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Premier League preview and predictions: Gameweek 17

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With the 2020/21 season in full swing, the Premier League kicks off a whole new calendar year this weekend, with matches on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

The results of these 10 matches could be quite significant because after this round there will be no more until January 12 due to the break for the third round of the FA Cup next weekend. This means that positions in the league table will be locked in for over a week and the pressure will increase as action resumes later this month.

The top of the table is getting particularly tense, so watch what Manchester United, Liverpool, Everton and Leicester are up to over the next few days.

Everton v West Ham

Bernard, Yerry Mina, Gylfi Sigurdsson
Everton have returned to victory recently | Alex Pantling / Getty Images

What time is the kick-off? 5:30 p.m. (GMT)
Where is it played? Goodison park
TV channel / live broadcast? BT Sport

Everton are on their best streak since the start of the season and had four rebound wins last time out against Sheffield United.

This has included wins over Chelsea, Leicester and Arsenal and the Toffees have only conceded once in this race.

They are the obvious favorites as David Moyes returns to Goodison Park, bringing with him a West Ham side that hasn’t won since early December.

Prediction: Everton 1-0 West Ham

Manchester United v Aston Villa

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer led Man Utd to second place in the table | Sam Bagnall – AMA / Getty Images

What time is the kick-off? 8:00 p.m. (GMT)
Where is it played? Old trafford
TV channel / live broadcast? Sky Sports

A win over Aston Villa on Friday night could put Manchester United on a level playing field with Premier League leaders Liverpool and leave them there until the defending champions play on Monday.

United have taken 23 out of a possible 27 points since the start of November and have climbed the table considerably. The performances were not perfect, but the mentality was good.

But Villa poses a significant threat. They are also in good shape following a blip in November and Jack Grealish in particular will be causing problems for the hosts.

Prediction: Manchester United 2-1 Aston Villa

Tottenham v Leeds

FBL-ENG-PR-LEEDS-BURNLEY
Leeds looking to claim a big scalp | MOLLY DARLINGTON / Getty Images

What time is the kick-off? 12:30 p.m. (GMT)
Where is it played? Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
TV channel / live broadcast? BT Sport

Tottenham have seen what appeared to have the potential to win the title by relinquishing them in recent weeks and they have only won one of their last six league games.

Leeds, on the other hand, have won three of their last four goals, scoring five twice. They could see this as an opportunity to claim a big scalp, having already beaten top-flight Everton and Aston Villa since their return to the Premier League.

But Leeds’ position among neutrals has been challenged this week due to the club’s guilt in the vile social media abuse of TV specialist Karen Carney.

Prediction: Tottenham 2-2 Leeds

Crystal Palace v Sheffield United

Chris Wilder
It is increasingly difficult to see where Sheffield Utd will get points | Laurence Griffiths / Getty Images

What time is the kick-off? 3:00 p.m. (GMT)
Where is it played? Selhurst Park
TV channel / live broadcast? Sky Sports

At this point in the season, Sheffield United are statistically the worst team in Premier League history. Only one other, QPR in 2012/13, has already played 16 games without a win at the start of the campaign, but QPR had seven points instead of just two.

Crystal Palace will undoubtedly see it as a good opportunity to clinch their first victory since December 6 and put a little more distance between them and the relegation zone.

Palace had the second best defensive record in the bottom half, which does not bode well for a Blades side who are averaging just 0.5 goals per game.

Prediction: Crystal Palace 2-0 Sheffield United

Brighton Against Wolves

Danny Welbeck
Brighton have scored and conceded late goals recently | Pool / Getty Images

What time is the kick-off? 5:30 p.m. (GMT)
Where is it played? Amex Stadium
TV channel / live broadcast? Sky Sports

Brighton and Wolves are two teams that have been short of wins in recent weeks, with just three left in 19 games combined since the start of November.

Wolves have played well against Manchester United recently, but were surprised with a late goal.

Brighton, meanwhile, have both scored and conceded late goals in a handful of recent games against Liverpool, Sheffield United and West Ham.

Prediction: Brighton 1-1 Wolves

West Brom v Arsenal

Bukayo Saka, Alexandre Lacazette, Emile Smith Rowe, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mohamed Elneny
Arsenal suddenly gathered victories | Mike Hewitt / Getty Images

What time is the kick-off? 8:00 p.m. (GMT)
Where is it played? Hawthorns
TV channel / live broadcast? BT Sport

Arsenal have won back-to-back wins since Christmas and are looking to make three with their Sunday night visit to struggling West Brom.

Sam Allardyce inspired the Baggies to a 0-0 draw with Liverpool in his first game at the helm, only to witness a total collapse days later when Leeds won 5-0 at the Hawthorns.

Allardyce has frustrated Arsenal teams in the past, although he has his work cut out for him this time around.

Prediction: West Brom 0-1 Arsenal

Burnley vs. Fulham

Sean dyche
Sean Dyche is out of immediate danger | Alex Livesey / Getty Images

What time is the kick-off? 12:00 (GMT)
Where is it played? Turf Moor
TV channel / live broadcast? Sky Sports

While both are on the wrong side of the table, Burnley and Fulham are in reasonable form.

Burnley has won four of his last eight games, taking 12 points from those games to get out of the relegation zone. Fulham, meanwhile, may not have won since November, but they are undefeated in four and have kept two sheets clean during that time.

Both will appreciate their chances of getting more points on the board here.

Prediction: Burnley 1-1 Fulham

Newcastle v Leicester

Jamie Vardy, Harvey Barnes, Youri Tielemans
Leicester recently snatched two late draws | Michael Regan / Getty Images

What time is the kick-off? 2:15 p.m. (GMT)
Where is it played? St James Park
TV channel / live broadcast? Sky Sports

Steve Bruce’s Newcastle were the last side to frustrate Liverpool last time around, taking a point against the defending champions four days after being beaten by Manchester City.

Leicester can probably think of it as two points won in their last two games after winning late equalizers against Manchester United and Crystal Palace to stay in the top three.

But the Foxes need to start winning again if they are to achieve Champions League ambitions, especially after their dramatic fall last season

Prediction: Newcastle 2-3 Leicester

Chelsea v Manchester City

Timo Werner, Frank Lampard
Chelsea and Frank Lampard need a win | Sebastian Frej / MB Media / Getty Images

What time is the kick-off? 4.30 p.m. (GMT)
Where is it played? stamford bridge
TV channel / live broadcast? Sky Sports

It’s an important game for both clubs in different ways and should be an entertaining affair.

Manchester City are already catching up in the title and top four race and will be desperate not to lose more ground. It was made even more difficult by a coronavirus outbreak in the squad and five players missing on Sunday.

Chelsea reunited in October and November, but collapsed in December. The pressure will increase on Frank Lampard if they move away from the top four.

Prediction: Chelsea 1-1 Manchester City

Southampton v Liverpool

FBL-ENG-PR-NEWCASTLE-LIVERPOOL
Liverpool struggle to win | PETER POWELL / Getty Images

What time is the kick-off? 8:00 p.m. (GMT)
Where is it played? St Mary’s
TV channel / live broadcast? Sky Sports

Liverpool are top of the Premier League table, but five draws in their last nine games, including several against struggling sides, have meant they haven’t been able to pull out.

The Reds could start on Monday night with Manchester United having climbed to the points level, which means the pressure is on to secure their own victory.

Southampton are a tough team generally known for their defensive strength. But a lack of goals in recent weeks can make it difficult for them to secure a win in this one.

Prediction: Southampton 1-2 Liverpool

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