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EPL Week 21 Predictions: Premier League Picks, Key Players and Fixtures

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistDecember 30, 2019

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 29: Bernd Leno of Arsenal reacts after Chelsea score their first goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Chelsea FC at Emirates Stadium on December 29, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Mikel Arteta will look to land his first victory as Arsenal manager when they host Manchester United on Wednesday, but the Gunners are without a win in five games ahead of Week 21.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side sit fifth in the Premier League—seven places and seven points ahead of Arsenal—and look dangerous once again after collecting back-to-back top-flight wins.

Meanwhile, Manchester City hope to hand Carlo Ancelotti his first defeat as Everton boss and temporarily close the gap on leaders Liverpool when they welcome the Toffees to the Etihad Stadium.

Jurgen Klopp's side return to midweek action when they host Sheffield United on Thursday night, with the Reds still 13 points in front of second-place Leicester City.

The Foxes got back to winning ways on Saturday when they beat West Ham United without Jamie Vardy, but the prolific frontman is in contention to return at Newcastle United in midweek.

            

Week 21 Fixtures (Picks in bold)

Wednesday, January 1

Burnley vs. Aston Villa, 12:30 p.m. GMT/7:30 a.m. ET

Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Chelsea, 12:30 p.m. GMT/7:30 a.m. ET

Watford vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers, 3 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET

Southampton vs. Tottenham Hotspur, 3 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET

Newcastle United vs. Leicester City, 3 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET

Norwich City vs. Crystal Palace, 5:30 p.m. GMT/12:30 p.m. ET

Manchester City vs. Everton, 5:30 p.m. GMT/12:30 p.m. ET

West Ham United vs. Bournemouth, 5:30 p.m. GMT/12:30 p.m. ET

Arsenal vs. Manchester United, 8 p.m. GMT/3 p.m. ET

       

Thursday, January 2

Liverpool vs. Sheffield United, 8 p.m. GMT/3 p.m. ET

Picks highlighted in bold (no bold indicates a draw prediction).

          

Bernd Leno, Arsenal

Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno was at the centre of controversy on Sunday after his error allowed Chelsea midfielder Jorginho to convert a simple equaliser at the Emirates Stadium (UK viewers only):

Tammy Abraham went on to score a late winner for the Blues and handed Arteta his first defeat as Arsenal boss.

Germany international Leno took to Twitter in the wake of the Gunners' second defeat in four outings, posting a message of defiance ahead of Wednesday's clash at home to United:

Bernd Leno @Bernd_Leno

Very tough day today😒 but I have to look forward 💪🏽 @Arsenal https://t.co/t6JKdENwqW

The Red Devils' front three of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Daniel James have looked menacing of late, and the fixture will be a test of Leno's ability to recover confidence in a short span.

         

Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Everton

Few at Goodison Park will have doubted the potential of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, but the striker's recent run of form is a clear signal of his intention to cement his place in the team.

The 22-year-old has scored three goals in two games since Ancelotti took charge, including a game-deciding brace as the Toffees won 2-1 at Newcastle on Saturday:

Everton face their sternest task under the Italian so far when they visit Manchester City on Wednesday, with the Merseysiders hoping to inflict a third defeat in six games upon the hosts.

Pep Guardiola's men ground out a difficult 2-0 win at home to Sheffield United on Sunday, but Everton will be looking to maintain their momentum under Ancelotti.

        

Ayoze Perez, Leicester City

Brendan Rodgers made the decision to rest Vardy for Leicester's trip to West Ham on Saturday, and Ayoze Perez stepped up with a goal and an assist in the 2-1 victory:

The Spaniard started against Newcastle when the Foxes dominated his former club 5-0 at the King Power Stadium on September 29, and there's every chance he will be part of the starting XI on New Year's Day.

Leicester hold a one-point advantage over third-place Manchester City, with Perez hoping to begin 2020 as he ended 2019:

Ayoze Perez @AyozePG

🔝 The best way to finish the year! A win in London! ⚽⚽ 👉🏽🦊👈🏽 https://t.co/opYidwPxb0

The forward has four goals and three assists in 17 Premier League appearances this season and will be looking to add to that tally at the expense of the Magpies.