West and Pacific)
• Stoke City vs. Swansea City, 9:30 a.m. ET (Sportsnet ONE)
• Arsenal vs. Manchester United, 9:30 a.m. ET (Sportsnet ONE and Sportsnet World)

Sunday, December 3
• Bournemouth vs. Southampton, 7:30 a.m. ET (Sportsnet World)
• Manchester City vs. West Ham United, 10:30 a.m. ET (Sportsnet East, Ontario, West and Pacific, and Sportsnet ONE)

Here’s what you need to know ahead of this weekend…

THE BIG GAME

Arsenal vs. Manchester United: Arsenal has busted its way into the top four, and now has its eyes on catching second-place Manchester United, as they trail the Red Devils by four points.

Saturday’s match at Emirates Stadium should be a tough test for United – Arsenal has won their last 12 home Premier League matches. United, though, will be buoyed by the fact that they have won seven times away to Arsenal in the league, including three times at the Emirates.

Mesut Ozil has been a thorn in United’s side, with the German scoring a pair of goals and setting up two others in his last four Premier League appearances against the Red Devils.

PLAYER TO WATCH

Sergio Aguero, Manchester City: The Argentine must be salivating ahead of West Ham United’s visit to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday. Aguero has hammered the London club during his time in England, scoring six goals and setting up two others in 10 Premier League appearances against the Hammers.

EVERTON HIRES BIG SAM

Everton officially hired Sam Allardyce this week, signing the veteran manager to an 18-month contract. “Big Sam” replaced Dutchman Ronald Koeman, who was fired by the Toffees in late October. Allardyce takes over a club that has already been eliminated from the UEFA Europa League, and currently sits 13th in the Premier League table. Allardyce’s first match in charge will be Saturday when Everton hosts Huddersfield Town.

PARDEW TAKES OVER AT WEST BROM

Alan Pardew is back in the Premier League after he was hired as West Bromwich Albion’s new manager this week. Pardew, who has been out of work since being let go by Crystal Palace last December, takes over from Tony Pulis. Pardew inherits a team that sits just two points above the drop zone, and is without a win in 13 games in all competitions. West Brom hosts Palace on Saturday.

LACAZETTE OUT FOR ARSENAL

Arsenal’s record signing Alexandre Lacazette will miss Saturday’s home game against Manchester United after the French striker suffered a groin injury during the Gunners’ midweek win over Huddersfield Town. Lacazette scored his seventh Premier League goal of the season before being subbed out at halftime. “Lacazette has a groin problem and will certainly be out for Saturday’s game,” manager Arsene Wenger confirmed.

CARRICK DEALING WITH HEART ISSUES

Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick confirmed this week he hasn’t played since September because of an irregular heartbeat. Carrick, 36, revealed he underwent tests following a League Cup match against Burton Albion on Sept 20. He then had a procedure called a cardiac ablation. In a statement, Carrick said: “I feel fine now. I’d like to reassure everyone that I’m healthy and back training hard with the team.” The FA Cup game was his only appearance this season.

INTERESTING STAT

HE SAID IT

“Everybody talks about Manchester City at the moment and rightly so… but certainly where Liverpool are at the moment they are in Manchester City form. If you look at all the offensive quality of Manchester City then you have to look at Liverpool as well… they are very, very dangerous opposition.” – Chris Hughton, Brighton and Hove Albion manager