EPL Match Week 21 Preview
Written By: Mahdi Farahikia
Mark your calendars for EPL Match Week 21 with two hot must-watch games. This week kicks off with a match-up between two big teams in crisis and gifts the fans a heated head-on between two top-four teams. Manchester City will want to return to their winning days, and Tottenham will want to close their gap with the top four. Here is the EPL Match Week 21 Preview.
Liverpool vs. Chelsea:
These teams were predicted to end up among the top four before the new EPL season began. Midway through the season, they are sitting in 9th and 10th place, far from predictions. Their last four match-ups in all competitions have ended in draws, and Chelsea won the previous head-to-head with Liverpool at Anfield. This all means we should have a great game at hand.
Liverpool have better scoring statistics and conceded an almost equal number of goals. It's not to say they are not facing challenges. They lost to Brighton by a three-goal margin, while Chelsea barely beat Crystal Palace. That said, this one will be close. Goals may be scored for both sides, with Liverpool being the favorite for a narrow victory if Salah and Nunez wake up. They have Gakpo, too.
FiveThirtyEight: LIV: 56%, CHE: 22%, Draw: 22%
Odds Shark: LIV: -118, CHE: +300, Draw: +280
Bournemouth vs. Nottingham Forest:
Believe it or not, this is the second time these teams meet in the entire EPL history. Their one and only game, which was in the first half of this season, ended in a 3-2 win for Bournemouth. Things have changed since then. Forest have moved out of the relegation zone with a four-point clearance, whereas Bournemouth are just one point away from the bottom three.
In general, Forest's statistics have improved. They snatched a point from Chelsea. On the other hand, Bournemouth have lost all of their previous five matches in all competitions. However, this is an away game for Forest, where they may stumble. But they can rely on Dean Henderson in goal, and that Bournemouth are in crisis. The visitors may get the three points.
FiveThirtyEight: BOU: 40%, NFO: 32%, Draw: 28%
Odds Shark: BOU: +170, NFO: +175, Draw: +220
Leicester vs. Brighton:
Leicester's previous four games in EPL have ended in defeat, scoring only one goal. Their last win was against another crisis-hit team, West Ham, on the away ground. But what the Foxes don't want to remember is the score in the away fixture against Brighton and that Brighton beat Liverpool and Everton by three-goal margins. It's no secret that the hosts are facing significant
problems. Harvey Barnes missed a few must-score chances against Forest last week. Brighton is likely to snatch the three points of this match at the current rate.
FiveThirtyEight: LEI: 28%, BRI: 48%, Draw: 24%
Odds Shark: LEI: +240, BRI: +110, Draw: +265
Southampton vs. Aston Villa:
Although sitting rock bottom in the table, Southampton have enjoyed three back-to-back wins in all competitions. That said, they've lost four of their previous five EPL fixtures. Aston Villa, under Emery, have improved, sitting in 11th place, just below Chelsea. The hosts' ace card is their free-kick expert, Ward-Prowse. If anything, they have shown that, despite losing many games, they put up a fight.
Aston Villa's days have not been without hiccups. They beat Tottenham on the away ground but shared the points with Wolves. They have the World Cup-winning goalkeeper, but they are far from perfect, and this may turn out to be one of those days. I suspect this match will end in a draw, but an Aston Villa win is also possible.
FiveThirtyEight: SOU: 37%, AVL: 36%, Draw: 26%
Odds Shark: SOU: +180, AVL: +150, Draw: +230
West Ham vs. Everton:
Everton fans made their voices heard in their team's home defeat against Southampton. Neither Moyes nor Lampard is having good days, and one can only speculate which one will lose his job first. Everton scored one goal in each of their last five matches in all competitions. When West Ham score (and there are games they don't), they can score more than one goal. Yet, they failed to defeat Leeds and score anything against Brentford at home. It is difficult to predict this match. A draw is more likely.
FiveThirtyEight: WHU: 55%, EVE: 20%, Draw: 25%
Odds Shark: WHU: -130, EVE: +360, Draw: +275
Crystal Palace vs. Newcastle:
Patrick Viera's side are facing tough times. The only good news for them is, perhaps, that Almiron has not scored a goal in the last four EPL matches. But the Magpies have scored 33 goals this season and conceded only 11 compared to Palace's 17 scored and 26 conceded goals. This is not a good time for Viera to face Newcastle, and they may lose the home game.
FiveThirtyEight: CRY: 22%, NEW: 53%, Draw: 26%
Odds Shark: CRY: +330, NEW: 115, Draw: +255
Leeds vs. Brentford:
Three games make the entire history between these two sides in EPL. One draw and one win for each side, except Leeds haven't beaten Brentford at home. Add to that, Leeds are in crisis, whereas the Bees are soaring. They stung City and Liverpool. In fact, they've snatched the three points from four of their last five matches, only sharing the points with Spurs at home.
Leeds fight hard. Their home match against West Ham ended in a draw, halted Newcastle to a goalless draw, and scored three goals in their 3-4 defeat to Spurs. Brentford must not take Leeds easy; if they keep that in mind, they can earn a hard-fought victory.
FiveThirtyEight: LEE: 41%, BRE: 36%, Draw: 23%
Odds Shark: LEE: +140, BRE: +185, Draw: +260
Manchester City vs. Wolves:
Man City did not have a good week. They got eliminated from the Carabao Cup by Southampton (I know) and lost the Manchester derby to United. Despite the controversy in the derby, City were not up for the game. Haaland, Foden, and De Bruyne were effectively disabled. So, they must make a statement, and, moreover, they must make sure their gap with Arsenal doesn't increase.
Wolves hope to get City on their lousy day so (maybe) they can snatch a draw. It's wishful thinking, as Man City come with a wound to heal. The only medicine is a win at home which they should get from this match.
FiveThirtyEight: MCI: 82%, WOL: 5%, Draw: 13%
Odds Shark: MCI: -550, WOL: +1200, Draw: +650
Arsenal vs. Manchester United:
Boy, oh boy! Look at the EPL table and count the games Arsenal have lost this season. The number is one, and that's from none other than Manchester United. That's (as a reminder) when United were out of form and struggling with the Ronaldo dilemma. The United that beat City last week are very different; they play more like a team; Rashford has improved and scored in all of United's games after the World Cup. The defensive line play with integrity, as they showed in Manchester Derby, where they practically put Foden, Haaland, and De Bruyne out of the game.
However, they came to a halt against Palace in midweek and won't have Casemiro for this match.
On the other side, Ramsdale is proving himself as a reliable goalkeeper. Arsenal have kept their momentum and threaten anyone who comes close. The battle between Arteta and Ten Hag will be an exciting encounter of attacks and counterattacks that will keep the fans at the edge of their seats. Goals will likely be scored, with the prospect of a draw more likely.
FiveThirtyEight: ARS: 53%, MUN: 23%, Draw: 23%
Odds Shark: ARS: -115, MUN: +295, Draw: +280
Fulham vs. Tottenham:
Fulham have not beaten Tottenham in either of their previous five match-ups. However, Spurs' last five games have ended in two wins, two defeats, and a draw with Brentford. Son's season has not been as great as last year, and Kane has found scoring hard. Fulham moved up in the table to sixth place, two points behind Spurs, with one extra game. If they beat their visitors, they can take their seat and hope Tottenham lose their additional match.
On paper and normally, Tottenham would be the definite favorite. But remembering that Fulham beat Chelsea recently gives you pause. Yes, Chelsea are not in good form, but that doesn't undermine Fulham's condition. The point is both teams have points to prove, and the question is who can sound their point louder. If Richarlison is ready to play, Spurs have a slight advantage and may win this match, but a draw is also likely.
FiveThirtyEight: FUL: 28%, TOT: 49%, Draw: 23%
Odds Shark: FUL: +230, TOT: +110, Draw: +270