Week 18 brings a new league leader as Manchester United were able to leapfrog Liverpool to take the top spot and sit three points clear of the Reds. It’s an impressive turnaround for Man U, who were as low as 16th place earlier in the season. They’re now unbeaten in their last 11 and look to be arguably the best team in the league at the moment. With so much action heading into this weekend, let’s look at the best and worst of Week 18 in the Premier League.
Best of Week 18
Liverpool v. Manchester United
Sunday, January 17, 11:30a.m. ET
Watch on Peacock
This is an obvious choice, as the new league leaders head to Liverpool to take on the second-place Reds, who will hope to grab all three points and jump back on top. A win would certainly do that for Liverpool as they have a comfortable lead in goal differential over the Red Devils. Of course, Liverpool have only won twice in their last five outings, and are winless in their last three, with a pair of draws against West Brom and Newcastle while most recently dropping a 1-0 result to Southampton. Liverpool is still missing superstar defender Virgil van Dijk who has been out with a long-term injury that should most likely see him out for the remainder of the season. They’ll also be missing Joe Gomez, making both of their preferred starting center backs unavailable. So while Liverpool is in the middle of a bad run of form, Jurgen Klopp has to figure out the best way for his team to move forward as they face the hottest team in the league this weekend.
Worst of Week 18
Wolverhampton v. West Brom
Saturday, January 16, 7:30a.m. ET
Watch on NBCSN, Universo
In what we can crown as the worst of the weekend, 19th-place West Bromwich Albion will head to Wolverhampton to take on the 14th-place Wolves, and hope to inch a little closer to sneaking out of the relegation zone. West Brom have won one game all season. You read it right — ONE. They’re one of two teams to only have logged one win, the other being last-place Sheffield. Their one win came in Week 10, unsurprisingly against Sheffield, and they’ve managed to grind out five draws, giving them a total of eight points on the campaign with a league-worst -28 goal differential. Wolves, while sitting in 14th place with 22 points, are in the middle of their own skid that sees them winless in their last five. They were in 10th place just six weeks ago, but since have slid down to 14th. On paper, this weekend should give them all but a guaranteed three points with the potential to jump as high as 11th place depending on other results around the league. But with two teams in such bad form, don’t expect many fireworks from this match-up.
Week 18 Sleeper
Fulham v. Chelsea
Saturday, January 16, 12:30p.m. ET
Watch on NBC, Universo
It’s a rare time for the once-giants Chelsea, who find themselves sitting in ninth place after winning only once in their last six matches, with four of those coming as losses. Once as high as third place in Week 11, they’ve recorded losses to Everton, Wolverhampton, Arsenal, and most recently Manchester City as they continue to slide down the table. Now they’re tied on points with West Ham, though the Blues have a higher goal differential than anyone in the bottom half of the table. 18th-place Fulham haven’t won since Week 10 when they shocked Leicester City with a 2-1 victory, but their last five matches in a row have ended in draws including 1-1 results against both Liverpool and Tottenham. A result against a struggling team like Chelsea is completely feasible and possible for the Cottagers as Frank Lampard continues to come under fire for his club’s poor form as of late. Plus, a win could see Fulham escape the relegation zone for now as they sit only two points behind 17th-place Brighton.
This Weekend’s Full Schedule
All times listed are Eastern.
Saturday, January 16
7:30 a.m.: Wolverhampton v. West Brom — NBCSN, Universo
10:00 a.m.: Leeds v. Brighton — NBCSN, Universo
10:00 a.m.: West Ham v. Burnley — Peacock
12:30 p.m.: Fulham v. Chelsea — NBCSN, Universo
3:00 p.m.: Leicester v. Southampton — Peacock
Sunday, January 17
9:05 a.m.: Sheffield United v. Tottenham — NBCSN, Telemundo
11:30 a.m.: Liverpool v. Manchester United — Peacock
2:15 p.m.: Manchester City v. Crystal Palace — Peacock
Monday, January 18
3:00 p.m.: Arsenal v. Newcastle — NBCSN