Premier League Predictions: Matchday 23

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Chelsea will take the bus across London to face Arsenal at the Emirates this Saturday in the marquee matchup of the weekend. Chelsea enters the match as favorites having extended their 4th place cushion above 5th place Arsenal to 6 points following a 2-1 win against Newcastle. Also, the Blues are coming off of their first week without a midweek game since November.

Maurizio Sarri will deploy his favored lineup featuring Hazard in the center forward role with Willian and either Hudson-Odoi or Pedro alongside him. Do not be surprised to see the young British winger start this one in an attempt from Chelsea to woo their wonderkid into signing a new contract.

The only surprise from Chelsea’s lineup would come from the presence of a brand new Argentinian on their bench: Gonzalo Higuaín. Higuaín is unlikely to complete his loan move to Chelsea before the deadline to register for the Arsenal match; however, the possibility is still open.

Arsenal are looking over their shoulder at the onrushing Manchester United who are now level on points with the Gunners. Arsenal struggled at both ends of the pitch in their 0-1 defeat to West Ham. They allowed room for Samir Nasri, Felipe Anderson, and Declan Rice to pick their way through Arsenal’s back line. At the other end of the pitch, Aubameyang had one of his worst performances for the club, failing to make any decent attempts on target.

Behind the scenes, Arsenal remain a shaky bunch. Aaron Ramsey is currently on his way to Turin to sign for Juventus and, although Emery would like to bolster his squad’s midfield, he has recently announced that his club can only sign players on loan.

The reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge saw Chelsea defeat Arsenal 3-2 in a shaky affair between 2 teams that were in the early stages of forming their identities under new managers.

Both clubs will need to find a way to win in this massive match that will have severe implications on the race for a top 4 finish.

Saturday, January 19th

Wolves 1-0 Leicester

After a 3-0 loss to Manchester City, Wolves will get back on track with a comfortable win against a Leicester side whose recent losses to Newport and Southampton have taken the shine away from their December wins against Man City and Chelsea.

Liverpool 2-0 Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace will hope that history repeats itself when they travel to Anfield to take on league leaders Liverpool. Whether it is the 4-3 defeat in the 1990 FA Cup or the infamous “Crystanbul” collapse of 2014, Liverpool fans are more than familiar with having their high hopes crushed by the Eagles.

Liverpool, however, should feel confident ahead of this fixture. Not only has Jurgen Klopp won 5 out of 7 meetings with Crystal Palace, but Liverpool are also undefeated at Anfield since the 23rd of April, 2017 when they blew a 1-0 lead to… yep, Crystal Palace.

Fabinho impressed in Klopp’s makeshift back line against Brighton.

Fabinho impressed in Klopp’s makeshift back line against Brighton.

Liverpool’s patched up defensive line that featured Fabinho playing alongside Van Dijk looked sharp against a very physical Brighton. They should not have trouble defending against a weak Crystal Palace front line that has only scored 20 goals in 22 Premier League games this season.

The apparent threat for Liverpool comes in the form of that man, Wilfried Zaha, who will have the potential to sneak one past Alisson if the chance presents itself – however unlikely it is that such an opportunity will arise.

Unless the Premier League gods have planned another Crystal Palace upset, Liverpool should have no trouble putting the Eagles back in their cage.

Watford 2-1 Burnley

Two red hot teams will be meeting at Vicarage Road this Saturday. Burnley have emerged from the relegation zone like the Phoenix in Harry Potter. They have won their last 4 games in all competitions and will look to extend that streak against the Hornets.

Watford, however, look to continue their own good run of form that has seen them climb to 7th in the table on the back of their best ever first half season in the Premier League.

In the reverse fixture, Watford thumped Burnley 3-1 in a match that saw both teams head in different directions. Burnley would spiral into the relegation zone, and Watford would plunge themselves into the top 6 only to be dragged back to reality a few weeks later.

Look for Watford to edge this one with home field advantage carrying them over the line.

Newcastle 1-1 Cardiff City

Newcastle will be looking to win their first Premier League match in more than a month against Cardiff City this weekend.

In what should be an dull clash between struggling sides, one of these teams will likely find themselves south of the relegation line after 90 minutes.

Manchester United 3-0 Brighton

Following their impressive win against Spurs last weekend, David De Gea’s Manchester United will extend their impressive run under their new manager to 7 wins in a row against Brighton.

Look for Rashford to continue his red hot form under Solskjaer who has committed to playing the young Englishman in his preferred position of Striker.

Bournemouth 1-2 West Ham

West Ham, who are coming off an impressive 1-0 victory against Arsenal, will look to continue their impressive form against a Bournemouth side that has the third worst defensive record in the league.

Callum Wilson is likely to remain sidelined due to a hamstring injury while Marko Arnautovic will be absent as he is currently looking for a new apartment in Beijing.

Southampton 0-2 Everton

A shaky Southampton side who are coming off of a blown 2-0 lead against Frank Lampard’s Derby County midweek face a reinvigorated Everton on Saturday.

Everton players celebrated their victory against Bournemouth as if they were playing Liverpool.

Everton players celebrated their victory against Bournemouth as if they were playing Liverpool.

Southampton enter this match with a reinvigorated squad that will feature Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Yan Valery and Charlie Austin who are all returning from suspension. They are still without the services of Ryan Bertrand, Shane Long, Mario Lemina and Michael Obafemi.

Everton will put out a relatively injury free squad that is likely to feature youngster Ademola Lookman. The energetic player will be making his second consecutive start for the first time this season.

Everton, who have struggled to find consistency throughout the season are coming off of a strong 2-0 win against Bournemouth, a game in which they celebrated as if they had just beaten Liverpool.

Everton should be able to return from the south coast with a comfortable 3 points.

Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea

Two teams going through a difficult period under new managers will face off in this London Derby. In this match that has huge implications on both team’s chances for a top 4 finish, look for a dull Chelsea attack to pull out a win at the Emirates against a still formidable Arsenal side that has a strong home record this season.

Alonso celebrates after scoring the winner against Arsenal in their 3-2 victory earlier this season.

Alonso celebrates after scoring the winner against Arsenal in their 3-2 victory earlier this season.

Sunday, January 20th

Huddersfield 0-5 Manchester City

As we all know, it is hard enough facing Manchester City with a healthy squad and a clear gameplan. Huddersfield, however, are taking on the Champions without a manager. After sacking David Wagner following their 0-0 draw against Cardiff last Saturday, Huddersfield have yet to announce a manager who will oversee their attempt to crawl back from 20th place in the league.

Pep’s men will score for fun against the Terriers, using this match to bolster their Fantasy Premier League stats.

Fulham 0-2 Tottenham

Tottenham will be missing Harry Kane and Lucas Moura who are both out with injury and Son Heung-min who is on international duty for their London Derby against Fulham on Sunday.

Even without their regular strike force, Spurs will have too much for a Fulham squad that is five points from safety. Fulham, who have yet to bolster their woeful defense, remain severely vulnerable at the back and are likely to be exposed yet again this weekend.

Having recently sacked manager David Wagner, Huddersfield will hope their match against Manchester City finishes quickly.

Having recently sacked manager David Wagner, Huddersfield will hope their match against Manchester City finishes quickly.