Premier League 2012, Week 12 Preview and Fixtures: Arsenal And Spurs Kick Things Off North London Style

Clive Mason

The North London Derby sets the tone for the weekend, with another round of fun, under-the-radar contests providing the majority of the interesting matchups this time around.

Arsenal vs. Tottenham Hotspur

Emirates Stadium; Saturday, 12:45 GMT/7:45 AM ET

Ah, it's the North London Derby. One of those games that we're all supposed too care about for some reason, but most folks haven't the foggiest why. Okay, we get it, they're close to one another. My sister and I shared a bedroom for six years and we hated each other and no one ever paid to see us fight. I'd guess the Great-Skid-Row-Poster-Destruction that was met by the Stretch-Armstrong-Offensive would be equally compelling.

Pick: Draw, 2-2

Liverpool vs. Wigan Athletic

Anfield; Saturday, 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET

There's one point between these two teams. Please join be in a hearty guffaw, before that gap begins to grow to insurmountable levels.

Pick: Liverpool, 3-1

Manchester City vs. Aston Villa

Etihad Stadium; Saturday, 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET

Aston Villa took Manchester United down to the wire last weekend and knocked City out of the League Cup a little over a month ago. Neither of these things matter because A) United is flawed in the best possible way for a top team and makes every game fun and B) League Cup.

Pick: City, 2-0

Newcastle United vs. Swansea City

St. James' Park; Saturday, 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET

Yep, this is a game of football. It should be a pretty decent one, too. Lots of passing. Maybe some goals, too. Probably, even! Never has a game that seemed like so much fun been so lacking in the narrative department. Very inconsiderate.

Pick: Newcastle, 2-1

Queens Park Rangers vs. Southampton

Loftus Road; Saturday, 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET

Ah, here's the narrative. And it's a simple one, too; both of these teams are horrendous, but only one of them spent tens of millions of dollars to be that way. (Also, only one of them has Gaston Ramirez, but that's a less compelling [by which I mean insulting] narrative.) Here's a secret though; this will probably be the most entertaining game of the weekend.

Pick: QPR, 3-2

Reading vs. Everton

Madejski Stadium; Saturday, 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET

Reading still hasn't won a single game. And yet, they're not actually that bad, in a relative sense. Four teams have a worse goal difference, and their record at home is at reason enough to give any team pause before assuming they're a sure bet for three points. Not too much pause, though. Reading is pretty bad.

Pick: Everton, 2-1

West Bromwich Albion vs. Chelsea

The Hawthorns; Saturday, 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET

Romelu Lukaku has been sharpening his dreads for months just dreaming about this moment.

Pick: Chelsea, 3-1

Norwich City vs. Manchester United

Carrow Road; Saturday, 17:30 GMT/12:30 PM ET

Idea for a experiment; United should play the first 45-60 minute of a match against a side of Norwich City's caliber while pretending like the ball is made of hot lava. Goalkeeper included. They'd still win. Probably because they'd win a penalty for Wayne Rooney's "hair" catching on fire.

Pick: United, One more than Norwich has

Fulham vs. Sunderland

Craven Cottage; Sunday, 16:00 GMT/11:00 AM ET

I do attempt to keep my personal bias out of these previews, but watching Martin O'Neill fail is just about the most wonderful thing imaginable. Long may it continue. (Not too long, though, because Sunderland has actual good players that most sane people would like to see utilized correctly.)

Pick: Fulham, 1-0

West Ham United vs. Stoke City

Upton Park; Monday, 20:00 GMT/3:00 PM ET

The Battle of Shiloh, also known as the Battle of Pittsburg Landing, was a major battle in the Western Theater of the American Civil War, fought April 6 - 7, 1862, in southwestern Tennessee. A Union army under Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant had moved via the Tennessee River deep into Tennessee and was encamped principally at Pittsburg Landing on the west bank of the river. Confederate forces under Generals Albert Sidney Johnston and P. G. T. Beauregard launched a surprise attack on Grant there. The Confederates achieved considerable success on the first day, but were ultimately defeated on the second day. The Confederates were forced to retreat from the bloodiest battle in United States history up to that time, ending their hopes that they could block the Union advance into northern Mississippi.*

Amateurs.

*(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Shiloh)

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