Week 22 has a lot to live up to after a full round of thrilling midweek fixtures in the Premier League, but with a whole host of intriguing clashes to come, there's a strong chance it will.
Headlining the weekend's action is Manchester United's trip to Anfield to take on old enemy Liverpool, though there's plenty of interest to be had elsewhere as Chelsea host Everton, Arsenal face Stoke City and a somewhat new-look Newcastle United play West Ham United.
Here is the full schedule for Week 22, complete with score predictions for each, and a close look at some of the top matchups.
|12:45 p.m./7:45 a.m.||Saturday, Jan. 16||Tottenham vs. Sunderland||2-0|
|3 p.m./10 a.m.||Saturday, Jan. 16||Bournemouth vs. Norwich||1-1|
|3 p.m./10 a.m.||Saturday, Jan. 16||Chelsea vs. Everton||2-2|
|3 p.m./10 a.m.||Saturday, Jan. 16||Manchester City vs. Crystal Palace||2-1|
|3 p.m./10 a.m.||Saturday, Jan. 16||Newcastle vs. West Ham||2-1|
|3 p.m./10 a.m.||Saturday, Jan. 16||Southampton vs. West Brom||0-1|
|5:30 p.m./12:30 p.m.||Saturday, Jan. 16||Aston Villa vs. Leicester City||1-2|
|2:05 p.m./9:05 a.m.||Sunday, Jan. 17||Liverpool vs. Manchester United||2-2|
|4:15 p.m./11:15 a.m.||Sunday, Jan. 17||Stoke City vs. Arsenal||0-2|
|8 p.m./ 3 p.m.||Monday, Jan. 18||Swansea vs. Watford||1-3|
Newcastle United vs. West Ham United
Two players could be set to make their debuts for the Magpies on Saturday, after the club bolstered their midfield with the signings of Henri Saivet and Jonjo Shelvey.
The former—a robust defensive midfielder—will look to add much-needed solidity to Newcastle's side and the north-east outfit have seemingly landed themselves a quality addition, according to French football experts Andrew Gibney and Florent Toniutti:
@RobPollard_ He's a player I like. Has all the attributes you want from a Premier League CM. Room to improve too.— Andrew Gibney (@Gibney_A) January 12, 2016
As for the latter, the Toon Army will be hoping to see plenty of this further up the field, per the Premier League:
After creating plenty of chances and struggling for goals over the Christmas period, the floodgates finally opened for Newcastle as they hit three past Manchester United on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, West Ham also put in a strong showing away at Bournemouth thanks to the return of Dimitri Payet after two months out with injury. The Frenchman was on top form, scoring an exquisite free-kick and assisting Enner Valencia's first goal.
Per BBC Sport's Aimee Lewis, Hammers boss Slaven Bilic said: "It's scary how good he is. He's a top player. He's a player who makes all the others better. It's all about the team, but he's the player who is the most decisive for us."
If he can replicate his performance on Saturday, Newcastle's beleaguered defence will have a lot to worry about, but with the boost of two new signings and Saivet set to add crucial protection to the back four, the Magpies could just emerge on top.
Liverpool vs. Manchester United
Both teams come into the match after playing out incredible 3-3 draws in midweek—Liverpool at home to Arsenal, United away at Newcastle.
After being labelled "boring" for much of the campaign, the Red Devils cast off the shackles that previously held them and impressed going forward.
However, their renewed freedom in the final third came at a price, as they were equally left vulnerable at the back. Football writer Liam Canning neatly summarised their situation:
It was a freak of a game, but when you have a 0-2 lead, a club like UTD should be able to defend it. Disappointing result, entertaining game— Liam (@OffsideLiam) January 12, 2016
MUFC are in a really sticky situation: They’re not picking up vital points, rarely playing well, 6 wins from 20 and currently in 6th place.— Liam (@OffsideLiam) January 12, 2016
Further, he anticipates Liverpool—who also impressed in an attacking sense against one of the best defences in the league—could run riot on Sunday if they can replicate that performance:
Dreading to think what will happen if Liverpool – and Firmino – decide to turn up against Man United at Anfield on Sunday.— Liam (@OffsideLiam) January 13, 2016
The Reds have had defensive troubles of their own, though, per Squawka Football:
Liverpool have made 21 defensive errors in the Premier League this season, at least 6 more than any other side. pic.twitter.com/5IonLsuMhA— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 13, 2016
Sports journalist Artur Petrosyan highlighted Simon Mignolet as Liverpool's key weakness:
Liverpool can get new centre backs, wingers, strikers, but it will all be useless without a new goalkeeper. Another two silly goals...— Artur Petrosyan (@arturpetrosyan) January 13, 2016
Indeed, the Belgian has often failed to convince at Anfield and is frequently liable to make disastrous mistakes at the back—something United will likely attempt to exploit particularly from set pieces.
How the match plays out could vary wildly depending on which Liverpool and which United side turn up, but if the pair put in similar performances to their midweek outings, it could be another thrilling affair.