English Premier League Matchday 22 Preview

Photo Credit: EPL


Everton thrashed Man City, Tottenham rolled to another win, Chelsea are back to their winning ways and both West Ham and Hull City got crucial three points.

Manchester City and Tottenham highlight the weekend’s action, Man United travel to the bet365 stadium to take on Stoke, Boro host the Hammers and Palace host Everton.

Sat. Jan. 21, 2017

Liverpool v Swansea City

Kick-off: 7:30 AM EST/ 4:30 AM PST, Anfield

Liverpool had a great showing in their trip to Old Trafford and came out with a crucial point in my eyes. The high press was working, Simon Mignolet had a great game, the players knew what they were suppose to do and they contained Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba to a point. Coming into the game, Liverpool have not lost in their past seven games in the league, last defeat was at Bournemouth. Joel Matip is questionable as he is awaiting international clearance from the FA and Nathaniel Clyne is questionable with bruised ribs. The Reds drop to 3rd place with 45 points on goal difference trying to catch Chelsea.

Swansea were dominated once again last time out at the hands of Arsenal by a scoreline of 4-0. The appointment of Paul Clement is not doing much for Swansea. The team is still performing poorly, the players don’t look like they want to play and relegation is looking more a possibility than ever. They have already given up six goals in two matches in 2017. Neil Taylor and Jefferson Montero will both be out with their respective injuries. The Swans are now bottom of the table with 15 points but just one point from exiting the relegation zone.

Player to watch: Gylfi Sigurrdsson (Swansea)

Prediction: Liverpool 3 – Swansea 1

Bournemouth v Watford

Kick-off: 10 AM EST/ 7 AM PST, Vitality Stadium

Bournemouth had a disappointing showing as they lost away to Hull by three goals to one. They started off nicely by taking the lead just three minutes in but the opposition scored three unanswered goals. This coming off a great game against Arsenal but showing that this is a recurring theme for Eddie Howe’s men. They cannot seem to get a couple of quality game under their belt leading to result’s like this. Simon Francis will miss out this game after being sent off last game. The Cherries slip down to the bottom half of the table in 11th place with 25 points aiming to get some consistency for the rest of the season.

For Watford, they played a goalless draw against Middlesbrough over the weekend. Now, this takes Watford to six games without a victory, the last win coming against Everton in early December. The highlight of the game was the tribute of Graham Taylor, who passed earlier that week. Nordin Amrabat and Adrian Mariappa are both ruled out while Isaac Success and Daryl Janmaat are both questionable for the encounter. The Hornets remain in 14th place with 23 points hoping they will end their winless streak.

Player to watch: Callum Wilson (Bournemouth)

Prediction: Bournemouth 1 – Watford 1

Crystal Palace v Everton

Kick-off: 10 AM EST/ 7 AM PST, Selhurst Park

Crystal Palace fell 3-0 to the hands of West Ham at the London Stadium. They practically lost the game in a mater of 20 minutes, which during that time they conceded all three goals. And to make things worse, Andy Carroll scored on them. Since the appointment of Sam Allardyce, Palace are still yet to pick up a win. Scott Dann is doubtful to return from a thigh injury but James McArthur (Calf), Steve Mandanda (Knee), Frazier Campbell (Hamstring) and Jordan Mutch (Knock) are all out. The Eagles sit in 17th place with 16 points tied for 18th place on points so they need to get results as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, Everton embarrassed Manchester City at home four goals to nil. It was an overall great performance with the debutant Ademola Lookman getting his debut goal for his new team. Youngster Tom Davies had a game and capped it off with an amazing goal to put the game to bed. New signing Morgan Schneiderlin made his debut by coming on for Gareth Barry and seems to be a great signing for the club. The Toffees remain in 7th place with 33 points seven points behind United.

Player to watch: Kevin Mirallas (Everton)

Prediction: Crystal Palace 1 – Everton 2

Middlesbrough v West Ham

Kick-off: 10 AM EST/ 7 AM PST, Riverside Stadium

Boro were in a stalemate in their nil-nil draw against Watford. It extends their winless run to four games and have yet to score in 2017. There was not much in this match with the new man Rudy Gustede making his debut after completing his move from Aston Villa. Antonio Barragan most likely will be ruled out with a thigh injury and Daniel Ayala will miss out due to suspension after seeing red last game. Middlesbrough stay in 16th place with 20 points four points safe from the relegation zone.

Andy Carroll stole the show with his wonderful bicycle kick goal as they rolled to a 3-0 victory, recording the biggest home win of the season. This performance overshadowed the big news right now at West Ham with Dimitri Payet expressing his desire to leave the club. The victory finally gave the West Ham fans a reason to be happy with a disastrous season so far and it getting worst with their star player wanting to leave. But Michail Antonio had a great game by getting a hat-trick full of assists. The Hammers are up to 12th place in the league with 25 points with a chance to go to the top half of the table.

Player to watch: Manuel Lanzini (West Ham)

Prediction: Middlesbrough 1 – West Ham 2

Stoke City v Manchester United

Kick-off: 10 AM EST/ 7 AM PST, bet365 Stadium

Stoke continue their great run in 2017 with a 3-1 away victory at Sunderland. It was good to see Marko Arnautovic get back on the score sheet by bagging a brace and Peter Crouch continuing his great run of form at the moment. The only down the Potters had was not recording a clean sheet. The important part of this victory was that it ended a three-match away losing streak. The Potters find themselves up to 9th place with 27 points hoping to break Manchester United’s undefeated streak.

Zlatan Ibrahmimovic managed to save Manchester United late-on with his goal-tying goal. The goal scored was his sixth goal in six league matches. In the first half, they did not play very good with giving up possession easily, not creating chances and just kicking long balls. But in the second half, United put pressure, played the wings more and Zlatan was more on the ball. Paul Pogba had a game to forget with his handball leading to the Liverpool goal, his WWE takedown on Jordan Henderson, bad passing and poor defending on set-pieces. Luke Shaw is questionable to play as he is lacking match fitness and seems to be out of favor with Jose Mourinho. Manchester United remain in 6th place with 40 points just four points behind the top 4.

Player to watch: Paul Pogba (Manchester United)

Prediction: Stoke City 2 – Manchester United 2

West Brom v Sunderland

Kick-off: 10 AM EST/ 7 AM PST, The Hawthorns

West Brom were easily defeated and held scoreless on their trip to White Hart Lane. It could have gone worst but goalkeeper Ben Foster had to make some outstanding saves. West Brom simply got outplayed despite being known as a defensive minded team and not creating a lot of opportunities. During the game, they held 27% possession of the ball and zero shots on target. Jonny Evans (Calf) is questionable to play and so is Allan Nyom as he is awaiting international clearance. Despite the lost, the Baggies stay in 8th place on 29 points.

Sunderland were defeated at home 3-1 to the hands of Stoke City. The only up they had was that Jermain Defoe scored his 12th goal of the season and showing the club he is vital. West Ham have been keen on signing the striker so if Sunderland wants to stay in the league they need to keep Defoe. Sunderland need to be a buying team in this transfer window because they have plenty of players on the injury list for a long period of time. Only Victor Anichebe and Steven Pienaar are not long-term injuries but are questionable to play. The Black Cats go down to 19th place with 15 points just one point off from safety.

Player to watch: Jermain Defoe (Sunderland)

Prediction: West Brom 2 – Sunderland 0

Manchester City v Tottenham

Kick-off: 12:30 PM EST/ 9:30 AM PST, Etihad Stadium

It is safe to say that Manchester City got embarrassed last time out in their 4-0 defeat to Everton. It showed that City need reinforcements badly in January and would not be surprised if they spend big for the remaining time left in the transfer window. They need defenders because they are so vulnerable at the back and another midfielder with right-back Pablo Zabaleta playing alongside Yaya Toure in the middle of the park. Fear not City fans, Jesus has arrived! Gabriel Jesus that is and he has been officially registered and is available for this game. Fernando is questionable with a knock and Fernandinho is out after being shown red against Burnley. The Citizens drop out of the top 4 into 5th with 42 points looking to get back into the title picture.

Tottenham walked away easily with the three points with a 4-0 thrashing of West Brom. The victory meant six consecutive wins in a row. Harry Kane bagged a hat-trick after recently becoming a father. The only down of the game was the injury to Jan Vertonghen and will be out for around six weeks. Arguably, this Vertonghen injury is a massive blow to their title season hopes. Him and Alderweireld have been the best partnership in the league and Wimmer or Carter-Vickers do not cut it for Pochettino. Spurs jump up to 2nd in the league on 45 points just seven away from league leaders Chelsea.

Player to watch: Dele Alli (Tottenham)

Prediction: Manchester City 1 – Tottenham 3

Sun. Jan. 22, 2017

Southampton v Leicester

Kick-off: 7 AM EST/ 4 AM PST, St.Mary’s Stadium

Southampton were unsuccessful in their trip to Burnley as they lost by the minimum late-on to a Joey Barton free-kick. Not a good week for the Saints as their captain Jose Fonte has expressed his desire to leave the club. This would be a disaster for Southampton with Virgil van Djik getting interest from other clubs. Steven Davis remains sidelined with a knock but Virgil van Djik and Ryan Bertrand should be able to play. The Saints drop to 13th place with 24 points aiming for the top half of the table.

Leicester were outplayed last week at home in their encounter against Chelsea. They fell at home by a scoreline of three goals to nil. It was a bad start for them as they went down early to a Marcos Alonso goal. It was a let down for Leicester fans especially coming up against a Diego Costa less Chelsea. The losses of Islam Slimani, Daniel Amartey and Riyad Mahrez to the African Cup of Nations have been massive as the midfield cannot create many opportunities and forwards not getting goals. Leonardo Ulloa is questionable with a thigh injury. The Foxes remain in 15th place with 21 points , five points above the relegation zone.

Player to watch: Ahmed Musa (Leicester)

Prediction: Southampton 1 – Leicester 1

Arsenal v Burnley

Kick-off: 9:15 AM EST/ 6:15 AM PST, Emirates Stadium

Arsenal continue their good run of football with a 4-0 victory over Swansea last game. Olivier Giroud continued his great goal scoring form by bagging yet another goal for the Frenchman. Some say they might have gotten lucky with the two own goals but Arsenal were still going to win regardless. Alex Iwobi keeps on impressing with another great performance and has been since he got his chance. Hector Bellerin (Ankle), Kieran Gibbs (Knee) and Francis Coquelin (Hamstring) come back to the squad after healing from their injuries. Theo Walcott (Calf) still remains out. The Gunners go back into the top 4 in 4th place with 44 points just eight points from Chelsea.

Burnley continue their great home form with a 1-0 win over Southampton. To make it more memorable, Joey Barton of all people is the one who got the winner. They got a bit lucky as it took a deflection to get it past Fraser Forster. Tom Heaton came to the rescue again after pulling out a double save to secure the three points for the team. Scott Arfield, Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Dean Marney and Ashley Barnes are all dealing with knocks, but Sean Dyche hopes for all flour to be fit for Sunday. The Clarets jump up to 10th place with 26 points, 10 points from safety.

Player to watch: Olivier Giroud (Arsenal)

Prediction: Arsenal 4 – Burnley 1

Chelsea v Hull City

Kick-off: 11:30 AM EST/ 8:30 AM PST, Stamford Bridge

Chelsea were back to winning ways after the Tottenham defeat with a 3-0 victory over Leicester at the King Power. Going into the match, Diego Costa was the talk of the club with a bust-up with Antonio Conte during the week and being dropped from the squad. Also, his representatives were in China discussing a possible transfer to the Chinese Super League despite being in the middle of a title race. But the players focused on the match, not the drama and took care of business. Eden Hazard, Pedro and Willian made up a good attack but that will not be enough if Chelsea are going to win the league. Marcos Alonso had a great performance by bagging a brace and yet another clean sheet for the Chelsea defense. Diego Costa is questionable to play with a lower back injury. The Blues remain top of the table and increase their lead to seven points from Tottenham and Liverpool.

New manager Marco Silva started off strong with a 3-1 victory over Bournemouth at the KCOM. To make it better, Abel Hernandez is starting to get into a rhythm after bagging in a brace last Saturday. David Meyler (Knock) and Shaun Maloney (Ear) are both questionable to play while Alex Bruce, Greg Luer, Markus Henriksen, Will Keane and Moses Odubajo are all long-term absentees. The Tigers climb up from bottom of the table to 18th place with 16 points on the verge of getting out of the relegation zone.

Player to watch: Eden Hazard (Chelsea)

Prediction: Chelsea 3 – Hull City 0


Writer’s Note: This does it for the matchday 22 Preivew of the PL. What do you think about this week’s action? Comment your thoughts below or tweet them to me @RCLopez50. Look out for Larry Henry’s (@lhenry019) fixture round-up and Carter Donahue’s (@Carterdonahue_) weekly awards and follow them on Twitter as well. More importantly, check back to SportsTalkFeed for all your sport’s need.