Arsenal and Liverpool should provide an electric start to Week 19 in the Premier League when they clash at the Emirates Stadium on Friday.
Manchester City will look to continue their inexorable march to the title when they take on Bournemouth the following day, but there’s plenty of key action at the bottom of the table with many of the sides taking on one another.
Newcastle United’s search for an elusive three points after nine matches without a win takes them to West Ham United, while Swansea City host Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion travel to Stoke City.
Here is the complete schedule for Week 19, including score predictions for each:
Friday, December 22
7:45 p.m. Arsenal vs. Liverpool (2-2)
Saturday, December 23
12:30 p.m. Everton vs. Chelsea (1-2)
3:00 p.m. Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Watford (1-0)
3:00 p.m. Manchester City vs. Bournemouth (3-0)
3:00 p.m. Southampton vs. Huddersfield Town (2-1)
3:00 p.m. Stoke City vs. West Bromwich Albion (1-2)
3:00 p.m. Swansea City vs. Crystal Palace (0-2)
3:00 p.m. West Ham United vs. Newcastle United (1-1)
5:30 p.m. Burnley vs. Tottenham Hotspur (1-1)
7:45 p.m. Leicester City vs. Manchester United (2-3)
Arsenal vs. Liverpool
Arsenal and Liverpool enter this fixture in identical form over their last three Premier League games, having been held to two draws before winning their most recent match.
In their 4-0 win over Bournemouth, Mohamed Salah was once again on target for the Reds, and he’s the form player in the division right now, according to Goal’s Melissa Reddy.
Mohamed Salah. You can’t deny him for too long! Persistence, pace, power and precision for #LFC’s third. That’s his 20th goal of the season in 26 games – the first Reds player to reach that figure since Suarez and Sturridge both did so in 2013-14.
Another player to impress was former Gunners star Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who earned praise from football writer Leanne Prescott for his showing in the match:
Lots of people will have to eat humble pie re. Chamberlain. Absolutely superb in midfield today; incisive and composed in possession and powerful off it.
He’ll likely feel he has a point to prove at Arsenal after leaving them in the summer, which will be a worry for the hosts. The Gunners will have enough to contend with as they look to keep Salah and Liverpool’s other attacking threats at bay.
What bodes well for Arsenal is that they’re strong at home—their 3-1 defeat to Manchester United at the Emirates was the only time they’ve failed to win in their last 14 Premier League matches there.
They’ll cause Liverpool problems, too, and they have their own form player to help them do so in Mesut Ozil.
The German international will be more than capable of exploiting any gaps in Liverpool’s back line, which could lead to an entertaining back-and-forth between the two teams with goals on both sides.
West Ham United vs. Newcastle United
Newcastle’s last win came on October 21, so by the time this fixture is played, it will have been over two months since the Magpies last came away from a match with all three points.
They’ve only picked up one point in that time, and as a result, they find themselves in the relegation zone and in desperate need of something from the Hammers.
By contrast, West Ham have picked up seven points from their last three matches, as they have improved markedly under David Moyes, per Match of the Day.
West Ham have kept three consecutive clean sheets in the Premier League under David Moyes.
They are still in danger, though, and need to continue their strong run, per the Guardian‘s Jacob Steinberg.
West Ham have improved, but Palace have put a lot of pressure on them this week. Need wins from the next four games.
If either side is to win on Saturday the Irons would seem the more likely given their recent form, but the Magpies can take some small positives into the match.
Rafa Benitez’s side should be slightly fresher for the contest, as they will not be playing in the Carabao Cup in midweek, and while they have lost each of their last three matches, they have not been comprehensively outplayed in any of them.
With a little luck and some better finishing, the Toon could easily have taken something from the 3-2 defeat to Leicester City or the 1-0 losses against Everton and Arsenal.
A point isn’t enough for Newcastle given the situation they’re in, but it would be a start and despite their form, it isn’t beyond them to get one.
Culled from Bleacherreport.