World Football

EPL Week 22 Picks: Predicting Most Likely Upsets This Weekend

Cardiff manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could spring a surprise against Man City.
Cardiff manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could spring a surprise against Man City.Stu Forster/Getty Images
Michael WadeAnalyst IIIJanuary 13, 2014

With extremely little separating the main title contenders in the Premier League, every game is vital and it is a battle to see who has the most staying power between now and May.    

All the top sides are in fine fettle at the moment, having put together varying runs of form over the festive period and into the New Year. But they are all capable of being beaten, as has been shown far too regularly this campaign.

With plenty of teams scrapping for their lives at the foot of the table, every point is crucial down there and there is little room for complacency; all the struggling sides have shown they are capable of fighting to the last, with just four points separating the bottom eight sides.

Don't be surprised to see another upset or two in Week 22. Let's take a look at which games could provide us with a shock.    

EPL Week 22 Picks
FixtureDateTimePrediction
Sunderland vs. SouthamptonJan. 1812:45 p.m. GMT/7:45 a.m. ET2-2
Arsenal vs. FulhamJan. 183 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET3-0
Crystal Palace vs. StokeJan. 183 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET2-1
Manchester City vs. CardiffJan. 183 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET1-2
Norwich vs. HullJan. 183 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET2-1
West Ham vs. NewcastleJan. 183 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET1-1
Liverpool vs. Aston VillaJan. 185:30 p.m. GMT/12:30 p.m. ET4-2
Swansea vs. TottenhamJan. 191:30 p.m. GMT/8:30 a.m. ET1-2
Chelsea vs. Manchester UnitedJan. 194 p.m. GMT/11 a.m. ET0-1
West Brom vs. EvertonJan. 208 p.m. GMT/ 1 p.m. ET2-0
Premier League

 

Solskjaer Factor to Give Cardiff the Edge over Slick City

Manchester City have an awesome record at the Etihad this season. In 10 games played, they have won 10, scored 38 goals and conceded just six.        

That makes them unanimous favourites for the game against Cardiff City on Saturday, a side that dropped into the Premier League's bottom three after an insipid defeat against West Ham last weekend.

However, they will be galvanised by the appointment of Manchester United great Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, a man whose long allegiance to the Red Devils means he will be desperate to get his first league win as Cardiff boss against his old foes.

Much is expected of Solskjaer after his appointment at the Premier League new-boys. He is a bright young manager and has shown his credentials through his success at Molde, and he will have detailed plans on how he intends to exploit City's individual weaknesses, as per WhoScored.com.

Cardiff have already shown that they have the credentials to beat Manuel Pellegrini's side in the league this season, via a 3-2 victory back in August, and the Solskjaer factor could prove crucial in them completing an unlikely double.

Prediction: Manchester City 1-2 Cardiff

 

Resurgent Red Devils Could Blight Blues Title Charge

David Moyes and Jose Mourinho will go head-to-head in the Premier League on Sunday.
David Moyes and Jose Mourinho will go head-to-head in the Premier League on Sunday.Alex Livesey/Getty Images

It says much about Manchester United's struggles under David Moyes this season that a victory at Stamford Bridge would come as a shock.

Since replacing Sir Alex Ferguson in the summer, former Everton boss Moyes has failed to command the same level of performance from the players as the veteran Scot, and standards have slipped to such an extent that United currently lie a lowly seventh.

A win against title challengers Chelsea, though, could change all that and spark the kind of second half of the season form from United that became synonymous with Fergie's reign. Although hopes of retaining the title are long gone, the chance of making it into the top four remain. A late, possibly lucky win against the Blues could be just the kind of thing to restore some belief to Moyes' team following some demoralising defeats of late.

Wayne Rooney could return from injury in time for the match, as per BBC Sport, and, in front of prospective new employer Jose Mourinho, as reported by Sky Sports, he could inspire United's troubled troops to an unlikely win.

Prediction: Chelsea 0-1 Manchester United

 

Toffees to Come Unstuck as Baggies Bounce Back under New Boss

Former Real Betis boss Pepe Mel is the man charged with improving West Brom's fortunes.
Former Real Betis boss Pepe Mel is the man charged with improving West Brom's fortunes.David Ramos/Getty Images

Roberto Martinez has enhanced his reputation since leaving FA Cup winners Wigan for Everton in the summer.

The Spaniard added to the squad he inherited astutely and has turned the Toffees into serious challengers for Champions League qualification while continuing to play the attractive brand of football that became his trademark during his time with the Latics.

Although Everton have lost just twice all season, West Brom's players, under the charge of Pepe Mel for the first time, will be keen to impress and return to the form of last season, when they produced an unlikely eighth-place finish under Steve Clarke.

The former Real Betis boss holds some similarities with Martinez: He likes to play passing football, has produced results on a small budget, and is likely to fancy his chances of outfoxing countryman Martinez in his first taste of the Premier League.

The loss of Ross Barkley, one of the finds of the season and a star of Martinez's Everton team, to a broken toe is likely to prove a big blow.

Prediction: West Brom 2-0 Everton

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