Premier League preview & predictions: Gameweek 17

With the 2020/21 season in full swing, the Premier League begins a brand new calendar year this weekend, with games on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

The results of these 10 games could be quite significant because after this round there will be no more until 12 January as a result of the pause for the FA Cup third round next weekend. That means the positions in the league table will be locked in for over a week, and the pressure will build by the time the action resumes later this month.

The top of the table is becoming particularly tense, so watch out for what Manchester United, Liverpool, Everton and Leicester do over the next few days.

Friday 1 January

Everton vs West Ham

Everton have returned to winning ways recently | Alex Pantling/Getty Images

What Time Is Kick Off? 17:30 (GMT)
Where Is it Played? Goodison Park
TV Channel/Live Stream? BT Sport 

Everton are on their best run of results since the start of the season and made it four wins on the bounce last time out against Sheffield United.

That has included victories over Chelsea, Leicester and Arsenal and the Toffees have only conceded once in that run as well.

They are the obvious favourites as David Moyes returns to Goodison Park, bringing with him a West Ham side that hasn’t won since early December.

Prediction: Everton 1-0 West Ham

Manchester United vs Aston Villa

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has led Man Utd to second in the table | Sam Bagnall - AMA/Getty Images

What Time Is Kick Off? 20:00 (GMT)
Where Is it Played? Old Trafford
TV Channel/Live Stream? Sky Sports

A win over Aston Villa on Friday night could put Manchester United level on points with Premier League leaders Liverpool, and leave them there until the reigning champions play on Monday.

United have taken 23 points from a possible 27 since early November and have significantly climbed the table as a result. Performances haven’t been perfect, but the mentality has been right.

But Villa pose a sizeable threat. They are also in good form following a blip in November and Jack Grealish in particular will cause the hosts problems.

Prediction: Manchester United 2-1 Aston Villa

Saturday 2 January

Tottenham vs Leeds

Leeds are looking to claim a big scalp | MOLLY DARLINGTON/Getty Images

What Time Is Kick Off? 12:30 (GMT)
Where Is it Played? Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
TV Channel/Live Stream? BT Sport

Tottenham have seen what looked like it had the potential to be title-winning form desert them in recent weeks and they have won only one of their last six league games.

Leeds, on the other hand, have won three of their last four, scoring five twice. They could see this as an opportunity to claim a big scalp, having already beaten high flying Everton and Aston Villa away from home since returning to the Premier League.

But Leeds’ standing among neutrals has taken a battering this week because of the club’s culpability in the vile social media abuse of TV pundit Karen Carney.

Prediction: Tottenham 2-2 Leeds

Crystal Palace vs Sheffield United

It is increasingly tough to see where Sheffield Utd will get points | Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

What Time Is Kick Off? 15:00 (GMT)
Where Is it Played? Selhurst Park
TV Channel/Live Stream? Sky Sports

At this stage of a season, Sheffield United are statistically the worst team in Premier League history. Only one other, QPR in 2012/13, has ever gone 16 games without a win at the start of the campaign, but QPR had seven points instead of just two.

Crystal Palace will no doubt see this as a good opportunity to get their first win since 6 December and put some more distance between themselves and the relegation zone.

Palace have got the second best defensive record in the bottom half, which doesn’t bode well for a Blades side that has averaged only 0.5 goals per game.

Prediction: Crystal Palace 2-0 Sheffield United

Brighton vs Wolves

Brighton have scored & conceded late goals recently | Pool/Getty Images

What Time Is Kick Off? 17:30 (GMT)
Where Is it Played? Amex Stadium
TV Channel/Live Stream? Sky Sports

Brighton and Wolves are two sides that have been short on wins in recent weeks, having just three between them in 19 games combined since November began.

Wolves played well against Manchester United recently but were left stunned by a late goal.

Brighton, meanwhile, have both scored and conceded late goals in a handful of recent games against Liverpool, Sheffield United and West Ham.

Prediction: Brighton 1-1 Wolves

West Brom vs Arsenal

Arsenal have suddenly put some wins together | Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

What Time Is Kick Off? 20:00 (GMT)
Where Is it Played? The Hawthorns
TV Channel/Live Stream? BT Sport

Arsenal have put back-to-back wins together since Christmas and are looking to make it three with their Sunday night visit to struggling West Brom.

Sam Allardyce inspired the Baggies to a 0-0 draw with Liverpool in his first game in charge, only to then witness an utter collapse a few days later when Leeds won 5-0 at The Hawthorns.

Allardyce has frustrated Arsenal teams in the past, although he has his work cut out this time.

Prediction: West Brom 0-1 Arsenal

Sunday 3 January

Burnley vs Fulham

Sean Dyche's are out of immediate danger | Alex Livesey/Getty Images

What Time Is Kick Off? 12:00 (GMT)
Where Is it Played? Turf Moor
TV Channel/Live Stream? Sky Sports

Although both at the wrong end of the table, both Burnley and Fulham are in reasonable form.

Burnley have won four of their last eight games, taking 12 points from those fixtures to jump clear of the relegation zone. Fulham, meanwhile, may not have won since November, but they are unbeaten in four and have kept two clean sheets in that time.

Both will fancy their chances of getting more points on the board here.

Prediction: Burnley 1-1 Fulham

Newcastle vs Leicester

Leicester have snatched two late draws recently | Michael Regan/Getty Images

What Time Is Kick Off? 14:15 (GMT)
Where Is it Played? St James’ Park
TV Channel/Live Stream? Sky Sports

Steve Bruce’s Newcastle were the latest team to frustrate Liverpool last time out, taking a point against the reigning champions four days after being beaten by Manchester City.

Leicester can probably think of it as two points gained from their last two games after grabbing late equalisers against both Manchester United and Crystal Palace to stay in the top three.

But the Foxes need to start winning again if they are to realise Champions League ambitions, especially after falling away so dramatically last season

Prediction: Newcastle 2-3 Leicester

Chelsea vs Manchester City

Chelsea & Frank Lampard need a win | Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

What Time Is Kick Off? 16:30 (GMT)
Where Is it Played? Stamford Bridge
TV Channel/Live Stream? Sky Sports

This is an important game for both clubs in different ways and should be an entertaining affair.

Manchester City are already playing catch up in the race for the title and top four and will be desperate not to lose more ground. That has been made that much harder by a coronavirus outbreak in the squad and five players missing on Sunday.

Chelsea got their act together in October and November but have fallen apart in December. Pressure will grow on Frank Lampard if they fall further away from the top four.

Prediction: Chelsea 1-1 Manchester City

Monday 4 January

Southampton vs Liverpool

Liverpool are struggling to get wins | PETER POWELL/Getty Images

What Time Is Kick Off? 20:00 (GMT)
Where Is it Played? St Mary’s
TV Channel/Live Stream? Sky Sports

Liverpool are top of the Premier League table, but five draws in their last nine games, several of which have been against struggling teams, has meant that they have been unable to pull away.

The Reds could kick-off on Monday night with Manchester United having climbed level on points, meaning the pressure is on to get a win of their own.

Southampton are a tough side usually noted for their defensive strength. But a lack of goals in recent weeks may make it difficult for them to actually get a win in this one.

Prediction: Southampton 1-2 Liverpool

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Source : 90min