Premier League Week 23 Fixtures: EPL Picks and Predictions

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistJanuary 8, 2018

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 06:  Josep Guardiola, Manager of Manchester City reacts during The Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Manchester City and Burnley at Etihad Stadium on January 6, 2018 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Premier League leaders Manchester City face one of their biggest challenges of the season on Sunday, when they travel to face Liverpool at Anfield.

Manchester United will be attempting to maintain their second-place position, with Stoke City visiting Old Trafford on Monday.

Champions Chelsea welcome Leicester City to Stamford Bridge, while Arsenal journey south to face Bournemouth.

Tottenham Hotspur face Everton at Wembley Stadium on Saturday evening. The north London club will be attempting to penetrate the top four, while Sam Allardyce's side will be chasing a first win in six games.

                

Saturday

Chelsea vs. Leicester (3-1)

Crystal Palace vs. Burnley (2-1)

Huddersfield Town vs. West Ham United (0-1)

Newcastle United vs. Swansea City (2-1)

Watford vs. Southampton (2-0)

West Bromwich Albion vs. Brighton & Hove Albion (0-0)

Tottenham Hotspur vs. Everton (2-0)

                          

Sunday

Bournemouth vs. Arsenal (1-3)

Liverpool vs. Manchester City (3-3)

                 

Monday

Manchester United vs. Stoke (2-1)

                 

Liverpool vs. Manchester City

Rui Vieira/Associated Press

The Reds and the Sky Blues could serve up one of the most exciting games of the season, with both sides typically intent on scoring goals without entertaining any ideas of parking the bus.

City boss Pep Guardiola has created a devastating unit during his short time in Manchester, and his side's record of 20 wins from 22 Premier League matches this term underlines their world-class quality.

However, Liverpool will not be too respectful of a team that has scored 64 league goals this season, and manager Jurgen Klopp will expect his players to deliver his brand of heavy-metal football.

With Philippe Coutinho having departed Anfield for Barcelona, the creative mantle lies firmly at the feet of Mohamed Salah, who has become a hero on Merseyside since his arrival in the summer.

African Footballer of the Year,  Egypt and Liverpool striker Mohammed Salah speaks during a press conference after the CAF awards at the Accra International Press Conference in Accra, on January 4, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / CRISTINA ALDEHUELA        (Photo cred
CRISTINA ALDEHUELA/Getty Images

The 25-year-old was recently named African Player of the Year and has scored 22 goals this season in the Premier League and UEFA Champions League combined.

City have developed a holistic tactical approach that engenders a pressing game, but Liverpool will fight fire with fire and go for the throat rather than adopt a conservative approach.

Virgil van Dijk made a successful debut for the Reds as they beat Everton 2-1 in the FA Cup third round, with the centre-back grabbing a late winner to send Anfield into raptures.

The Dutchman could be influential in this game's outcome if he can provide Liverpool with the defensive leadership they so obviously craved prior to his arrival.

Prediction: 3-3.

               

Manchester United vs. Stoke City

Manchester United's Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho (R) gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Southampton at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on December 30, 2017. / AFP PH
OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

The smile has gone from Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho's face, with the Special One having to witness Manchester City's rise as he attempts to rebuild the Old Trafford giants.

Despite the huge investment in the squad over the past 18 months, United are playing catch-up with their neighbours, and Mourinho will likely need to continue spending if he wants to win the title anytime soon.

However, things are far from bad at the Theatre of Dreams, and United have lost only three games in the Premier League this term.

City's incredible form has cast a shadow over United's progression, and the only option Mourinho players have is to keep winning games.

COVENTRY, ENGLAND - JANUARY 06:  Stoke City fans hold up their Mark Hughes out banner during the The Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Coventry City and Stoke City at Ricoh Arena on January 6, 2018 in Coventry, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffit
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Stoke City arrive at United in turmoil, having been dumped out of the FA Cup by League Two side Coventry City in the third round.

The Potters sit in the relegation zone, and former manager Mark Hughes was dismissed after Saturday's embarrassment at Ricoh Arena.  

However, the gap between Stoke and mid-table is only four points, and if United have a bad day at the office, a surprise victory is not beyond the talent of their squad. What's more, the Potters have only lost once to the Red Devils in the sides' previous six meetings.

United recently failed to beat Southampton at home, giving the visitors hope as they make the short trip up the M6.

Prediction: 2-1 to United.

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