Premier League Matchday 17 Preview: Man Utd Host Villa; Chelsea and Man City Face Off at Stamford Bridge and More

Shubham Dupare
Chelsea FC v Manchester City - Premier League
Chelsea FC v Manchester City - Premier League / Julian Finney/Getty Images
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For all the football fans looking to put the year that has been behind themselves and kick-off 2021 on a positive note, there's some good news. Premier League action awaits them on the first day of the year, as Matchday 17 fixtures get underway on January 1.

Everton, who had their game against Manchester City called off due to COVID-19 crisis at the Etihad Stadium, will get the proceedings underway against West Ham United. The big game between Chelsea and Manchester City is scheduled for Sunday night.

Here is our rundown of all the action that awaits us in the Premier League Matchday 17:

Everton vs West Ham United

Everton host West Ham United having enjoyed a rare rest of five days in this tightly packed campaign. The hosts are on a four-game winning streak in the league and can record another win here against West Ham, who have dropped points in their last four games.

Last Results:

Everton's Matchday 16 game was called off, before that they had recorded a comfortable a 1-0 win over bottom-placed Sheffield United.
The Hammers played their third draw in their last four games, as they could only hold Southampton to a goalless draw in their trip to the port city on England's south coast.

Head-to-Head:

The two clubs have faced each other 143 times across all competitions. Currently, Everton lead 72-40 in the head-to-head record while 31 games have ended in a draw. Everton have not lost a game against the visitors since 2018.

What This Could Mean:

The hosts are just three points behind leaders and rivals Liverpool, who are only a point behind second-placed Manchester United and on level with Leicester. They will likely stay in the fourth position, as they are three points above Aston Villa.
The Hammers managed to stay in the top 10 despite dropping points for the fourth game running but another draw or loss would see them dropping into the bottom half of the table.

Injuries and Suspensions:

Everton: Jean-Philippe Gbamin, Lucas Digne, Fabian Delph, James Rodriguez, Allan
West Ham: Arthur Masuaku

Player to Watch:

Mikhail Antonio - The English forward returned to the field in West Ham's draw against Southampton in their previous outing. He had been very influential for them before getting sidelined with a back injury. He is expected to be back in the starting lineup for the first time in a long time here and could add a spark in the final third as they have only scored thrice in their last four outings.

Michail Antonio has scored three goals this term.
Michail Antonio has scored three goals this term. / Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Prediction: 1-0 win for Everton


Manchester United vs Aston Villa

Having reduced the gap at the top with Liverpool to three points Manchester United welcome Aston Villa to the Old Trafford on Friday night.

Manchester United are unbeaten in their last nine league games.
Manchester United are unbeaten in their last nine league games. / Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Last Result:

The Red Devils left it late against Wolves last time around with Marcus Rashford scoring an injury-time winner, with none other than Bruno Fernandes providing the assist.
The visitors have been unbeaten in their last five games and managed to play out a 1-1 draw against Chelsea at the Stamford Bridge.

Head-to-Head:

There have been 188 meetings between the two clubs, with their first meeting dating back to 1892. The hosts have 99 wins so far and can make it a century of wins against Villa in this home fixture. The Lions too could record a milestone win as they have 49 wins to their name. 40 games have ended in a draw.

What This Could Mean:

To keep the pressure up on leaders Liverpool a win is a must for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men. If they drop points here they will likely be displaced from the second spot.
Villa find themselves on level with points with four other teams and hence can't afford to drop points here. Worst-case scenario, they can drop as low as the 9th-place, best case scenario they move into the top four.

Injuries and Suspensions:

Manchester United: Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Victor Lindelof, Edinson Cavani
Villa: Wesley, Hassan, Ross Barkley

Player to Watch:

Bruno Fernandes - The Portuguese midfielder is expected to create or score goals in United's every outing nowadays and he delivers almost every single time. He has scored 10 times already this season and also has 7 assists to his name in 15 appearances. The player will likely find himself in the thick of the things against Villa.

Bruno Fernandes was involved in 32 league goals this year.
Bruno Fernandes was involved in 32 league goals this year. / Michael Regan/Getty Images

Prediction: 3-2 win for United


Totteham Hotspur vs Leeds United

Having fallen to the seventh place after their second draw in their last four games Tottenham Hotspur host Leeds United at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium hoping to get back to winning ways on Saturday.

Last Result:

Spurs' Matchday 16 fixture against Fulham was called off amid positive COVID-19 results, before that they were held to 1-1 draw by Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Leeds United recorded a massive 5-0 win against West Brom last time around, as they managed to keep a second consecutive clean sheet for the first time this term.

Head-to-Head:

The two sides have squared off 97 times across all competitions but haven't met each other since 2013. Spurs lead 36-32 in the head-to-head record and as many as 29 games have ended in a draw.

What This Could Mean:

If Jose Mourinho could inspire his side to secure the three points from this tricky fixture, it will be his first win in five games. They will have some hopes of rising up to fourth in the standings if they win here, a loss would mean dropping down even further in the standings but they'll stay in the top 10.
The Peacocks have recorded two back-to-back wins to land at the 11th-place in the standings. They need to win by a margin of two or more goals to make it into the top 10.

Injuries and Suspensions:

Spurs: Giovani Lo Celso, Gareth Bale, Lucas Moura, Carlos Vinicius
Leeds: Adam Forshaw, Gaetano Berardi, Robin Koch, Liam Cooper, Mateusz Klich, Diego Llorente

Player to Watch:

Patrick Bamford - The striker has been in fine form for Leeds this season and is their top scorer at the moment. He could not find the back of the net against West Brom, even when his team scored 5 times but bagged an assist in the game and would be looking to get back on the scoresheet here.

West Bromwich Albion v Leeds United - Premier League
West Bromwich Albion v Leeds United - Premier League / Pool/Getty Images

Prediction: 1-2 win for Leeds


Crystal Palace vs Sheffield United

Crystal Palace and Sheffield United go head-to-head at the Selhurst Park Stadium on Saturday night. The hosts and the visitors are both winless in their last five outings.

Last Result:

Palace played out a 1-1 draw against Leicester in their previous outing, as they conceded the equalising goal in the 83rd minute.
Sheffield United suffered their 14th loss of the campaign against Burnley last time around and remained without a win for the season.

Head-to-Head:

The two teams have locked horns 55 times across all competitions so far. The head-to-head record is pretty even at this point of time, with The Blades having a one-win advantage over Palace at 22-21. 12 meetings between the two clubs have ended in a draw.

What This Could Mean:

The Eagles have remained between the 10th and 15th place for the majority of the campaign and now with 19 points, they are out of contention for a top 10 spot, at least until next week. Even after a loss here, they'll remain on the 15th place.
A first win here could help the visitors find some solace from their dismal start to the 2020/21 campaign.

Injuries and Suspensions:

Palace: Nathan Ferguson, Wayne Hennessey, Connor Wickham, Martin Kelly, Gary Cahill
Sheffield: Oliver McBurnie, Jack O'Connell, Sander Berge, John Lundstram

Player to Watch:

Wilfried Zaha - The former Manchester United winger has been indispensable for The Eagles for the last few seasons, this season too, he has been their talisman and has been involved in half of all their goals so far. He was on target against Leicester and will definitely like to take his tally to double digits against the struggling visitors.

Zaha scored his eighth goal of the campaign against Leicester.
Zaha scored his eighth goal of the campaign against Leicester. / Pool/Getty Images

Prediction: 2-0 win for Crystal Palace


Brighton & Hove Albion vs Wolverhampton Wanderers

Wolverhampton Wanderers have fallen behind in the race for a spot in the top 10 and would be looking to cover ground when they travel to Brighton on Saturday night. Brighton & Hove Albion are winless in their last seven games but have managed to stay in the green zone.

Last Results:

Brighton suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat at the hands of a rejuvenated Arsenal in their last outing, with Alexandre Lacazette scoring the only goal of the game.
Wolves too suffered a 1-0 loss, after conceding late in the injury time. It was their third loss in their last five games.

Head-to-Head:

The clubs have crossed paths 34 times across all competitions so far. Surprisingly, Brighton have a good record against Wolves and have won 15 times as compared to 6 wins for the visitors. 13 games have ended in a draw, including their last three meeting.

What This Could Mean:

The Seagulls need a win to keep themselves above the relegation zone as dropping points here would give Fulham the opportunity to replace them at the 17th position.
Should Wolves win here, they'll have to count on other teams above them dropping points for a chance to finish in the top 10 in the weekend.

Injuries and Suspensions:

Brighton: Florin Andone, Jose Izquierdo, Tariq Lamptey
Wolves: Jonny, Raul Jimenez, Leander Dendoncker, Wily Boly

Player to Watch:

Pedro Neto- The 20-year-old star has basically filled in for the now Liverpool star Diogo Jota and has impressed in his performances so far. He has been involved in 7 goals in his 16 appearances in the league so far. Unless striker Raul Jimenez returns to the fold, he is expected to provide the flair in the final third for them.

Pedro Neto has impressed this season.
Pedro Neto has impressed this season. / Sam Bagnall - AMA/Getty Images

Prediction: 0-1 win for Wolves


West Bromwich Albion vs Arsenal

19th-placed West Bromwich Albion host a rejuvenated Arsenal in the upcoming Premier League fixture.

Last Results:

The hosts suffered a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Leeds United in their previous outing which was their 10th loss of the campaign.
Arsenal secured their second win in a row in their last game, as they secured a narrow 1-0 win over Brighton.

Head-to-Head:

The two sides have clashed 141 times across all competitions so far. As one would expect The Gunners have a massive advantage in the head-to-head record and lead West Brom 72-38 in wins. 31 meeting between the two sides have ended in a draw.

What This Could Mean:

For West Brom, it might be another week spent in the relegation zone as they won't be able to move above Fulham in the standings even if they record a win here.
If Arsenal end up taking home the three points from the game, it would be the first time this season that they'd won three games in a row.

Injuries and Suspensions:

West Brom: Conor Townsend, Hal Robson-Kanu, Kyle Bartley, Jake Livermore, Kieran Gibbs
Arsenal: Thomas Partey, Gabriel, Reiss Nelson

Player to Watch:

Alexandre Lacazette - The Frenchman has now scored in his last three appearances for Arsenal across all competitions. He is also their top goalscorer at the moment. With Aubameyang's form questionable at the moment, Mikel Arteta would be hoping that Lacazette can deliver against the team with the worst defensive record in the league.

Alexandre Lacazette has scored three goals in his last three games for Arsenal.
Alexandre Lacazette has scored three goals in his last three games for Arsenal. / Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Prediction: 1-2 win to Arsenal


Burnley vs Fulham

Two teams from the bottom half of the table in Burnley and Fulham will square off at the Turf Moor on Sunday's first Premier League game.

Last Result:

The hosts secured just their fourth win of the campaign against bottom-placed Sheffield United. Things are starting to fall in place for The Clarets, as they have picked up 10 of their 16 points for the campaign in their last five fixtures.
The visitors avoided a defeat against Southampton in the previous outing but it was their fourth consecutive draw of the campaign and have not been able to move out of the drop zone.

Head-to-Head:

The two sides have met each other 96 times across all competition. Burnley lead Fulham 46-31 in wins while 19 games have ended in a draw.

What This Could Mean:

For the hosts, a win or loss would not affect their position in the league standings but the three points will come in handy going ahead.
Fulham will have to count on Brighton dropping points if they are to move out of the relegation zone, given they secure a win here.

Injuries and Suspensions:

Burnley: Jack Cork, Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Matej Vydra, Robbie Brady, Charlie Taylor, Jimmy Dunne
Fulham: Terence Kongolo

Player to Watch:

Chris Wood - There are not a lot of in form players to look forward to in this fixture but Burnley striker Chris Wood could is always a threat with his aerial ability. They scored a goal from a set-piece against Sheffield and can do it again here.

Prediction: 1-o win for Burnley


Newcastle United vs Leicester City

After becoming the only side to keep a clean sheet against Liverpool this term, Newcastle United face another team from the upper half of the table in Leicester City on Sunday night.

Last Result:

The hosts managed to keep a clean sheet in their previous outing against reigning champions Liverpool.
Leicester also ended up playing a draw against Crystal Palace, as their game in London ended in a 1-1 draw.

Head-to-Head:

There have been 127 meetings between the two sides across all competitions. The record is pretty even at this point. The Magpies have a slight 53-47 advantage in this fixture and 27 games have ended in a draw.

What This Could Mean:

Newcastle can move to the 12th place with a win here, while a draw will keep them in the same place. A loss could see them drop to the 16th place.
The Foxes are four points behind leaders at the third place and need at least a draw to keep themselves in the top four.

Injuries and Suspensions:

Newcastle: Allan Saint-Maximin, Jamaal Lascelles, Ryan Fraser, Isaac Hayden
Leicester: Ricardo Pereira, Cengiz Under

Player to Watch:

Harvey Barnes - The 23-year-old winger has been slowly building a reputation as a reliable attacking option for The Foxes. He has scored five times and has an assist to his name in 15 appearances. He has scored two crucial goals in the last two games and can take some responsibility off Jamie Vardu's shoulders in the final third.

Harvey Barnes has scored two goals in his last two appearances for Leicester City.
Harvey Barnes has scored two goals in his last two appearances for Leicester City. / Pool/Getty Images

Chelsea vs Manchester City

The biggest game of the week will be the showdown between Chelsea and Manchester City at the Stamford Bridge on Sunday night. Both clubs have 26 points to their name and a win in this fixture could help them make a claim for a top-four spot.

Frank Lampard's Chelsea have seen a dip in form in recent fixtures.
Frank Lampard's Chelsea have seen a dip in form in recent fixtures. / OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

Last Result:

The Blues dropped points for the fourth time in their last five outings as they played a 1-1 draw against Aston Villa.
The Cityzens had their game against Everton postponed on account of rising COVID-19 cases but had won their last two games before that fixture.

Head-to-Head:

The two clubs have crossed path 165 times across all competitions and the clubs have been pretty evenly matched in their meetings. Currently, the Blues lead 68-58 in wins and 39 games have ended in a draw. Last season both teams recorded 2-1 wins in their respective home fixtures.

What This Could Mean:

Chelsea have lost three times in their last five outings and if they can avoid dropping points here they can go up to fourth in the standings.
Pep Guardiola's men have two games in hand over leaders Liverpool and if they can manage to win their upcoming games they can close the gap at the top to one point.

Injuries and Suspensions:

Chelsea: Reece James
City: Eric Garcia, Gabriel Jesus, Kyle Walker, Ederson

Player to Watch:

Raheem Sterling - Though Sterling has not hit the heights of his last three season for the club yet, he still is one of their key players on the pitch and has been involved in seven goals so far. His pace and eye for the goal make him a menace for the Chelsea defenders, who've conceded six goals in their last four games.

With Gabriel Jesus out on account of COVID-19, Raheem Sterling will be key for creating chances for the visitors.
With Gabriel Jesus out on account of COVID-19, Raheem Sterling will be key for creating chances for the visitors. / Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Prediction: 1-1 draw


Southampton vs Liverpool

In the final fixture of Matchday 17 Southampton host leaders Liverpool at the St. Mary's Stadium on Monday night. The Reds have seen their lead at the top reduced to just three points, with Manchester United having a game in hand.

Last Result:

Southampton played out another goalless draw against in their previous outing as they failed to score against West Ham.
The Reds also played a goalless draw in their last league game but this was the first time they had failed to make the net bulge in the league this campaign.

Head-to-Head:

The two sides have gone head-to-head 112 times across all competitions so far. Liverpool have a fair advantage in the meeting having won 57 times as compared to 30 wins for the Saints. 25 games have ended in a draw. Liverpool are on a six-game winning streak against the hosts and have not dropped points against them since 2017.

What This Could Mean:

The Saints have dropped to ninth in the standings after a great start to their season if they win they have a slight chance of moving up at least a couple of places.
Liverpool can extend their lead at the top if they win here as Manchester United are hot on their heels for the top spot.

Injuries and Suspensions:

Southampton: Nathan Redmond, Jannik Vestergaard
Liverpool: Joe Gomez, Naby Keita, Virgil van Dijk, Konstantinos Tsimikas, Joel Matip, Diogo Jota

Player to Watch:

Mo Salah - The Egyptian winger has been one of the most consistent forwards in the Premier League since joining Liverpool. His consistency has been key to Liverpool's exploits in front of the goal this season as well. His partnership with Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane will help them bide their time until the injury concerns as over.

Prediction: 0-2 win for Liverpool


Stats courtesy int.soccerway.comtransfermarkt.com and whoscored.com

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