The holidays are a perfect time for family, friends and Premier League football, as a spectacular slate of games for Week 18 will be dropped right after Christmas on Thursday, Dec. 26.
With all 20 EPL clubs in action on that Thursday, it will be a short week for many but not without fireworks. A handful of matches with title implications will take place and help to shape up the top of the table for the respective squads.
Matchday 17 set the stage for many clubs to carry momentum throughout the week and play their best football in the near future.
Here's a look at Week 18 picks for every game, as we highlight the top matches in the fold.
|Home Club||Prediction||Away Club|
|Hull City||0-2||Manchester United|
|Aston Villa||1-1||Crystal Palace|
|Newcastle United||1-0||Stoke City|
Manchester City vs. Liverpool
Seemingly all of the title contenders—at the moment, at least—face inferior foes in Week 18 with the exception of this cracker of a match as Manchester City host Liverpool for the first time this season.
Something has got to give in this one. City have been an unstoppable force at Etihad Stadium this season, posting an unbelievable 22 goals in their last four home matches. That includes six-goal outbursts against both Arsenal and Spurs.
On the other end, Liverpool are playing at a similarly impressive form. They've notched 17 scores in their last four, one of which was a 5-0 road drubbing of Tottenham. Luis Suarez is playing like a man possessed, having scored 19 goals in just 12 matches played.
The Reds are the real deal, but nothing can stop City at home. The Citizens are a perfect eight for eight at home. They won all eight by an average of nearly four goals per game. That's just absurd.
Other than a loss to Norwich City in May, the end of the 2012-13 season, Manchester City haven't lost a home Premier League fixture since 2012.
When City go on the road, it's a different story. But until something changes and they do something other than dominate at home, they're a big favourite no matter who they play.
In-form Liverpool will keep it close thanks to Suarez's heroics, but it won't be enough to stifle a City victory.
Manchester City 3, Liverpool 2
Hull City vs. Manchester United
One of the laughing stocks early on in the Premier League season, Manchester United have shaken off their early struggles and look poised to potentially defend their title in the second half of the season.
Up next is a road test against Hull City.
Hull haven't had an easy go of things as of late. They're winless in their last four matches, drawing the last three, but have pulled out enough results to sit in 12th place with 20 points after a 1-1 draw to West Brom in Week 17.
Despite Hull's inability to win as of late, they haven't gone up against competition like that of United in recent weeks. Just as well, the Red Devils have been able to turn things around quite a bit by winning three straight in all competitions, including two EPL wins by a combined 6-1.
Wayne Rooney has become even more valuable to this club than he was in the past with Robin van Persie missing a month, and it's turned into great production. He's been a spectacular creator in recent weeks, setting up his teammates early and often.
Expect United's recent offensive surge to continue against a club stuck in mediocrity.
Manchester United 2, Hull City 0
West Ham vs. Arsenal
Arsenal still have work ahead with a Week 17 fixture against Chelsea on Monday, Dec. 23 to round out the weekend. They'll have to face a quick turnaround with a road test against West Ham three days later.
Depending on how Matchday 17 ends, the Gunners could find themselves trying to battle back to the top of the table in this matchup if they don't win at home against Chelsea. As if trying to wash away the six goals conceded to Manchester City one week prior wasn't enough motivation to get things turned around.
Thanks to the new addition of Mesut Ozil along with the flourishing of offensive weapons Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey, among others, the Gunners are a dangerous team offensively. Even on the road, they've figured out how to get their goals.
West Ham beat a struggling Tottenham in the Capital One Cup recently, but posted a lopsided loss to United. A scoreless draw in Week 16 to last-place Sunderland leaves a lot to be desired.
Arsenal's opponent simply doesn't have the goal-scoring prowess to threaten a result.
Arsenal 3, West Ham 0