Welcome to Football Gamblers Predictions for Matchweek 31 of the 2021/22 Premier League season. Who needs Mark Lawrenson's predictions from the BBC, or Jones - who apparenty - Knows Best, from Sky etc, when you've got Football Gamblers free match predictions!
The Premier League is notoriously hard to predict the first weekend back after an international break. Players can seem a bit lethargic and there can be the odd duff performance and a couple of shock results.
But with the Premier League title race now almost neck and neck between Manchester City and Liverpool, neither side can afford to be off the boil when Matchweek 31 kicks off on Saturday.
And the team getting proceedings under way is Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool. The Reds host the Hornets in the lunchtime kick off knowing that a point will put them top - albeit for about 2 and a half hours until Man City visit Burnley.
Elsewhere, there's no major head to head clashes. Man Utd take on Leicester hoping to close the gap on Arsenal and overtake Spurs for a day in the fight for a top 4 finish.
While at the bottom, it looks like damage limitation for Watford and Burnley, while Norwich have to get something at the out of form Brighton if they are to close the gap on the two sides immediately above them. Only then can they start to think about survival.
Liverpool vs Watford - Saturday 12.30pm
It might seem odd to say this, but Jurgen Klopp needs to make sure that there is no hangover from the Senegal vs Egypt World Cup qualifier last Tuesday.
For the second time in a matter of weeks, Sadio Mane has put one over his illustrious teammate Mo Salah, and the Egyptian forward must by now be sick of the sight of him by now.
I'm sure they're both too professional to let that affect them, and they both know they have to put hostilities behind them if they have any chance of catching Man City.
As for Watford, they've got Leeds and Brentford on the horizon, and they may well have one eye on future battles.
Former Reds' boss RoyHodgson didn't pick up 1 point away to Liverpool as manager of Crystal Palace, and with Liverpool on a nine match Premier League winning run, I don't see Hodgson's luck changing.
- Verdict - LIVERPOOL WIN
Brighton vs Norwich - Saturday 3pm
Well, I'm not sure what to say here! One for the purists perhaps?
In fairness, both these teams play the game the right way, and both will see this fixture as an opportunity to end losing runs.
Brighton has lost their last six PL matches in a row. Their worst run since Graham Potter took charge - and beyond!
As for Norwich, they also are struggling and are on a seven match losing streak.
I'd have to give Norwich some credit though, they still look like they've not quite given up yet. But as Roy Keane said, they look good in between the boxes, but poor inside them.
They do have a goal in them, but I think that the Canaries find it too difficult to keep goals out at the other end.
Somethings gotta give at the Amex though, and I'm just edging towards a home win.
- Verdict - BRIGHTON WIN
Burnley vs Man City - Saturday 3pm
The Clarets had their mini revival back in February, but have since lost three on the spin. All in all, they are now four matches without a win. So on a run like that and desperate for points to stay in the Premier League, what is the last thing Sean Dyche’s team wants?
Yes, a visit from Man City, of course!
Back in October, Burnley only lost 2-0 away at the Etihad, as opposed to the usual five goals they tend to concede in the Blue half of Manchester. I remember on the day thinking that Burnley had done well.
So with 3 points imperative for City this weekend, I fear for the Clarets.
- Verdict - MANCHESTER CITY WIN
Chelsea vs Brentford - Saturday 3pm
Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea are on a five match winning run in the Premier League, and have won 12 from their last 13 in all competitions.
The Blues look comfortable for third place in the table, but they can’t take it for granted just yet, and still need to keep going.
The Bees will consider themselves unlucky to have lost to Chelsea in the reverse fixture in October. But despite winning two of their last three, I can’t see them getting anything at Stamford Bridge.
The two wins over Norwich and Burnley were huge for Thomas Frank’s team, and they may well have already secured them another season in the top flight.
- Verdict - CHELSEA WIN
Leeds vs Southampton - Saturday 3pm
How big a win was Leeds’ 3-2 comeback against Wolves in Matchweek 30? That remarkable comeback, along with the injury time winner against Norwich the previous week, have given Leeds a 7 point gap over the bottom 3, and more importantly, some breathing space.
This will release some of the pressure that had been building, and in turn could improve performances.
Leeds have been hit with the news that Patrick Bamford is out for at least the next six weeks, but even without their main striker, they will still see a match against out of sorts Southampton as winnable.
After an impressive run in the new year, Southampton are now on a three match losing streak. Away from home they haven’t been too clever this season, and it is a big ask to expect the Saints to turn that around after their last three results.
Neither of these two are trustworthy or predictable though, so I’m going for a draw.
- Verdict - DRAW
Wolves vs Aston Villa - Saturday 3pm
I’m sure Bruno Lage will tell his players that the last 30 minutes against Leeds shouldn’t have to be season defining. All in all, it’s been a great season for the men from Molineux, so they shouldn’t be too downhearted by letting one match slip away.
As for Aston Villa, it seems like they are progressing under Steven Gerrard, but for every step they take forward, they seem to take another backwards one.
A decent three match winning run has been followed by back-to-back defeats, although they were at the hands of West Ham and Arsenal.
This is another of those matches that could have any one of three results. As regular readers probably know by now, that means I tend to go with the draw.
- Verdict - DRAW
Manchester United vs Leicester - Saturday 5.30pm
Here we go again, two of the more volatile teams in the Premier League meet in the evening kick off on Saturday.
After a couple of poor results, Manchester United - or should I say Cristiano Ronaldo - pulled a performance out of the bag when they beat Spurs 3-2 in their last outing.
The Red Devils should be helped out on Saturday by an inconsistent Leicester team who have had an especially poor season on the road. The Foxes have shored up that leaky defence a bit lately, but I can see United having too much for them on Saturday.
- Verdict - MANCHESTER UNITED WIN
West Ham vs Everton - Sunday 2pm
Onto Sunday, and it’s Everton on the road again. Yes, the Toffees take their fragile confidence and team to West Ham, who themselves have been a bit up and down lately.
West Ham have won their last two home PL matches, and also had THAT night against Sevilla in the Europa League. The run ended with a 3-1 defeat away to Tottenham just before the international break.
Everton boss Frank Lampard went all in on the back of his team’s 4-0 loss to Crystal Palace in the FA Cup. Lampard publicly criticised his team on the back of that defeat, and that was a massive gamble.
If it pays off, great. If it backfires, it could have disastrous consequences for Everton. Either way, on current form, I can’t see them heading back to Merseyside with anything other than another defeat.
- Verdict - WEST HAM WIN
Tottenham vs Newcastle - Sunday 4.30pm
Tottenham’s 3-1 win over West Ham has put them right back in the mix for a top 4 finish, and they know they can’t afford any slip ups this weekend if they are to maintain that push.
Both Man Utd and Arsenal have winnable looking matches this weekend, meaning Spurs have to be ready for a confident Newcastle side, who have been on an excellent run of late.
Yes, Newcastle may have lost their last two, but they can consider themselves extremely unlucky against Chelsea. Although in the defeat away to Everton, they only had themselves to blame.
I don’t think this is a cut and dried home win, but I think Spurs will find a way.
- Verdict - SPURS WIN
Crystal Palace vs Arsenal - Monday 8pm
I know, I’ve just said that Arsenal have a winnable match on Monday, and on form, I’d have to stand by that view.
Yes, Palace have had a great season under Patrick Viera, and they’ve done far better than I thought they would under the guidance of the Frenchman.
Formwise, Palace are four unbeaten, with two draws, and two wins. While for Arsenal, they have won six of their last seven.
The one defeat came at the hands of Liverpool, but the Gunners came back well from that setback by winning 1-0 at Villa Park the following weekend.
I have a sneaky feeling Palace will make this a difficult night for the Gunners, but I have to go with Arsenal to find a way to win…. Again!
- Verdict - ARSENAL WIN
Thanks for reading our Premier League 2021/22 Matchweek 31 Match Predictions.
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