EPL Week 25 Predictions: Premier League Picks, Key Players and Fixtures

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistFebruary 4, 2016

Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, left. is tackled by Leicester’s Gokhan Inler during the English Premier League soccer match between Leicester City and Manchester City at the King Power Stadium in Leicester, England, Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
Rui Vieira/Associated Press

Week 25 of the 2015-16 Premier League season will see leaders Leicester City go head-to-head with Manchester City, while Manchester United travel to the capital to take on Chelsea.

The Foxes and the Citizens have both been in excellent form of late and have their eyes on the title, so Saturday's clash will be one of the biggest matches of the season.

In-form Tottenham Hotspur host Watford, while Arsenal will go looking for their first win in five tries at Bournemouth.

Here's a look at the schedule for Week 25, complete with picks:

EPL Schedule: Week 25
DateTime (GMT/ET)FixturePick
Saturday, Feb. 612:45 p.m./7:45 a.m.Manchester City vs. Leicester CityManchester City
Saturday, Feb. 63 p.m./10 a.m.Aston Villa vs. Norwich CityNorwich
Saturday, Feb. 63 p.m./10 a.m.Liverpool vs. SunderlandLiverpool
Saturday, Feb. 63 p.m./10 a.m.Newcastle United vs. West Bromwich AlbionDraw
Saturday, Feb. 63 p.m./10 a.m.Stoke City vs. EvertonDraw
Saturday, Feb. 63 p.m./10 a.m.Swansea City vs. Crystal PalaceSwansea
Saturday, Feb. 63 p.m./10 a.m.Tottenham Hotspur vs. WatfordSpurs
Saturday, Feb. 65:30 p.m./12 a.m.Southampton vs. West Ham UnitedDraw
Sunday, Feb. 71:30 p.m./8:30 a.m.Bournemouth vs. ArsenalArsenal
Sunday, Feb. 74 p.m./11 a.m.Chelsea vs. Manchester UnitedDraw
BBC Sport

Key Players

Riyad Mahrez, Leicester City

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: Riyad Mahrez of Leicester looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Leicester City and Stoke City at  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Jamie Vardy scored both goals in the 2-0 win over Liverpool in Week 24, but without Algerian team-mate Riyad Mahrez, the league's top scorer wouldn't have nearly as many goals as he does at this point of the season.

In fact, both Vardy and Shinji Okazaki looked fairly wasteful during the first half of that match, while Mahrez continued to supply chances and clever balls over the top.

Arguably this year's biggest breakout player, Mahrez does just about everything on the pitch, and it shows in his statistics, per Squawka Football:

City's defensive duo of Nicolas Otamendi and Martin Demichelis can be susceptible to bouts of inconsistency, but they generally do a fantastic job of limiting opportunities and frustrating opponents at home.

These two teams played out a scoreless draw at the King Power Stadium back in December, and Vardy found out exactly what the Citizens can do defensively.

Manuel Pellegrini's men will likely try to isolate the striker once again, and unless Mahrez can find a way to unlock the City defence, Leicester will be in for a difficult afternoon.

Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 02 :  Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Southampton at the Emirates Stadium on February 2, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images)
Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images

Arsenal are now winless in their last four matches, and while the Gunners are still very much alive in the title race, they need to sort out their attack in a hurry. With a UEFA Champions League clash with Barcelona on the horizon, the team needs to find some momentum or risk a major crash in the coming weeks.

Alexis Sanchez remains Arsenal's best attacker, and together with Mesut Ozil, he's the man in charge of creativity in the attacking third.

BBC Match of the Day discussed his importance to the team's title hopes:

Bournemouth have won two of their last three games and enter the contest with the wind in their sails, but on paper, the Gunners should find a way past the Cherries quite comfortably.

Per Lloyd Webb of the club's official website, manager Arsene Wenger knows Arsenal need something extra in front of goal:

I think we have to look at ourselves and start to finish with a bit more conviction. The way we have took our chances was not good enough and that’s why we dropped two points.

What is terrible is that our performances are not bad. That is worrying because with the quality of the performances we had, we didn’t take the points and that’s very difficult for the players to take as well.

You can't fault Sanchez for looking a bit rusty in front of goal after a lengthy spell on the sidelines, but without the Chilean, the Gunners will go nowhere in the second half of the 2015-16 campaign.

Adam Lallana, Liverpool

Liverpool's English midfielder Adam Lallana wins a header during the English League Cup semi-final second leg football match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England, on January 26, 2016. / AFP / Paul ELLIS / RESTRICTED
PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images

Liverpool may have lost against Leicester in their last Premier League outing, but Jurgen Klopp's troops can take some pride in how they handled themselves against the league leaders.

Tuesday's clash was an open, attacking affair between two teams that gave it their all, and until Vardy's wonder strike to open the scoring, it could have gone either way.

The Reds' main issue was a lack of ambition in the attacking third, where Roberto Firmino never found any space against the Foxes defence. It was hardly the Brazilian's fault, as he should have received more support from the midfielders crashing the box.

With Philippe Coutinho sidelined, Liverpool's lack of creativity in midfield has become a major worry. The Brazilian is working his way back to full health, but even if he returns to the pitch in the coming weeks, others will have to step up alongside him.

Adam Lallana has the ability to do just that, and against Sunderland and their physical defence, he has the chance to show he can take over matches when he needs to.

After the loss against the Foxes, Klopp highlighted a lack of improvement during the match, per Neil Jones of the Liverpool Echo:

I think our plan was good. We knew how we had to force ourselves to play, we knew about the kind of defending, the higher press and the need to play over the wings.

We had time, we had the ball, we had opportunities in the box. But we didn't find the right decision often enough.

We didn't get cooler, the decisions didn't get better the longer the game went on. That's the problem.

This is an area where Lallana should be able to separate himself and show his value to the team. With plenty of turnover expected at Anfield during the summer, he better start taking his chances or risk losing his spot altogether.


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