Tweet
ArsenalBournemouthBrighton BurnleyChelseaCrystal PalaceEvertonHuddersfield TownLeicester CityLiverpoolManchester CityManchester UnitedNewcastle UnitedSouthamptonStoke CitySwansea CityTottenham HotspurWatfordWBAWest Ham United

United refuse City film makers dressing room access for derby - report

United refuse City film makers dressing room access for derby - report

ESPN

The Premier League's Christmas fixture period is always a pivotal time in the season, and with the division's "big six" clubs battling for just four Champions League places this year's festive period is set to be crucial.

Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur all have seven league matches to play between this weekend and 2018's first round of games, after which the FA Cup third round will provide a brief respite.

ESPN FC's club correspondents take a look at the fixture list, provide a prediction for each match and give an overview of their team's prospects over the next month.

ARSENAL: Arsenal are entering this busy period with a well-rested and nearly fully fit squad, thanks to Arsene Wenger's rotation policy in the Europa League. December offers a great chance to take advantage of that, especially as two away games against London clubs will limit their travel. The home games against Liverpool and Chelsea could prove decisive in the battle for top four, but it's equally important to avoid any slip-ups against the "lesser" clubs. -- Mattias Karen

Dec. 10: Southampton (A) - W
Dec. 13: West Ham (A) - W
Dec. 16: Newcastle (H) - W
Dec. 22: Liverpool (H) - D
Dec. 28: Crystal Palace (A) - W
Dec. 31: West Brom (A) - W
Jan. 3: Chelsea (H) - D

Total points: 17

CHELSEA: It's not an exaggeration to say that any hopes Chelsea still harbour of defending the title depend on how they fare in December. The gap to Manchester City is already 11 points and cannot be allowed to grow any further. On the plus side, the fixture schedule that has so annoyed Antonio Conte this season looks decidedly kinder in the coming weeks.

Chelsea don't face another top-six side until a trip to the Emirates Stadium to face Arsenal on Jan. 3. Across their six December games, only matches on the road against London rivals West Ham and a Sam Allardyce-rejuvenated Everton carry the air of potential banana skins. Accumulated fatigue could take its toll against the Gunners, who have been strong at home and performed surprisingly well in a feisty goalless draw at Stamford Bridge in September.

Overall, Chelsea can be optimistic of taking close to maximum points from their festive run, and nothing less will do in terms of the title race. More likely, though, is a good rather than great return that keeps them on track for third place. -- Liam Twomey

Dec. 9: West Ham (A) - D
Dec. 12: Huddersfield (A) - W
Dec. 16: Southampton (H) - W
Dec. 23: Everton (A) - D
Dec. 26: Brighton (H) - W
Dec. 30: Stoke (H) - W
Jan. 3: Arsenal (A) - L

Total points: 14

LIVERPOOL: Jurgen Klopp has been quick to point out Liverpool's bloated schedule over the festive period, but the fixtures could have been worse for his side. All nine of the games over this period are more than winnable for the Reds, including Arsenal away. But there are a few tricky fixtures ahead. Allardyce always enjoys getting one over Liverpool, and Everton will be hoping he can guide them to their first victory at Anfield since 1999.

For once, Liverpool's injury list is rather short, with Nathaniel Clyne the only player with a long-term injury. In stark contrast to last season, Klopp will be able to use the squad depth he believes he has at his disposal, with rotation during this group of fixtures more a necessity rather than a possibility. It's the moment for summer signings Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Andrew Robertson to shine. -- Glenn Price

Dec. 10: Everton (H) - L
Dec. 13: West Brom (H) - W
Dec. 17: Bournemouth (A) - D
Dec. 22: Arsenal (A) - W
Dec. 26: Swansea City (H) - W
Dec. 30: Leicester City (H) - W
Jan. 1: Burnley (A) - L

Total points: 13

MAN CITY: Manchester City's trip to Old Trafford is the biggest game of the season and a victory would open up an incredible 11-point lead at the top of the table. Much will depend on how Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho approaches the game because Pep Guardiola won't alter his game plan one jot from any other occasion -- he will want a win. United have the best defensive record in the Premier League and it wouldn't be a surprise to see a game of few chances and a draw.

Five of City's other games would appear to be fairly straightforward -- apart from the Watford clash, all of them against teams in the bottom seven and struggling for form. The other game is against Tottenham, who have won just one of their last six games, and City will hope to deliver a potentially fatal blow to Spurs' slim hopes of catching them. -- Jonathan Smith

Dec. 10: Manchester United (A) - D
Dec. 13: Swansea (A) - W
Dec. 16: Tottenham (H) - W
Dec. 23: Bournemouth (H) - W
Dec. 27: Newcastle (A) - W
Dec. 31 Crystal Palace (A) - W
Jan. 2: Watford (H) - W

Total points: 19

MAN UNITED: After the derby with Manchester City on Sunday, Manchester United have got a run of games over Christmas and New Year that they will expect to win. Mourinho has got a squad that should be big enough to cope with the extra workload. he knows how to manage his players and the same period last season coincided with United's best run of form -- nine straight wins in all competitions. They will need something similar this time if they hope to be in touch with Manchester City at the top of the table in the new year.

Having Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo back before the festive fixtures is a big boost. Ibrahimovic's early return should allow Romelu Lukaku to get a break earlier than expected. It is a crucial period for United and Mourinho will hope the gap to City is significantly fewer than eight points by the time the Champions League restarts in February. -- Rob Dawson

Dec. 10: Manchester City (H) - D
Dec. 13: Bournemouth (H) - W
Dec. 17: West Brom (A) - W
Dec. 23: Leicester (A) - W
Dec. 26: Burnley (H) - W
Dec. 30: Southampton (H) - W
Jan. 1: Everton (A) - W

Total points: 19

TOTTENHAM: Super-fit Tottenham have been the best team over Christmas in each of the last two seasons, winning seven straight matches between Dec. 14 and Jan. 14 last year. But Mauricio Pochettino, their manager, has already warned that it could be different this season because Spurs are running further than ever before on Wembley's big pitch. Their four home games look favourable on paper but Stoke, Brighton, Southampton and West Ham will surely copy the successful blueprint set by other lesser teams at the national stadium by dropping deep, flooding the centre and trying to frustrate Spurs. Even so, the Champions League win over Apoel Nicosia has changed the mood and their momentum and they should have enough to win at least three of them.

On the road, Man City could earn the resounding win they deserved against Spurs at the Etihad last season and a trip to Burnley is never easy. Injured Toby Alderweireld and Davinson Sanchez, who is suspended for the next three games, will be sorely missed but Erik Lamela's return will lesser the burden on Spurs' other creative types. -- Dan Kilpatrick

Dec. 9: Stoke (H) - W
Dec. 13: Brighton (H) - W
Dec. 16: Manchester City (A) - L
Dec. 23: Burnley (A) - D
Dec. 26: Southampton (H) - D
Jan. 2: Swansea (A) - W
Jan. 4: West Ham (H) - W

Total points: 14

Follow @ESPNFC on Twitter to keep up with the latest football updates.

Manchester City have been refused access to film in the away dressing room at Old Trafford during this weekend's Manchester derby, BBC Sport reports.

The fixture will see Premier League leaders City visit their closest rivals in a crucial match, but they have seen a request to film footage for their Amazon Prime documentary turned down.

City recently signed up to produce a behind-the-scenes series which will be aired next year. It will launch on the on-demand video service next year in more than 200 countries and territories after City agreed what is reported to be a lucrative deal with Amazon.

It is reported the decision was made in light of the number of requests already in place, including 23 TV rights holders.

Meanwhile, Bernardo Silva claims City will redouble efforts to beat United after losing their unbeaten record. City were beaten for the first time since April as they went down 2-1 to Shakhtar Donetsk in freezing Kharkiv in the Champions League on Wednesday.

It was City's first loss in 29 games stretching back to last season's FA Cup semifinals and ended their club record 20-game winning streak in all competitions. Silva, who was brought into the side as manager Pep Guardiola made seven changes, said: "When you lose a game, [in] the next game you have to give even more than you usually give to come back from that situation.

"We know Man United have a very good team as well but we will play our game and try to control the match, to be better than them and bring the three points back home.

"We hoped we wouldn't lose any game this season. Unfortunately, in football, it is very complicated to win all the games. It is true we were already qualified but we came here to win. Unfortunately we didn't."

Guardiola left out Kyle Walker, Vincent Kompany, Fabian Delph, Nicolas Otamendi and Raheem Sterling, while Kevin De Bruyne was suspended. All could return at the weekend while City will also hope David Silva, who did not travel, will overcome a knock as City look to extend their eight-point advantage at the top of the table.

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

Follow @ESPNFC on Twitter to keep up with the latest football updates.

ESPN