December is in full swing and the busiest period of the Premier League season is upon us and about to serve up the first Manchester derby of the 2019/20 season as Manchester City host Manchester United.
The festive month may be young but it’s already brought us some remarkable results, including Liverpool’s 5-2 thrashing of Everton in the Merseyside derby and Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham losing 2-1 at former club Manchester United.
This weekend sees us head into gameweek 16 with some equally massive clashes: Everton will try to scrap back out of the bottom three against Chelsea, Saturday evening brings us the Manchester derby and West Ham host Arsenal on Monday night.
It promises to be another action-packed week of football with ramifications at both ends of the table. So, at Squawka, we’ve tasked two of our writers with having a go at predicting every single scoreline from gameweek 16.
Read on for our latest batch of Premier League predictions.
Everton vs Chelsea
Chris Smith (@CJSmith91): Things really are looking desperate for Everton now after their Merseyside derby humiliation saw them slip into the relegation zone. Chelsea ended a run of two consecutive Premier League defeats with a 2-1 win over Aston Villa and should take the points once more here. Everton 1-3 Chelsea.
Steve Jennings (@_Steve_Jennings): Usually, a home game against one of the ‘Big Six’ would be the required motivation for a club like Everton to turn around their poor form. But the Toffees look broken at the moment, and Chelsea could take advantage of that if their finishing is good enough at Goodison Park. Everton 1-2 Chelsea.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Richarlison has scored three of Everton’s last four goals but hasn’t netted at Goodison Park since the start of September. Getting the Brazilian firing consistently will be key to improving Everton’s home form and dragging them back up the table.
Bournemouth vs Liverpool
CS: As if confidence couldn’t be any higher for Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp’s men will be on cloud nine after their thrashing of Everton. Bournemouth have lost their last four games and it’s hard to see them turning that around against the runaway league leaders. Bournemouth 1-3 Liverpool.
SJ: Bournemouth are currently on one of their bad runs, as opposed to one of their good runs; the fact this happens every season is why they always easily avoid relegation but can’t quite push up the table. Liverpool will look to exploit the hosts’ weaknesses and should secure yet another victory. Bournemouth 0-3 Liverpool.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Roberto Firmino was only given a short run-out against Everton as Klopp rotated his squad but still managed an assist during his 17 minutes on the pitch, selling Mason Holgate brilliantly to open up the pass to Georginio Wijnaldum.
The Brazil international has often been referred to as “the glue” which holds Liverpool’s attack together and is likely return to the starting XI on Saturday to pull the Bournemouth defence out of shape.
Tottenham vs Burnley
CS: Jose Mourinho’s winning start with Tottenham came to an abrupt end against his previous employers, Manchester United, on Wednesday. Still, Spurs have shown more than enough over his four games in charge to suggest they may yet be a threat to the Champions League places and a home win against Burnley will be the perfect remedy. Tottenham 2-0 Burnley.
SJ: Mourinho learned far more about his players in the defeat at Old Trafford than he did in the three successive wins prior. Spurs still have plenty of issues, but the midweek loss will make them determined to bounce back against Burnley, preferably with a first clean sheet for Mourinho. Tottenham 1-0 Burnley.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Dele Alli’s wonderful goal against Manchester United wasn’t enough to deliver a result for Spurs, but it was his fourth in his last three games, highlighting just how much he’s flourishing under Mourinho. He will take plenty of confidence into the clash with Burnley at the weekend and if he keeps this up, a return to the England squad for Euro 2020 will be on inevitable.
Watford vs Crystal Palace
CS: Watford’s 2-0 win at Norwich has failed to ignite their season and the Hornets sit stranded at the bottom of the table with just eight points. Palace continue to impress and should be able to sneak three points against the Premier League’s worst attack. Watford 0-1 Crystal Palace.
SJ: There has been no sign of a new manager bounce at Watford, because they are yet to replace Quique Sanchez Flores. For all of Palace’s injury problems in defence, the Eagles should be able to edge this one with the Hornets currently looking toothless in attack. Watford 1-2 Crystal Palace.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Having not scored a single Premier League goal since the start of February, Jeffrey Schlupp has bagged two in his last two games to help Palace take six points against Burnley and Bournemouth. He’ll be eyeing an unlikely hat-trick in this one.
Manchester City vs Manchester United
CS: United will certainly be on a high after their win over Mourinho’s Tottenham, but travelling to the Etihad is always a tall order. City thrashed Burnley 4-1 last time out and will fancy their chances against their Manchester rivals on Saturday. Man City 2-1 Man Utd.
SJ: Man Utd received a big confidence boost by beating Spurs on Wednesday, but that doesn’t mean they will find it easy going at the Etihad. Man City rediscovered their best form at Burnley, putting on a frightening attacking display, and it would surprise nobody to see the hosts win by a couple of goals. Man City 3-1 Man Utd.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Whether he’s scoring thunderbolts himself or assisting others, Kevin De Bruyne has been one of Man City’s best players this season. The Belgian actually has just one goal and no assists in five career appearances against United and is well overdue a big performance in the derby.
Aston Villa vs Leicester City
CS: Leicester really are on fire, finding the perfect balance between dominating the opponent and snatching late wins. Aston Villa have just one win in their last six league games and might well struggle to cope with Brendan Rodgers’ impressive Foxes. Aston Villa 0-2 Leicester.
SJ: Surely Leicester are going to drop points soon, right? Brendan Rodgers’ side look unstoppable right now, but a trip to Aston Villa could be the kind of game that trips them up, especially with Dean Smith’s side hurting after a narrow defeat at Chelsea. Aston Villa 1-1 Leicester.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Jamie Vardy has scored in each of his last seven Premier League appearances, bagging a total of nine goals in that time.
Newcastle United vs Southampton
CS: A run of just two defeats in seven has lifted Newcastle to 14th in the table and showed there is life in Steve Bruce’s side after all. Back-to-back wins for Southampton has lifted them out of the bottom three but Ralph Hasenhuttl will likely settle for a point away from home. Newcastle 0-0 Southampton.
SJ: Southampton picked up a much-needed win over Norwich on Wednesday, but their problem this season has been taking the positive vibes from victories and building on them. Newcastle’s home form is improving all the time, but the Saints could leave with a point. Newcastle 1-1 Southampton.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Only three Premier League players have completed more dribbles than Newcastle winger Allan Saint-Maximin (43) this season.
Norwich City vs Sheffield United
CS: Norwich are as inconsistent as they come right now, going from taking four points against Everton and Arsenal to losing against Southampton in the blink of an eye. Sheffield United continue to impress but on the road, Chris Wilder will likely be happy to grind out a draw. Norwich 2-2 Sheffield United.
SJ: Sheffield United have been a revelation on the road since returning to the Premier League, while Norwich can’t seem to pull away from the lower reaches of the table. All good things must come to an end, though, and Norwich might just edge this one with the home crowd behind them. Norwich 2-1 Sheffield Utd.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Only Jamie Vardy (23) has registered more shots on target in the Premier League this season than Teemu Pukki (22).
Brighton vs Wolves
CS: Only Liverpool have lost fewer league games than Wolves’ two this season, so it’s no surprise to see Nuno Espirito Santo’s side race into fifth place. Brighton have struggled for consistency of late and will likely fall once again here. Brighton 0-2 Wolves.
SJ: Wolves continued their climb up the table in the week and will be confident ahead of their visit to Brighton, who have struggled for consistency at the Amex this term. Raul Jimenez will be a thorn in the Seagulls’ side and could end up being Wolves’ match-winner once again. Brighton 1-2 Wolves.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Raul Jimenez has been directly involved in 21 goals (15 goals, 6 assists) across all competitions this term.
West Ham United vs Arsenal
CS: A London derby between two sides wildly off form, West Ham and Arsenal are both equally desperate for the points in this one. Neither side are particularly convincing at the back but have firepower enough to worry most sides in the Premier League, this could be fun. West Ham 3-3 Arsenal.
SJ: It’s pretty much impossible to predict what either of these London clubs will do on a game-to-game basis right now. Both have fallen short of high expectations this season, yet West Ham somehow won at Chelsea last weekend. Home advantage should mean they avoid defeat here. West Ham 2-2 Arsenal.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Only Wilfred Ndidi (41) has made more interceptions in the Premier League this term than Declan Rice (34).