Gameweek 21 Predictions
Brighton 1-2 Chelsea
Burnley 2-0 Aston Villa
Newcastle 0-2 Leicester
Southampton 2-3 Tottenham
Watford 1-1 Wolves
Manchester City 2-1 Everton
Norwich 1-1 Crystal Palace
West Ham 1-2 Bournemouth
Arsenal 1-3 Manchester United
Liverpool 3-0 Sheffield Utd
New Year’s Day will be a fun day on Amazon Prime, with 9 games airing throughout the day. While in New York, I came to learn that NBC offer the same options across NBC, NBC Sports and NBC Gold. With the EPL being so heavily promoted in the US, I don’t think this league has ever been more popular, especially when you factor in the fact that a random dude at the Giants-Eagles game wanted to chat soccer with me, beginning the conversation by pointing at my Manchester United tracksuit pants and stating, “hey, sucks that we didn’t sign Håland.” I didn’t know if I was more surprised by him referring to Manchester United as “we,” or that he knew who RB Salzburg’s Erling Braut Håland was. While losing out on Håland to Dortmund definitely sucks, the mass growth of Premier League, and Soccer in general, certainly does not. It looks like America finally seems to be catching on to why the rest of the world considers soccer to be their No.1 sport, and while the NFL won’t be losing any sleep, I can certainly see Soccer making up massive ground before the 2026 World Cup on North American soil.
Moving on to the games, Manchester United’s visit to Arsenal definitely headlines Matchday 21. While the teams are nowhere who they were, Arsenal look like they are in significantly more trouble than Manchester United. Chelsea and Tottenham are also two teams badly struggling for consistency, and the race for top 4 will be better very engaging in the second half of the reason, especially with no title race to speak of, with Liverpool likely to wrap up the title before Easter. The relegation race, or amply, the intent to avoid it, will be be equally interesting, with 6-7 teams battling to avoid 18th and 19th sport. One can assume Norwich are done, despite their battling draw with Tottenham last time out, however, if they do win against Palace tomorrow, even their hopes will be immediately revitalised.
Games of the Week: Arsenal vs Manchester United
The Gunners now sit 12th in the table, closer to the relegation zone than they are to the top six. Arsenal are a club going through a major crisis right now and are desperately hoping that victory against Manchester United will be the catalyst that turns their season around. Unfortunately for them, I don’t think that, that victory is particularly likely, with Arsenal being winless in their last six home league games, conceding 12 goals in the process and losing each of their last three. Arsenal have often relied on their home form to compensate for their terrible away record, however, The Emirates is certainly no longer the fortress it has been in previous seasons, with the Gunners picking up just 13 points from their 10 home matches.
While Manchester United certainly haven’t had a good season by any means, they actually haven’t lost any of their five matches against the traditional Big Six sides, winning three of them. This includes being the only side so far to take a point off Liverpool and picking victories against Spurs, Manchester City and Chelsea. They also picked up a win against Leicester who currently occupy one of the top 6 positions. Manchester United should be able exploit defensive Arsenal’s defensive frailties, as they seemingly know exactly how to win against teams that are willing to attack them, with Arsenal certainly fall into this category. This approach plays into the Red Devils’ hands, and Arsenal’s defence simply looks incapable of dealing with any sort of pressure.
Arsenal have kept just one league clean sheet at home this season – shipping seven goals in their last three games there – and are missing a number of key players going into this game. Despite United’s sub-par season, they still dominate the combined XI, which is even further evidence of Arsenal’s major problems.
Arsenal have scored in all but one of their home games this term, and Manchester United have only kept one clean sheet away from home this term, therefore, goals seemed guaranteed in this game. The 1/2 on BTTS doesn’t provide much value, but upgrading to Over 2.5 & BTTS pays out at 4/5. United offer decent value at Evens on Draw No Bet market, while they are 4/7 to avoid a loss on the Double Chance market.