Updated:Dec 31, 2022 12:38 pm
We look at some of this week’s fixtures, including Man City v Everton, Fulham v Southampton, and a tough fixture in Brighton v Arsenal.
This week’s Premier League games
West Ham v Brentford
Liverpool v Leicester
Wolves v Man United
Bournemouth v Crystal Palace
Fulham v Southampton
Man City v Everton
Newcastle v Leeds
Brighton v Arsenal
Tottenham v Aston Villa
Nottingham Forest v Chelsea
Wolves v Man UnitedEmbed from Getty Images
Wolves returned from the international break with a crucial win at Goodison Park. A 95th-minute goal from Ait-Nouri ensured they returned from Everton with a vital 3 points, leaving them just 1 point away from West Ham in 17th, also ending their 5-game winless streak.
They will be hoping that this win will be able to kickstart their season and drag them away from the bottom 3, but first, they need to overcome a Man United side who have vastly improved in recent games.
Daniel Podence got his 3rd goal of the season, and he seems to be the most likely player to haul Wolves out of the bottom 3 at the moment. Wolves are flush with exciting forward players, but they do not seem to be clicking at the moment, but when they do the goals will come, and hopefully, the massive win at Goodison Park will give them confidence going forward.
Man United impressed upon their return from the World Cup, with a very comfortable 3-0 win against Nottingham Forest, which puts further pressure on the teams in the top 4.
Marcus Rashford continued his fine form with another goal and assist, taking his tally to 5 goals and 3 assists for the season. Christian Eriksen also registered his 5th assist of the season, whilst Casemiro continued to impress, capping another impressive performance off with an assist.
United are hopeful of a chance of a top 4 spot but need to keep pace with Newcastle and Spurs, whilst Liverpool remains hot on their heels. This should be an easy game for United against a bottom 3 side, and I think they will win, comfortably. Their defence should be too strong for a Wolves side who do not score much.
Prediction: Wolves 0 – 2 Man United
Fulham v SouthamptonEmbed from Getty Images
Fulham returned to winning ways with a comfortable 3-0 win away against Crystal Palace. A game in which the referee took centre stage, sending off Tyrick Mitchell, and James Tomkins within the first 60 minutes.
But take nothing away from Fulham, they still dominated the game, registering 23 shots, 11 of those being on target, whilst limiting Palace to 0 shots on target, whilst Mitrovic scored his 10th goal of the season in just 13 games.
Fulham needs to find the consistency they had during the early stages of the season when they were pushing for a top 6 spot. They have since dropped off and slowly started to slide down the table. Whilst they should stay comfortably clear of relegation this season, they do not want to be dragged towards the lower half of the table.
Southampton on the other hand has been absolutely woeful this season. They sit at the foot of the table, just 2 points away from West Ham in 17th, but have lost their last 4 games, their last 3 conceding at least 3 goals, and have not won in 6, since a 1-0 win away against Bournemouth.
They lost 3-1 against Brighton in their last game, a game in which Brighton’s superior finishing won them the game. Both sides registered 4 shots on target, yet Southampton only found the back of the net once and lost the game.
Nathan Jones has not had the best start to his managerial life at St Marys, and it will be an interesting transfer window for them. The calibre of players they bring in will show whether they believe they have a chance of staying up or not, and if the bad run of results continues, how long will Nathan Jones be given?
Fulham should inflict a 5th straight loss on Southampton here, and it should be relatively comfortable for them. Mitrovic should equal his highest-scoring Premier League season by getting his 11th goal, and he will spearhead Fulham to a second win since the return from the World Cup.
Prediction: Fulham 3 – 1 Southampton
Man City v EvertonEmbed from Getty Images
Man City regained 2nd spot with a 3-1 win at Elland Road against Leeds, where records were broken.
Erling Haaland hit 20 goals for the season in 14 games, becoming the fastest-ever player to reach 20 Premier League goals. Enough has been said already about Haaland this season, but it is terrifying to think just how many goals he could score this season.
It was not all on Haaland this week, however, as Jack Grealish put in a good performance. Despite missing a host of chances and constantly getting hounded by the Leeds fans, he assisted both of Haaland’s goals. Hopefully, this will kickstart his season, and he can start adding some goals to his game.
The disappointment of losing against Brentford just before the break has been put behind them, they advanced in the Carabao Cup against Liverpool and have returned to winning ways in the Premier League, they just need to hope that Arsenal starts to slip up and that they can capitalise when it happens.
Everton is in big trouble, they were woeful just before the break and did not look any better in their game against Wolves. Despite them taking the lead, their defensive issues reared their ugly head again, as they surrendered their lead and lost the game at the death, in the 95th minute.
Everton fans remain divided over Frank Lampard also. Half believe that he should be sacked and someone else brought in before the transfer window, whereas the other half believe that the players are the blame and that no other manager would be able to improve the performances with the current crop of players.
The next few games are not looking good for Everton either. Man City away and then Brighton at home, 2 potential 6-pointers at home against Southampton and then away against West Ham, and then Arsenal at home, and a big derby away against Liverpool. The next few weeks could be extremely long if they fail to pick up any points.
This game should be fairly straightforward. Everton cannot defend, and City are just ridiculous going forward at times. This could get ugly for Everton, and this should be a high-scoring game.
Prediction: Man City 4 – 0 Everton
Brighton v ArsenalEmbed from Getty Images
This should be the game of the weekend, and what a tricky game for both sides. This one could go either way, a win for either side would be massive and would display their intentions for the rest of the season.
Brighton returned to winning ways with a 3-1 win against Southampton. Solly March picked up the Man of the Match award after getting a goal and assisting Joel Veltman’s goal.
Danny Welbeck managed to get an assist against Man United at the start of the season in Brighton’s 2-1 win. Will he be able to haunt another one of his former clubs?
Brighton remains just outside of the top 6, and it will be interesting to see just how close they are to one of the European spots at the end of the season. The January transfer window could be crucial, and they will be hoping not to lose any of their stars that have performed so far this season.
Arsenal on the other hand also returned with a 3-1 against West Ham. It looked as if they were on course to drop points at halftime as they were 1-0 down, however, a second-half masterclass ensured they finished the night with 3 points.
Ødegaard continued his rich vein of form, reaching 10 goal contributions for the season with another 2 assists, whilst Bukayo Saka scored his 5th of the season to continue his World Cup form.
Eddie Nketiah also proved that he is ready to lead the line in Gabriel Jesus’ absence, as he scored his first goal of the season. Granit Xhaka continued his upturn in form, notching another assist, taking him to 7 goal contributions for the season.
Every Arsenal player seems to be in form at the moment, there does not seem to be a weak link in their team. Their forward players are all contributing, their midfielders are scoring, and the players being brought in to replace injured ones are hitting the ground running. Everything at Arsenal seems to be going well so far, and they will be hoping they do not hit a stumbling block here.
This is a hard one to call. It could go either way. Brighton has only lost twice at home so far, but everything seems to be going right for Arsenal this season. This should be a tight game, but I think the league leaders will edge it.
Prediction: Brighton 1 – 2 Arsenal
Nottingham Forest v ChelseaEmbed from Getty Images
The World Cup break seemingly came at the wrong time for Forest. In the weeks leading up to the break, Forest would have been begging for the break to come so they could work on their tactics, get the team on the same wavelength and push on after the World Cup.
But after beating Liverpool and Crystal Palace, and getting a well-earned draw against Brentford, it looked as if things were finally starting to click at The City Ground. They hauled themselves up to 18th, just a point away from safety, and were looking confident.
After the break, they travelled to Old Trafford and were well beaten, were dominated on the ball, and never really looked like they had a chance of getting anything out of the game. It was almost as if the Forest from the start of the season had returned. It was always going to be difficult returning to such a big game, but they needed to be prepared, and they certainly were not.
Life does not get any easier for them, as this week they host Chelsea. Forest has not performed well against the top 6 so far this season. They lost back-to-back games against Spurs and Man City, losing 2-0 and 6-0 respectively. They then miraculously beat Liverpool 1-0 but could have easily lost by a large margin had it not been for Dean Henderson’s heroics in goal. They then lost 5-0 against Arsenal, and have now lost 3-0 against Man United.
Whilst the international break may have come at a bad time for Forest, it came at the perfect time for Chelsea and Graham Potter. Prior to the break, they had only scored 2 goals in 5 games, had not won in their last 5 games, and lost their last 3.
They returned to action against a defensively frail Bournemouth side, and they ran out 2-0 winners, and deservedly so. Sterling, Mount and Havertz all reached 5 goal contributions for the season, with Sterling and Havertz grabbing an assist each, whilst Mount and Havertz both got a goal.
The only negative for Chelsea is that Reece James came off injured yet again. He returned to action after spending 2 and a half months out injured, and it is now reported that he will be out for another 4 weeks after being forced off. It has been a tough year for the English fullback, and it is a shame to see him injured yet again.
The consistency needs to return for Chelsea now, as they are slipping away from any chance of achieving a top 4 finish. They currently sit 6 points behind 4th placed Spurs, and have both Liverpool and Man United ahead of them who are all vying for that spot.
This should be a relatively comfortable game for Chelsea, and Forest’s struggles against the top 6 should continue here. Even though they surprised everyone by beating Liverpool, I do not think luck will be on their side this time.
Prediction: Nottingham Forest 0 – 3 Chelsea
- West Ham 1 – 2 Brentford
- Liverpool 3 – 0 Leicester
- Bournemouth 1 – 1 Crystal Palace
- Newcastle 3 – 1 Leeds
- Tottenham 1 – 1 Aston Villa