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    Two Huge Contests Highlight Round #15 in Barclays Premier League

    Leicester's Jamie Vardy battles with Manchester City's Nicolas Otamendi during an EPL contest last season. (Credit to Mirror UK.)

    Last week saw a couple surprises in the Barclays Premier League, and Round #15 could easily bring a few more. As we sit in December, and busy weeks are quickly approaching, let us take a look at two fixtures that you should definitely take in over the weekend.

    Leicester City (16th) vs. Manchester City (4th) -- Saturday 17:30 p.m. G.M.T.

    A year ago, these two teams were at the top fighting for the league title. Leicester went on to surprise the footballing world by lifting their first ever title, while Manchester City finished fourth in Manuel Pellegrini's last season in charge. Currently, Leicester have free-fallen down the league table and now find themselves in a relegation fight at the bottom. Clinching a spot in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 was another feat that Claudio Ranieri's squad achieved earlier this fall, but their league form has suffered.

    Only sitting two points from the relegation zone, Leicester need to get it going if they want to remain in the Premiership next season. They are win-less in their last five league matches, while their superstar players are also struggling to find their form. Jamie Vardy (two goals, two assists) and Riyad Mahrez (three goals, one assist) have taken a step back this season from a year ago, while the defence which was a strength last year has been average at best.

    As for Man City, Pep Guardiola's team has also reached the Round of 16 in Europe, but will look to get back to winning ways after falling 3-1 vs. Chelsea a week ago. Losing to Chelsea was the Citizens first league defeat since October 2nd, but a busy December could help them gain some needed points. Sitting four points behind the London club, Guardiola knows that the top is within reach. However, consistency needs to be the theme if Manchester City want to lift the title in May.

    Sergio Aguero (10 goals) has been a huge reason for success, however his red-card against Chelsea will see the Argentinian out until December 31st. Fernandinho, who was also sent-off last week, will be serving a three-match ban. With these two out, and Nicolas Otamendi also missing this week due to yellow-card accumulation, the starting 11 could see some changes.

    Look for Aleksandar Kolarov to partner John Stones in the back-line, while Fernando and Kelechi Iheanacho (three goals, three assists) to come in for the suspended midfielder and forward. With the talent that Manchester City bring in the midfield, I don't see them having a tough test at the King Power on Saturday. This fixture a year ago saw a 0-0 draw, but this time I see MC coming home with a 2-0 win.

     
    Manchester United's Memphis Depay celebrates a goal vs Tottenham Hotspur last season. (Credit to ManUtd.com)

    Manchester United (6th) vs. Tottenham Hotspur (5th) -- Sunday 14:15 p.m. G.M.T

    This is the juiciest fixture on the slate for Sunday as two of the top six go head-to-head at Old Trafford. Manchester United have drawn their last three league fixtures, as they sit 13 points off from Chelsea. Jose Mourinho's side advanced to the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 with a 2-0 road win on Thursday, but they continue to drop points in England. A late 1-1 draw at Everton last weekend added to the frustration as United were the more-dominant side but failed to see the game out. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (eight goals) is the team's leading scorer while Juan Mata (three goals, one assist) and Marcus Rashford (three goals) are second and third respectively.

    The flare is there with Paul Pogba in midfield and Wayne Rooney still a threat but the problem is inconsistent results. With a reasonable schedule remaining in December, United need to make a huge statement on Sunday against another top side. As for Spurs, they are seven points behind Chelsea in the standings. They have only won three league matches in the last three months but are looking to use last week's 5-0 win over Swansea as momentum.

    After falling into the Europa League from the Champions League this past week, Mauricio Pochettino will see more fixtures approaching as the new year starts. December matches against Hull, Burnley, and Southampton provides promise for some needed points, while the attacking weapons of Harry Kane (seven goals) and Son Heung-min (five goals, three assists) provide quality up-front. Spurs still hold the top defence in the league, only allowing 10 goals through the opening 14 matches.

    Hugo Lloris is a world-class goalkeeper, while additional players such as Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen bring skill in the midfield. With the amount of talent that Spurs bring, and their stubbornness in the back-line, I see them frustrating Manchester United on Sunday. That being said, Tottenham will leave Manchester with a 2-1 win, showing again they can beat the big boys.

    These are just two of the top fixtures in England this weekend, so be on the lookout for more previews of all the action in the Barclays Premier League! Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @lhenry019 for all the news, opinion, and info regarding the top league in England!

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    Item Reviewed: Two Huge Contests Highlight Round #15 in Barclays Premier League Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Larry Henry Jr
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