Premier League Week 18 Picks: Projecting Final Score for Each Match

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistDecember 23, 2013

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 22:  A general view of the stadium exterior prior to kickoff during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur at St Mary's Stadium on December 22, 2013 in Southampton, England.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

The winter fixture list often proves to be a tide-turning section of the Premier League calendar; a period in which many teams can be hopeful of escaping any bad form previously blighting their campaigns.

As such, a host of clubs in the English top flight will be hoping to come upon a bit of Christmas magic this Boxing Day, which throws up a treat of blockbuster billings.

From top to bottom, whether competing for silverware or staving off relegation, the next round of Premier League action promises to reignite the form of some outfits during these frigid months. There is a full list of predictions detailed ahead.

2013/14 Premier League Week 18 Predictions
Hull City vs. Manchester UnitedDec. 2612:45 p.m. GMT/7:45 a.m. ET1-2
Aston Villa vs. Crystal PalaceDec. 263 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET1-1
Cardiff City vs. SouthamptonDec. 263 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET2-2
Chelsea vs. Swansea CityDec. 263 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET2-0
Everton vs. SunderlandDec. 263 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET3-0
Newcastle United vs. Stoke CityDec. 263 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET3-1
Norwich City vs. FulhamDec. 263 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET2-1
Tottenham vs. West BromDec. 263 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET1-0
West Ham vs. ArsenalDec. 263 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET1-2
Manchester City vs. LiverpoolDec. 265:30 p.m. GMT/12:30 p.m. ET2-2


Hull City vs. Manchester United 

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 21:  Wayne Rooney of Manchester United in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and West Ham United at Old Trafford on December 21, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Gett
Stu Forster/Getty Images

At the start of the campaign, a Manchester United trip to the KC Stadium may not have looked like the most lip-smacking encounter, but Thursday's early kick-off nonetheless makes for a intriguing encounter.

Hull City have managed to maintain their momentum as the best home defence in the Premier League, conceding an average of just 0.38 goals per game when playing in front of their own fans.

However, if any side should be deemed capable of breaking down Steve Bruce's men, it's Manchester United, who currently have the best away attack in the English top flight, netting an average of 2.13 goals when playing outside of Old Trafford.

On paper, this meeting is set for fireworks as David Moyes' side will seek to do what Liverpool could not in defeating the Tigers in their own turf.

Danny Welbeck's rise to form has been wonderfully timed in the absence of the injured Robin van Persie and the Red Devils' wealth of attacking depth is likely to overrun their midweek hosts.

Prediction: Hull City 1-2 Manchester United 


Manchester City vs. Liverpool 

Easily the highlight of the Christmas schedule, Boxing Day couldn't hope of coming to a more dramatic end than with two of the Premier League's title contenders duelling for top spot in our late clash.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 21:  Jesus Navas of Manchester City celebrates scoring their third goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Fulham and Manchester City at Craven Cottage on December 21, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Manchester City have scored a superb average of 4.38 goals per game at the Etihad Stadium this season and Liverpool's defence will face a massive test of its Premier League championship credentials against one of Europe's most in-form attacks.

Opta stats show that the Citizens haven't been quite as assured away from home, however.

One crucial aspect for the visiting Reds on Wednesday will be the continued success of Luis Suarez in front of goal; a player capable of scoring against anyone right now and top of the division's scoring ranks with 19 to his name.

That being said, City's attack also looks capable of exposing any defence at the moment, but the absence of the injured Sergio Aguero will likely tell on this occasion.

Prediction: Manchester City 2-2 Liverpool 


Newcastle United vs. Stoke City 

In their respective campaigns, Newcastle United and Stoke City have shown the kind of form worthy of relegation, never mind top-half contention.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 21: Mathieu Debuchy of Newcastle United in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Newcastle United at Selhurst Park on December 21, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)
Tom Dulat/Getty Images

However, the Magpies and the Potters, sixth and 10th respectively, are currently benefiting from the influence of some encouraging management of late, with Alan Pardew and Mark Hughes turning around the fortunes of their teams.

While Hughes' Stoke transformation continues to open the club up to new possibilities, this week's meeting makes for an exciting collision between two of the division's expanding teams—the two teams producing an average of 2.47 goals per game between them so far this campaign.

Travelling to St. James' Park, however, Stoke's lack of a solid defence away from home should prove to be their undoing, while Pardew's attack continues to thrive in all aspects.

Prediction: Newcastle United 3-1 Stoke City