It’s already Matchweek 23 in the Premier League, so it’s time for The Big Kick Off to bring you our match predictions for this weekend’s Premier League action.
The main fixture this weekend is Chelsea’s home match against Spurs on Sunday.
But many, including me, think it comes on Friday night with Watford hosting Norwich in a match that has major repercussions at the bottom of the table.
Can Watford’s only real shining light this season, Emmanuel Dennis, fire them to victory against Norwich on Friday night?
A win for Watford here would see them pile the pressure straight back onto the Canaries, who will be going into this match quietly confident after last weekend’s 2-1 win over Everton.
As for Norwich, if they could claim back-to-back wins, they would go above the Hornets, and climb out of the bottom three for the first time this season.
Last weekend was yet another good one for Manchester City….. let’s be honest, when isn’t it these days?
City beat Chelsea 1-0 at the Etihad, and then to further compound Chelsea’s misery, they could only manage a 1-1 draw with Brighton on Tuesday night.
This leaves Tuchel’s team 12 points behind Pep’s City side and having played one game more.
The only other team left in what is now an alledged title race, Liverpool, are 11 points behind City. Klopp’s men do have a game in hand, which could see them close the gap to 8 points.
Last weekend Liverpool made light work of Brentford, seeing them off 3-0 at Anfield on Sunday.
There’s still no Sadio Mane and Mo Salah for Liverpool. Their respective nations have progressed to the Round of 16 at the AFCON, meaning it will be next weekend at the earliest, that either player could be back in the UK.
Right, onto this weekend’s fixtures, and we start with the bottom of the table clash at Vicarage Road.
Matchweek 23 Premier League Match Predictions
Watford v Norwich – Friday 8pm
The Hornets’ 1-1 draw with Newcastle last Saturday ended a run of six straight defeats for Norwich.
Gaining that point late on in the match must have felt more like a victory for Watford, than a draw.
If they can build on that result with another win tonight, it could be a vital couple of weeks for Watford. With a match against Burnley now scheduled for Saturday 5th Feb, the Norwich match is a not-lose fixture for Claudio Ranieri’s team.
As for Norwich, they also ended a six-match losing streak when they defeated Everton last weekend.
Another 3 points here would see them climb out of the bottom three, and what a confidence boost that would be at this stage of the season.
Sadly for Norwich, I don’t see them winning this one.
A draw wouldn’t surprise me, but with home advantage, and the boost that Watford must have received from last week’s draw at Newcastle, it’s a home win for me.
- Verdict – WATFORD WIN
Everton v Aston Villa – Saturday 12.30pm
How often do we see a reaction from a team that has just lost its manager? That’s the dilemma here.
If Rafa was still in charge, I’d be going for a Villa win – all day long. Now he’s gone, I wonder.
Everton’s form has been abysmal though. And I’m not sure Duncan Ferguson can galvanise his team that quickly.
Villa showed last weekend that they are more than a match for anybody. They’ve now given accounts of themselves against Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Man Utd.
Admittedly, they lost three of those matches. But they’ve shown against the big teams that they are a team heading in the right direction.
I’ve convinced myself to now say I think they will win this match, and Steven Gerrard will enjoy his visit to the blue half of Merseyside.
- Verdict – VILLA WIN
Brentford v Wolves – Saturday 3pm
Again, Brentford have impressed me recently. I know they got swept aside at Anfield last Sunday, but they were more than a match for Man Utd in the first half on Wednesday, and one another night would have taken something from the match.
Another team I’ve been impressed with this season though is Wolves. Under Bruno Lage they’ve managed to remain compact and hard to beat, and they’re now four unbeaten.
I think that Wolves are in a good place, and yes, I’m backing against Brentford again. Gulp!
- Verdict – WOLVES WIN
Leeds v Newcastle – Saturday 3pm
Wow, what a match this is. A win for Leeds will see them open up an even more comfortable gap between themselves and the bottom four. While a win for Eddie Howe’s Newcastle side just drags Bielsa’s team back onto the cusp of the relegation dogfight.
Leeds have won two games in a row now. They beat Burnley 3-1 on the 2nd January, and they followed that up with an excellent 3-2 win away at West Ham last weekend.
Are things finally starting to click into place for them?
As for Newcastle, they chucked away the chance of another 3 points on Saturday, when they let Watford in for a late equaliser at St James’ Park.
They can’t keep on doing that, as they are already in more than enough trouble. Eddie Howe will see this as a winnable fixture though, and I firmly believe all three results have a chance here.
I’m going to go for a draw though. Mainly because, even if Newcastle do take the lead, it’s hard to see them holding on for a win anywhere at the moment.
- Verdict – DRAW
Man Utd v West Ham – Saturday 3pm
Another match that’s hard to call, as the two teams playing are inconsistent and just too unpredictable.
It could be argued (maybe not by Villa fans) that United chucked away 2 points last Saturday at Villa Park. It could also be argued they could have lost to Brentford on Wednesday, or at least draw!
As for West Ham, their 3 match winning run was ended by Leeds last Saturday. That’s two 3-2 home defeats for the Hammers lately.
I do think in this instance, that United will raise their game for this one. West Ham currently sits in fourth place, but if United win this, they would overtake them.
A win probably won’t see United go into the top 4 though, as Spurs and Arsenal are both above them.
- Verdict – MAN UTD WIN
Southampton v Man City – Saturday 5.30pm
I’ve got to the stage now where I know I can’t just keep predicting a City win every week, as they will slip up soon. But how can you do anything other than just keep tipping City to win?
The Saints have had a reasonable run lately. A run that has seen them return to the safety of midtable.
That run came to an end last Saturday at Wolves, and I suppose I can only predict back-to-back defeats for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s team on Saturday.
- Verdict – MAN CITY WIN
Arsenal v Burnley – Sunday 2pm
Onto Sunday’s fixtures and Arsenal will be looking to bounce back from their Thursday night Carabao Cup final defeat to Liverpool when they face Burnley at the Emirates.
The Gunners are now serious contenders for a top 4 finish in the Premier League this season. So beating Burnley now becomes a must!
In the league, they’ve not played since unluckily losing 2-1 at home to Man City on New Year’s Day. A match they deserved to get something out of by most accounts.
Burnley are now seven without a win in the Premier League. They can’t score, and they have now also lost striker Chris Wood to Newcastle. I can’t see them stopping the rot here.
- Verdict – ARSENAL WIN
Crystal Palace v Liverpool – Sunday 2pm
Just the one win in their last five for Crystal Palace, and I expect it to be just the one win in their last six once this match is over.
It’s just a question of whether or not Palace can hold on for a draw, or Liverpool win.
Liverpool has only won two of their last five now. But included in that run were draws with Spurs and Chelsea. The major blip was the 1–0 defeat to Leicester over the festive period.
I wouldn’t read too much into that though. Defeats over the festive period can occur, mainly down to the fatigue caused by endless matches.
I still expect the Reds to be too strong for a scratchy Palace side though, even without star duo Mo Salah and Sadio Mane.
- Verdict – LIVERPOOL WIN
Leicester v Brighton – Sunday 2pm
With a couple of minutes left of Leicester’s match with Spurs on Wednesday night I was thinking the Foxes are definitely back now. That’s back-to-back Premier League wins over Liverpool and Spurs, impressive!
What happened next was unbelievably bad for the Foxes, as they gave away two goals in about 3 minutes of stoppage time to lose the match 3-2.
That said, up until that crazy few minutes, Leicester had done well.
As for Brighton, they are now 5 matches unbeaten. They played out an impressive 1-1 draw with Chelsea on Tuesday and have now arrested their slide, with two wins in those five matches.
I have a feeling Leicester are going to take what happened on Wednesday out on someone though. And I just think the Foxes will win this one.
- Verdict – LEICESTER WIN
Chelsea v Tottenham – Sunday 4.30pm
The final matchup of the weekend and it’s a London derby between two teams with contrasting fortunes.
Chelsea has no win in four now in the Premier League. They looked drained, and in desperate need of something to reignite their season.
Could a home fixture against Spurs be just the thing?
As for Spurs, Chelsea are their bogey team. They’ve just lost both Carabao Cup semi-finals to Tuchel’s team, and this despite Chelsea not looking the part lately.
They have Harry Kane now back in form and the team is playing well in the Premier League at least. It’s a difficult call to make here, as Spurs are in better form, but Chelsea is at home, and they seem to have the Indian sign over Antonio Conte’s team.
Chelsea are also going to end a run of five Premier League matches without a win soon.
Could be a close call, but I’m going for the home side Chelsea to sneak this one.
- Verdict – CHELSEA WIN