After weeks of FA Cup action and mid-week matches, the Premier League returns in game week 21, with a full fixture list. Several huge games will take place this weekend, in what could be one of the most influential game weeks of the season.
The pick of the fixtures is Arsenal v Manchester United on Saturday evening. United have surrendered top place in the Premier League recently, while Arsenal are improving every week. This one is set to be a cracker with both teams in good form.
Towards the bottom, a big relegation dogfight will take place at the Hawthorns as West Brom host Fulham. Elsewhere, Man City will hope to remain at the Premier League’s summit as they take on bottom-placed Sheffield United. West Ham host Liverpool in what could be a battle for fourth place!
West Brom, currently in 19th place, will host Fulham, 18th place, this weekend. Since Sam Allardyce took charge of the Baggies, they have only won once and drawn once in eight games. To make matters worse, West Brom has lost their last five in a row at the Hawthorns – the worst home record in the league. Fulham, in contrast, has shown signs of improvement in recent weeks, drawing six of their last 10 league games. Scott Parker’s side looks solid but they have struggled to pick up wins. Both teams will be well aware of the stakes in this match on Saturday!
Arsenal v Man United is a high-profile fixture that has lost its spark. However, given Arsenal’s recent form of five wins in six, and United’s eight away wins this season, this one is set to be an exciting match. The Gunners have been excellent recently, playing exciting, quick football in attack and defending solidly. This balance has seen them climb to the top half, just four points of the European places. United were also playing well, going unbeaten in 13 consecutive games. However, they came crashing down to earth this week, losing 2-1 at home to bottom side Sheffield United. Will the result knock the Red Devil’s confidence this weekend?
Southampton and Aston Villa started the 2020/21 season emphatically and both were considered European candidates. Recently, both have fallen down the table due to poor form. Southampton has several key players out with injury and have only taken five points from their last 18 available. The Saints have one of the worst goal scoring records of late, finding the net just twice in their last six matches. Villa are enduring a similar poor run, losing four of their last five in all competitions, including three consecutive away losses.
Leicester v Leeds has the potential to be the most entertaining games of game week 21. Both sides love to attack and score goals, so expect a few in this fixture. Leicester continued their impressive nine-match unbeaten run with a 1-1 draw away to Everton this week, keeping them just two points off league leaders Man City. Leeds’ inconsistent season has continued recently. The Yorkshire outfit ended a three-match losing stream with a 2-0 win over Newcastle this week. However, they have lost four and won four of their last eight – showing their imbalance this season.
Players to Watch
- Ollie Watkins
One of the bright sparks in Aston Villa’s poor run has been striker Ollie Watkins. The 25-year-old has scored two goals in his last two matches and continues to impress with his all-round play. Watkins links up superbly with the likes of Jack Grealish, Ross Barkley and Armand Traore and is a constant threat. With eight goals already this season, expect more from Watkins in the coming weeks as he finds his feet in the Premier League.
2. Ilkay Gundogan
It’s difficult to see another City player who has been more influential than Ilkay Gundogan recently. The Turkish international has been sensational in City’s rise to the top of the Premier League, scoring seven goals in his last eight appearances. Gundogan has also scored four in his last three, including a stunning effort in the 4-0 win over Crystal Palace a few weeks ago. He also found the net twice against West Brom last weekend and he will be eager to extend his purple patch this weekend.
3. Thomas Soucek
West Ham player Thomas Soucek is absolutely central to West Ham’s rise up the table. The towering midfielder has played every minute of the Premier League season for the Hammers and has rewarded David Moyes’ faith with consistency and goals. Soucek is West Ham’s top scorer this season with seven goals. He found the net twice in the 3-1 win over Crystal Palace this week, helping his side come back from 1-0 down to win comfortably. A big threat from crosses and set-pieces, expect Soucek to cause more havoc against Liverpool in game week 21!
Don’t Shoot the Messenger
Gameweek 22 sees a good selection of clashes and both the top and the bottom of the Premier League. With more and more at stake each week, expect the teams challenging at the top to win comfortably. However, the beauty of the Premier League shows us not to expect the expected!
In the two big head-to heads at the top (Arsenal v United) and the bottom (West Brom v Fulham) away wins are likely.
How do you feel this weekend’s fixtures will take shape? Will City hold their lead at the top of the table? Will United and Leicester make up ground on Guardiola’s side? Who will be cut adrift even further at the bottom of the table?
Let us know your predictions in the comments below.