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Premier League Fixtures: Week 18 Schedule, Score Predictions for EPL Matchday

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 17, 2019

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 15: Manchester City Manager Pep Guardiola during to the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Manchester City at Emirates Stadium on December 15, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Visionhaus)
Visionhaus/Getty Images

Leicester City and Manchester City have the opportunity to gain some ground in the Premier League title race when they face off against one another on Saturday.

Leaders Liverpool are sitting out Week 18 as a result of their involvement in the FIFA Club World Cup.

Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho's Tottenham Hotspur will face off against his former side, Chelsea, on Sunday, after Manchester United visit Watford.

Elsewhere, Everton host Arsenal on Saturday, while Aston Villa take on Southampton in a key survival clash.

Here's the schedule, complete with score predictions:

                  

Saturday, December 21

Everton vs. Arsenal, 12:30 p.m. GMT/7:30 a.m. ET, 2-2

Aston Villa vs. Southampton, 3 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET, 2-0

Bournemouth vs. Burnley, 3 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET, 1-1

Brighton vs. Sheffield United, 3 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET, 1-2

Newcastle United vs. Crystal Palace, 3 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET, 1-1

Norwich City vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers, 3 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET, 1-3

Manchester City vs. Leicester City, 5:30 p.m. GMT/12:30 p.m. ET, 2-1

                            

Sunday, December 22

Watford vs. Manchester United, 2 p.m. GMT/9 a.m. ET, 1-3

Tottenham Hotspur vs. Chelsea, 4:30 p.m. GMT/11:30 a.m. ET, 2-0

                           

Manchester City vs. Leicester City

Man City haven't recorded consecutive victories in their last six Premier League matches.

They'll need to rediscover their consistency if they're to reduce the 14-point deficit behind Liverpool, but Leicester—who are four points ahead of them—won't be easily dispatched.

Only Paris Saint-Germain have a superior goal difference to the Foxes' 29 in Europe's top five leagues, and Leicester have beaten the Sky Blues three times since they returned to the Premier League in 2014.

They've got one of Europe's most in-form strikers on their side, too, in Jamie Vardy. He has 16 goals in 17 games this season and 25 in 26 Premier League matches under manager Brendan Rodgers.

The 32-year-old thought he'd scored for the ninth match running in Leicester's 1-1 draw with Norwich City last time out, before it was given as an own goal:

Leicester City @LCFC

Our equalising goal from today's 1⃣-1⃣ draw at King Power Stadium. #LeiNor https://t.co/i09dpnbNHX

Vardy has scored five times against City and has 35 goals against the Premier League's big six.

The Sky Blues will come into the game on the back of an impressive performance against Arsenal, in which Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling carved up the Gunners in a 3-0 win:

Pep Guardiola's side have beaten Leicester in each of their last three visits to the Etihad Stadium.

The Foxes have been in better form of late—they'd won nine consecutive games in all competitions prior to the Norwich draw—but if the Citizens play as they did against Arsenal, they should have the edge in a tough contest.

                        

Tottenham Hotspur vs. Chelsea

Tottenham can go ahead of Chelsea on goal difference if they win on Sunday, while the Blues can reopen the breathing room of a six-point gap.

Chelsea have allowed their rivals to close the ground on them in recent weeks with four defeats in their last five league games.

They didn't impress Goal's Nizaar Kinsella or football writer Dan Levene in their 1-0 defeat to Bournemouth—who had lost their previous five gameslast time out:

Nizaar Kinsella @NizaarKinsella

FT: Chelsea 0-1 Bournemouth. Another Cherries upset. A poor home display again. Four defeats in five league games since the international break. Chelsea sucked into a top-four dogfight. #CFC #CHEBOU

Dan Levene @danlevene

Not good enough from Chelsea. This, similar to the game against West Ham, should have been a routine three points. The team is a work in progress. But the lack of direct attacking threat, and the lack of impact from changes, needs fixing.

The Blues' defence is a particular concern. Arsenal are the only top-half side who have conceded more than their 25; and in the 26 matches Chelsea have played in all competitions this season, they've kept just four clean sheets.

Spurs' defence hasn't been much better, as they've shipped 24 league goals, but they've won four of their last five domestic games.

Football writer Andrew Gaffney praised them after their 2-1 win away at Wolverhampton Wanderers in their last game:

Andrew Gaffney @GaffneyVLC

What an absolutely massive win that is for Spurs. The team showed it could dig in deep and defend well against a tough Wolves side. It'll add much needed confidence to the squad and it feels like we're finally involved in that fight for the Champions League places again. #COYS

Tottenham have enjoyed a slight edge over Chelsea in the Premier League of late, with three wins from their last five meetings.

Given their respective form, Spurs should be able to come out on top again on Sunday.