Last Updated on 30 Nov 2021 12:04 pm (UK Time)
Week 14 of the Premier League season gets underway tonight in a prelude to the busy Christmas schedule.
The pick of the ties sees Manchester United host Arsenal in new boss Ralph Rangnick’s first game in charge, and city rivals Everton and Liverpool go head to head in the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park.
Newcastle v Norwich
Two of the Premier League’s basement teams are set to battle it out as Norwich travel to rock bottom Newcastle, still looking for their first win of the season, in what is beginning to look like a six-pointer. Eddie Howe’s Newcastle remain the only team in the top four English divisions yet to pick up a win after their 2-0 loss to Arsenal at the weekend, while Norwich held Wolves 0-0 and earned themselves a point.
A win will see Newcastle overtake the Canaries in 19th thanks to their superior goal difference and give them confidence going into another crucial fixture against fellow strugglers, Burnley, who are next up at St. James Park.Embed from Getty Images
Both Jamaal Lascelles and Matt Ritchie picked up one-game suspensions against Arsenal, meaning manager Eddie Howe will need to mix things up ahead of the game on Tuesday, allowing the likes of Ciaran Clark and Jamal Lewis a possible return to first-team action.
Norwich have banked seven points from a possible nine in the last three games and look rejuvenated under new boss Dean Smith.
The last time these two teams met in the top flight was in February 2020, where they shared the spoils in a goalless draw. Norwich have not managed to score at St. James Park since September 2016, where they lost 4-3.
Predicted Newcastle line-up: Dubravka, Murphy, Clarke, Schar, Lewis, Fraser, Shelvey, Willock, Saint-Maximin, Joelinton, Wilson
Predicted Norwich line-up: Krul, Aarons, Hanley, Gibson, Williams, Rupp, Sargent, Gilmour, McLean, Rashica, Pukki
Leeds v Crystal Palace
Both teams will look for a return to winning ways this Tuesday as Leeds face Crystal Palace at Elland Road.
The Whites were held to a goalless draw with Brighton on Saturday, while Palace were handed their first home defeat of the season by Aston Villa, losing 2-1.
Marcelo Bielsa’s men were fortunate to leave the Amex with a point as Brighton had the better chances and restricted Leeds to a single effort – a deflected shot from Tyler Roberts, which looked to be sneaking in until Brighton keeper Roberto Sanchez got low enough to tip in onto the post.
Three points for Leeds tonight could see them climb to 14th if other results go their way.
Leeds will still be without Patrick Bamford (ligament), Luke Ayling (knee), and Robin Koch (hip) for the game.Embed from Getty Images
Meanwhile, Crystal Palace look to bounce back after failing to pick up three points at home for the first time this season in the loss to Aston Villa at the weekend.
Palace boss Patrick Vieira will once again be without Joachim Andersen who picked up a hamstring injury. He joins James McArthur (hamstring) and Nathan Ferguson (Achilles) on the injury list.
In the corresponding fixture last season Palace ran out easy winners in a 4-1 romp.
Predicted Leeds line-up: Meslier, Llorente, Phillips, Cooper, Firpo, Dallas, Forshaw, Rafinha, Rodrigo, Harrison, James
Predicted Palace line-up: Guaita, Ward, Tomkins, Guehi, Mitchell, Kouyate, Gallager, Eze, Edouard, Zaha, Benteke
Southampton v Leicester
Mixed fortunes for these teams last time out as Southampton were thrashed 4-0 at Liverpool, while Leicester eased to a 4-2 victory over Watford.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men will be desperate to put in a good performance this evening to arrest an alarming slide that sees them flirt with the relegation zone.
Southampton have injury concerns coming into the fixture with Stuart Armstrong (calf) and Jack Stephens (knee) missing the game alongside Moussa Djenepo who is out for personal reasons.Embed from Getty Images
By contrast, Leicester are on a roll with back-to-back wins and will look at this fixture as an opportunity to come away with another three points, with the home side low on confidence after the weekend’s mauling at Anfield.
The Foxes jump climbed into the top ten on the back of the victory over Watford, and are now just five points off fifth placed Arsenal in a keenly contested top half.
Leicester have an extensive injury list: Ricardo Pereira (hamstring), Youri Tielemans (calf), Wesley Fofana (ankle), and James Justin (ACL) are all set to miss the trip to the south coast.
The Foxes have had the upper hand over Southampton in recent years, winning three of their last five meetings against the Saints, including that 9-0 hammering at St. Mary’s.
Predicted Southampton line-up: McCarthy, Bednarek, Lyanco, Salisu, Livramento, Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Walker-Peters, Broja, Adams, Armstrong
Predicted Leicester line-up: Schmeichel, Castagne, Evans, Soyuncu, Thomas, Soumare, Ndidi, Lookman, Maddison, Barnes, Vardy
Wolves v Burnley
Wolves will be looking to improve on their disappointing 0-0 draw away at Norwich with a win over Burnley, whose fixture against Spurs at the weekend was postponed due to heavy snow.
Bruno Lage’s side currently sits sixth in the table on 20 points, only three off Arsenal in fifth and West Ham in fourth. A win against Burnley could see the Wanderers push into the top four for the first time this season.
Wolves will have several players out for the match, and Ruben Neves will not take part after he picked up a suspension for accumulating too many yellow cards. He joins a long list of absentees, including Daniel Podence (COVID), Willy Boly (muscle), Yerson Mosquera (hamstring), Pedro Neto (knee), and Jonny (ACL).Embed from Getty Images
Sean Dyche’s men are coming into the fixture in a vein of form, unbeaten in four games, and will want to get a result against Wolves to ease their relegation fears. The manager will have to shuffle his pack as James Tarkowski and Ashley Westwood, have picked up suspensions for the tie.
Burnley will take some confidence from the last time these two faced off at Molineux when they took home all three points in a 4-0 rout and remain unbeaten in their last five games against Wolves in the top flight.
Predicted Wolves line-up: Sa, Kilman, Coady, Saiss, Semedo, Dendoncker, Moutinho, Ait-Nouri, Traore, Hwang, Jimenez
Predicted Burnley line-up: Pope, Lowton, Collins, Mee, Taylor, Gudmundsson, Cork, Brownhill, McNeil, Wood, Cornet
Watford v Chelsea
Chelsea saw their lead at the top of the table cut to just one point after their 1-1 draw with Manchester United in the Super Sunday game at the weekend, and will look to bounce back against an inconsistent Watford side, who lost 4-2 to Leicester last time out.
A win for Ranieri’s men will be tough against the league leaders but vital towards their survival come the end of the season. Three points could see Watford jump as high as 13th, but a loss will keep them in the relegation shake-up having only taken 13 from a possible 39 points.
Goalkeeper Ben Foster joins an extensive list of injuries after picking up a groin strain. Nicolas N’Koulou (hamstring), Francisco Sierralta (hamstring), Kwadwo Baah (ankle), Ken Sema (knee), and Oghenekaro Etebo (thigh) will all miss the game.Embed from Getty Images
Chelsea will expect to extend their unbeaten run to twelve in all competitions with a win at Vicarage Road on Wednesday. The Blues have the best away record in the league, winning their last four without conceding, and are the only team yet to lose on the road so far this season.
Romelu Lukaku could be ready to start after his cameo in the match against Manchester United. However, it looks like N’Golo Kante (knee), Mateo Kovacic (hamstring), and Ben Chilwell (ACL) will all miss the game.
The last time these two teams met in the Premier League came back in the 19/20 season. Chelsea claimed all three points in both matches against Watford, winning 3-0 and 2-1.
Predicted Watford line-up: Bachmann, Femenia, Cathcart, Troost-Ekong, Masina, Louza, Hernandez, Cleverley, Sissoko, King, Dennis
Predicted Chelsea line-up: Mendy, Chalobah, Silva, Rudiger, James, Loftus-Cheek, Jorginho, Alonso, Pulisic, Hudson-Odoi, Lukaku
West Ham v Brighton
West Ham will host Brighton at the London Stadium on Wednesday, having lost consecutive games for the first time this season, while Brighton are winless in eight.
At the weekend, the Hammers lost a close game with current champions, Manchester City 2-1 thanks to goals from Ilkay Gundogan and Fernandinho. Despite the loss, David Moyes’s team still sits in the top four on 23 points, above Arsenal in fifth on goal difference.
West Ham only have one injury concern, Angelo Ogbonna picked up an ACL injury that will keep him out for the rest of the season.
Brighton have lost ground after a fast start; no wins in their last eight games have seen them drop to ninth.Embed from Getty Images
After the previous match against leads in which boos could be heard at full-time, manager Graham Potter used his post-match interview to remind the fans just how far Brighton football have come in recent times.
Danny Welbeck (hamstring) and Steven Alzate (ligament) are the only players unavailable for the trip to East London, allowing Potter to name the same starting XI who faced Leeds.
Stalemates seem to be the running theme whenever these two outfits meet. Five draws in a row mean there hasn’t been a winner in this matchup since October 2018 when Brighton won 1-0 at the Amex.
Predicted West Ham line-up: Fabianski, Johnson, Dawson, Zouma, Cresswell, Soucek, Rice, Fornals, Benrahma, Bowen, Antonio
Predicted Brighton line-up: Sanchez, Veltman, Webster, Dunk, Cucurella, Gros, Bissouma, Lamptey, Moder, Trossard, Maupay
Everton v Liverpool
City rivals Everton and Liverpool find themselves on very different trajectories coming into the first Merseyside derby of the season. Everton are in freefall. Their 1-0 defeat to Brentford continued a woeful run of form which has seen a slide down the table, whilst Liverpool’s recent outstanding form saw them close the gap at the top as they crushed Southampton 4-0 at Anfield.
The Toffees last win came on September 25th when they beat Norwich 2-0 at Goodison Park. Since then they are winless in six games, suffering big defeats to Watford and Manchester City in the process. They need top-scorer, Dominic Calvert-Lewin back quickly from injury to provide impetus to a toothless attack.
Rafa Benitez has Richarlison back from suspension. However, Mason Holgate will have to serve one more game of his ban. Tom Davis (knee), Yerry Mina (hamstring), Andre Gomes (calf), and Calvert-Lewin (thigh) on the missing list for another week.Embed from Getty Images
Boss Jurgen Klopp will be looking to take all three points home as his team approaches the challenging Christmas period, which will see Mo Salah and Sadio Mane miss vital games for the Reds, as they go on African Cup of Nations duty.
A Liverpool win takes them top if Chelsea and Man City fail to gain three points.
Roberto Firmino remains out with a hamstring injury, joining Curtis Jones (eye), Joe Gomez (calf), and Naby Keita (hamstring) on the injury list.
Liverpool failed to beat Everton last season, drawing 2-2 at Goodison Park and then losing 2-0 at Anfield, Klopp’s side will be looking for revenge this time around.
Predicted Everton line-up: Pickford, Coleman, Godfrey, Keane, Digne, Townsend, Doucoure, Allan, Gordon, Richarlison, Rondon
Predicted Liverpool line-up: Allison, Alexander-Arnold, Konate, van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Henderson, Thiago, Salah, Mane, Jota
Aston Villa v Man City
Steven Gerrard has enjoyed quite a start to life in the Premier League, picking up back-to-back wins for Villa in his first two games, while City continues to challenge for honours after their 2-1 win over West Ham.
Only Bertrand Traore (thigh) and Trezeguet (ACL) will miss the game against City after Douglas Luiz’s red card against Palace was luckily overturned to a yellow.Embed from Getty Images
City’s win over West Ham was their fifth in all competitions and they have taken 13 points from a possible 15 in their last five away league games.
Pep Guardiola will be without Jack Grealish (knock) who still awaits his return to Villa Park after his departure in the summer, as well as Kevin De Bruyne (COVID), Ferran Torres (foot), Phil Foden (knock), and Aymeric Laporte (suspension).
Villa’s last beat Manchester City in September 2013 when they won 3-2. City having won the last four meetings between the sides since Aston Villa returned to the topflight.
Predicted Villa line-up: Martinez, Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett, McGinn, Nakamba, Ramsey, Bailey, Watkins, Ings
Predicted City line-up: Ederson, Walker, Dias, Stones, Cancelo, Gundogan, Rodri, B Silva, Jesus, Sterling, Mahrez
Spurs v Brentford
Spurs will be itching to get a win under their belts after their humbling 2-1 defeat to Mura in the Europa League and the postponement of their weekend game at Burnley.
Brentford got their best result since their opening day win against Arsenal when they saw off Everton for a 1-0-win last weekend and could make it back-to-back wins in the top flight for the first time with a win at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.Embed from Getty Images
Tottenham have selection problems as Giovanni Lo Celso (muscle) and Cristian Romero (hamstring) will miss the game.
Meanwhile Brentford boss Thomas Frank has some squad decisions to make ahead of the game due to injuries to Zanka (muscle), Kristoffer Ajer (hamstring), David Raya (ACL), Josh Dasilva (hip), and Julian Jeanvier (ACL) who all miss the fixture against Spurs.
The last time a Brentford manager oversaw a league win against Spurs came in May 1948 in Division Two when the Bees won 2-0. However, their most recent meeting ended in a 2-0 win for Spurs in January 2021.
Predicted Spurs line-up: Lloris, Sanchez, Dier, Davies, Emerson, Hojbjerg, Winks, Reguilon, Lucas, Son, Kane
Predicted Brentford line-up: Fernandez, Goode, Jansson, Pinnock, Canos, Onyeka, Norgaard, Janelt, Henry, Toney, Mbeumo
Man United v Arsenal
Man United managed to escape London with a point after their recent 1-1 draw with Chelsea in Michael Carrick’s last game in charge as interim boss. While Arsenal bounced back from the Liverpool defeat to see off Newcastle 2-0.
New boss Ralph Rangnick will take the team for the first time in Wednesday’s game and all eyes will be on Old Trafford to get an early peek at the expected revolution in playing style under the highly respected German coach.
United will still be without the services of Paul Pogba (thigh), Luke Shaw (concussion), Edinson Cavani (tendon), and Raphael Varane (hamstring)Embed from Getty Images
Arsenal’s young side looked impressive once again as the Gunners easily dealt with a lacklustre Newcastle team
Bukayo Saka picked up a slight knock in that game and is doubtful for the trip to Old Trafford. Long-term absentees Granit Xhaka (knee) and Sead Kolasinac (ankle) continue to miss out.
Arsenal are unbeaten in their last five games against United, winning three and drawing two. The last time United beat the Gunners at home in the Premier League came in April 2018 when they won 2-1 thanks to goals from Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini.
Predicted United line-up: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Linelof, Telles, Fred, McTominay, Sancho, Fernandes, Rashford, Ronaldo
Predicted Arsenal line-up: Ramsdale, Tomiyasu, Gabriel, White, Tavares, Lokonga, Partey, Saka, Smith-Rowe, Lacazette, Aubameyang