There’s a lot happening this week: double games, COVID, and Africa Cup of Nations!
The key factor is the set of teams playing twice (we hope): Burnley, Watford, Brighton, Chelsea,
Leicester, Tottenham, Brentford, and Man United. Well at least for now they are playing twice. Nothing is promised any more.
And if you’ve forgotten, read our great article about the key players out from each team for the African Cup of Nations.
Friday, January 15
Brighton vs Crystal Palace
Brighton has won two of the last three against solid opposition. The Seagulls remain solid in the back, having given up only 20 goals on the season (5th best). But with only 20 goals scored (5th worst!), they’re keeping matches close. They come in healthy with no major injuries. Yves Bissouma is out for ACN.
Crystal Palace continues an up and down season. The Eagles have lost three straight road games. To add to those worries, they have three key players out for ACN: Wilfried Zaha, Cheikhou Kouyate, and Jordan Ayew.
Saturday, January 16
Man City vs Chelsea
Manchester City sits above the league, ten full points ahead of Chelsea thanks to a ten-game winning streak. The Citizens can brag both most goals and fewest goals-against. Pep is rotating players and seeing little or no dip in the quality of play. A win here puts them 13 points up, but the pressure is on Chelsea. Riyad Mahrez is at ACN. Oleksandr Zinchenko and Philip Foden are COVID doubts.
Chelsea needs this win. The Blues are undefeated in six, but four of those were draws, which is why they find themselves losing contact with City. They’ve kept only one clean sheet in their last nine games, and star keeper Edouard Mendy is out, meaning Kepa will start. Trevoh Chalobah, Reece James, and Ben Chilwell are all out. It will be interesting to see how Chelsea line up for this marquee match.
Burnley vs Leicester Burnley hasn’t won since Oct. 30th. The Clarets have only two goals in their last five games, and they conceded three in each of their last two. Maxwel Cornet is out for ACN, and Chris Wood has been sold. Dwight McNeil, Charlie Taylor, Erik Pieters, Matej Vydra are all COVID concerns. This is a depleted team. Leicester has yet to play in the league in 2022 (but won an FA Cup match featuring some exciting young talent). The Foxes haven’t kept a clean sheet on the road this season. They have serious player concerns too. One can only hope the list doesn’t grow, since it just caused a postponement this last Tuesday. Jonny Evans, Jamie Vardy, Ricardo Pereira, Wesley Fofana, Boubakary Soumare, and James Justin are out with injury or illness. Kelechi Iheanacho, Nampalys Mendy, Daniel Amartey, and Wilfred Ndidi are at ACN.
Newcastle vs Watford
The money is starting to pull new players to Newcastle. Kieran Trippier has joined as the first big signing, and more are on the way. Will it all be too late? The Magpies have three losses from their last four. Callum Wilson is the biggest injury loss, so Newcastle need to find goals from somewhere else.
Watford has lost six straight games (yes six). Also, Watford has yet to keep a clean sheet this season. Emmanuel Dennis is a concern but could be available.
Norwich vs Everton
Oh Norwich... You’re on six straight losses, six straight matches without a goal. That’s also six straight conceding. Billy Gilmour is out. Others are out too, but I don’t think you’re looking.
Everton continues to fade. The Toffees have one win in their last eleven games. They’ve had three of their last four postponed. Alex Iwobi is at ACN. Richarlison, Tom Davies, and Yerry Mina are all out.
Wolves vs Southampton
Wolves have found a way to keep their lines tight in the back. Only Man City has conceded fewer goals this season. They are still struggling to score though. The last time Wolves scored more than a goal was a 2-1 win on November 1. There are no key players injured or out.
Southampton is a on a small upswing, undefeated in four. The Saints are scoring too. Kyle Walker-Peters is out with COVID. Yan Valery is suspended for five yellows. Moussa Djenepo is at ACN.
Aston Villa vs Man United
Villa needs help, and it looks like its coming in the form of Philippe Coutinho. It’s not certain that he will be ready in time to feature in GW-22, but the sooner the better for Villa. John McGinn is suspended because of 5 yellow cards. Leon Bailey is out still.
Man United hit a bump in the road against Wolves after a solid six game unbeaten run. Scott McTominay and Luke Shaw both are suspended with five yellows. Paul Pogba is still out, as is Anthony Martial. There are some doubts too, and Eric Bailly is at ACN.
Sunday, January 17
Liverpool vs Brentford
Liverpool are winless in three, albeit against some of the better teams in the league. To catch City, they will need more points from those games. They have yet to lose at home though. Thiago Alcantara and Divock Origi are out injured. More importantly Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Naby Kieta are all away for ACN. So much will be needed from Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota.
I enjoy watching Brentford games because I’m just never sure how it’s going to go. They earned an exciting 3-3 draw in their home match vs Liverpool this season. They held an opponent without a goal in their last seven. Will newly acquired Jonas Lossl start in goal? Frank Onyeka is at ACN.
West Ham have climbed back into a top four spot with three consecutive wins. They were games they’d be expected to win, and Moyes’s team got the job done. They scored eight goals over the three matches as well. Tomas Soucek is out with COVID. Mohamed Said Benrahma is at ACN. Mark Noble and Kurt Zouma are most likely out.
Leeds are still sitting near the bottom of the table. Their only road win this season came at Norwich. They have let their opponent score is six straight. Leeds are still struggling to field their top team (or sometimes even any team!). Diego Llorente is suspended. Patrick Bamford and Junior Firpo aren’t quite ready. Kalvin Phillips, Liam Cooper, Pascal Struijk, and Rodrigo are all out. Oh my!
Tottenham vs Arsenal
Spurs have not lost in the league in the Antonio Conte era. They have kept five clean sheets over that eight game run, winning every home game. Harry Kane has three goals in the last four. but Heung-Min Son is definitely out. Eric Dier, Sergio Reguilon, Cristian Romero, and Steven Bergwijn are most likely out.
Arteta can’t be happy about the massive mistakes against Man City. The Gunners won’t be in the hunt for Europe if they continue to make errors like those. They had been on a roll and looked solid until the PK and subsequent red card. This is a big game for them. Takehiro Tomiyasu, Emile Smith Rowe, and Martin Odegaard were not in the EFL roster and are doubts. Thomas Partey, Mohamed Elneny, and Nicolas Pepe are participating in African Cup of Nations. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is out. Granit Xhaka picked up a red card in the EFL game.
Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of Covid, rotation, and players who could get themselves suspended. Here are the 2nd-games for the dgw teams, but your guess is as good as mine who survives the weekend and starts again.
Tuesday, January 18
- Burnley vs Watford
- Brighton vs Chelsea
Wednesday, January 19
- Leicester vs Tottenham
- Brentford vs Man United
Please add any additional thoughts or updates! How are your teams shaping up? Please join us in the commants below!