Manchester City can really shut the door on Chelsea and Liverpool this weekend.
City leads Chelsea by 10 points and Liverpool by 11 entering this weekend’s round of Premier League Fixtures. City hosts Chelsea in the first game of the day on Saturday and, with a little help from Brentford, can have a 13-point gap between second place by the end of the weekend.
City’s dominance so far this season means that the race for the fourth and final Champions League spot will be the most dramatic over the first months of 2022. West Ham is currently in fourth on 37 points, two points ahead of Arsenal, four points ahead of Tottenham and six points ahead of Manchester United. All three of those trailing teams have games in hand over West Ham thanks to COVID-19 postponements, so squad depth later this season could end up as the deciding factor for the Champions League.
Here’s what you need to know for this weekend’s round of fixtures. All odds are from BetMGM and all games are on Saturday unless noted.
Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Crystal Palace (Over/under 2.5 goals) [Friday]
Brighton & Hove (+100)
Crystal Palace (+290)
This could be an extremely competitive game to kick off the weekend as the teams are separated by four points in the middle of the table. Brighton has gotten at least a point in its last three EPL games while Palace has lost two of its last three. We’ll take the home team.
Manchester City vs. Chelsea (2.5)
Man City (-145)
Simply put, Chelsea needs to win this game to have any glimmer of hope of winning the title. City stays 10 points up with a tie and goes 13 points with a win. We’re inclined to go with a tie here, because City simply needs to prevent Chelsea from cutting the gap to seven points.
Newcastle vs. Watford (2.5)
A win for either team is massive for their hopes to avoid relegation. Watford is in 17th, two points ahead of Burnley and Newcastle in 18th. Newcastle lost at home to Cambridge United last weekend in the FA Cup. It’s hard to go with either team at this point, so why not a tie that satisfies no one?
Burnley vs. Leicester City (2.5)
Burnley needs to sneak out a win somewhere soon. Burnley has a game in hand on Watford, two games in hand on Newcastle, and three games in hand on Norwich City among the teams in the bottom four. We’re not sure this is the game where it happens, though. Go with Leicester.
Wolves vs. Southampton (2.5)
Did you know that Wolves are just three points back of Manchester United? They’ve gotten seven points from their past three games — including three against Man U — while Southampton is fresh off a 4-1 drubbing of Brentford. Wolves is the pick here.
Norwich City vs. Everton (2.5)
We want to go with Norwich given Everton’s horrid form at the moment. Crazier things have happened, so why not go with the upset.
Aston Villa vs. Manchester United (2.5)
Aston Villa (+200)
Man United (+125)
This is a rematch of United’s 1-0 FA Cup win on Monday. Villa had two goals disallowed in that game and United wasn’t convincing at all themselves. We’re going to go with the under here given United’s messy form at the moment.
Liverpool vs. Brentford (2.5) [Sunday]
Brentford is in no danger of relegation but is brutal away from home. Liverpool, meanwhile, is without Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane as they’re playing in the African Cup of Nations. Someone like Diogo Jota or Roberto Firmino will step up for Liverpool.
West Ham vs. Leeds (2.5) [Sunday]
West Ham (-165)
This is another FA Cup rematch too. West Ham took down Leeds 2-0 at home over the weekend and we’re betting on a repeat performance. The under is pretty tasty too.
Tottenham vs. Arsenal (2.5) [Sunday]
This is an Arsenal team that was eliminated in the FA Cup by Nottingham Forest and Tottenham had to be saved by its stars against Morecambe. Spurs lost to Chelsea in the Carabao Cup over midweek, so we’re inclined to side with Arsenal here as it’s the fresher team.