EPL Week 12 Predictions: Players Who Will Make Headlines at the Weekend

Christopher Atkins@@chris_elasticoContributor INovember 19, 2013

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 09:  Luis Suarez of Liverpool goes past Philippe Senderos of Fulham on his way to scoring the fourth goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Fulham at Anfield on November 9, 2013 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

The last time Luis Suarez visited Goodison Park he scored twice, had a winner disallowed and dived in comic fashion in front of David Moyes. So what might this Merseyside derby bring?

Add in top-of-the-table clashes between Arsenal and Southampton, as well as Manchester City vs. Tottenham, and a memorable weekend of top-flight football appears on the horizon.

Big games require big personalities to step up, as Suarez did in last year's Goodison Park encounter, and he will not be alone in fighting for back-page space in the weekend's newspapers.

Which big names, then, will we be talking about on Monday morning?

Week 12 Fixtures
FixtureDayTime (GMT)TV InfoPrediction
Everton vs. LiverpoolSaturday12:45BT Sport2-2
Fulham vs. SwanseaSaturday15:001-3
Hull vs. Crystal PalaceSaturday15:002-0
Arsenal vs. SouthamptonSaturday15:001-0
Newcastle vs. NorwichSaturday15:002-0
Stoke vs. SunderlandSaturday15:001-2
West Ham vs. ChelseaSaturday17:30Sky Sports0-3
Man City vs. TottenhamSunday13:30Sky Sports2-2
Cardiff vs. Man UtdSunday16:00Sky Sports1-3
West Brom vs. Aston VillaMonday20:00Sky Sports2-1
Premier League

Luis Suarez (Liverpool)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 09:  Luis Suarez of Liverpool scores the third goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Fulham at Anfield on November 9, 2013 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

When it comes to headlines in the Premier League, there are few who can rival Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez for consistency. Saturday's Merseyside derby, for which he will rush back from South America, is exactly the type of game in which he will come to the fore—in one way or another.

Suarez is already the league's top scorer with eight goals, despite appearing in just eight games in the competition this season. Per WhoScored.com, the striker averages a remarkable six shots per game, placing him comfortably ahead of any other Premier League player.

That is the difficulty Suarez presents to defenders, something Everton will have to deal with on Saturday. He is always on the move, always looking to shoot and invariably able to conjure some sort of chance.

Last year's antics will guarantee him a hot reception at Goodison Park, but he consistently rises to the occasion when under the spotlight, so goals, red cards, on-field spats and moments of controversy are all on the agenda this weekend.

The Toffees have been strong defensively this season, but it would be no surprise at all to see Suarez come up with a vital contribution on Saturday—regardless of his lack of time to prepare for the game, per The Guardian's Andy Hunter.

Erik Lamela (Tottenham)

One of Spurs' big summer signings, Argentine attacking midfielder Erik Lamela has struggled to come to grips with life in England thus far. Per the Independent's James Orr, he is hoping that improving his language skills will aid his adaptation.

However, the best way for Lamela to win over the supporters and boost his own confidence would be to deliver in a big match for his new club—ideally starting this weekend against Manchester City.

Anyone who saw Lamela in his time at Roma will be aware of his potential to cause destruction and his ability to come to the fore on the big occasion—having scored goals in a derby win over Lazio and against Udinese and Inter Milan last season.

If Spurs are struggling to make a breakthrough, or find themselves behind in the dying minutes of Sunday's encounter, the former River Plate youngster will surely be introduced and, given the chance, has the ability to make himself a hero.

It will eventually click for Lamela in North London, but Spurs' lack of attacking cohesion this season is undoubtedly harming the ability of their new signing to make an immediate impact.

Now that Christian Eriksen faces a spell on the sidelines, Andre Villas-Boas has no reason not to make him the focal point of Spurs' attack.

Olivier Giroud (Arsenal)

Arsenal forward Oliver Giroud has been excellent this campaign, proving himself to be just the sort of striker the club believed they had signed last summer, following a mediocre debut campaign in England.

With five league goals and four assists to his name, he has directly contributed to as many goals as anyone in the Gunners side and will be crucial when they take on Southampton on Saturday.

The Saints have conceded just five times in 11 league games and will not willingly allow Arsenal time and space on the ball as many other opponents have. The hold-up work of Giroud, then, will need to be spot on to help his side make a breakthrough. 

Arsenal will not find life easy up against Jose Fonte and Dejan Lovren—with the pair having been dominant in aerial battles this season. If they can involve Giroud in build-up play, though, they can move the defence around and create space behind for runners.

Giroud has won over many of his doubters this year but must continue to perform well on the days when Arsene Wenger's side do not have it quite their own way—as he has in European clashes so far this year.

If he can continue that form, Arsenal can claim an important win ahead of a difficult run into the New Year period.


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