Premier League Week 21 Predictions: Players Set to Star in Upcoming Matches

Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistJanuary 6, 2014

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 14:  Fernandinho of Manchester City in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Arsenal at Etihad Stadium on December 14, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

The arrival of 2014 means we're heading toward the business end of this season's race for the Premier League title.

Slip-ups can now prove fatal at either end of the table as clubs look to ramp up a run of form heading into the campaign's crescendo. Week 21 is on the horizon, and as ever, there's plenty of interesting fixtures to look out for, many of which will be defined by individual stars.

Premier League Week 21 Schedule & Predictions
FixtureDateTimeTV InfoPrediction
Hull vs. ChelseaJan. 1112:45 GMT/7.45 ETBT Sport0-2
Cardiff vs. West HamJan. 1115:00 GMT/10:00 ET2-1
Everton vs. NorwichJan. 1115:00 GMT/10:00 ET3-0
Fulham vs. SunderlandJan. 1115:00 GMT/10:00 ET1-1
Southampton vs. West BromJan. 1115:00 GMT/10:00 ET2-1
Tottenham vs. Crystal PalaceJan. 1115:00 GMT/10:00 ET3-0
Manchester United vs. SwanseaJan. 1115:00 GMT/10:00 ET1-1
Newcastle vs. Manchester CityJan. 1214:05 GMT/9.05 ETSky Sports1-3
Stoke vs. LiverpoolJan. 1216:10 GMT/11.10 ETSky Sports0-2
Aston Villa vs. ArsenalJan. 1320.00 GMT/15.00 ETSky Sports1-3


Players Set to Star in Upcoming Matches

Ross Barkley, Everton

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - JANUARY 01: Erik Pieters of Stoke City in action with Ross Barkley of Everton during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Everton at Britannia Stadium on January 01, 2014 in Stoke on Trent, England. (Photo by
Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

Roberto Martinez's first season as Everton boss has seen the Merseyside club make huge strides in little time. The Toffees are enjoying faster, more lethal football than last season and continue to state their claim for a place in next season's Champions League.

Ross Barkley has taken on a huge role in the transformation. The English youngster, who possesses natural physicality and confident dribbling skills, has been at the heart of Everton's effective attacking play.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 29:  Ross Barkley of Everton competes with Steven Davis of Southampton during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Southampton at Goodison Park on December 29, 2013 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Paul Thom
Paul Thomas/Getty Images

Slotting behind Romelu Lukaku—who remains on loan from Chelsea until the end of the season—Barkley's performances ensure he will be remembered as one of the breakout stars of the season, analysis that could be galvanised with a dominant display against Norwich.

Chris Hughton's side are well-drilled and have the ability to intimidate in the centre, but Barkley's boundless energy will put a stop to that.

The 20-year-old breaks up play in defensive areas, bursts forward with a quick dash of speed and makes a difference in the opposition's box. Martinez will be wary of dropping points—especially after the recent home loss to Sunderland—but the Goodison Park faithful can be confident Barkley will put in a shift against the Canaries, as he did at Carrow Road.


Aaron Lennon, Tottenham Hotspur

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 29:  Aaron Lennon of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates his team's third goal with Emmanuel Adebayor (L) during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Stoke City at White Hart Lane on December 29, 2013 in Lond
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Tim Sherwood's appointment as full-time Spurs boss was perhaps an unglamorous decision, but few individuals within the game understand the club like their former player and coach.

Sherwood has ditched the cautious approach of Andre Villas-Boas, installed two strikers and made the North London outfit increase their tempo when in possession and making runs across the pitch.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 04:  Aaron Lennon (L) of Tottenham Hotspur is challenged by Giorgos Karagounis (R) of Fulham during the Barclays Premier League match between Fulham and Tottenham Hotspur at Craven Cottage on December 4, 2013 in London, England.
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Andros Townsend has forced many English onlookers to rub their hands together ahead of this year's World Cup, but in recent weeks, Aaron Lennon's performances deserve equal attention.

The tiny winger may have only scored one goal in 11 Premier League appearances this campaign, per, but his cut-and-thrust style of play continues to provide Spurs with an effective outlet down the right.

Despite having a poor game in Spurs' FA Cup defeat to Arsenal, as the entire team did, Lennon made a huge difference during the recent victory over Manchester United, as noted by Squawka:

Lennon's one-on-one destruction of Patrice Evra highlighted what he is capable of. The winger will fancy himself against a leggy Crystal Palace defence and is more than equipped to continually skip by Tony Pulis' side with little hassle.


Fernandinho, Manchester City

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 14:  Fernandinho of Manchester City celebrates scoring their fifth goal past Wojciech Szczesny of Arsenal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Arsenal at Etihad Stadium on December 14, 2013 in
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Manchester City paid big money for Fernandinho, and after an under-the-radar start to his Premier League career, the Brazilian is repaying Manuel Pellegrini with big performances.

Fernandinho's brace in the 6-3 win over Arsenal and important goal during the 3-2 victory against Swansea highlight a player who is firmly settled into all of his duties.

He continues to keep play ticking in midfield, but most importantly, the 28-year-old is able to both shield his defence and get forward when City need greater attacking impetus.

His formidable partnership with Yaya Toure has helped the Etihad team march up the table, and as the schedule continues to thicken, Fernandinho's output will play a major role in deciding whether or not the club's cabinet is crammed with silverware at the end of May.

Athletic, powerful and intelligent, Fernandinho's versatility will be key against a Newcastle midfield that often works doggedly in front of their home crowd.