World Football

EPL Week 23 Predictions: Projecting Top Performers and Biggest Surprises

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 18:  Mesut Oezil of Arsenal in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Fulham at Emirates Stadium on January 18, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images
Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistJanuary 27, 2014

Every time it seems like you know what to expect in the English Premier League, the competitive league finds a way to surprise everyone.

In Matchday 22, clubs like Southampton, Liverpool and Everton each failed to secure victories and suffered for it in the league table. In the upcoming week of close matchups, there will be even more surprising results. 

While it is tough to exactly predict what will happen, here is a preview for the upcoming set of fixtures on both an individual and club level. 

EPL Week 23 Projected Top Performers
RankPlayerClubOpponent
1Luis SuarezLiverpoolEverton
2OscarChelseaWest Ham United
3Sergio AgueroManchester CityTottenham
4Patrice EvraManchester UnitedCardiff City
5Mesut OzilArsenalSouthampton

 

Top Performers

Luis Suarez, Liverpool

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - JANUARY 12:  Luis Suarez of Liverpool celebrates as he scores their second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Liverpool at Britannia Stadium on January 12, 2014 in Stoke on Trent, England.  (Phot
Clive Mason/Getty Images

Although this is an obvious choice based on the year he has had, Luis Suarez has been simply incredible this season. His 22 goals not only lead the EPL, but he is tied with Cristiano Ronaldo for the most league goals in any of the major European leagues.

As Squawka Football notes, Suarez has been vital to Liverpool's offensive production this year:

He also showed in the recent FA Cup win that he is capable of creating opportunities for others when he is not scoring himself, totaling two assists in the win.

This skill will be vital against Everton, who have been playing excellent defense all season. With Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin doing a great job stopping opposing attacks in front of the net, it will be a challenge for Liverpool to score.

However, Suarez has shown the ability to come through when his side needs it the most, and he should be able to score at least one goal in the Merseyside Derby.

 

Oscar, Chelsea

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 01:  Oscar of Chelsea runs with the ball prior to scoring his team's third goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Chelsea at St Mary's Stadium on January 1, 2014 in Southampton, England.  (Phot
Warren Little/Getty Images

Of all of the clubs in contention for a league title, Chelsea have the easiest matchup with a home contest against West Ham United.

This presents a great opportunity for Oscar to continue his strong level of play for the Blues. OptaJoe provides a look at the midfielder's recent performances:

The 22-year-old player has been effective on the attack as both a scorer and a passer, and he has been a big reason that Chelsea have scored at such a high rate lately.

Against an opponent that has struggled mightily this year, Oscar should be able to give his club an early advantage. This will be enough to earn a necessary three points against West Ham.

English Premier League Predictions - Matchday 23
HomePredicted ScoreAway
Manchester United3-1Cardiff City
Norwich City1-2Newcastle United
Southampton0-2Arsenal
Swansea City2-2Fulham
Crystal Palace0-1Hull City
Liverpool1-0Everton
Aston Villa1-1West Bromwich Albion
Chelsea2-0West Ham United
Sunderland2-1Stoke City
Tottenham1-3Manchester City

 

Biggest Surprises

Sunderland Continue Their Strong Play

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - JANUARY 25:  Charis Mavrias (2nd left) of Sunderland celebrates with team mates after scoring during the FA Cup Fourth Round match between Sunderland and Kidderminster Harriers at the Stadium of Light on January 25, 2014 in Sunderlan
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Despite the fact that Sunderland remain tied for last place in the EPL table, they have been playing extremely well lately.

The EPL club clinched a spot in the Capital One Cup final thanks to a win over Manchester United, and they also advanced in the FA Cup with a Round 4 win over Kidderminster. Pair this with four points in the last two league matches, and the squad is seriously turning things around after a poor start.

Manager Gus Poyet turned his attention to the upcoming battle, although he did not seem too confident in saying, "Wednesday, that is the key now, that's the most important thing, three points on Wednesday somehow. I would like to say playing well, but somehow," via Damian Spellman of the Irish Independent.

While Sunderland are currently in the relegation zone, they are fully aware they are two wins away from 10th place. Some more strong play could help them climb the table in a hurry.

Stoke City have been struggling, and they are likely to be the latest victim of Sunderland's solid string of play.

 

Tottenham Will Struggle at Home

Sang Tan/Associated Press

If Tottenham want to compete with the top clubs in the league, they will have to start defeating those squads. However, they have had a hard time against those at the top of the table.

So far this year, Spurs have lost to Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool by a combined score of 12-0. They earned draws against Chelsea and Everton, but it will be tough to even get a point in this match.

Manchester City scored six goals against Tottenham at Etihad Stadium, and they have been just as solid on the road lately as well. City have won their last three road matches in the EPL with a total of nine goals scored.

Sergio Aguero is coming off a hat-trick against Watford, and they are likely to get production out of Yaya Toure, David Silva and others. Tottenham simply do not have the quickness to keep up with this many weapons, and they will allow at least a few goals in a losing effort.

Although a Manchester City win would not be entirely surprising, the fact that this will not be close is what will truly turn heads.

 

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