Matchweek 22 Preview

In case you’ve been living under a rock, we currently have a podcast out which mostly goes over the Premier League but also touches on the world of football as a whole. Check it out below as we have a new episode dropping today previewing the weekend’s fixtures, recaping the Manchester Derby and talking about the January transfer window.

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/can-i-kick-it/id1477486316

Last Two Seasons: 323-269-90 (+23.4 units)
This Season: 111-99-42 (+10.6 Units)
Matchweek 21: 2-2-1 (-0.2 Units)

It’s been almost two weeks since we’ve had the Premier League and it feels AMAZING to be back. And not only is it back, but it comes back with an outstanding slate of matches. And in honor of this outstanding slate, I’m here to give you a pick for every single one of them!!

Let’s dive right into it…

English Premier League
Friday, January 10th
3:00 pm EST

West Ham @ Sheffield United (TV: NBCSN) – Are Sheffield United beginning to slip a little? They’ve had back to back league losses and have now gone three straight without a win. In fact, they only have three wins from their last ten matches and they came against Norwich, Villa and Brighton. West Ham meanwhile are sitting above the relegation zone by two points and they’re coming off of a big 4-0 win against Bournemouth. They have also now had time to settle under new manager David Moyes and there seems to be more stability in the squad. I think Sheffield operate better as underdogs in matches and I actually believe West Ham are capable of taking points here. I’m going to take the points. West Ham +0.5 (-110).

Saturday, January 11th
7:30 am EST

Arsenal @ Crystal Palace (TV: NBCSN) – Arsenal are on a bit of a high right now since their big win against Manchester United after going the previous fifteen matches with only one win. They then fell flat in the first half against Leeds in the FA Cup only for Arteta to lay into them at halftime and they turned it around in the second half winning 1-0. It’s clear Arteta has begun to reach the players and I truly believe this is the start of a turnaround for their season. Palace are good and have been pretty solid in the league the last month or so, but I think Arsenal will come ready to play with loads of confidence. The Gunners have been prone to play down to their opponents but I think under Arteta that will start to change. Arsenal -0.5 (-115).

10:00 am EST

Burnley @ Chelsea (TV: NBCSN) – Chelsea have had serious trouble at home so far this season as they sit in 14th in the home table. This is the perfect spot for them to start to buck that form though as they’ll play a Burnley team who has 11 losses this season, which is the second most among teams above the relegation zone, and they only have two wins away from home, against Bournemouth and Watford. Burnley are also significantly more hurt than Chelsea and I feel like this is a perfect spot for Chelsea to get a big win. This is the classic “they’re due” case. Chelsea -1.5 (-115).

Brighton @ Everton – I’m not 100% sure who Brighton are yet but I do know one thing, they have only had one league win away from home this season since their season opener. They also only have one league win in their last six. Everton did just have one of the most embarrassing losses in their recent history, a 1-0 stunner against basically Liverpool’s youth team, but that makes me want to pick them even more. Before that match, they only had one loss in their previous seven and they were looking like they started to turn things around. I think this team knows that they need to have a big match here at home and Brighton are the perfect team to have a bounce back. I’ll take the Toffees at home. Everton -0.5 (-115).

Southampton @ Leicester City – Leicester City seem like clear favorites in this match but that’s not the case at all. Well, they’re definitely still favorites, but here’s why I love Southampton. The Saints are 4-1-0 in their last five in all competitions, beating Spurs and Chelsea in the process, and they sit 7th in the away table on 14 points. Yes, Leicester have been brilliant this year, but they also played a midweek match where they drew Aston Villa and could have very well lost. They will also be missing Wilfred Ndidi, their star holding midfielder who has been crucial in their success this season. Also something of note is that Leicester haven’t won by more than a goal in their last eight matches while Southampton haven’t lost by more than a goal in the league since their historic 9-0 loss to Leicester back in October (11 matches). And yes, that 9-0 loss gives me even more reason to pick Southampton here. Southampton +1 (-120).

Norwich City @ Manchester United – You should be concerned if you’re a Manchester United fan. City made them look like a bunch of school children this week and they’ve now gone three straight matches in all competitions without a win. They now will play a Norwich team who has caused many solid clubs trouble this year. They beat Man City, drew Spurs, Arsenal and Leicester and they barely lost to Chelsea and Wolves. United will also be without Pogba, McTominay and Maguire and the players that are healthy will be on short rest. I’m going to take the points as I think Norwich could cause some trouble and keep it close, especially in the desperate situation they are in now being at the bottom. Norwich City +1.5 (-115).

Newcastle @ Wolves – Wolves have now lost two straight league matches for the first time since September but luckily for them they’ll be playing a Newcastle team who have lost their last three in the league by an average of 2.3 goals. Newcastle are also 15th in the away table this year and have the second worst goal differential in that criteria. Wolves on the other hand, have only one loss in the league at home in their last seven matches. This is a great bounce-back match for Wolves, especially since they’re much healthier than Newcastle and overall a better squad. I’ll gladly bet on Wolves avoiding a third straight league loss. Wolves -1 (-130).

12:30 pm EST

Liverpool @ Tottenham (TV: NBC) – This is obviously the sexiest fixture of the weekend as it features two big clubs. Liverpool are well on their way to becoming champions at this point but they will look to be only the second ever team to be crowned invincibles, going a whole season without a loss. But to me, this is a huge trap game for them if you even want to call it that. Mourinho is on the complete opposite end of the tactical spectrum as Jurgen Klopp. I expect Spurs to sit back and possibly not even play a striker and crowd the midfield to stifle Liverpool’s relentless attack. They will likely use Son and Lucas’ pace on the counter attack when going forward which will be tough for Liverpool to cope with especially if their outside backs get pulled to far forward. Either way, I think a one-goal spread is too large here and I love Spurs at home. I think they get at least a point and I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re the ones to break Liverpool’s undefeated streak. I’ll take Spurs as one-goal underdogs. Tottenham +1 (-130).

Sunday, January 12th
9:00 am EST

Watford @ Bournemouth (TV: NBCSN) – Liverpool/Spurs might be the sexiest fixture this weekend but this is my favorite and arguably the best fixture of the weekend. Both of these teams sit just inside the relegation zone and a win could start their journey out of the darkness and possibly into safety. Six-pointers like these generally are some of the tightest and hard-fought matches in the entire season. Shockingly enough though, both of these teams are in polar opposite form. Watford have gone their last four league matches without a loss (10 points from a possible 12) while Bournemouth have gone their last ten league matches with only 4 points to show from it (out of a possible 30). The line sits at a pickem which is dead on for me but I think Bournemouth have the best chance of winning this match. I think both of these teams’ forms will return to the mean and I can’t pick Watford away from home, where they’ve only won once this entire season. I don’t think Bournemouth’s form continues and I’ll bet on them turning it around. Give me the Cherries at home. Bournemouth Pickem (-110).

11:30 am EST

Manchester City @ Aston Villa (TV: NBCSN) – This one is cut and dry to me. Both of these teams played midweek matches but only one has the depth and the health to manage that. After their win against Manchester United on Tuesday, Man City are probably the last team in the world you’d want to play. They looked utterly brilliant while playing an entirely new system with no striker and multiple false nines in their 3-1 win. With Villa’s key injuries as well, I really doubt they’ll hang in this one. I’ll take Man City in what could be a total blowout here. Manchester City -2 (-130).

Stay kickin’ it. Peace.

Twitter: @canikickitpod
Twitter: @nicodegallo
Twitter: @oh_my_gos

Nico

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