This weekend’s fixtures could be season defining for many clubs in the Premier League, both at the top and the bottom. Gameweek 22 is sure to spring a couple of surprises along the way.
Brighton vs Crystal Palace – Friday: 8pm
Both Brighton and Crystal Palace head into this fixture after moral boosting victories in the FA Cup last weekend. In the return fixture, Neil Maupay’s 95th minute equaliser ensured Palace blew a glorious opportunity at victory. Brighton have had a superb season so far under Graham Potter, and the Englishman will be hoping to grab his first victory over Palace since taking over.
Crystal Palace look to finally have clicked under Patrick Vieira’s stewardship, with the Frenchman having a plethora of young, exciting talent at his disposal. Vieira will be hoping Michael Olise, Odsonne Edouard, and Conor Gallagher can step up to lead the team in the absence of Wilfried Zaha. There is potential for fireworks at this game, and definitely one to watch.
Final Score: 2-2
Manchester City vs Chelsea – Saturday: 12:30pm
Manchester City look simply unstoppable ahead of their crunch-match game against Chelsea. Eleven Premier League wins in a row and ten points clear at the top of the table, Pep Guardiola’s men look unchallenged at the top. The strongest attack and defence, nothing that has managed to slow down the Citizen’s steam train to the title yet. Win on Saturday and City fans will start to believe of another title heading their way.
Thomas Tuchel on the other hand will be looking for revenge. The Blues were defeated 1-0 by Pep Guardiola’s side back in September, and after disposing of Tottenham to reach the Carabao Cup final, they will be full of confidence heading to the Etihad. Four draws in their last five league has slightly derailed Chelsea’s title bid, but a win on Saturday will give Tuchel’s men a chance.
Final Score: 3-1
Newcastle United vs Watford – Saturday: 3pm
Arguably the most important game of Gameweek 22. Fresh from acquiring Chris Wood from Burnley for £25 million, and with further additions on the way, Eddie Howe will be fuelled with renewed optimism. If Newcastle win, they leapfrog Burnley and opponents Watford out of the relegation zone, the first time this season that would have happened.
Something is going on at Watford. Claudio Ranieri’s men are currently on a six-game losing streak in the league, but the belief is still there. New signings have come through the door at Vicarage Road, to the delight of Watford fans. But with the Hornets playing all three of their relegation rivals in the next three games, the next week could define Watford’s season.
Final Score: 1-1
Norwich City vs Everton – Saturday: 3pm
Another crucial game at the bottom of the Premier League. Norwich look out of ideas, and if they do not come up with fresh ones soon, then they will be back in the Championship. Todd Cantwell and Max Aarons are being touted to move on from the Canaries, but with Everton suffering as well, this may be the best chance at a win for Dean Smith’s men.
This is as crucial a game for Everton, as it is for Norwich. Lucas Digne has jumped ship to Aston Villa, and the team are in no form, barely scrapping past Championship side Hull City in the FA Cup. Rafa Benitez will need to work some magic if he is to pull the Toffees from this rut, but is it too late?
Final Score: 2-0
Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Southampton – Saturday: 3pm
Wolverhampton Wanderers have been the surprise package in the Premier League so far. Bruno Lage has done wonders and Wolves are in a very good place right now. Lage’s issue will be the lack of goals being scored, fourteen all season is a concern . They need to be more clinical going forward, but are definitely dark horses for Europe this season.
Ralph Hasenhuttl will be a relieved man. A brilliant 4-1 home win against Brentford during the week will have done wonders for the team’s spirit. Armando Broja has been superb when he’s played and will cause Wolves problems if Hasenhuttl decides to unleash him. Southampton’s counterattack will be crucial for their chances of victory.
Final Score: 1-2
Aston Villa vs Manchester United – Saturday: 5:30pm
A rematch of the FA Cup Third Round fixture from four days ago, Aston Villa will want to extract revenge when they host Manchester United on Saturday evening. Villa will be disappointed to have not progressed to the Fourth Round, but with their focus firmly on the league, a result against United could be a possibility. New signings Philippe Coutinho and Lucas Digne could feature having both joined the club this week.
Ralf Rangnick will hope Manchester United can take positives from their cup triumph over Villa heading into this fixture. If the performances can improve then United have the quality to hurt any team, and a win at Villa Park would be crucial for their season.
Final Score: 3-0
Liverpool vs Brentford – Sunday: 2pm
The reverse fixture was a fantastic advert for Premier League football, with newly promoted Brentford holding Liverpool to a credible 3-3 draw. After failing to break dow ten-men Arsenal at Anfield in the Carabao Cup last night, Jurgen Klopp will want to get back on track in the league. They continue to be without Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, with further reliance needed from the rest of the squad in their absence.
Brentford’s form has been a mixed bag of late and Thomas Frank will want some stability if the Bees are to progress. This might be the perfect time to play Liverpool, and Brentford will want to bounce back from their 4-1 away defeat to Southampton in the best way possible.
Final Score: 2-0
West Ham United vs Leeds United – Sunday: 2pm
West Ham will want to continue their fine start to 2022 when they welcome Leeds United to the London Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The Hammers have already beaten Leeds twice this season, in the reverse fixture at Elland Road, and the FA Cup Third Round. Jarrod Bowen has been the star of the show for West Ham this season and he will be crucial for David Moyes’ side’s push for Europe.
Revenge will be on Marcelo Bielsa and Leeds’ minds when they return to the London Stadium following last week’s 2-0 FA Cup defeat to the Hammers. Injuries continue to mount for Bielsa’s paper-thin squad, with key players still unavailable. This might be the worst time to play an inform West Ham side.
Final Score: 4-1
Tottenham vs Arsenal – Sunday: 4:30pm
The final match of the weekend is arguably the most highly anticipated North London Derby in years. Antonio Conte’s Tottenham will be out for revenge after losing 3-1 in the reverse fixture at the Emirates, but it will not be easy with the squad at his disposal. New signings have been touted for Spurs, but when they will arrive is another story.
Mikel Arteta has transformed Arsenal. Young and hungry players, playing for the team, and it is just what Arsenal fans have been waiting for. The ten-men Gunners battled to a 0-0 draw in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final against Liverpool on Thursday night, so fatigue may catch up on them. However the mood around the camp is a positive as it has been for a long time.