EPL Week 23 Fixtures: Matchups Promising Biggest Table Implications

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistJanuary 27, 2014

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 23:  Romelu Lukaku of Everton celebrates scoring his team's third goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Liverpool at Goodison Park on November 23, 2013 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Midweek football makes a much-anticipated return to the Premier League on Matchday 23, and there's a thriving number of closely drawn encounters that promise to spark some fireworks.

Whether it's at the top or the bottom of the standings, some fixtures are set to have a bigger impact on the standings, some teams able to climb as many as four places should things go in their favour.

We've picked out a selection of the most intense encounters for the upcoming January schedule, Week 23, providing English fans with the nonstop action they so dearly crave.

Premier League Week 23 Fixtures
Manchester United vs. Cardiff CityJan. 287:45 p.m. GMT/2:45 p.m. ET
Norwich vs. Newcastle UnitedJan. 287:45 p.m. GMT/2:45 p.m. ET
Southampton vs. ArsenalJan. 287:45 p.m. GMT/2:45 p.m. ET
Swansea City vs. FulhamJan. 287:45 p.m. GMT/2:45 p.m. ET
Crystal Palace vs. Hull CityJan. 288 p.m. GMT/3 p.m. ET
Liverpool vs. EvertonJan. 288 p.m. GMT/3 p.m. ET
Aston Villa vs. West BromJan. 297:45 p.m. GMT/2:45 p.m. ET
Chelsea vs. West HamJan. 297:45 p.m. GMT/2:45 p.m. ET
Sunderland vs. Stoke CityJan. 297:45 p.m. GMT/2:45 p.m. ET
Tottenham vs. Manchester CityJan. 297:45 p.m. GMT/2:45 p.m. ET


Liverpool vs. Everton

The Merseyside derby tops the billing in the English top flight this week, with the lines drawn as closely as they ever have been and both sides still very much in the race for a top-four finish.

Everton have lost just one away match in the league so far this season, and it took an attack of Manchester City's proportions to be their undoing on that occasion.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 23:  Daniel Sturridge of Liverpool celebrates scoring his team's third goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Liverpool at Goodison Park on November 23, 2013 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Alex L
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

That being said, Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge will hope to possess the key needed to unlock the Toffees' door at their disposal on Tuesday evening, just as they did back at Goodison Park in November.

The Mirror's John Cross says the mental battle between Martinez and Brendan Rodgers could be the most important matchup of the tie:

With Roberto Martinez's side sitting in sixth on 42 points and the Reds just a single point higher in fourth, a win could push Everton back into the top four, as long as Spurs gain anything other than three points from Manchester City.


Aston Villa vs. West Brom

Aston Villa and West Brom will always enjoy one of the lesser-valued derbies of the English first tier, which is only helped this week by the fact that the sides are separated by just two points.

While Paul Lambert's side can just about boast a spot in the top half of the Premier League, sitting 10th on 24 points, the Baggies are one of two teams on 22 points, just three places further back.

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 25:  Despair for Claudio Yacob (5), Shane Long (9), James Morrison (7) and Jonas Olsson (right) of West Bromwich Albion as Ashley Westwood of Aston Villa (not pictured) scores their second and equalising goal during the B
Michael Regan/Getty Images

The West Midlands club meet this week looking to settle a score they were unable to at the Hawthorns in November, on which occasion the sides drew 2-2.

Between them, Villa and West Brom have just two wins from their last 12 combined league games, but they will both seek to take advantage of one another's predicaments, the chance to veer away from the relegation places at stake.


Tottenham vs. Manchester City

Wednesday evening will see Tim Sherwood take on Manchester City, the side whose 6-0 torment two months ago was largely responsible for the axing of his predecessor, Andre Villas-Boas.

Since that damning outcome, however, Tottenham have come along nicely under their new helmsman and will be hoping for a far more fruitful meeting at White Hart Lane.

After all, Spurs have gone on to revive an impressive run of results lately and are currently second only to City in terms of Premier League form, winning five and drawing one of their last six games.

However, it's common knowledge that a City side boasting the prolific forms of Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo in attack is capable of breaking down anyone on its day, with Manuel Pellegrini's side looking to keep the heat on leaders Arsenal, currently just one point ahead in the title race.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 24:  James Milner of Manchester City beats Kyle Walker and Erik Lamela of Tottenham Hotspur during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at Etihad Stadium on November 24, 2013 in Man
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

A win for for the North London hosts, who are seven points worse off than the Citizens in fifth, would see them either move above or stay in touch with rivals Liverpool, although a significantly inferior goal difference is almost as good as another point.