EPL Predictions: Picks, Top Players for Week 22 Premier League Fixtures

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJanuary 6, 2020

Arsenal's French-born Ivorian midfielder Nicolas Pepe turns to celebrate after scoring the opening goal of the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium in London on January 1, 2020. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /  (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)
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After a bumper weekend of FA Cup football, the Premier League is back on the domestic calendar in the coming days.

Leaders Liverpool will be out to continue their relentless march at the top of the table when they visit a struggling Tottenham Hotspur side on Saturday.

Mikel Arteta will be looking to back up his decent start to life as Arsenal boss in a potentially tricky contest at Crystal Palace earlier in the day, and Aston Villa host Manchester City on Sunday.

Here the fixtures in full for Week 22, a prediction for each match and a closer look at a couple of players primed to make a difference in their respective games.

         

Premier League Fixtures Week 22 (GMT)

Friday, January 10

8 p.m. Sheffield United vs. West Ham United (2-1)

       

Saturday, January 11

12:30 p.m. Crystal Palace vs. Arsenal (1-1)

3 p.m. Chelsea vs. Burnley (2-0)

3 p.m. Everton vs. Brighton & Hove Albion (3-1)

3 p.m. Leicester City vs. Southampton (2-1)

3 p.m. Manchester United vs. Norwich City (2-0)

3 p.m. Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Newcastle United (2-1)

5:30 p.m. Tottenham Hotspur vs. Liverpool (1-2)

        

Sunday, January 12

2 p.m. Bournemouth vs. Watford (1-1)

4:30 p.m. Aston Villa vs. Manchester City (1-3)

           

Nicolas Pepe, Arsenal

It would be fair to say Nicolas Pepe hasn't had the easiest start to life at the Emirates Stadium after becoming the club's record signing in the summer, but he'll be hoping to turn that around under Arteta.

The signs were positive for the Ivory Coast international in his previous Premier League match when he got on the scoresheet in the 2-0 win over Manchester United.

In addition to his goal, Pepe produced a strong all-round performance, causing big issues for the visitors throughout the clash.

The Tactical Times Twitter account provided the key numbers behind the forward's excellent display:

Football writer Layth Yousif noted Pepe appears to be one of a number of players benefiting from some fresh leadership at the club:

At Palace, there will be an onus on the 24-year-old to produce again, with Arsenal up against an Eagles side that will likely sit deep and counter through their rapid forwards.

Pepe can beat markers one-on-one, create chances and score goals from distance. Those attributes will be vital if the Gunners are to break through the massed ranks of defenders and take three points.

         

Mohamed Salah, Liverpool

There have been times this season when Mohamed Salah hasn't quite looked at full tilt, but he's played his best football of the campaign in recent weeks.

The Egypt international was in menacing mood on Thursday during the 2-0 win over Sheffield United. He scored the opening goal early on and set up Sadio Mane with a brilliant pass for the Reds' second.

Sachin Nakrani of the Guardian was impressed by the recent improvement of the Liverpool No. 11:

Per Sky Sports Statto, Spurs will need to keep Salah off his lethal left foot as much as possible:

Tottenham have been well short of their best throughout the season, and they've been especially unsure in the full-back areas. It's in those positions where Salah and Mane will likely get most joy.

Spurs manager Jose Mourinho will no doubt have a plan to combat the likes of Salah, but it's hard to see any defensive combination Tottenham can field nullifying the 27-year-old's influence in his current vein of form.

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