Matchweek 22 Preview

It’s been a bit since I posted a full-match preview so let’s catch everyone up to speed.

Outside the 18

  • Christian Pulisic finalized a $73 million move to Chelsea in the eighth largest transfer in Premier League history. He will be loaned back to Dortmund to finish out this season, joining Chelsea officially this summer.
  • We have a title race! Man City beat Liverpool 2-1 last Thursday to insert themselves in the title race, closing the gap to four points instead of ten.
  • After their loss to City on Thursday, Liverpool also fell to Wolves in the FA Cup 2-1, getting knocked out in Round 3.
  • Man City won in the FA Cup 7-0 and won in Leg 1 of the Carabao Cup Semi Final 9-0. They are the first team since the 50’s to win consecutive domestic matches by at least 7 goals.
  • Spurs beat Chelsea in Leg 1 of the Carabao Cup Semi Final on a controversial Harry Kane penalty. There were questions on whether or not he was offside on the initial build up play.
  • PSG lost their first Coupe de la Ligue match since 2012 to Guingamp 2-1.

Here’s where we stand in the Premier League so far.

This Season’s Record: 108-100-29 (-4.4 Units) 
Matchweek 21 Record: 1-0-0 (+1.2 Units)

Let’s get this party started.

Saturday, January 12th
English Premier Leagu
e
7:30 am EST

Arsenal @ West Ham – A little London Derby here as Arsenal now are feeling a bit of pressure with United on their heels in 6th place. West Ham will be getting Talisman Marko Arnautovic back but will still have a short squad for this match with seven players in their normal rotation sidelined. In contrast, Arsenal are fully healthy and although they’ve played some crappy teams lately (Fulham and Blackpool), I think their form will be crucial in this one with a couple wins under their belt and a few days of rest. They’ve also only dropped points to teams outside of the top six twice this season. With the squad slowly getting used to Emery’s new style, I like for them to start winning the matches you’d expect them to. Arsenal (-0.5, +105).

10:00 am EST

Liverpool @ Brighton – This one is actually pretty interesting as Liverpool have been seriously trending downward in the last week with two losses. To add to that, they’ll be going into this match on the tail end of three away matches in a row. They go up against a Brighton side who have been trending the opposite way from Liverpool and have been covering all season long. Brighton sit in 7th in the Home table, have lost by more than one goal to a top six side only once, held Liverpool to a 1-0 win at Anfield and haven’t lost in their last four in all competitions. Although I’d like the cushion of two goals, I’ll take Brighton’s 1.5. Brighton (+1.5, +105).

Huddersfield @ Cardiff – I’m officially declaring this the Toilet Bowl Match of the Week. Just made that up, but I like it and I think I’m going to use it every week. Huddersfield have now lost nine straight matches in all competition, are averaging 0.5 goals per match in that span and have scored the least amount of goals in the league this season. They are sitting eight points back deep in the relegation zone and their fate is looking to be all but sealed at this point in the season. Meanwhile Cardiff is beginning to turn things around a bit against non top six teams. In their last eight matches they are 3-1-3 with two of their three losses coming against top six teams. That’s not too bad for a side who have been fighting relegation all season. To add to that, they are 3-0 in their last three home matches against non top six teams since November 3rd. Yes they are coming off of a loss to a League 1 side in the FA Cup, but that may be a product of them focusing on staying alive in the Premier League right now. Cardiff have the chance to bury Huddersfield here and I think they take it at home. Cardiff (-0.5, +125).

Watford @ Crystal Palace – Both teams are in good form as Watford have one loss in their last seven and Palace have one loss in their last six. But Palace’s form is the one that stands out a bit more as they’ve beaten City, Leicester, Wolves and only lost to Chelsea by a goal during that six match stretch. But there is something worrying about Palace as they are sitting in 14th and are 2-3-5 at home this season, very unlike usual Palace teams who are usually tough to beat at Selhurst Park. Watford have been playing consistently well all season, sit in 8th and have only lost three of their ten away matches this season. I like Watford with the points here in what will likely be a very tight and physical match. Watford (+0.5, -120).

Southampton @ Leicester City – Much like West Ham, Southampton have hit a bit of the injury/suspension bug with four likely starters sidelined for this match. Although they recently grinded out a draw at Chelsea on the 2nd (more Chelsea’s fault for not scoring on 17 shots), Southampton only have two wins in their last twenty matches in all competitions. On Leicester’s side, they only have one loss in their last four league matches with wins at Chelsea, home to City and at Everton. They’re healthy, have a rising star in Choudhury in the midfield will be home at the King Power for this one. Leicester (-0.5, -105).

Fulham @ Burnley – Fulham are still looking for their first away win of the season against a streaking Burnley team who have won three straight and two straight in the league. Even with that though I have little to no confidence in picking a side in this one as both clubs have been horrible at the back this season, ranking last and second to last in goals conceded. I’m going to take the over especially since it’s well-priced and this prior fixture ended up having 6 goals back in August. Over 2.5 (+125).

12:30 pm EST

Newcastle @ Chelsea – Obviously Chelsea are favored in this one and have been in good form, but their scoring woes are starting to catch up to them. Morata only has 5 goals in 16 Premier League matches and is hurt, leaving them limited to Giroud at striker. They recently called Michy Batsuayi back from loan to help with the goal-scoring and depth issue, but it is unclear when he’ll get his first appearance. That leaves most of the burden on Hazard and that was clear in both their loss to Spurs this week in the League Cup and their draw to Southampton. But Newcastle are a team with even worse scoring issues as they’ve only scored fifteen this season, only Huddersfield have scored less in the league. They have only won one of their last nine matches and are scrambling for answers. I don’t like how juiced this line is but I can’t fade Chelsea at Stamford Bridge against a Newcastle team who is scoring 0.7 goals per match. Chelsea (-1.5, -130).

Sunday, January 13th
9:15 am EST

Bournemouth @ Everton – Both teams are somewhat lost right now but i’s Bournemouth who are freefalling. They have one win in eight matches with six of the seven other matches being losses. In those losses Bournemouth have a -17 goal differential. They have been very inconsistent away from home as well with three wins and seven losses in those ten league matches and are currently on a five-match losing streak away from home. Everton’s crisis has been a bit different. They’ve actually been pretty good at home this season but as of late they’ve had a tough go with one win two draws and five losses in their last eight. In that span they’ve had a 6-2 loss, followed by a 5-1 win then followed by two straight 1-0 losses. But there’s no way I can trust Bournemouth right now with their away record and current defensive issues. Everton (-0.5, -120).

11:30 am EST

Manchester United @ Tottenham – Well hello there pretty lady. We finally get to the Match of the Week as United will face their first real test in the Ole Gunnar Solksjaer era. Under Solksjaer they have won four straight in the league but against Cardiff, Huddersfield, Bournemouth and Newcastle. Spurs are also in good form but are in better long-term form with only one loss since December 2nd, in a blown match to Wolves. This one will no doubt be close and I think Spurs feel a bit disrespected due to the talk that they’re out of the title race (they are, but I’ll let them think what they want to think) being only two points behind City and six behind Liverpool. But you need to throw out everything you knew about this United team during the Mourinho days as they’re a completely different animal. Their best players are playing with confidence and are no longer limited to the park the bus style that was imposed under Mourinho. I think Spurs will have more trouble than they think against this revitalized United squad who now have their eyes on the top four. Spurs have yet to draw anyone this season and I think that actually changes here against United. I’m going to try to nail this draw with the good odds. Draw (+270).

Monday, January 14th
3:00 pm EST

Wolves @ Manchester City – Yeah Man City is back. They are the first team since Leeds in the 50’s that won consecutive domestic matches by at least seven goals and are coming off of a huge league win against Liverpool last Thursday. Wolves have actually been outstanding against the top six this season and even just beat Liverpool in the FA Cup. In their 8 games against the top six they have only lost two including a draw at home to this City team at the start of the season. But stop all that talk right now. Man City have shot themselves right back into the title race and they know they may have to basically win out the rest of this season and with their goal differential tied with Liverpool, they know every goal counts. They’re finally fully healthy and Pep’s squad are looking to make a statement that they’re back. It’s going to take a lot to bet against what seems like the best team on earth right now. Man City (-2, -115).

That’s all for Matchweek 22! Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE AT THE VERY BOTTOM OF THE PAGE for updates every time I post!!!

Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.

Twitter: @nicodegallo
Facebook: Can I Kick It

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Nico

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