New Year’s Day EPL Preview and Tips for Matchday 21
After what has been an incredibly busy time of the year for the top teams in English football in particular, it seems strange to think that we have played the last game of 2019 and that the next matches in the Premier League will kick off on New Year’s Day in 2020. Of course, New Year’s Day fixtures are a feature of the English calendar and they usually precede the FA Cup Third Round, which takes place this coming weekend.
So the busy festive period rolls on but is now coming to an end and I am sure most teams will be hoping that they can win this game, secure progress in the FA Cup Third Round without the need for a replay and then hopefully have a little rest before the next league game the following weekend. With a short winter break coming up too (although those with FA Cup replays won’t feel the benefit) many teams will want a strong end to the festive period of games.
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Let’s now preview and give you tips for the ten Premier League games taking place on the 1st and 2nd January, ahead of the big weekend of FA Cup Third Round action. All kick offs are 3pm unless otherwise stated.
Premier League Fixtures
Brighton v Chelsea (12.30)
Chelsea’s away form this season has been markedly better than their home, especially of late and a last gasp win over Arsenal will have put them in a good frame of mind for the trip to Brighton. The Seagulls have been playing well recently but not really reaping the rewards of that and while I think they will keep this close being at home, I do feel Chelsea have that extra flair and invention in wide areas and midfield, in order to claim another away win here at odds of 19/20.
Burnley v Aston Villa (12.30)
Two clubs that badly need a win clash at Turf Moor in what is a true relegation six-pointer. Burnley look relatively safe in the table but they are just a few points off the drop zone in what is proving to be a tight season at the bottom of the table. Villa have won just one of their last five and in truth, they are looking like they are starting to struggle. Burnley away is a tough place to go and get a result, especially after being well beaten at Watford and as such, I am backing Burnley to land the win here at 4/5.
Newcastle United v Leicester City
Both these sides have had a bit of a hit and miss festive period with a couple of poor results and the occasional better one. Newcastle have lost their last two to Man Utd and Everton while Leicester got back to winning ways after losses to Man City and Liverpool. For me, Newcastle are missing some of their pacy players a great deal and I think Leicester, with Jamie Vardy back in the team, could capitalise on that to claim another three points here at 11/20.
Southampton v Tottenham Hotspur
Southampton have hit some decent form of late picking up seven points from their last three games to move out of the relegation zone. Spurs form has been a little hit and miss under Jose Mourinho so far, though he is getting the best from Dele Alli once again. Saints shaky back line is improving but I think the quality in Spurs attack is such that they should secure the win here, even against an in-form Southampton. Back Tottenham to win at 11/10.
Watford v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Watford have found some form under Nigel Pearson and they have picked up seven points from the last nine available to move off the bottom. Wolves beat Manchester City and were unlucky not to get a point at Anfield against Liverpool, but they do struggle to win some tighter games. I\d have backed Wolves here just a couple of weeks ago, but I think Pearson has got this Watford team moving in the right direction and as such, I am backing them to earn a point here. Take the draw at 12/5.
Manchester City v Everton (5.30)
Manchester City have been a mixture of brilliant and then ordinary at times this season and it has cost them dearly. Everton’s poor start seems to have given way to much better form since Marco Silva was fired and Carlo Ancelotti appointed and the Toffees actually have better current form than City at the moment. That said, travelling to the Etihad to get a win is a huge task for any team and it is something that I can’t quite see Everton achieving. This will be close but I am backing Man City to win at 2/7.
Norwich City v Crystal Palace (5.30)
Norwich don’t seem to be able to buy a win at the moment and that is a real worry for Daniel Farke as his team now sit at the bottom of the table. Crystal Palace’s improved form of late has seen them lose just one of their last five but they score so few goals (just 18 so far this season, the second lowest in the EPL behind Watford) that I struggle to see them winning too many games. This could be a real battle and a single goal could be enough and I am going to say that Palace, at 15/8, are the most likely winner.
West Ham v Bournemouth (5.30)
Both of these teams have hit some absolutely rotten performances of late and while Bournemouth do have an excuse in the form of a horrendous injury list, West Ham’s poor performance has seen the end of Manuel Pellegrini’s tenure at the club. With a new man set to come in, I think West Ham will get that initial bounce in form many teams experience when a new boss comes in and as such, I am backing the Hammers to claim the much-needed win here at 10/11.
Arsenal v Manchester United (8.00)
This used to be the Premiership’s regular top two clashing a few years back but both teams have fallen on leaner times since then. Arsenal in particular, even with new manager Mikel Arteta at the helm, have struggled for points in recent months and Man Utd’s form, while improved in the last couple of games, is still very poor when viewed overall. Arsenal were unlucky to lose at home to Chelsea but I think they could find it tough again here as I am backing Man Utd to claim the win at 31/20.
Liverpool v Sheffield United (8.00, Tue 2nd Jan)
It’s been a fantastic Christmas for Liverpool, not only have they extended their lead in the Premier League to 13 points, they also now have a game in hand over their two closest rivals and could extend that lead still further if they can win it. Sheffield United have not won in their last two but their only defeat in their last five has come away at Manchester City, however, with Liverpool in the form they are in, it would be a huge surprise if the Reds don’t come away with another three points here. Back Liverpool to win at 2/9.
*All odds shown were correct as of 4pm on Monday 30th December 2019