Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal can each gain decisive wins while plunging three clubs deeper into the relegation mire during Matchday 20 of the Premier League season.
The Reds will host struggling Swansea City in the final game of the Boxing Day fixtures, and they’ll be keen to maintain their free-scoring form.
Liverpool can tighten their grip on fourth place two days before top-four rivals Arsenal face a Crystal Palace side being slowly dragged to safety by manager Roy Hodgson at Selhurst Park.
City are only concerned with continuing their canter to the title when they head to St James’ Park to take advantage of Newcastle United.
Here are the fixtures for Week 20, along with score predictions for each match:
Tuesday, December 26
12:30 p.m. Tottenham Hotspur vs. Southampton (2-1)
3:00 p.m. Bournemouth vs. West Ham United (1-2)
3:00 p.m. Chelsea vs. Brighton & Hove Albion (3-0)
3:00 p.m. Huddersfield Town vs. Stoke City (1-1)
3:00 p.m. Manchester United vs. Burnley (2-0)
3:00 p.m. Watford vs. Leicester City (1-1)
3:00 p.m. West Bromwich Albion vs. Everton (0-1)
5:30 p.m. Liverpool vs. Swansea City (3-1)
Wednesday, December 27
7:45 p.m. Newcastle United vs. Manchester City (1-2)
Thursday, December 28
8:00 p.m. Crystal Palace vs. Arsenal (1-2)
Liverpool vs. Swansea City
Liverpool have scored 12 times in their last three away matches but have found goals harder to come by at Anfield. The Reds were held to a 1-1 draw by Everton in the Merseyside derby before failing to score against West Bromwich Albion.
Manager Jurgen Klopp has to find a way to break down teams who come to Anfield to defend in numbers. Swansea will surely take the same approach as they desperately search for points.
The Swans may still be without a permanent manager following the dismissal of Paul Clement last Wednesday. Caretaker boss Leon Britton will be wary of the threat of Liverpool’s fluid attacking quartet.
Three members of the group, Philippe Coutinho, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, all scored in the 3-3 draw at Arsenal on Friday. However, not all of them may be available to face the Swans, with Klopp fond of rotating his attacking options recently.
Midfield playmakers Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Adam Lallana, plus striker Dominic Solanke, are among Klopp’s other choices. Whoever starts, Liverpool need to take maximum advantage of a favourable fixture to improve their home form.
Newcastle United vs. Manchester City
Stopping the goal-greedy leaders is the task facing Magpies manager Rafa Benitez on Wednesday. The Spaniard is tactically astute, but he did see his defence breached twice by usually goal-shy West Ham United during a 3-2 victory on Saturday.
Benitez will be concerned about how his charges will resist a City squad with the best attacking depth in the division. Boss Pep Guardiola started striker Sergio Aguero for Saturday’s 4-0 win over Bournemouth, with the Argentinian scoring a brace, but he could turn to Brazilian Gabriel Jesus as he seeks to keep his players fresh during the hectic festive schedule.
Guardiola could also refresh midfield by handing a start to cultured playmaker Ilkay Gundogan. The Germany international’s vision will be key in keeping the supply open to wide forwards Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling.
Crystal Palace vs. Arsenal
Palace have been steadily improving on Hodgson’s watch, but they remain under the threat of relegation, sitting just two points clear of the drop zone. It’s a situation Arsenal can exploit, provided their match-winners deliver the goods away from home.
Playmaker Mesut Ozil and forward Alexis Sanchez both scored on Friday, but they must carry their form over to Selhurst Park. The pair are out of contract in the summer but are still managing to forge a promising partnership with striker Alexandre Lacazette.
Ozil’s goal against Liverpool was created by a deft flick from Lacazette, who has made a habit of being involved in the final third in league action.
Arsenal have goals in them but have struggled mightily to stay solid on their travels. The Gunners have won just two away matches and will need to subdue winger Wilfried Zaha, who has been linked with a move to the north London club, per Metro’s Simon Rice.
If the Gunners can keep Zaha quiet, they will have enough quality up front to maintain the pressure on Liverpool in the race for the top four, while dropping Palace deeper into trouble.
Elsewhere, expect Manchester United to keep their flickering title hopes alive, while Chelsea won’t loosen their grip on third.
Culled from Bleacherreport.