Some clubs in the Premier League haven't played in quite some time due to weather-related postponements, while last weekend belonged to the FA Cup. So, yes, quite a few of us are straight up fixing for some EPL action.
But while anyone can project winners and losers, here I'll instead project this weekend's top performers and big surprises. And, well, I'll pick winners and losers as well, because why not?
Let's preview Matchday 27.
|When (All Times ET)||Home||Away||Prediction|
|Saturday, February 22 at 7:45 a.m.||Chelsea||Everton||Chelsea win, 2-1|
|Saturday, February 22 at 10 a.m.||Arsenal||Sunderland||Arsenal win, 2-0|
|Saturday, February 22 at 10 a.m.||Cardiff City||Hull City||Draw, 1-1|
|Saturday, February 22 at 10 a.m.||Manchester City||Stoke City||Manchester City win, 3-0|
|Saturday, February 22 at 10 a.m.||West Bromwich Albion||Fulham||West Brom win, 1-0|
|Saturday, February 22 at 10 a.m.||West Ham United||Southampton||Southampton win, 2-1|
|Saturday, February 22 at noon||Crystal Palace||Manchester United||United win, 2-0|
|Sunday, February 23 at 8:30 a.m.||Liverpool||Swansea City||Liverpool win, 3-1|
|Sunday, February 23 at 8:30 a.m.||Newcastle United||Aston Villa||Newcastle win, 3-2|
|Sunday, February 23 at 11 a.m.||Norwich City||Tottenham||Spurs win, 2-1|
Projecting Top Performers and Biggest Potential Surprises
These kind of breaks always help to make the group even stronger and to switch off a bit from the different competitions and the tight schedule.
Personally, these days are good for me to settle even more in the team and share these moments with my team-mates and also, obviously, to train hard and get used to the new working patterns after just three weeks in the club.
Look for Mata to score a goal and add an assist for United.
Another player due for a breakout is Christian Benteke, and he'll get it with a brace against Newcastle. It won't be enough, however, as the Magpies burst out of their four-game unbeaten streak with three goals. That game should be a fun one to watch.
Here's a prediction for you—while I don't know if Olivier Giroud or Yaya Sanogo will be given the start against Sunderland, I think whomever gets the nod will earn a brace in a much-needed win for the Gunners.
Yes, if Sanogo stars, I think he'll earn a brace. That bold enough for you?
Here's another brace prediction, although one less bold—Adam Lallana of Southampton will lead the Saints to a victory over West Ham with a brace. With a World Cup place on the line, expect to see Lallana continue to carve up the Premier League down the stretch.
From John Cross of the Mirror:
In fact, Lallana possibly deserves not just to be a squad player but a starter for England in Brazil this summer. Lallana is enjoying a fabulous run of form which has rightly brought glowing praise from his Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino.
Former Argentinian World Cup defender Pochettino even went as far as saying that Lallana would be in a Spanish or Brazilian squad for this summer.
Pochettino said: “Adam is a top player, a wonderful player in English football. I consider him to be a great player, everyone can see he is a special talent. I'd love for him to be part of the England side for the World Cup."
This won't come as a surprise to anyone, but I'm going to predict that Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge account for all three Liverpool goals against Swansea City. Really going out on a limb, huh?
Per the fixtures themselves, I don't think this is a week you'll see too many major upsets or shocking results, not with Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool all at home.
Meanwhile, it's hard to imagine Crystal Palace beating Manchester United (the Red Devils have the exact same away record as they have at home) or Norwich City knocking off Tottenham (Spurs have taken 29 of a possible 39 away points this year).
That being said, if there is one team that seems most ripe for an upset, it is Manchester United, simply because last year's champions have been so inconsistent this season. Don't sleep on Crystal Palace—they've taken a respectable 13 points in their last nine matches.