Premier League Week 23 Picks: Early Predictions for Next Week's Fixtures

Jason PettigroveContributor IJanuary 20, 2014

Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge will have their work cut out against an emerging Everton.
Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge will have their work cut out against an emerging Everton.Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

After a weekend of FA Cup action, we get back to the bread and butter of the Premier League, with a full programme next Tuesday 28, and Wednesday 29 January.

Week 23 of the season throws up some particularly mouth-watering fixtures that affect both ends of the table and the push for European places.

The title race and battle against the drop are both as tight as they have ever been at this stage of the season, and three points won or lost could have a marked effect on the rest of the campaign.

As the transfer window eases to a close, each manager can now aim for a settled XI as they push on toward the business end of proceedings.

2013/14 Premier League Week 23 Predictions
FixtureDateTimePredictions
Crystal Palace vs. Hull CityJan 288 p.m. GMT/3 p.m. ET1-0
Liverpool vs. EvertonJan 288 p.m. GMT/3 p.m. ET2-2
Manchester United vs. Cardiff CityJan 287.45 p.m. GMT/2.45 p.m. ET3-1
Norwich City vs. Newcastle UnitedJan 287.45 p.m. GMT/2.45 p.m. ET0-3
Southampton vs. ArsenalJan 287.45 p.m. GMT/2.45 p.m. ET1-2
Swansea City vs. FulhamJan 287.45 p.m. GMT/2.45 p.m. ET2-1
Aston Villa vs. West BromJan 297.45 p.m. GMT/2.45 p.m. ET1-1
Chelsea vs. West HamJan 297.45 p.m. GMT/2.45 p.m. ET5-0
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Manchester CityJan 297.45 p.m. GMT/2.45 p.m. ET2-3
Sunderland vs. Stoke CityJan 297.45 p.m. GMT/2.45 p.m. ET1-0
PremierLeague.com

 

Liverpool vs. Everton

Everton's Romelu Lukaku will be a handful for the Liverpool defence in the Merseyside derby.
Everton's Romelu Lukaku will be a handful for the Liverpool defence in the Merseyside derby.Jon Super/Associated Press

The glory years of the 1980's have returned to Merseyside with both the red and blue halves enjoying a successful campaign so far.

So much so that it's impossible to split the two on current form.

Brendan Rodgers has Liverpool playing in the truest traditions of the club, whilst Roberto Martinez has surprised many who thought the Everton job might be a step too far for him.

Martinez has bought very well and is playing a brand of football that is far more pleasing to the eye than that of predecessor, David Moyes'. His teams bring a robust, physical presence and look bright, energetic and dangerous on the break. 

However, in Luis Suarez, Liverpool possess the Premier League's most in-form marksman, and the Uruguayan is likely to have a say here.

Gareth Barry, in particular, will need to minimise the space in front of Phil Jagielka to ensure that Suarez's best work is away from the penalty box.

If Romelu Lukaku can get at the Reds defence early, then a Toffees smash and grab isn't beyond the realm of possibility. But a score draw seems a more likely outcome, both teams cancelling each other out over the 90 minutes.

Prediction: Liverpool 2-2 Everton

 

Chelsea vs. West Ham

The noose hanging around Sam Allardyce's neck has been tightening by the week. His—and West Ham's— cause hasn't been helped by the stupidity of his captain Kevin Nolan, whose two red cards have ensured his absence from an under-fire Hammers midfield.

West Ham captain Kevin Nolan has hardly helped his side's battle against the drop with two red cards in as many matches.
West Ham captain Kevin Nolan has hardly helped his side's battle against the drop with two red cards in as many matches.Steve Bardens/Getty Images

With Andy Carroll only just back from long-term injury, the frontman cannot be expected to be the Eastenders' saviour just yet.

Third from bottom via goal difference only tells it's own story, but Jose Mourinho will show no mercy in this one.

Just two points and one goal separate the Blues from Arsenal at the top of the table, and six wins out of six in the Premier League is title winning form.

Frank Lampard would love to get another one over his previous employers, but Chelsea bring an attacking threat from all areas of the pitch. It's hard to imagine West Ham coping with their gung-ho approach for long.

A big home win could see the trap door open for Big Sam.

Prediction: Chelsea 5-0 West Ham

 

Manchester United vs. Cardiff City

It's fair to say that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hasn't enjoyed the greatest of starts to his managerial career in the Premier League. 

Ole Gunnar Solksjaer will be desperate for three points at his old stamping ground.
Ole Gunnar Solksjaer will be desperate for three points at his old stamping ground.Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

An away defeat at the Etihad was entirely predictable, but the Norwegian would've been disappointed at the manner of the loss at home to fellow strugglers, West Ham United.

What better place to turn your fortunes around than at the stadium where you spent the most glorious years of your career?

Manchester United's Old Trafford will hold many happy memories for the Bluebirds manager, but these will be erased in an instant if Cardiff do not stand toe-to-toe with their more esteemed hosts.

David Moyes is feeling the pressure for entirely different reasons, and this game gives him a lifeline of sorts. 

If Cardiff's influential Gary Medel can be isolated by a marauding United, then the home side can have a field day. Despite four losses in their last six in all competitions, the Red Devils simply possess players of superior guile and quality.

At just 18 years old, Adnan Januzaj has been a revelation, and alongside Messrs. Rooney, Valencia and Welbeck, United will have far too much firepower for their visitors.

Prediction: Manchester United 3-1 Cardiff City