It’s time for the last Cyril’s Edge column of 2021, as I take a look at what the traditional New Years games have in store – let me know what you think of my predictions!
Arsenal vs Man City
Will 2022 be the year the cannon outside the Emirates fires with all its might? It’s going to be a tough first game for the Gunners. Mikel Arteta might not be in the dugout, due to covid. Pep Guardiola will see this as a bonus, not facing his protégé. The depth within the league leaders should get them the three points. Arsenal has the energy and quality, but that should only manifest into a consolation goal. BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE.
Leicester vs Norwich
The Foxes went from rock bottom (City loss) to sky-high (Liverpool win) in the space of three days. Brendan Rogers had to deploy a makeshift centre-back pairing and it proved to work against the Reds. This could still be an option if it’s necessary against the Canaries, but Dean Smith will look to exploit that pair. We’ve seen some odd results in the league, and this could be one of them. Leicester City will be up for it and will rely on the in-form Maddison to run the show. Foxes to Win UNDER 3.5 GOALS.
Crystal Palace vs West Ham
The Eagles enjoyed a comfortable midweek win against Norwich. They did that without the instrumental manager Viera at the helm and he could be missing against the Hammers. West Ham’s victory over Watford was impressive. Tight clash without a doubt and the game could be settled by the odd goal. West Ham should do enough to sneak in a narrow win. WEST HAM WIN.
Southampton vs Newcastle
This game is open and so difficult to call, but it will be a game for the neutrals to enjoy. Both clubs enjoyed solid draws against Tottenham and Man United. That momentum will be carried into this clash, but the Magpies lost Callum Wilson and Saint-Maximin to injuries. This will be a huge loss and could tip the scales towards the Saints. Miguel Almiron could step in, and he could be the lynchpin for Newcastle. The hosts will be wary of this, but they will be eager to give the home fans a winning start to the New Year. SOUTHAMPTON TO WIN UNDER 3.5 GOALS.
Norwich vs Arsenal
The Gunners are on a decent run of form with four consecutive wins in all competitions. We shouldn’t get too carried away with this, but Gabriel Martinelli is on fire. Despite a positive start under Dean Smith, the League’s bottom side is now without a win in five matches. Losing the last three and scoring once during that span. Arsenal will have more quality on show and should do enough to secure the win. ARSENAL WIN UNDER 3.5 GOALS.
Chelsea vs Liverpool
This is a six-pointer with the loser falling of the title challenge. Thomas Tuchel cannot afford to lose any more ground. Jurgen Klopp will have his troops revved up to bounce back from the Leicester loss. Lukaku was back amongst the goals and could be the man to spearhead Chelsea to the crucial points. Mo Salah will be eager to make amends after his penalty miss at the King Power Stadium. The best option here, BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE.
Man United vs Wolves
The pressure is already on Ralf Ragnick to produce quality football and results. Adapting to his style of play will take some time. United will need to win these types of games to keep their top-four aspirations alive. Wolves’ clash with the Gunners was postponed due to covid. Despite that, with players missing, it will be a tough clash. United will know that this is non-negotiable and go out and put on a New Year show for the fans. UNITED TO WIN.