It’s now Matchweek 22 of the Premier League, and with the first fixture taking place on Friday night, it’s time for The Big Kick Off to bring you this weekend’s match predictions.
Already Burnley vs Leicester has been called off at the home side’s request, as Sean Dyche is struggling to put a team out on the field.
There must now be a question mark over the Clarets rescheduled fixture against Watford on Tuesday.
I’m just going to concentrate on this weekend’s fixtures for now. We can take a look at the midweek rescheduled matches, after we see how the sides get on over the next three days.
In the latest betting to win the Premier League, Manchester City are now completely out of sight.
In the last round of fixtures City sneaked what was probably an undeserved win over Arsenal, and on the same weekend, their closest rivals, Liverpool and Chelsea, played out an exhilarating 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge.
- Man City 1/20 (1.05)
- Liverpool 10/1 (11.0)
- Chelsea 30/1 (31.0)
It would take some turnaround now for City to blow this, and if that is to happen, Thomas Tuchel’s team will need to win when they visit the Etihad in the Saturday lunch time fixture.
So let’s now take a look at the nine fixtures that are still taking place.
Matchweek 22 Premier League Match Predictions
The first match takes place on Friday night this weekend, and is the match that has a derby feel to it, but isn’t actually what I would call a derby.
I’m sure Seagulls and Eagles fans may beg to differ!
Brighton v Crystal Palace – Friday 8pm
All of a sudden Brighton are on a roll. After going without a win for three months, the Seagulls have won two from three in the league, and even won in the FA Cup last weekend.
In their last three Premier League matches, Graham Potter’s team have picked up two wins and a draw. They beat Brentford 2-0 at the Amex on Boxing Day, and followed that up with a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge, and a 3-2 win over Everton at Goodison Park.
Tonight’s opponents, Crystal Palace, have been inconsistent of late.
In their last four Premier League outings, they have lost 3-2 at home to West Ham, beat Norwich 3-0 (at home), lost 3-0 away to Spurs, and drew 2-2 at home with Southampton.
It’s hard to know what to expect with Palace at the moment, and that makes calling tonight’s match all the more difficult.
As this is a fiercely contested fixture, I’m going to sit on the fence and go for a draw.
- Verdict – DRAW
Man City v Chelsea – Saturday 12.30pm
Is this last chance saloon for Chelse if they are to have even the remotest of chances of taking the Premier League crown away from City?
It probably is, and even a Chelsea win probably wouldn’t alter the direction of where this season’s title is heading.
City didn’t look great against Arsenal, and they were lucky to get anything from the game, never mind all 3 points.
Could this be the day that Pep’s winning run comes to an end? And he has just won the manager of the month award for December, a regular kiss of death to a good run!
City have won eleven straight matches in the Premier League. Chelsea has just one win in their last five Premier League matches.
I do have a horrible feeling City might not win this match, but on form, how can I back anything other than a City win?
- Verdict – MAN CITY WIN
Newcastle v Watford – Saturday 3pm
What a fixture this is for both sides, and how crucial might it be in the grand scheme of things.
Newcastle have added Keiron Trippier and Chris Wood to their ranks since they last played in the Premier League. That was their impressive 1-1 draw with Man Utd. A result which ended a run of three straight defeats.
As for Watford, they have managed to keep hold of Emmanuel Dennis, rather than lose him to AFCON. The striker is an injury doubt though, and his availability could be the key.
The Hornets have lost six in a row in the Premier League, and they really do need to arrest that slide.
I’m split between a home win and a draw here, but I’m going to go with Newcastle just to edge it.
- Verdict – NEWCASTLE WIN
Norwich v Everton – Saturday 3pm
If you’re Rafa Benitez and you lose this, do you bother going back to Merseyside?
Maybe the Spaniard has ridden the wave now, as he looked in dire trouble before Christmas. But a loss here would set him back again immensely with the fans.
The Canaries briefly rallied a few weeks back, but in the four matches since they were unlucky to lose to Man Utd, Dean Smith’s men have basically looked like they just turned up expecting to lose.
With an attitude like that, they are certain to go down, and this match does represent a chance to stop the slide.
Everton aren’t in great shape either, they’ve won just once in their last twelve in the Premier League.
They do have Dominic Calvert-Lewin available again, but Benitez has made it clear the striker won’t be rushed, meaning he’s not certain to play.
I have a sneaky feeling for a draw here, as I have little faith in Everton, but I think I’m going to go with the Toffees, as Norwich have just been that bad lately.
- Verdict – EVERTON WIN
Wolves v Southampton – Saturday 3pm
Not the most exciting sounding match on paper to be fair.
Wolves are coming off the back of an excellent 1-0 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford.
As for the Saints, they thrashed Brentford 4-1 at St Mary’s on Wednesday, and now have two wins in their last three, and are four games unbeaten!!
This match does have the ingredients for an upset of sorts. Wolves have just had their best win of the season, so will probably compound it by losing at home.
As for Southampton though, how often do they go five unbeaten? Yes, and that’s why I’m going for Wolves.
- Verdict – WOLVES WIN
Aston Villa v Man Utd – Saturday 5.30pm
Villa showed on Monday night in the FA Cup that they don’t need to fear Man Utd.
And in their recent home matches against Man City and Chelsea, they’ve caused the top sides in the Premier League plenty of problems.
As for Man United, can anybody tell me what we’re going to get from them? I don’t think anybody knows which version will show up any more.
Going with what I do know, Villa will give the Red Devils a game, so I’m going for the points to be shared.
- Verdict – DRAW
Liverpool v Brentford – Sunday 2pm
The Bees had an excellent win over Aston Villa back in the New Year’s fixtures, but on Tuesday against Southampton, did look like a struggling side.
Thomas Franks’ team are hard to predict at the moment, the two performances alluded to above were both contrasting.
I suspect that Liverpool will have the sniff of revenge in their nostrils when they meet on Sunday though.
Brentford gave them a match when the two sides drew 3-3 at the Brentford Community Stadium earlier in the season.
Even with Liverpool missing Mo Salah, I still see them having too much for the Bees.
- Verdict – LIVERPOOL WIN
West Ham v Leeds – Sunday 2pm
The Hammers are suddenly back in form, and in particular, Jarrod Bowen. The in form attacking midfielder (would you call him a striker?), has been talked about for England, and also linked with Liverpool.
West Ham are now back up to fourth having won three on the trot, and will see this as a must win if they are serious about getting into the Champions League.
As for Leeds, they beat Burnley 3-1 in their last Premier League match, ending a losing run of three matches.
They are just about managing to stay away from the relegation dogfight at the moment, but I suspect this match may be a repeat of last weekend’s FA Cup tie between the two teams, when West Ham won 2-0.
- Verdict – WEST HAM WIN
Tottenham v Arsenal – Sunday 4.30pm
The final match of the weekend is the north London derby, and this is an interesting fixture.
Both of these teams have had decent runs of late, and it will be another interesting match-up to see where both teams are at in their development (or recovery, depending on which way you want to look at it).
Spurs gave Liverpool a run for their money just before Christmas, but they were lucky to beat Watford, and were comfortably beaten by Chelsea over two legs in the ELF Cup recently.
As for Arsenal, they should have beat Man City, were awful in the FA Cup loss to Nottingham Forest, and then fought out a 0-0 draw at Anfield in the EFL Cup, playing most of the match with 10 men.
I slightly give Arsenal the edge heading into the match, but Spurs have home advantage, so I’m going with the draw.
- Verdict – DRAW