2019-01-07 by W.M.
EPL Predictions: Picks, Top Players for Week 22 Premier League Fixtures | Bleacher Report
Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will encounter his toughest test so far as Manchester United manager when his side travel to face Tottenham Hotspur in Week 22 with 10 points separating the two teams.
The Red Devils are on a five-win rampage under the Norwegian and head to north London on Sunday with an opportunity to climb above Arsenal and into fifth if the right results go their way.
Solskjaer would require the Gunners to lose in Saturday’s visit to West Ham United in order to make the leap from sixth, although Manuel Pellegrini’s Hammers have failed to win in either of their last two league outings.
Leaders Liverpool suffered their first loss of the Premier League season at Manchester City on Thursday and hope to respond in Saturday’s visit to Brighton & Hove Albion. They sit four points ahead of City, who won’t be back in action until they host Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday.
Former Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez takes his Newcastle United side to Stamford Bridge on Saturday, and Ralph Hasenhuttl will hope to build on last week’s 0-0 stalemate at Chelsea in Southampton’s trip to Leicester City.
Week 22 Fixtures, Predictions
Saturday, January 12
West Ham United 2-2 Arsenal, 12:30 p.m. GMT/7:30 a.m. ET
Brighton & Hove Albion 0-2 Liverpool, 3 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET
Burnley 2-0 Fulham, 3 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET
Cardiff City 2-1 Huddersfield Town, 3 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET
Crystal Palace 1-1 Watford, 3 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET
Leicester City 1-0 Southampton, 3 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET
Chelsea 2-0 Newcastle United, 5:30 p.m. GMT/12:30 p.m. ET
Sunday, January 13
Everton 2-1 Bournemouth, 2:15 p.m. GMT/9:15 a.m. ET
Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 Manchester United, 4:30 p.m. GMT/9:30 a.m. ET
Monday, January 14
Manchester City 3-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers, 8 p.m. GMT/3 p.m. ET
Marcus Rashford, Manchester United
Numerous players at Old Trafford are well en route to restoring reputations at United since Solskjaer arrived at the helm, but Marcus Rashford is one in particular who has capitalised on the change in managerial staff.
The Englishman failed to score in a cameo appearance during Saturday’s 2-0 FA Cup win over Reading, but his league form has been mighty, netting three times in the four matches Solskajer has overseen. The boss seemed well aware of his player’s talent after he scored in the recent 2-0 defeat of Newcastle United, via Goal:
Rashford has scored five goals and recorded five assists in his last 10 appearances for United across all competitions, and WhoScored.com recently evidenced why he’s commanding the striker spot of late:
Minutes per direct goal involvement under Mourinho this season:
A. Sanchez – every 211 mins
R. Lukaku – every 234 mins
J. Lingard – every 314 mins
A. Martial – every 158 mins
M. Rashford – every 138 mins
P. Pogba – every 177 mins
Full team statistics — https://t.co/lkmSHlH0FG https://t.co/mQtyyWsbIX
United encounter a tough challenge in Sunday’s trip to Spurs, where Romelu Lukaku will also be in contention to reclaim his place in the XI after starting and scoring in the third-round win over the Royals.
Rashford deserves to keep his spot for now, but the tests under Solskjaer have been easier up until now, and he’ll face an examination as to how he currently stands up to the elite when United travel to Wembley Stadium.
Felipe Anderson, West Ham United
It took the Brazilian winger some time to find his feet in England, but West Ham United star Felipe Anderson is beginning to recapture and even eclipse some of the form that made him such a hit with Lazio.
He has a prime opportunity to make his mark against revered opposition in Saturday’s early kick-off, as West Ham prepare to host Arsenal. Anderson has failed to score in his past two league outings, but Goal illustrated how he at least appears to be over the worst of the nerves shown at the start of his English tenure:
West Ham’s Felipe Anderson has been directly involved in eight goals in his last 10 Premier League matches (7️⃣⚽, 1️⃣🅰️)
Seven matches were needed for the South American to break that duck in the Premier League when he bagged in a memorable 3-1 win over United.
He’s shown he can break down bigger opponents and will hope to do so against fifth-placed Arsenal, who are one goal better off than the worst defence in the top half of the table (Manchester United, 32 goals conceded).
Alvaro Morata, Chelsea
Alvaro Morata was restored to Chelsea’s Premier League XI last week but came up short in the stalemate at home to Southampton, posing the question as to whether manager Maurizio Sarri will keep him for the visit of Newcastle.
The Spaniard scored twice in Chelsea’s 2-0 FA Cup defeat of Nottingham Forest on Saturday but unfortunately also showed some shades of the same wasteful nature that cost him his spot, via Optus Sports (U.S. only):
Optus Sport @OptusSport
Even when he scores two, his howlers are still going viral. This one from this morning could be one of his worst…
#OptusSport #FACup https://t.co/kwbROsGWrX
Granted, that chance was offside in any case, but it hardly flatters the striker to be seen missing such opportunities when Eden Hazard has only recently occupied his berth in attack.