DECEMBER 19, 2017
Arsenal welcomes Liverpool in the Premier League on Friday, as the pair continue their battle for a “UEFA Champions League” position in the table.
The Reds hold fourth spot but remain just one point ahead of the Gunners in the latest standings.
Manchester City host Bournemouth on Saturday, with the runaway leaders in sumptuous form ahead of the clash.
Neighbours Manchester United trail City by 11 points and make a trip to Leicester City, desperate to close the gap at the top of the division.
Here are the forthcoming fixtures and picks from England, including a look at the key players for the weekend.
Friday, Dec 22
Arsenal vs. Liverpool (7:45 p.m. GMT/2:45 p.m. ET)—[Draw]
Saturday, Dec 23
Everton vs. Chelsea (12:30 p.m. GMT/7:30 a.m. ET)—[Chelsea win]
Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Watford (3 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET)—[Brighton win]
Manchester City vs. Bournemouth (3 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET)—[City win]
Southampton vs. Huddersfield Town (3 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET)—[Draw]
Stoke City vs. West Bromwich Albion (3 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET)—[Stoke win]
Swansea City vs. Crystal Palace (3 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET)—[Palace win]
West Ham United vs. Newcastle United (3 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET)—[West Ham win]
Burnley vs. Tottenham Hotspur (5:30 p.m. GMT/12:30 p.m. ET)—[Draw]
Leicester City vs. Manchester United (7:45 p.m. GMT/2:45 p.m. ET)—[Draw]
Mohamed Salah, Liverpool
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The attacker has been a sensation in his opening months at Anfield, and without Salah, it is difficult to know where the Reds would be in the current table.
Salah leads the goalscoring charts in English football with 14 goals, and there appears to be no end to his exploits and form.
Arsenal’s defence could face a tough day at the office, with the visitors built to counter-attack with pace and guile.
Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho continue to produce excellent form for manager Jurgen Klopp, but it is Salah who has given Liverpool the edge against teams that allow them to play to their strengths.
The Gunners remain suspect at the back, and if they let Klopp’s men turn the match into a slugfest, it could turn into a bad night for coach Arsene Wenger’s side.
Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal
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If Arsenal are to control the threat of their opponents on Friday, Sanchez will need to produce one of his vintage performances to drive his team forward.
The Chilean superstar has been far off the pace since the opening weeks of the campaign, and Arsenal have suffered with his lack of performances.
However, Sanchez remains one of the Premier League’s most explosive talents, and it will be no surprise if he stings Liverpool’s defence at the Emirates Stadium.
Wenger needs his best attacker to finally arrive at the party, but if he once again misfires, the Gunners could fall further down the table.
Romelu Lukaku, Manchester United
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There was a look of disdain on Lukaku’s face as his header hit the back of the net against West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns, with the Belgian under pressure after a barren period.
However, the striker has been starved of service after United manager Jose Mourinho opted for function over flair in recent weeks, damaging Lukaku’s chances of goals.
The player was excellent in his opening games for the Red Devils, but United’s lack of genuine width makes life harder for the No. 9.
Lukaku has been forced to track back and take on additional defensive duties in matches, and this has hurt his overall game and confidence.
United need to keep winning games as the league reaches the busy Christmas period, and three points at Leicester is essential as Manchester City are making easy work of every opponent in their path.
“Everything on sport”
By Keke Ralph