Premier League Fixtures: EPL Week 26 Schedule, Tickets and Score Predictions

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistFebruary 9, 2016

Arsenal's Mesut Ozil, 11, competes for the ball with Leicester City's Marcin Wasilewski during the English Premier League soccer match between Arsenal and Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium in London, Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015.  (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Matt Dunham/Associated Press

Fans are gearing up for a fantastic week of Premier League action as the top four clubs in the standings go head-to-head in Week 26 of the 2015-16 campaign.

Arsenal play host to leaders Leicester City on Sunday, while Tottenham Hotspur will look to continue their strong form at the Etihad Stadium when they take on Manchester City.

Elsewhere, Chelsea host Newcastle United, and Liverpool will play Aston Villa. Here's a look at the upcoming schedule, complete with picks:

EPL Week 26 Schedule, Picks
DateTime (GMT/ET)HomeVS.AwayPick
Saturday, Feb. 1312:45 p.m./7:45 a.m.Sunderlandvs.Manchester UnitedDraw
Saturday, Feb. 133 p.m./10 a.m.Bournemouthvs.Stoke CityStoke City
Saturday, Feb. 133 p.m./10 a.m.Crystal Palacevs.WatfordDraw
Saturday, Feb. 133 p.m./10 a.m.Evertonvs.West Bromwich AlbionEverton
Saturday, Feb. 133 p.m./10 a.m.Norwich Cityvs.West Ham UnitedWest Ham
Saturday, Feb. 133 p.m./10 a.m.Swansea Cityvs.SouthamptonSouthampton
Saturday, Feb. 135:30 p.m./12:30 p.m.Chelseavs.Newcastle UnitedChelsea
Sunday, Feb. 14Noon /7 a.m.Arsenalvs.Leicester CityDraw
Sunday, Feb. 142:05 p.m./9:05 a.m.Aston Villavs.LiverpoolLiverpool
Sunday, Feb. 144:15 p.m./11:15 a.m.Manchester Cityvs.TottenhamTottenham
Source: BBC Sport

The latest Premier League standings:

EPL Standings
PositionClubPWDLGFGAGDPts
1Leicester City25158247272053
2Tottenham Hotspur25139345192648
3Arsenal25146539221748
4Manchester City25145647262147
5Manchester United25118632221041
6West Ham United2510963829939
7Southampton2510783324937
8Everton25811646341235
9Liverpool259883236-435
10Watford2596102727033
11Stoke City2596102431-733
12Crystal Palace2595112630-432
13Chelsea257993335-230
14West Bromwich Albion2578102332-929
15Bournemouth2577112941-1228
16Swansea City2569102433-927
17Newcastle United2566132644-1824
18Norwich City2565142848-2023
19Sunderland2555153049-1920
20Aston Villa2537152040-2016
Source: BBC Sport

For ticket information on all Premier League games visit the official site or go to the ticket page on the home club's official website (links provided below).

Sunderland vs. Manchester United

Bournemouth vs. Stoke City

Crystal Palace vs. Watford

Everton vs. WBA

Norwich vs. West Ham

Swansea vs. Southampton

Chelsea vs. Newcastle

Arsenal vs. Leicester

Aston Villa vs. Liverpool

Manchester City vs. Tottenham

 

Tight Battle at the Emirates

Matt Dunham/Associated Press

Leicester City have beaten Liverpool and Manchester City in back-to-back weeks and enter Sunday's action with the wind in their sails, but the clash at the Emirates will be their biggest test yet.

Arsenal may not be playing their best football right now―they've won just one of their last five―but they appear to be turning the corner at just the right time. And a result against the Foxes could be just what Arsene Wenger's men need.

The French manager enters the contest with the utmost respect for the visitors, per Max Jones of the Gunners' official website:

I think it's great to see Leicester doing do well. You always ask me, ‘Why do you not buy a big-name?’ but Leicester is a fantastic example that football is not only about just spending the money.

It's the quality of work and it's important to think that the quality of the work can get you there. Leicester are a very good example for our league. The advantage they have until the end of the season, apart from our fans and the City fans and Tottenham fans, is that the rest of the country is behind Leicester.

The Gunners defence has been just fine statistically in 2016, although it took a heroic performance from goalkeeper Petr Cech to ensure the clean sheet in Week 25 against Bournemouth. Mental errors appear to occur at a high rate, and a prolific attack like Leicester's will punish those.  

The battle at the other end of the pitch will be even bigger, as Arsenal's misfiring attack goes up against a defensive unit that has looked remarkably solid in the past few weeks.

Both Liverpool and Manchester City played their matches without their main creative threats in midfield, as Philippe Coutinho and Kevin De Bruyne were sidelined.

Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez are expected to play for the Gunners, however. While the latter isn't yet back to his best, the former put together his finest performance in weeks against Bournemouth.

Prediction: Arsenal continue their resurgence but run into a confident Leicester team. A draw keeps the title race wide-open.

 

Momentum Key at the Etihad

Matt Dunham/Associated Press

Manchester City have been title favourites for the bulk of the season, but since De Bruyne went down with an injury, the side has looked vulnerable for the very first time.

Entering Week 26, City have won just two of their last five and fallen behind Spurs, Leicester and Arsenal in the title race. Manager Manuel Pellegrini's troops have to halt the slide, and Tottenham provide the perfect opportunity to do so.

Spurs have won their last four but haven't always looked convincing doing so. They're winning ugly, which is usually the sign of a true contender, but they're also relying on young, inexperienced players to act as the main difference-makers. Harry Kane and Dele Alli are tremendous talents, but they're not the type of players you wish to lean on during a title chase.

Alli in particular is having an incredible season, per Squawka Football:

The 19-year-old's rise has been meteoric, but at some point, you'd expect his age to show. The 22-year-old Kane has already overcome a scoring slump this season, showing even the best talents will struggle with inconsistency.

So who steps up for Spurs when both Kane and Alli struggle? That question will be decisive in Tottenham's title bid, but until it happens, manager Mauricio Pochettino will work his young duo as much as he can. Riyad Mahrez tore City's midfield to shreds in Week 25―expect Spurs to do the same.

Prediction: First to score wins the match. Expect that team to be Tottenham.