EPL Predictions: Picks, Top Players for Week 16 Premier League Fixtures
Chelsea travel to bottom-of-the-table Sunderland in Week 16 of the 2016-17 Premier League season looking to claim their 10th win on the bounce and maintain their lead at the head of the standings.
Arsenal, three points behind the Blues in second, face Everton at Goodison Park with the Toffees looking to end a slump of five games without a win.
Meanwhile, Manchester City will be hoping to bounce back from their Saturday defeat to Leicester City when they host Watford.
Read on for a look at the players who could play a key role in the midweek fixtures, along with predictions for all 10 games in the schedule.
Week 16 Fixtures, Predictions Date Time (GMT/ET) Fixture Prediction Dec. 13 7:45 p.m./2:45 p.m. Bournemouth vs. Leicester City 1-1 Dec. 13 7:45 p.m./2:45 p.m. Everton vs. Arsenal 1-2 Dec. 14 7:45 p.m./2:45 p.m. Middlesbrough vs. Liverpool 0-2 Dec. 14 7:45 p.m./2:45 p.m. Sunderland vs. Chelsea 0-3 Dec. 14 7:45 p.m./2:45 p.m. West Ham United vs. Burnley 3-1 Dec. 14 8 p.m./3 p.m. Crystal Palace vs. Manchester United 1-2 Dec. 14 8 p.m./3 p.m. Manchester City vs. Watford 3-2 Dec. 14 8 p.m./3 p.m. Stoke City vs. Southampton 1-1 Dec. 14 8 p.m./3 p.m. Tottenham Hotspur vs. Hull City 3-1 Dec. 14 8 p.m./3 p.m. West Bromwich Albion vs. Swansea City 2-1 BBC Sport
Diego Costa, Chelsea
It will be a shock if Sunderland come away with anything from the Stadium of Light on Wednesday.
Chelsea are in superb form and claimed their ninth league win on the bounce against West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.
It was far from a swashbuckling win against the Baggies, but Antonio Conte’s side still claimed all three points after Diego Costa took advantage of a defensive error.
The Spain international has been brilliant so far in 2016-17, and his goal against West Brom was not his first match-winning contribution this term:
After a below-par 2015-16 campaign, Costa looks back to his best again, and Sunderland will struggle to keep him quiet.
The Black Cats have kept just one clean sheet in the league all season. Meanwhile, Costa has netted 12 goals and provided five assists in 15 appearances, per WhoScored.com.
Even the best defences in the world would struggle to contain the 28-year-old in such phenomenal form.
Costa will relish the opportunity to come up against Sunderland’s struggling back line and will likely contribute to another Chelsea victory on Wednesday in the north-east.
Claudio Bravo, Manchester CityJames Baylis – AMA/Getty Images
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side have looked vulnerable of late and have conceded seven goals in back-to-back league defeats against Leicester and Chelsea.
Summer goalkeeping addition Claudio Bravo was exposed again on Saturday in City’s 4-2 defeat to the Foxes, and Jamie Vardy, who netted a hat-trick in the match, revealed afterwards that Leicester actively targeted the former Barcelona man, per theDaily Mail’s Laurie Whitwell.
Watford, who beat Everton 3-2 on Saturday, will surely look to do the same at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday and take advantage of any mistakes from Bravo and the City defence.
Guardiola’s style is to play the ball out from the back, which is one of the reasons Bravo was signed in the first place.
However, it is not a system that is proving effective defensively, as City have kept just two clean sheets all term in the league. And Bravo’s recent record does not make for positive reading, per entertainment news philippines Squawka:
Last 6 shots on target Claudio Bravo has faced in the Premier League:
5 goals, 1 save. pic.twitter.com/nqrOScUeGk
Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 10, 2016
City need to resolve their defensive problems soon if they are to stay in touch with the top of the table.
Given Guardiola’s preferred style, Bravo’s form is vital to City’s effectiveness.
His communication, shot-stopping and positioning need to be better against Watford, or City could fall to a third successive defeat in the league on Wednesday.