As we bid a fond or perhaps not so fond farewell to 2020, we’re up and at it straight away on New Year’s Day, with Everton v West Ham the first football Premier League fixture of 2021.
Both Teams to Score - Yes
Everton 2-1 West Ham United
A four game winning run has moved Everton within 3 points of Premier League leaders Liverpool. The Toffees’ match against Manchester City was postponed on Monday night, giving them extra time to prepare for this.
West Ham have dropped to 10th place in the Premier League. Their 0-0 draw away to Southampton on Tuesday means they are now without a win in 4 matches. The Hammers’ record is poor when visiting Goodison, winning only 3 of their last 28 meetings there.
I expect a tight match, however, Everton are back playing like they did at the start of the season. If they can continue in that vein, I think they could nick it by the odd goal.
Man United HT / Man United FT
Manchester United 2-0 Aston Villa
It’s been a Christmas to remember for Manchester United fans. Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side sit in 2nd and if they win their game hand, they’ll be joint top of the Premier League. It’s been quite the turnaround with the Red Devils now undefeated in their last 9 Premier League matches.
They welcome an Aston Villa side that are in decent form of their own. Undefeated in their last 5 Premier League matches, the Villains will no doubt set up to sucker punch United on the counter-attack.
However, Dean Smith hasn’t had the luxury of being able to rotate his side. If fatigue is an issue here it may be their undoing with United proving so quick and powerful moving forward. So, I’ll be going for Manchester United to take the points.
Tottenham to Win & BTTS - Yes
Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Leeds United
It’s now 4 games without a win for Spurs. Jose Mourinho’s men suffered late heartache against Wolves on Sunday and must get back on track here against Leeds.
Leeds make the trip to North London for the first time since 2003. They arrive here fresh from a 5-0 win away to West Brom, making it 3 wins in 4 Premier League matches.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side have been a hard team to get a handle on this season. I reckon they will cause Spurs some problems but considering that they have lost half of their away games in the league, I think Spurs may just have too much here.
Crystal Palace 1-1 Sheffield United
Crystal Palace came so close to taking all 3 points against Leicester on Monday. A late goal meant the Eagles had to settle for a point and now means they are winless in 5.
Sheffield United have had no luck at all this season. They sit rock bottom with just a point, but I do think they are better than that.
Crystal Palace just don’t seem ruthless enough to me at the moment, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this one ended up a draw.
Under 2.5 Match Goals
Brighton 1-1 Wolves
Brighton are still without a win at home all season in the Premier League and their 1-0 defeat against Arsenal means they are without a win in 7 matches.
Wolves’ form isn’t much better. They’ve had 1 win in 6 and are still struggling in front of goal without Raul Jimenez.
These two have traditionally played out low scoring affairs. Ten of their last eleven matches have seen under 2.5 goals and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this match followed that trend.
Arsenal to Win
West Bromwich Albion 1-2 Arsenal
Arsenal travel to West Brom with their tails up after back to back wins. That said, The Hawthorns hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for Arsenal recently. They’ve failed to win on their last 3 trips there, however, anything other than 3 points on this occasion would be a big disappointment for Mikel Arteta.
West Brom got a great result when drawing 1-1 at Anfield, but it’s been at home where they’ve struggled most. I’m expecting Arsenal to continue their good run and come away with all 3 points again.
Burnley to Win to Nil
Burnley 1-0 Fulham
Fulham travel to Burnley having drawn their last 4 Premier League matches. Their match against Tottenham was postponed after a Covid-19 outbreak within the squad.
If this one goes ahead, I think Burnley will take the points against a Fulham side that have won only once on the road this season.
Newcastle United 1-1 Leicester City
Newcastle took a valuable point at home against Liverpool on Wednesday night. That would have been pleasing for Steve Bruce after a turbulent week.
Leicester could only manage a 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace after scoring late. If it wasn’t for these inconsistencies, the Foxes could be top of the league. However, most fans will be happy with their current league position.
I can see Newcastle again being very organised, and if they play like they did on Wednesday, I reckon they can get a point.
Over 2.5 Match Goals
Chelsea 2-1 Manchester City
The Christmas period hasn’t been kind to Chelsea, having won just 1 of their last 6 matches. It’s no surprise that the heat has been cranked up a notch on Frank Lampard, however, a win here is just the remedy he needs.
These are the types of matches Chelsea seem to thrive in, and with City not at full strength, I could see the Blues’ nicking it in an entertaining match.
Liverpool to Win & BTTS - Yes
Southampton 1-3 Liverpool
Liverpool arrive here after dropping 4 points in their last 2 matches. They come up against a Southampton side that have also drawn successive matches, both ending 0-0.
It was great to see Thiago returning from injury against Newcastle. I think he’s a wonderful player and will just get better and better.
With that in mind, I think Liverpool will have enough here. Southampton simply aren’t scoring enough goals at the moment and I could see the Reds winning this one comfortably.