It hasn’t been a great week for Liverpool, with its elimination from contention for the knockout stages of the Champions League casting a larger shadow on a season that’s already looking a bit dim.
It hasn’t been a much better week for Everton, with a 3-2 loss at Hull in mid-week sticking in its crawl like an undetected wishbone.
And that sets the scene for a Merseyside Derby on Sunday – a chance to brighten the skies a bit.
And, before you have a leftover turkey sandwich, let’s run through the week’s matches:
Everton vs. Liverpool
Table watch:Everton is in 14th place on 15 points while Liverpool is in seventh place with 20 points.
The series:In league play, the Reds have won 67 matches while Everton has won 56 times. There have also been 56 draws.
Getting a few shots in: United Gary Neville got a dig in at the Reds this week saying, “We are where we are because we deserve to be there and it’s the same with Liverpool,” he told the Times. “We went out ourselves a few years back. They just haven’t performed well enough in the Champions League to get the result.”
Arsenal vs. Chelsea
The Gunners will try to reel in Chelsea a bit when the two top-three sides meet at the Emirates on Sunday.
Table watch: Arsenal is in third place on 25 points while Chelsea is still in first with 33 points.
Injury issues:William Gallas is set to miss out with an eye injury, joining defenders Gael Clichy and KieranGibbs on the sidelines for the Gunners. With Frank Lampardreturning to full strength, aside from Jose Bosingwa, Chelsea is virtually injury-free.
Drogba drooling:Chelsea striker Didier Drogba has scored eight goals in his last eight matches against Arsenal in all competitions.
Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Birmingham
Wolves will try to escape the relegation zone when Birmingham comes calling Saturday.
Table watch: Wolves are in 19th place on 10 points while Birmingham is in 13th place on 15 points.
Streaking: In their last seven meetings, Birmingham has not lost against Wolverhampton.
They said it: “We will be judged on three of the four next games most certainly – and they are the big important games coming up for us.” – Wolves manager Mick McCarthy, to the UKPA.
Blackburn Rovers vs. Stoke City
A pair of mid-table sides collide at Ewood Park Saturday.
Table watch: Blackburn is in 12th position on 16 points while the Potters are in ninth place with 19 points.
Trying to bounce back:Rovers are hoping a return home changes their fortunes, after falling 3-0 at Fulham in mid-week.
Trying to do better: Stoke City will look for a better result than it got last year in this fixture – a 3-0 defeat.
Fulham vs. Bolton Wanderers
Fulham will try to keep its good run of home form going on Saturday when Bolton visits Craven Cottage.