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Premier League Week 20 Fixtures: Full Picks and Predictions for Matchday 20

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 01: Tom Cleverley of Manchester United tries to break through the Tottenham defense during the Barclays Premier League Match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at White Hart Lane on December 1, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images
Andrew GouldFeatured ColumnistDecember 30, 2013

What better way to kick off the New Year than with a full slate of Premier League matches?

Most people use the changing of the calendars to pretend they're starting anew, even though the same amount of time passes between Dec. 6 and 7 and Dec. 31 and Jan. 1. For the 20 Premier League squads clashing for a title, they're not afforded a chance to play that mental trick since the records don't wash away.

Of course, there's still ample time for clubs to turn the corner and strive for a more successful 2014. With each team playing on Wednesday, Jan. 1, the entire league will get a chance to immediately start the year right.

While no 5-star matchups exist on the Matchday 20 schedule, there's still plenty of intrigue worth following. Liverpool will look to snap out of a losing funk, and Southampton can gain some ground by upsetting Chelsea.

In the day's most appealing contest, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur will look to break a tie at 34 points apiece to gain sole possession of sixth place, or possibly higher.

EPL Matchday 20 Schedule—Wednesday, Jan. 1
Time (ET)Time (GMT)HomePredicted ScoreAway
7:45 a.m.12:45 p.m.Swansea City0-4Manchester City
10 a.m.3 p.m.Sunderland1-1Aston Villa
10 a.m.3 p.m.Stoke City1-3Everton
10 a.m.3 p.m.Crystal Palace1-0Norwich City
10 a.m.3 p.m.Southampton1-3Chelsea
10 a.m.3 p.m.Fulham2-4West Ham United
10 a.m.3 p.m.Liverpool4-1Hull City
10 a.m.3 p.m.West Bromwich Albion1-1Newcastle
10 a.m.3 p.m.Arsenal4-0Cardiff City
12:30 p.m.5:30 p.m.Manchester United2-1Tottenham
Schedule courtesy of ESPN FC

 

Liverpool vs. Hull City

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26:  Manager of Liverpool Brendan Rodgers looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium on December 26, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty
Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Liverpool must wake up quickly before they lose any more ground.

Vying for first place a few short weeks ago, they now find themselves sitting in fifth after sustaining two straight losses to title contenders Manchester City and Chelsea. For a powerhouse like Liverpool, a string of defeats rarely happens.

According to Uber Football Facts, that marks the first time manager Brendan Rodgers lost consecutive bouts with the Reds.

While Liverpool limp into this match, Hull City enter on a thunderous high note. Last weekend, they tormented Fulham in a 6-0 slaughter, scoring all six goals in the second half from six different players. They jumped to 12th place after obtaining the demonstrative victory.

It's easier to look at the recent results and say momentum sits firmly in Hull City's corner, but they beat up the league's worst defense while Liverpool lost two close matches to elite squads. There's no way Hull are coming close to scoring six times against a much stingier defense.

Per PremierLeague.com, Hull City have scored one quarter of their goals inside the six-yard area while Liverpool have not surrendered a single score around those premises. Even though Simon Mignolet's error cost Liverpool the match against Manchester City, the goalkeeper will be crucial to Liverpool's success.

 

Southampton vs. Chelsea

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 29:  Eden Hazard of Chelsea celebrates in front of the fans after scoring a goal to level the scores at 1-1 during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on December 29, 2013 in London
Julian Finney/Getty Images

A month ago, these two squads met under different circumstances.

At the time of their last meeting in early December, Southampton joined Chelsea in the table's top five, but they have since slid down to ninth place with 27 points. 

Jay Rodriguez scored a goal 13 seconds into that match, but Southampton could not generate any offense for the remaining 89:47. That was their only shot on goal throughout the entire match, and Chelsea eventually caught up, and then some, with three second-half scores.

Another loss could create an insurmountable mountain to climb for a club now 10 points behind fourth-place Everton. 

As for Chelsea, they're inching closer to the top due to sensational play from 22-year-old Eden Hazard. The midfielder, who provided the deciding goal to knock off Liverpool, leads the team with eight goals and four assists.

Per Squawka Football, Hazard also leads the league in chances created this year. 

Just two points out of first place's reach, Chelsea have distinguished themselves as the clearly superior squad, so don't count on a New Year's Day miracle.

 

Manchester United vs. Tottenham Hotspur

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 01:  Shinji Kagawa and Wayne Rooney of Manchester United compete with Sandro of Tottenham Hotspur during the Barclays Premier League Match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at White Hart Lane on December 1, 2013 in
Michael Regan/Getty Images

The identical records say these two clubs are even, but the other stats suggest otherwise.

Manchester United and Tottenham each have 10 wins, four draws and five losses this season, but United sport a plus-10 goal differential while Tottenham have been outscored by two goals during the season.

Most of that damage on Tottenham's differential was inflicted in blowouts against Liverpool and Manchester City, the EPL's two top scoring teams. Then again, United rank fifth in that category, and it's not encouraging for a team built around defense to get shredded by anyone.

But they have upset the Red Devils before. Last season, Spurs scooped up their first victory at Old Trafford since 1989. According to Goal.com's Liam Twomey, midfielder Mousa Dembele believes his team can duplicate the feat to usher in 2014. 

We have a different team to last year, so it's difficult to think about that game. They will be motivated against us, but we're not scared to play there and surprise everyone. They are a top team. We have a lot of respect for them but not too much. We are a good team and we have to play our own game, and we can do something.

They played to a draw in December, but United controlled the ball for 60 percent of the match. Until Spurs prove they can beat a top squad, they can't be predicted to take home three points.

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