English Football: Premier League Matchday 22 PreviewPublished January 1, 2018 by Sol FH
The first week of 2018 Premier League action underway today with matches on Tuesday, and a key game Wednesday evening.
Happy New Year first of all, and welcome to the first premier league matchday preview of 2018. The beginning of the New Year for most is the beginning of slowly starting to break those New Years resolutions, but for the Premier League, it is the beginning of the Winter transfer window. This is a crucial part of the season, as teams can ultimately bring new talent in, or, get rid of weak spots in order to make a charge for the second half of the season.
Let's take a look at what the top flight teams may do with the transfer window, and talk about the key matches this week.
Arsenal vs Chelsea - Wed. 3, 19:45 GMT
Yes, it is the last match of Matchday 22, but it is so very crucial that it must start things off. The Gunners are in 5th place with 38-points, but a win would pull them within 4-points of Chelsea. The Blues, start off 2018 in the second spot in the standings and have been gaining ground on Man. City after last week's 5-0 romping of Stoke. 888 Sport has the Blues as the favorites even though Arsenal is home tonight. Chelsea is 2.55 to win, while Arsenal is at 2.70.
Arsenal is in need of a winger, a midfielder, and a defender. They have been quite vocal about which players they would like to bring in with Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City), Nabil Fekir (Lyon), Leon Goretzka (Schalke), and Thomas Lemar (Monaco). But, in terms of who could be leaving the Emirates is up to question. Arsene Wenger could easily say goodbye to Alexis Sanchez, Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott (loan), or Mohamed Elneny (loan). Chelsea is in need of a left back, a winger, and a new striker. They are looking at Alex Sandro (Juventus), Ross Barkley (Everton), Philipp Max (Augsburg), Yannick Carrasco (Atletico Madrid), and Thomas Lemar (Monaco). Antonio Conte could say goodbye to Kenedy, David Luiz, Baba Rahman, or Michy Batshuayi.
Everton vs Manchester United - Mon. 1, 17:00 GMT
Another big match-up will be between Everton and United. Everton is in 9th position with 27-points, but if they are to turn their season around, tonight would be a great time to start. United is in the 3rd spot even though they haven't actually won a Premier League match since Dec. 17 of last year. The Red Devils are heavily favored to win tonight with Betfair Sports posting odds of 1.75 for the outright win. Everton must overcome odds of 5.50, but don't expect it to happen.
With a budget of around £70 million, Everton will be looking to get a quality left back, defensive midfielder, and a new striker. They are targeting Cenk Tosun (Besiktas), Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace), Steven Nzonzi (Sevilla), Aaron Cresswell (West Ham), Adama Soumaoro (Lille), and Josh Earl (Preston). It may be the end for Oumar Niasse, Mo Besic, Ross Barkley, or Kevin Mirallas though. United has a bit more money to work with, as the £80 million cash and much more in sales could be key to improving the roster. They need full backs, a midfielder, and a winger. Danny Rose (Tottenham), Justin Kluivert (Ajax), Leon Goretzka (Schalke), Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (Lazio), Ryan Sessegnon (Fulham), Malcom (Bordeaux), Thomas Lemar (Monaco), or Christian Pulisic (B Dortmund). To make it happen, Mourinho will most likely give up Henrikh Mkhitaryan, or Matteo Darmian.
Manchester City vs Watford - Tues. 3, 20:00 GMT
The last match with a lot on the line is between the league leaders, Manchester City, and top-flight hopefuls Watford. City still has not lost a single match this season, and are 19 wins and 2 draws for an amazing 59-points. They were held to their second draw of the season last night against Crystal Palace, and actually don't have a lot of time to recover in-between matches, which could be to Watford's advantage. Watford did lose a tough one to Swansea City over the weekend, but it looks like this will be the second-straight league loss. 888 Sport has posted odds for Manchester City at 1.12. If Watford could ever overcome the odds are 18.00.
City is in need of a defender, a defensive midfielder, and a striker. The problem is that after scouting the players to potentially say goodbye to, not one name comes up. They have their eye on Inigo Martinez (Real Sociedad), Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal), Jonny Evans (West Brom), Julian Weigl (B Dortmund), and Ryan Bertrand (Southampton). Watford is in need of a goaltender, a center-back, a midfielder, and a forward. The issue is that they only have £40 million to do so. They are talking to Pontus Dahlberg (IFK Gothenburg), Amin Younes (Ajax), and Islam Slimani (Leicester City). Possible outgoing traffic includes Etienne Capoue, and/or Troy Deeney.
There is a ton of additional action across the UK and we should see some movement in the standings when all is said and done this week.