The Ole Gunnar Solskjaer regime faces its first challenge with a tricky trip to Wembley to face Tottenham.
The Red Devils will be facing a red hot Tottenham side that features Harry Kane, who has scored in each of his last 6 games in all competitions, and Son Heung-min, who has contributed to 12 goals in the premier league since the start of December.
Manchester United, however, are on quite the run of form themselves. The club has looked reinvigorated under the Norwegian, and a win against Tottenham would inflame hopes of a top-four finish. United have won 5 from 5 under caretaker manager Solskjaer, scoring 16 goals altogether. Rashford, Pogba, and Lukaku have regained peak form and are scoring as they did in previous seasons.
Though it may be short-lived, one thing is for sure – Manchester United have their swagger back.
Manchester United will also have some good, old fashioned, voodoo on their hands if they decide to play Alexis Sanchez at his favorite stadium – Wembley. The Chilean has scored 8 goals in 9 appearances at the national stadium. Though he has dealt with hamstring problems in recent weeks, Sanchez should, at the least, be available to come off of the bench this weekend.
Here is the complete week 22 schedule featuring score predictions and storylines to watch:
Saturday, January 12
West Ham 1-2 Arsenal
Arsenal will take the short trip to the London Stadium with a reinvigorated squad to take on the Hammers this weekend. Ozil, Koscielny, Bellerin, Monreal, Mustafi, and Mavropanos are all back in full training. Emery, therefore, will have no excuses to grab a decent result against on form West Ham.
For West Ham, Arnautovic and Anderson will have to produce a bit of magic to outscore the Gunners. West Ham may have a secret weapon on Saturday in the form of Samir Nasri. The Frenchman played 58 minutes in West Ham’s 2-0 victory against Birmingham in the FA Cup. He could potentially create the spark for the Hammers to fuel an impressive upset of top-four hopefuls, Arsenal.
Brighton and Hove Albion 2-2 Liverpool
With Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren out with injuries, Jürgen Klopp will be forced to play Fabinho in defense this weekend. Though Fabinho is a capable player, he will have a difficult task defending Brighton’s Glen Murray, one of the most physical strikers in the premier league.
Brighton score the majority of their goals from set pieces, especially from corners. Though a healthy Joe Gomez and Virgil Van Dijk would provide an adequate defense against the physicality of Brighton, Liverpool’s current defense leaves questions to be answered.
So, do not count Brighton out of scoring a couple of goals against Liverpool this weekend; however the same question will determine the outcome of this game as has determined the results for every Liverpool game for the last two seasons: can Brighton outscore Liverpool?
Burnley 0-0 Fulham
A relegation bout at its finest – Fulham will try to bag a result against a Burnley side that has been a shadow of its 2017/18 self.
Both teams will be cautious going forward but will lack the quality up front to gain more than a point from the match.
Cardiff City 1-1 Huddersfield
Bottom of the table Huddersfield will try to gain ground on relegation neighbors Fulham and Southampton. 17th place Cardiff, however, will ensure a physical competition that will end in a draw.
A dud of a result for two teams that need 2 more points than they will earn this weekend.
Crystal Palace 2-1 Watford
Crystal Palace look to continue their good form with a win against Watford at Selhurst Park this Saturday. Palace have won 3 of their last 5 Premier League matches.
Watford, on the other hand, have slowed down even more from their early-season exploits. They are without a victory in their last 3 Premier League games but remain in a comfortable position in 8th place in the league table.
Leicester City 3-0 Southampton
The Foxes have been in fine form in recent weeks beating Chelsea, Manchester City, and Everton. Following a FA Cup loss to Newport, however, the team’s confidence will be deep in the trenches. The team rotated heavily in the loss though so they should have a strong lineup for Sunday.
Leicester have an opportunity to respond against Southampton – a team who, following the Hassenhuttl revival, have lost steam in recent weeks.
Chelsea 2-0 Newcastle
Though Newcastle has proved to be a bogey team for the Blues over the last 5 years, most of Chelsea’s poor results against Newcastle have come at St. James’ Park. This weekend, the two clubs face off at Stamford Bridge where an injury-ridden Chelsea will hope to make quick work of Newcastle and make up ground on third place Tottenham.
Look for Chelsea to start Callum Hudson-Odoi on the wing alongside Eden Hazard in the striker role and Willian on the other side of him. Chelsea are likely to play the 18-year-old prospect in hopes of enticing him to stay at their club through January despite reports of a move to Bayern Munich.
For the sake of England, Chelsea, and the Premier League let’s hope CHO stays. #dontletCHOgo
Sunday, January 13
Everton 2-1 Bournemouth
Everton holds the advantage ahead of their matchup against Bournemouth this Sunday. Everton has won all three of their home Premier League matches against Bournemouth – a team that has lost 5 consecutive away matches in the league.
Callum Wilson, however, could have something to say as he looks to continue the fine goalscoring form that has seen him score nine goals in 20 appearances this season.
Tottenham 2-2 Manchester United
In what should prove an exciting match, expect these two teams to be too much for one another to pull out 3 points.
Tottenham have the edge in this matchup, however, as they beat United 3-0 earlier this season at Old Trafford. Also, Spurs sit in third place in the league, a position determined for the most part by their clinical forwards Harry Kane and Son Heung-min.
Monday, January 14
Manchester City 3-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Though Wolves have beaten Tottenham, Chelsea, and Liverpool and have drawn against City, United, and Arsenal, they will have a difficult task this weekend.
City is flying at the moment, scoring as many as 9 against Burton in midweek. Pep’s men are also hot on the tails of Jürgen Klopp and Liverpool. The added desire in the City squad should ensure that they put on a clinical performance and secure all 3 points at the Etihad this weekend.
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