Premier League action will continue this weekend with 10 more pivotal matches, none more intriguing than Monday night's showdown between league leaders Arsenal and Chelsea in Holloway.
The Gunners are coming off a brutal 6-3 loss at Manchester City in Week 16 and will be in search of three points in order to maintain their narrow lead over Chelsea, Liverpool and City in the league table.
Here I'll forecast the top performers and biggest surprises ahead of Matchday 17.
|Projected Top Performers for Week 17|
|Rank||Player||Club||Avg Match Rating|
|2||Yaya Toure||Manchester City||7.6|
|4||Wayne Rooney||Manchester United||7.6|
|Average match rating via WhoScored.com|
Luis Suarez, Liverpool
Given Luis Suarez's ridiculous current run of form and the lackluster competition Liverpool are set to square off against in Week 17, the Uruguayan superstar is sure to turn in another monster performance on Saturday.
Keep in mind that Suarez has scored eight goals over Liverpool's past three league matches and leads all Premier League goal scorers with 17 goals despite having missed his squad's first five matches because of suspension.
The Reds will host Cardiff City at Anfield this weekend, and only four Premier League clubs have conceded more goals than the Bluebirds through the first 16 weeks this season.
Yaya Toure, Manchester City
With Manchester City star striker Sergio Aguero set to miss a significant amount of time with a calf injury, look for Yaya Toure to pick up the scoring burden for his side on Saturday at Craven Cottage, where the Citizens will battle reeling Fulham.
In addition to the fact Toure has scored three goals over City's past three league matches, no club in the Premier League have conceded more goals than Fulham, who have let in 30 through 16 matches.
The Cottagers surrendered four goals to Everton in Week 16 and have conceded three or more goals in five of their previous 16 league matches. That doesn't bode well for Fulham as they get set to face off against the league's most explosive squad in City, who have scored 47 goals thus far, eight of which have come courtesy of Toure.
|Projected Biggest Surprises for Week 17|
|Crystal Palace||2-1||Newcastle United|
Crystal Palace Over Newcastle United
The Eagles will host surging Newcastle this weekend. And although the Magpies are 14 points ahead in the league table, watch for Crystal Palace to spring the upset at Selhurst Park.
After all, Tony Pulis' squad have fared well at home of late, shutting out Cardiff City and West Ham United in their most recent league home games. Meanwhile, Alan Pardew's side have been hit-or-miss away from St. James' Park this season, recently suffering head-scratching defeats to Swansea City and Sunderland.
If you're looking for an underdog capable of surprising a contender this weekend, look no further than Crystal Palace.
Sunderland Over Norwich City
Another club facing relegation with a great shot to earn three points on Matchday 17 is last-place Sunderland, who will take on Norwich City at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.
While the Black Cats haven't won a home league match since shocking Manchester City 1-0 on Nov. 10, they're coming off a massive 2-1 home win over Chelsea in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday and have looked very strong in recent Premier League home defeats to the Blues and Spurs.
On the other hand, Norwich have been incredibly vulnerable on the road this season, suffering losses to Liverpool, Newcastle, Manchester City and Arsenal since mid-October. What's more, the Canaries were outscored by a combined mark of 18-3 in those four road defeats.
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