Updated:Jan 1, 2023 9:53 pm
We take a look at some of this week’s games, including a massive clash at The Emirates where Arsenal take on Newcastle, and a huge relegation 6-pointer at St Marys where Southampton take on Nottingham Forest
This week’s Premier League games
Brentford v Liverpool
Arsenal v Newcastle
Everton v Brighton
Leicester v Fulham
Man United v Bournemouth
Southampton v Nottingham Forest
Leeds v West Ham
Aston Villa v Wolves
Crystal Palace v Tottenham Hotspur
Chelsea v Man City
Brentford v LiverpoolEmbed from Getty Images
Brentford made it 5 games unbeaten against West Ham, recording a comfortable 2-0 win, putting them up to 10th in the Premier League. Ivan Toney continued his fine form, scoring his 12th goal of the season, and assisting DaSilva, taking his goal contributions up to 15.
Toney is vital to how Brentford play. His physicality helps them get up the pitch, and he has the pace to beat players on the counter as well. Brentford fans will have been concerned when he came off injured against West Ham, but Thomas Frank has insisted that he could be in contention to play against Liverpool.
Brentford’s performance heavily relies on Toney being fit and able to play. He is the kind of player Brentford need to be competitive against a team like Liverpool. Without him, they will struggle to create, but with him, they will cause issues for Liverpool’s backline.
Liverpool on the other hand made it 4 straight wins, with a 2-1 win at home against Leicester, in bizarre circumstances, however. Liverpool registered 21 shots, only managed 5 on target, and only won the game after relying on 2 freak own goals by Leicester centre-back Wout Faes.
Darwin Nunez is a strange player. He creates chance after chance after chance, yet misses time and time again. This is another game he was guilty of missing chances that he should really be scoring. For the amount of money Liverpool spent on him, he needs to start scoring these chances, as realistically he could be scoring braces each week.
Even though Nunez is not scoring, Liverpool is still picking up wins, and putting pressure on the teams in the top 4. They now sit 4 points behind Man United in 4th and are looking more likely each week to regain a Champions League spot.
This is a tough game to call. If Nunez continues to create chances and manages to put a few away, then Liverpool could heavily profit. However, if Toney starts for Brentford, they have every chance of getting a result, if he does not start, then they will struggle. I think it may be too soon for Toney, and Brentford will not want to risk a longer-term injury from occurring. If he does start I see this ending in a draw, however, I do not see Toney starting, so I do not see Brentford getting a result.
Prediction: Brentford 0 – 2 Liverpool
Arsenal v NewcastleEmbed from Getty Images
Arsenal got past a tricky tie at The Amex against Brighton with ease. A massive 4-2 win, stretching their unbeaten run to 10 games, and have won their last 5. The 3 players who scored against West Ham the week before were all on the scoresheet again, with Ødegaard getting on the scoresheet as well.
This could have been a tricky game for Arsenal, but they navigated it perfectly. The early goal may have helped them settle into the game, but they looked so confident going forward, and despite conceding twice, looked assured defensively.
Nketiah continued to impress whilst standing in for the injured Gabriel Jesus, as he notched his second goal of the season. If he continues to score each week, it will be interesting to see if he keeps his place when Jesus eventually returns.
Ødegaard is quickly becoming one of the top midfielders in the league. A goal and an assist against Brighton took him to 7 goals and 5 assists in the league so far. He is becoming vital when Arsenal go forward, and it is exciting to watch when he is on the ball. If Arsenal can keep him fit and injury-free between now and the end of the season, his number could be staggering.
Newcastle’s stretch of 6 straight wins finally came to an end against Leeds. Despite having 16 shots, with 5 of those on target, they were held to a frustrating 0-0 draw.
Kieran Trippier seemed to be at the heart of everything Newcastle created, adding to his impressive performances throughout the season. The question for Newcastle now, is whether they can return to winning ways or not, and what a difficult game they have for that question to be asked.
I predicted Arsenal to win by a slender goal against Brighton and instead, they looked comfortable and that they would always win the game. I have the same feeling about this one. Newcastle has not conceded in their last 3 games and has only conceded 2 goals in their last 8 games. They are the best defensive team in the league, conceding just 11 all season.
This really could go either way. If Newcastle turns up as they did in the weeks before the Leeds game, we could have one of the games of the season on our hands. After Arsenal navigated the Brighton game with ease, I imagine they will come through this too, however, this should be a lot tighter.
Prediction: Arsenal 1 – 0 Newcastle
Southampton v Nottingham ForestEmbed from Getty Images
Southampton was unfortunate last week. Despite having more shots, and shots on target, against Fulham, they found themselves losing 2-1, leaving new manager Nathan Jones waiting for his first win as boss.
The result leaves Southampton bottom of the table, 2 points from safety. The more worrying issue is where their run of 5 losses on the bounce will end. Whilst this performance was an improvement on their recent performances, the all-important points are not getting put on the board.
Worryingly for Southampton, teams around them are slowly picking up points. Nottingham Forest earned a point against Chelsea, Wolves beat Everton last week, and Everton picked up an unlikely point against Man City. The signs are ominous for Southampton, and unless they start winning games instantly, they are in big trouble.
Nottingham Forest picked up a good point at home against Chelsea after drawing 1-1, putting them level on points with West Ham who sit 17th. Forest will feel hard done by as they created enough chances to win the game. Gibbs-White cannoned a fantastic half volley off the underside of the bar, whilst they also created multiple one-on-one chances, which they could just not finish off.
The performances are still improving for Forest, and the points are slowly being picked up. I thought the international break came at the wrong time for them as they were finally picking up some form, and after losing against Man United after the restart it looked like they may struggle again.
Forest’s home form is not bad, they have not lost in any of their last 6 home games. They need to start picking up points away from home if they have any chance of staying up, especially against the teams around them at the bottom of the table.
This is a perfect chance for both sides to pick up a vital 3 points. This is a game both need to win, but neither will want to lose. This could either be a goal-fest with both sides going at it for the win or it could be a tight, cagey affair that will be won by the odd goal. With how Forest performed against Chelsea, I believe they will win and keep Southampton bottom of the table for another week.
Prediction: Southampton 0 – 1 Nottingham Forest
Leeds v West HamEmbed from Getty Images
Leeds picked up a brilliant point at St James’ Park. They were second best and got outplayed, but hung on to draw 0-0. They finally showed that they can be defensively solid, keeping only their 3rd clean sheet of the season.
This will be a welcome change for a Leeds side who conceded 10 goals in their previous 3 games. They need to try to find the balance now between attack and defence.
Despite Leeds sitting in 14th, they will have one eye on the teams below them. It is still tight between the teams in the bottom half of the league table, with just 2 points separating them from the drop zone.
Leeds has not lost a game against any of the teams below them in the table, and they will be hoping this trend continues, as it keeps them away from the relegation zone.
How long does David Moyes have left at West Ham? They sit just above the relegation zone on goal difference, have lost their last 5 games, and have only won 1 game in their last 8.
The stats do not make good reading for West Ham fans. They have been unable to bounce back from defeats, they played both Crystal Palace and Leicester at home who they could have beaten but lost both games.
Creativity is a major issue for West Ham. Against Brentford, they managed 20 shots, yet only 5 on target and could not score. Against Arsenal they mustered 8 shots, 4 on target, and only scored through a penalty, and at home against Leicester they had 18 shots, 6 on target, yet could not find the back of the net.
A striker is a must in January for West Ham. They need to spend big on someone who can come in and hit the ground running, can lead the line and can create something out of nothing, which will not come cheap.
I think Leeds will win this. West Ham is in poor form, and cannot score, whilst Leeds are capable of scoring and have shown they can be defensively solid. A comfortable Leeds win to take them 3 more points away from the bottom 3 should be on the cards here.
Prediction: Leeds 2 – 0 West Ham
Chelsea v Man CityEmbed from Getty Images
Chelsea followed up their win against Bournemouth with a poor 1-1 draw at Nottingham Forest, a game where they were second-best throughout most of the game, and were fortunate in the end to get a point.
Their goal came out of nothing also. A bizarre flick from Boly thundered off the crossbar, before falling kindly to Raheem Sterling at the back post, who had a simple tap in. Aubameyang came on in the second half, and for large parts of the game may as well have not been on the pitch, an ineffective performance, which sums Chelsea up.
They need to create more. With the attacking talent they have in Pulisic, Hazertz, Mount, Ziyech and Aubameyang, there are goals in that team. Potter needs to find a way to get them back to their goalscoring best.
Chelsea is in real danger of not only finishing outside of the top 4 but drifting towards a midtable finish, which would be a huge catastrophe for Chelsea, especially considering how much money they spent in the summer.
Worryingly for Chelsea, they have not beaten a team in the top half of the table this season, drawing 3 and losing 3. This needs to change for Chelsea. They need to be competitive with the teams around them if they have any hope of climbing the table again.
Who would have expected Man City to drop points against Everton? I do not think anyone gave Everton a chance, and when Haaland scored his 21st goal of the season after 24 minutes, that should have been game over.
City did not play badly. They created 16 shots, but only managed 3 on target, one of those being the goal. Despite all their attacking talent, they evidently had an off day, against a spirited, and surprisingly defensively solid Everton.
Haaland just will not stop, will he? He has already reached 20 goals for the season, scoring his 21st last week, meaning he has scored more goals than the entire Chelsea team. In fact, Haaland has scored more goals than 9 teams in the league, managing more than twice the number of goals Wolves have scored all season.
This game should be an interesting one. If Man City have another off day in front of the goal, then Chelsea could have a chance, but if Chelsea plays as they did against Nottingham Forest, then City will run through them. Half of me is saying a tight game, the other half is predicting a comfortable win for Man City.
Prediction: Chelsea 1 – 2 Man City
- Everton 1 – 1 Brighton
- Leicester 1 – 1 Fulham
- Man United 3 – 0 Bournemouth
- Aston Villa 2 – 0 Wolves
- Crystal Palace 2 – 1 Tottenham Hotspur