Premier League Week 22 Preview
With round 21 only having taken place midweek, it’s a quick turnaround for English football’s finest. Yet with so much to play for, teams cannot afford to be below their best as the next round of fixtures comes into focus. With some enticing prospects at both ends of the table, here are a selection of the gems thrown up by the Barclays Premier League this week. And as always, for the best advice from the finest football tipsters, Betadvisor.com is the smart bettor’s choice.
Bournemouth V Norwich City, Saturday 16/01/16 at 15.00 GMT
After midweek defeats for both sides, a win on Saturday becomes crucial to prevent a further slip into relegation trouble for two teams who were both gracing the Championship this time last year. But it is not all doom and gloom. The home side in particular will be happy with their season so far all things considered, and their campaign has been marked with celebrated wins over the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United. However, it is now 5 games without a win for Eddie Howe’s side, and The Cherries find themselves only three points off the drop zone following Sunderland’s key victory on Wednesday night. For Alex Neil’s Norwich it has been a case of one step forward and one step back all season, and The Canaries find themselves only two points better off than Saturday’s hosts after slipping to defeat at Stoke City on Wednesday night. Norwich ran out 3-1 winners back in September thanks to an impressive performance from Wes Hoolahan, and have a fully fit to select from ahead of Saturday’s game. Bournemouth are still without long-term absentees Callum Wilson, Tyrone Mings and Max Gradel for this relegation six-pointer.
Bournemouth 1.83, Draw 3.50, Norwich City 4.20
Aston Villa V Leicester City, Saturday 16/01/16 at 17.30 GMT
Aston Villa handed themselves a lifeline on Tuesday night in securing only their second win of this Premier League campaign, their first since the opening day. That victory still leaves them seven points adrift of 19th placed Newcastle, and eight points from safety, but the gap does not seem quite as intimidating as it did just a few days ago. The question is, of course, how do Villa follow up that result? Their opponents on Saturday could not be feeling any better about themselves after a fabulous win at White Hart Lane on Wednesday night put them level on points once more with Arsenal at the top of the Premier League table. It’s been a dream season for Leicester City so far, and those awaiting an ‘inevitable’ decline in fortunes must wait a while longer after The Foxes arrested a run of three games without a win to claim victory over fourth-placed Spurs which not only put daylight between them and the chasing pack, but bridged the gap to leaders Arsenal, who were pegged back at Liverpool. The reverse fixture in September produced a spectacular Leicester come-from-behind win which preceded the end of Tim Sherwood’s reign at Villa Park – Nathan Dyer grabbing the winner in the 89th minute. Neither side have any new injury concerns ahead of Saturday’s game, which holds importance at both ends of the table.
Aston Villa 3.30, Draw 3.40, Leicester City 2.15
Liverpool V Manchester United, Sunday 17/01/16 at 14.05 GMT
English football’s two most successful clubs meet on Sunday lunchtime in what is unfamiliar territory for these giants of the game. Dare we even call this a mid-table clash? Technically, this is a meeting between the side’s currently occupying sixth and ninth in the table (positions which could be lower after Saturday’s games), although with the immensely competitive nature of this season’s campaign, both still harbour realistic hops of at least a top four finish. What is not up for debate is that these two clubs currently represent shadows of their former glories, but a victory over a bitter rival can lift the mood like no other. United have incredibly only won one of their last eight Premier League games to leave themselves trailing fourth-placed Tottenham by two points, while Liverpool are off the back of a run of only two wins in their last seven, leaving the Merseyside club a further three points back. Hardly form you would associate with these two historic sides. The home side could welcome back Daniel Sturridge and Dejan Lovren, while United will continue to be without Bastian Schweinsteiger for this Sunday special.
Liverpool 2.30, Draw 3.20, Manchester United 3.30
Full list of Week 22 fixtures
Tottenham Hotspur V Sunderland, Saturday 16/01/16 at 12.45 GMT
Chelsea V Everton, Saturday 16/01/16 at 15.00 GMT
Manchester City V Crystal Palace, Saturday 16/01/16 at 15.00 GMT
Newcastle united V West Ham United, Saturday 16/01/16 at 15.00 GMT
Southampton V West Bromwich Albion, Saturday 16/01/16 at 15.00 GMT
Stoke City V Arsenal, Sunday 17/01/16 at 16.15 GMT
Swansea City V Watford, Monday 18/01/16 at 20.00 GMT
All odds courtesy of Bet365 and correct as of 15.00 GMT on 14/01/15