EPL Week 31 Predictions: Projecting Top Performers and Biggest Surprises

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EPL Week 31 Predictions: Projecting Top Performers and Biggest Surprises
Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

As another crucial week of Premier League fixtures ticks around, Arsenal travel to Chelsea in the game of the weekend, hoping for more inspiration from Tomas Rosicky after his stunning goal at White Hart Lane.

Rosicky was the star as the Gunners beat Spurs to keep pressure on the table-topping Blues, while Steven Gerrard performed an even more influential role for Liverpool at Manchester United.

With so much on the line at both ends of the table, where will the next twist emerge? And which players will be responsible? We make our predictions below.

EPL Week 31: Fixtures, TV Info, Live Stream and Predictions
Date Time Fixture TV Info Live Stream Prediction
March 22 12.45 p.m. GMT, 8.45 a.m. ET Chelsea vs. Arsenal BT Sport BT Sport app 2-1
March 22 3 p.m. GMT, 11 a.m. ET Cardiff vs. Liverpool NBC Sport Live Extra (US Only) NBC Sport Live Extra app 1-3
March 22 3 p.m. GMT, 11 a.m. ET Everton vs. Swansea NBC Sport Live Extra (US Only) NBC Sport Live Extra app 2-0
March 22 3 p.m. GMT, 11 a.m. ET Hull vs. West Brom NBC Sport Live Extra (US Only) NBC Sport Live Extra app 1-2
March 22 3 p.m. GMT, 11 a.m. ET Man City vs. Fulham NBC Sport Live Extra (US Only) NBC Sport Live Extra app 4-1
March 22 3 p.m. GMT, 11 a.m. ET Newcastle vs. Crystal Palace NBC Sport Live Extra (US Only) NBC Sport Live Extra app 1-1
March 22 3 p.m. GMT, 11 a.m. ET Norwich vs. Sunderland NBC Sport Live Extra (US Only) NBC Sport Live Extra app 0-2
March 22 3 p.m. GMT, 11 a.m. ET West Ham vs. Man Utd Sky Sports Sky Sports app 1-0
March 23 1.30 p.m. GMT, 9.30 a.m. ET Tottenham vs. Southampton NBC Sport Live Extra (US Only) NBC Sport Live Extra app 3-1
March 23 4 p.m. GMT, 12 p.m. ET Aston Villa vs. Stoke NBC Sport Live Extra (US Only) NBC Sport Live Extra app 2-2
March 25 7.45 p.m. GMT, 3.45 p.m. ET Arsenal vs. Swansea TBC TBC 2-0
March 25 7.45 p.m. GMT, 3.45 p.m. ET Man Utd vs. Man City Sky Sports Sky Sports app 2-2
March 25 7.45 p.m. GMT, 3.45 p.m. ET Newcastle vs. Everton TBC TBC 1-3
March 26 7.45 p.m. GMT, 3.45 p.m. ET West Ham vs. Hull TBC TBC 2-0
March 26 8 p.m. GMT, 4 p.m. ET Liverpool vs. Sunderland Sky Sports Sky Sports app 4-2

Live-footballontv.com

 

Top Performers

Tomas Rosicky

Matt Dunham/Associated Press

The Czech Republic midfielder sealed his side's win in the North London derby and will be brimming with confidence ahead of the short jaunt to Stamford Bridge.

His strike in the 72nd second of the match showed intent not only from Arsenal but from the 33-year-old himself, who is keen to earn the Gunners' first title in 10 years.

His relationship with manager Arsene Wenger is testimony to the pair's good relationship, as tweeted by Sky Sports' Pete O'Rourke:

Will Rosicky help Arsenal to the title?

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With Chelsea's solid back line, which includes John Terry and Gary Cahill, chances could be limited for lone striker Olivier Giroud.

Therefore, it will be the work of Wenger's attacking midfielders to put Jose Mourinho's side under pressure at the Bridge.

Rosicky has recently hit form with two goals in his last three league matches, per WhoScored.com, and few players boast his capacity for magic in big games.

 

Raheem Sterling

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Sterling's pace in behind the defence could prove pivotal against Cardiff as he, Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge continue up top for Liverpool.

The Bluebirds' defence couldn't keep a hold of Romelu Lukaku during Everton's 2-1 win in their last outing. Despite Lukaku failing to get on the scoresheet, his effort was parried by goalkeeper David Marshall and into the path of Seamus Coleman for the game's winner.

Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Will Sterling score against Cardiff?

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Cardiff will have an even tougher job against Liverpool. The Reds' attacking trio have netted 49 goals between them in the league this season, per WhoScored.

Sterling will likely be influential in a Reds win, as he was in the home fixture when he netted in a 3-1 victory. With Cardiff forced to be slightly less compact on home soil, he should get even more space to run into this weekend.

The England international's pacey runs and close ball control make him a serious threat against most sides.

Against a Cardiff outfit struggling in 19th place, he represents an even greater danger.

 

Biggest Surprises

West Brom At the Double on the Road

Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Baggies boss Pepe Mel will be looking for Albion's second consecutive away win when his outfit travel to the KC Stadium to face Hull.

They'll face a Hull side who sit just three places above Mel's men in 13th, with Steve Bruce's contingent suffering a 2-0 home defeat against Manchester City last time out.

West Brom sit just three points above the drop zone and will be looking for a second successive win to boost the club's survival chances.

Their 2-1 triumph at Swansea was their first away league triumph since the 2-1 victory over Manchester United in September, per WhoScored.

Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images

Will West Brom make it two wins in a row?

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Baggies midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu scored against the Swans and said after the game that he believes Mel has finally seen the club's true colours, according to the Mirror's James Nursey:

In the second half I saw a great team – and the real face of West Brom.

It’s a good game to keep as a reference and now we will go to Hull next, stay focused and have the same positive attitude.

Hull have failed to record a home win since December, per WhoScored, so it will be the Baggies who look to make it back-to-back jubilation at the KC Stadium.

 

Andy Carroll Key To Irons' Success

Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Manchester United need a Premier League response against West Ham as David Moyes' men bid to boost their chances of Europa League qualification.

However, Andy Carroll's return from injury and goal against Stoke show a striker who is still looking to battle his way into England's World Cup squad.

The Hammers have won their last three consecutive home matches with wins over Swansea, Norwich and Southampton, according to WhoScored.

Speaking with West Ham's official website, Sir Geoff Hurst believes Carroll has the right ingredients to make it into Roy Hodgson's squad:

There is every chance for Andy. I mentioned him recently while doing some media work not because he is a West Ham player, but because we talked about people who have the opportunity. There are ten Premier League games to go and if he scores in every game and West Ham continue to rise up the table and he keeps himself fit, he has the chance.

Rickie Lambert is a good player and is playing well but if he gets injured, we may be looking for another front player who gives us the option of the high ball and Andy is a difficult player to mark. If Andy keeps plugging away, keeps himself fit and he keeps scoring the goals then, no question, he has a real chance of being there.

Will Carroll bag a goal against Manchester United?

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United's three conceded goals against Liverpool highlighted weaknesses in Moyes' defence, but perhaps the Red Devils' loss to Stoke is better fit to demonstrate Carroll's potential.

The Potters ran out 2-1 winners on the day thanks to a Charlie Adam strike and a Michael Carrick own goal.

But Phil Jones and Jonny Evans, the team's centre-back pairing, failed to deal with the physical frame of Peter Crouch, who helped his side to victory on the day.

Carroll can have a very similar impact and, with the flight to Brazil looming, he'll want to stick a goal past one of the league's top sides to prove his worth to the national selectors.

 

Follow me @DanBrett90 for more insight, analysis and reaction from the beautiful game.

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