Premier League 2013, Week 25 preview and fixtures: Manchester City and Liverpool can close out the week with a bang

Alex Livesey

In a week that's largely short on matches of major importance, Manchester City and Liverpool's clash to finish off the weekend could help to save an otherwise uninspiring week of fixtures.

Queens Park Rangers vs. Norwich City

Loftus Road; Saturday, 12:35 GMT/7:45 AM ET

Having run out of opportunities to throw money at the problem, Harry Redknapp now has to get down to the business of managing his his way out of relegation. January was a good start for QPR, as the club was unbeaten in the Premier League, but the hole they find themselves in necessitates a win here or there in addition to grinding out results. That win looks achievable against Norwich, winless since December 22nd and have fallen to 14th in the league after a very promising start. The Canaries have also been a disaster away from Carrow Road, but QPR has been a disaster in general. So, should be a classic.

Pick: Draw, 2-2

Arsenal vs. Stoke City

Emirates Stadium; Saturday, 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET

In a completely unprecedented turn of events, Arsenal actually managed to do well for themselves in the January window. They made only one signing, but that signing is of a very promising player at a position of need. Stoke City bought Brek Shea, which is a thing that happened. It's unlikely either of those players will actually do anything in this game though, so it's somewhat irrelevant. I'm just tired of talking about how Stoke is different than other teams. It's like "no kidding ace I have eyes and everything."

Pick: Arsenal, 2-1

Everton vs. Aston Villa

Goodison Park; Saturday, 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET

When these teams met at Villa Park back in August, Everton played Villa off the pitch in just about every sense imaginable. Aston Villa has gotten worse sense then, while Everton has improved. So, skip this one is what I'm trying to say.

Pick: Everton, 3-0

Newcastle United vs. Chelsea

St. James' Park; Saturday, 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET

Finally, Demba Ba will have his chance to take revenge on Newcastle United for resurrecting his career and...hm. The typical narrative doesn't seem to be working here. Well, let's pretend like Alan Pardew ran over his cat or something. Actually, that makes me super sad. Nevermind. Newcastle has a chance to put the relegation threat to bed in this one, but seeing as how they're playing Chelsea they should probably go down a goal or two first just to be on the safe side.

Pick: Draw, 2-2

Reading vs. Sunderland

Madejski Stadium; Saturday, 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET

Given as bad a chance of survival by pundits as any team in recent memory, Reading find themselves out of the bottom three and newly strengthened as the season heads into the home stretch. Though they've definitely benefited from this being a (very) down season for the Premier League in terms of quality, they've clearly outperformed expectations and have a real shot at staying up. This is the kind of game that could really help their pursuit of that aim; Sunderland has been playing well in recent months, but they aren't a team that's unbeatable by any Premier League side. If Reading can win games such as this one, they have to rely far less on their relegation rivals to keep them in the league, and given the improvements some of them made in the window, that's a big advantage.

Pick: Draw, 1-1

West Ham United vs. Swansea City

Upton Park; Saturday, 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET

Swansea is still very much in the running for a spot in Europe, while West Ham is trying very hard not to get dragged any lower down the table. Swansea's style of play is well known and widely admired, and this West Ham team plays, if not exactly pretty football, then a fairly entertaining style that is not nearly so dire as many would expect from a team managed by Sam Allardyce. This has the potential to be a much more entertaining game than it would appear at first glance. (It also has the potential to be awful, because you can't ever really change Big Sam.)

Pick: West Ham, 2-1

Wigan Athletic vs. Southampton

DW Stadium; Saturday, 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET

A huge one in terms of the relegation battle, and a game that looks like it could be quite enjoyable to boot. A Southampton win could give them a nice little cushion, while three points to the Latics would be not at all shocking because come on it's February and this is Wigan we're talking about.

Pick: Wigan, 2-1

Fulham vs. Manchester United

Craven Cottege; Saturday, 17:30 GMT/12:30 PM ET

Does the fact that Manchester United continues to dominate the Premier League despite having such glaringly obvious holes in such important positions bother anyone else? It's nothing against United personally, it just seems so incongruous. Well, in any event, they'll probably win.

Pick: United, 2-1

West Bromwich Albion vs. Tottenham Hotspur

The Hawthorns; Sunday, 13:30 GMT/8:30 AM ET

It's been three straight draws for Spurs, and Everton continue to creep up ever so slowly for the fourth spot in the table. West Brom's hopes of qualifying for Europe are still alive, but with Arsenal and Liverpool both playing well it's going to be a real challenge. Picking up three points against teams like Spurs would be a pretty big help, but with the Baggies having fallen off the pace a bit, that seems like a stretch right now.

Pick: Spurs, 2-1

Manchester City vs. Liverpool

Etihad Stadium; 16:00 GMT/11:00 AM ET

Liverpool will likely still be kicking themselves for letting a two goal lead over Arsenal get away from them on Wednesday, while City may very well be doing something a bit more extreme to themselves for failing to beat QPR on Tuesday. City is getting very close to the point where the path to the top looks impassable, while Liverpool is coming to a similar place in terms of chasing Champions League qualification. Both teams with so much to play for, both teams with so much recent history of failing to meet expectations. So much potential for schadenfruede. Not a bad way to close out the weekend, is it?

Pick: City, 2-1

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