GW-21 begins with notable player absences due to AfCON or the Asian Cup, so it will be interesting to watch how teams cope. Africa Cup of Nations runs from 13 January to 11 February, and the Asian Cup starts and ends a day earlier, so teams like Liverpool, West Ham, Tottenham, Wolves need to find ways to win without star players like Salah, Son, Kudus, and Hwang, while United’s Onana is expected to feature before departing for Cameroon. Now, question marks are all over teams who are aiming to nick three-pointers, so let’s have a look at GW-21.
Friday, 12 January
Burnley vs Luton
Luton is currently in a precarious position, standing just one point away from safety and holding a game in hand over Everton. Their confidence is buoyed by a recent victory over Sheffield United, providing momentum as they approach the Turf Moor challenge. This match is deemed a critical six-pointer, with both teams striving for a win while equally determined to avoid losing ground.
Prediction: 0 – 1
Saturday, 13 January
Following a three-match winning streak, Chelsea delivered an unimpressive performance in the Carabao Cup semifinal first leg against Middlesbrough on Tuesday. Mauricio Pochettino’s men are set for a string of three games at home where they have generally displayed better performances and achieved positive results. Meanwhile, despite losing in their recent first-leg clash, the Cottagers put up a stronger showing compared to their west London counterparts.
Prediction: 1 – 2
Despite the Magpies’ resilience at home, their depleted squad is expected to face challenges against the treble winners. In the end, City’s superior quality and depth should pave the way for them to secure all three points. Keep an eye out for KDB’s league return.
Prediction: 0 – 2
Sunday, 14 January
Everton vs Aston Villa
Everton’s recent form sees them winless in five, including four losses. In their last four home matches, the Toffees have won two and lost two. On the other hand, Villa has back-to-back wins, advancing past Middlesbrough in the FA Cup last weekend. Heading into GW-21, the visitors are in second place but could potentially drop to third before kick-off at Goodison Park.
Prediction: 1 –2
While both teams have displayed unpredictability this season, Spurs have generally appeared stronger. However, with the advantage of playing at home, the Red Devils are likely to secure at least a draw.
Prediction: 0 – 0
Sunday, 20 January
Arsenal vs Crystal Palace
With talents like Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard in the mix, it seems inevitable that the Gunners will find their form again. Well-rested after a 13-day break following their FA Cup defeat, they might click back into gear, potentially securing a victory against an out-of-form Crystal Palace that will probably miss star Olise’s scoring ability.
Prediction: 3 – 1
Brentford vs Nott’m Forest
Brentford is one side that is having a shocker of a season, and the Ivan Toney situation is something that can possibly determine their season; whether he leaves in the January transfer window or stays at the club. At Forest, the new manager change is truly working with Nuno finding ways to earn three-pointers for his new club.
Sunday, 21 January
Sheffield United vs West Ham
The home team has won only one match in the last five, while the away team has secured victories in four of the last five. West Ham has shown good form, with a total of 10 wins, 3 draws, and 6 losses. This can be another chance for the Hammers to continue their winning form.
Prediction: 0 – 2
Bournemouth vs Liverpool
Liverpool has been unstoppable, somehow always finding the back of the net even when not seeming to be in best form. Dominic Solanke has been on fire for Bournemouth, netting 12 league goals, but he’s coming off a knock. There’s a sense that if fit, the former Liverpool striker might find the net against his old club, but the Reds’ talent that may gain the three pointer to continue leading the Premier League table.
Prediction: 1 – 3
Tuesday, 23 January
Brighton vs Wolves
Brighton faces a challenging encounter against Wolves, who have shown impressive form this season. They have an opportunity to draw level on points with Brighton if they secure a victory in this away match. However, Gary O’Neil will miss his top scorer, Hwang Hee-chan, who is away at the Asian Cup with South Korea.
Prediction: 1 – 1
Have any AfCON and Asian Cup players made your life difficult? Who is your captain? And how is the weather shaping up — Will England thaw soon enough to allow kickoffs on Saturday Jan 20? Please log in to share your FPL thoughts and questions in the comments below!