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PREVIEW: English Premier League returns for game week 22 following FA Cup break

It’s another week of exhilarating English football, one with all the usual thrills and spills – we’re certainly heading toward the business end now, so strap in and enjoy the ride!

EPA/ Isaac Parkin

It’s another week of exhilarating English football, one with all the usual thrills and spills – we’re certainly heading toward the business end now, so strap in and enjoy the ride!

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

Friday 3 February

6/10 Chelsea | Draw 31/10 | Fulham 46/10 (14:30)

Chelsea come into this game as fit as a fiddle, Graham Potter would have had a free weekend to work with his side before they host Fulham on Friday night – I suppose there are perks to not competing on all competition fronts!

Fulham can be tricky from dead-ball situations, but other than that I don’t see them bothering Chelsea. At 6/10 about the home win, I think we can have a punt with a degree of confidence.

Saturday 4 February

7/1 Everton | Draw 39/10 | Arsenal 4/10 (14:30)

I’m incredibly intrigued to see how Everton approach their games under Sean Dyche. We know how he will set up; it’ll be simple, compact, and aggressive…but it can also be incredibly successful. Arsenal is flying now though, and even if it turns into a bit of a scrap, I back them to win.

7/20 Brighton | Draw 42/10 | Bournemouth 7/1 (17:00)

How about this Brighton side! They’ve managed to craft out a little purple patch for themselves now and seem to be scoring for fun. They are still there and there about in the league and have progressed through to the 5th round of the FA Cup (dumping out Liverpool). I can’t see how Bournemouth travel to the Amex and put up a fight, let alone challenge for the points on offer.

4/10 Manchester United | Draw 37/10 | C Palace 13/2 (17:00)

Erik ten Hag would have been disappointed his side dropped points when these two met at Selhurst Park – but I suspect playing at Old Trafford might be a different proposition entirely. United have already had an impressive season – in my opinion – and their record at home speaks for itself. Unbeaten in their last nine at home, I don’t see Palace changing that. 4/10 is short, but I don’t suggest we get cute with this fixture.

9/10 Brentford | Draw 26/10 | Southampton 3/1 (17:00)

This is a tricky game to call. Brentford are incredibly competitive at home, but Southampton can challenge the very best in the league on their day. The Saints have been inconsistent, which eats away at my confidence, but I think they can match the Bees in this one. Neither side have a propensity for keeping clean sheets, between them only one clean sheet can be found from the last 10 fixtures! Both teams scoring at 8/10 might be more than a get out of jail free card…

32/10 Wolves | Draw 11/4 | Liverpool 17/20 (17:00)

I must be honest, the price about the home win seems a little like an outlier to what was expected here. Liverpool have been horrible this season, they are outside of the top seven in the league, knocked out of every domestic cup and face the daunting task that is Real Madrid in Europe. Yes, I know you knew all of that, I just enjoyed repeating it.

Wolves have been all over the place, but like Liverpool, have only won one from their last five. It’s a clash of underperforming teams and I would stay away – if you must take a bet, I think the draw at 11/4 might be the shrewd (and successful) choice.

1/1 Aston Villa | Draw 51/20 | Leicester 26/10 (17:00)

Villa have struggled at times this year, but it must be said they have been unlucky more recently. Leicester no longer has the defensive ability required to play such an aggressive counter-attacking style. They have conceded, on average, a minimum of a goal per game for their last eight games and that might be what lets them down. I’m not entirely confident, but I’m edging toward the home win.

6/10 Newcastle | Draw 28/10 | West Ham 48/10 (19:30)

Don’t get me wrong, Newcastle have been brilliant this year. Eddie Howe has done a stunning job in charge of the Magpies and I’m in no way taking anything away from their success…but they aren’t impossible to beat.

I think West Ham have underperformed this season, when it clicks at the London Stadium, they will be tough to beat. I think this could be a cracker of an encounter, and really could go either way. I’m favouring the over 2.5 goals and both teams scoring market at 15/10.

Sunday 5 February

33/20 Nottingham Forest | Draw 24/10 | Leeds 17/10 (16:00)

Another tough game to call. Forest was duly dispatched at home by Manchester United in the League Cup – but the fact that they were able to reach the final four was already a massive success in their modern history.

Leeds have sort of stumbled through the campaign this year, they haven’t done anything special, but you can’t ignore their chances either. I’m going to remain on the fence by the way, and suggest you punt the Over 2.5 goals market at 17/20.

34/10 Tottenham | Draw 31/10 | Manchester City 15/20 (18:30)

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