Find the back of the net with tips for Week 22 of the EPL season, including a Man City-Chelsea blockbuster and the always-absorbing North London derby.
History: Played 106: Brighton 40 V Crystal Palace 38 (28 Draws)
Last meeting: September 27, 2021 (EPL): 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park
Final Thoughts: Brighton hit a post-Xmas purple patch, climbing to ninth with wins over Brentford (2-0) and Everton (3-2) – with Alexis Mac Allister scoring a goal in each half – either side of a 1-1 draw at Chelsea. The Seagulls needed extra-time to get past West Brom in FA Cup action last weekend but they bring some solid momentum into this encounter.
Twelfth-placed Crystal Palace bookended a 3-0 thrashing of Norwich with losses to Tottenham (3-0) and West Ham (3-2) in their past three EPL fixtures. They outlasted Millwall 2-1 in the FA Cup third round.
Brighton are winless in their last five against Palace, though three of those matches finished 1-all – including the teams’ clash at Selhurst Park earlier this season.
Palace’s sole away win was a big one – 2-0 at Man City in Week 10. But they have picked up just one point (at Burnley) in four road trips since, failing to score in their three. Brighton shapes as a good straight-up option at home.
Best Bet: Result – Brighton @ $2.10
History: Played 170: Chelsea 71 V Man City 60 (39 Draws)
Last meeting: September 25, 2021 (EPL): Man City 1 d Chelsea 0 at Stamford Bridge
Final Thoughts: Manchester City already hold a 10-point lead at the top of the table and really ram home the advantage with another win over second-placed Chelsea. Man City snapped a three-match losing streak against Chelsea with a 1-0 victory at Stamford Bridge in Week 6. Gabriel Jesus scored the decisive goal in the 53rd minute.
The defending champs are on an 11-match winning streak, coming from behind to beat Arsenal 2-1 in London on New Year’s Day. Rodri scored in the 93rd minute to snatch the three points. The Citizens cruised to a 4-1 FA Cup win over Swindon Town on the weekend.
Like City, Chelsea have lost only matches this season. But their current six-match unbeaten run includes four draws. They overcame a two-goal deficit to force a 2-all result at home against Liverpool in Week 21. The Blues’ defensive dominance has not been up to the standard Thomas Tuchel instilled upon his arrival midway through last season – keeping just one clean sheet in their last nine games – and they need more creativity to pull off an upset at Etihad.
Ruthless City will be too good at home, where they boast an 8-1-1 record with 31 goals scored and just six conceded.
Best Bet: Man City To Win To Nil @ $2.81
Same Game Multi: Result – Man City; Man City To Score in Both Halves; Anytime Goalscorer – Kevin de Bruyne @ $6.79
History: Played 62: Everton 26 V Norwich 18 (18 Draws)
Last meeting: September 25, 2021 (EPL): Everton 2 d Norwich 0 at Goodison Park
Final Thoughts: The struggles of several other teams is keeping Norwich City in the hunt to avoid relegation, but it’s hard to see where they are going to pick points up from in order to climb off the bottom of the ladder. The Canaries six lost their last six games to nil, including a 2-0 defeat at West Ham midweek.
Everton, meanwhile, have slumped to 15th after winning just one games since the end of September (though three of their games have been postponed). After holding Chelsea to 1-all draw in Week 17, their only outing since saw them go down 3-2 at home to Brighton on January 2.
Both teams to score has not hit in the teams’ last five encounters. Everton chalked up a 2-0 victory at home in Week 6.
There is not a lot to like about getting behind the Toffees, but Norwich’s lack of strike should allow them to get a much-needed three points.
Best Bet: Result – Everton @ $2.00
Same Game Multi: Handicap – Everton -1; Total – Under 3.5; Anytime Goalscorer – Dominic Calvert-Lewin @ $11.64
History: Played 71: Southampton 28 V Wolverhampton 25 (18 Draws)
Last meeting: September 26, 2021 (EPL): Wolverhampton 1 d Southampton 0 at St Mary’s Stadium
Final Thoughts: Wolverhampton may be among the most dour teams in the Premier League – scoring just three goals in their last nine games – but they are securing enough results to sit in eighth spot. In their past three outings, Wolves have bookended a scoreless draw against Chelsea with 1-0 wins over Brighton and Manchester United.
Southampton are also on the move after losing just one of their last seven games – and punishing Brentford 4-1 midweek.
Wolves boast seven wins and two draws from their last 11 matches against the Saints. Raul Jiminez’s 61st minute goal secured a 1-0 win for Wanderers in Week 6.
But Southampton’s enterprise can break down the Wolverhampton wall that has conceded only once in their last four home games.
Same Game Multi: Result – Draw; Both Teams To Score; Anytime Goalscorer @ $8.99
History: Played 48: Watford 16 V Newcastle 16 (16 Draws)
Last meeting: September 25, 2021 (EPL): 1-1 draw at Vicarage Road
Final Thoughts: Newcastle and Watford would have both circled this fixture in the calendar as they look to inch out of relegation danger. The second-last Magpies will leapfrog the Hornets with a win here.
Newcastle have won just one game, but they drew 1-all with Man United in their last outing before subsequent games against Everton and Southampton were postponed. There’s some handy transfer targets on the way but they won’t be on deck this week. The Magpies are also reeling from an FA Cup loss to third-tier Cambridge United.
Watford have lost their last six games, including defeats to West Ham (4-1) and Tottenham (1-0) since Xmas. They were also hammered 4-1 by Leicester in their FA Cup tie last weekend.
Newcastle have won just one of their last 11 against Watford. The teams played out a 1-all draw at Vicarage Road in Week 6. Given that bogey and both teams’ poor formlines, I’m inclined to back another stalemate.
Best Bet: Result – Draw @ $3.50
History: Played 117: Burnley 46 V Leicester 38 (33 Draws)
Last meeting: September 25, 2021 (EPL): 2-2 draw at King Power Stadium
Final Thoughts: Burnley have been locked in 18th spot since Week 4. After managing seven draws and a win in their previous 10 games, the Clarets have come out of an extended COVID-enforced break with consecutive 3-1 losses to Man United and Leeds. A 2-1 FA Cup loss to Championship side Huddersfield would have done little for morale, either.
Leicester’s rollercoaster season was encapsulated by their post-Xmas results. After crashing 6-3 at Man City on Boxing Day, they upset Liverpool 1-0 at home two days later. The Foxes also progressed in the FA Cup with a 4-1 drubbing of Watford. But they remain well off the top-four pace in 10th (though four of their matches have been postponed) and need to make these clashes with also-rans count.
Burnley have managed three wins and three draws from their last 10 games against Leicester. Jamie Vardy atoned for an own goal with a goal for Leicester in each half – including an 85th-minute equaliser – as the teams drew 2-all at King Power Stadium in Week 6.
I’m banking on Leicester parlaying their promising win over Liverpool into a fruitful run of form, despite Vardy’s absence from this game.
Best Bet: Result – Leicester @ $2.50
History: Played 192: Man United 102 V Aston Villa 50 (40 Draws)
Last meeting: January 10, 2022 (FA Cup): Man United 1 d Aston Villa at Old Trafford
Final Thoughts: Aston Villa host Manchester United less than a week after being eliminated from the FA Cup 1-0 at Old Trafford. Thirteenth-placed Villa did enough in late-November and early-December to stay away from the relegation zone – winning four of six games – but they lost their last two to Chelsea (3-1) and Brentford (2-1). Villa are hoping to have recent signing Philippe Coutinho available for this game.
Manchester are desperate for a three-point haul here. They sit seventh on the ladder after a draw with lowly Newcastle and a loss to Wolverhampton (their first since Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s axing) either side of a 3-1 win over Burnley in their last three league fixtures.
Aston Villa ended an 11-year, 18-match winless streak against Man United with a 1-0 upset at Old Trafford in Week 6.
United are only narrow favourites on the road and – given the quality on their roster – that’s hard to pass up, despite patchy recent performances.
Best Bet: Result – Man United @ $2.38
Same Game Multi: Result – Man United; Both Teams To Score; Anytime Goalscorer – Cristiano Ronaldo @ $6.60
History: Played 108: Leeds 48 V West Ham 31 (29 Draws)
Last meeting: January 9, 2022 (FA Cup): West Ham 2 d Leeds 0 at London Stadium
Final Thoughts: In another FA Cup repeat, West Ham will attempt to back up their 2-0 knockout victory over Leeds with a vital Premier League win.
Fourth-placed West Ham have picked up some solid momentum after a rocky lead-in to Christmas, winning their last three league clashes with Watford (4-1), Crystal Palace (3-2) and – earlier this week – Norwich (2-0). Jarrod Bowen grabbed both goals against the Canaries.
Leeds, 16th on the ladder, snapped a three-game losing streak with a much-needed 3-1 win over Burnley on January 2.
West Ham are unbeaten in their last six against Leeds, snaring a 2-1 win at Elland Road in Week 6 after Michail Antonio scored a 90th-minute winner.
Despite a hectic schedule, West Ham are well-placed to chalk up another victory and consolidate their top-four standing.
Best Bet: Handicap – West Ham -1 @ $2.62
Same Game Multi: Handicap – West Ham -1; Total – Over 3.5; Anytime Goalscorer – Michail Antonio @ $6.88
History: Played 16: Liverpool 9 V Brentford 3 (4 Draws)
Last meeting: September 25, 2021 (EPL): 3-3 draw at Brentford Community Stadium
Final Thoughts: Liverpool have slipped off the premiership-winning pace with 2-all draws against Tottenham and Chelsea either side of a shock 1-0 loss at Leicester in their last three games. They powered to a 4-1 FA Cup win over Shrewsbury Town last weekend after conceding first.
The heavyweights will be looking to capitalise on a weary Brentford, who beat Port Vale in FA Cup action before going down to Southampton by the same scoreline in an EPL catch-up clash midweek.
Brentford came from behind twice to draw 3-all with Liverpool at home in Week 6. That was one of only two time this season the Bees have managed more than two goals – and defence will be a focus for Jurgen Klopp this week.
Brentford have conceded 16 goals in their last six away games while Liverpool have won their last four at Anfield by a combined 12-1 – a fair indication of how this encounter should play out.
Best Bet: Handicap – Liverpool -1 @ $1.91
History: Played 204: Arsenal 84 V Tottenham 66 (54 Draws)
Last meeting: September 26, 2021 (EPL): Arsenal 3 d Tottenham 1 at Emirates Stadium
Final Thoughts: Week 22 wraps up with the second North London Derby of the season.
The home team is unbeaten in the archrivals’ last 15 Premier League encounters. Arsenal retained derby bragging rights with a 3-1 victory at the Emirates in Week 6, racing out to a three-goal lead inside 35 minutes.
Arsenal are in fifth spot – one place and two points clear of Tottenham. But Spurs have played two less games.
Meanwhile, the Gunners’ disappointing start to 2022 consists of a 2-1 EPL loss to Man City and a shock 1-0 FA Cup defeat to Nottingham Forest. Spurs, who had a 3-1 FA Cup win over Morecambe last weekend, are unbeaten in their last eight Premier League games, winning five. They escaped with the three points against Southampton on New Year’s Day courtesy of Davinson Sanchez’s stoppage-time goal.
Backing the home-team trend in this rivalry seems like the most prudent approach – especially with Tottenham carrying more reliable form into this one.