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EPL Week 23 Predictions: Premier League Picks, Key Players and Fixtures

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistJanuary 15, 2019

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 12: Eden Hazard of Chelsea looks on during the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge on January 12, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)
Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

Two London derbies take centre stage during Week 23 of the 2018-19 Premier League season, as Arsenal and Chelsea face each other in the race for the top four and Fulham go looking for an upset at home against Tottenham Hotspur.

Leaders Liverpool host Crystal Palace, while Manchester City travel to Huddersfield Town. Manchester United will host Brighton & Hove Albion.

Here is a look at the fixture list, complete with predictions:

         

Saturday, January 19

Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0 Leicester City

Bournemouth 1-1 West Ham United

Liverpool 3-1 Crystal Palace

Manchester United 2-0 Brighton & Hove Albion

Newcastle United 0-0 Cardiff City

Southampton 1-2 Everton

Watford 1-1 Burnley

Arsenal 1-1 Chelsea

        

Sunday, January 20

Huddersfield Town 0-2 Manchester City

Fulham 0-3 Tottenham Hotspur

   

Key Players

Eden Hazard, Chelsea

It's no secret Eden Hazard is Chelsea's best and most influential player in attack, but his move to a central role of late has put even more of the creative onus on the former Lille star.

The Belgium international has been in fine form this season and chipped in with an assist against Newcastle United on Saturday, taking his scoring and assisting tally to double digits for the season:

Chelsea FC @ChelseaFC

On Saturday, @hazardeden10 became one of only two players in Europe’s top five leagues to have both scored and assisted 10 or more goals in the league this term! 🔥

It had been some time since a Premier League player reached the mark so early in the campaign:

B/R Football @brfootball

It's been nine seasons since someone reached double digits in Premier League goals and assists as fast as @hazardeden10 ⚡ https://t.co/W2iNd8gdxC

Arsenal have already conceded 32 goals this season, and the Gunners' defence does not appear set to improve anytime soon. The Blues remain highly dependent on their star forward, however, whether he splits out wide or plays through the centre.

Olivier Giroud could get a start against his former club, but Hazard will be the main danger man once again. If the visitors find the net, there's a good chance it will happen through the 28-year-old.

             

Mesut Ozil, Arsenal

Mesut Ozil was not a part of the Arsenal squad for the trip to West Ham United on Saturday, and his absence was keenly felt as the Gunners lacked any creativity in attack.

After the match, manager Unai Emery made some odd comments to explain his absence, further complicating what is already a strange situation:

B/R Football @brfootball

What on earth is going on between Ozil and Emery at Arsenal? 🤔 https://t.co/5I8LFexGwY

Emery has two strong creative midfielders he can call on in Ozil and Aaron Ramsey, but both seem to have lost the manager's faith.

In the case of Ramsey, the Gunners have lost the last two Premier League matches he has startedkey fixtures against Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool. Ozil hasn't started a Premier League match since December 26, when he was substituted at half-time against Brighton & Hove Albion.

Emery could decide to bench the former Germany international again, but it will be a mistake if he does. The lack of creativity without him and Ramsey playing is glaring and a recipe for disaster for a team desperate for a big win.

Ramsey has been solid off the bench in recent weeks and should again be an impact sub against the Blues. Ozil, on the other hand, needs to be in the starting XI, dictating play.

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