Premier League New Year’s Day Preview & Betting Tips for Round 21 Games

| December 30, 2021 8:50 am PDT

The Premier League New Year’s Day action brings us four exciting matchups, all of which I’ll analyze in detail in my betting preview. The games in question are the following:

  • Arsenal vs. Manchester City
  • Leicester City vs. Norwich
  • Watford vs. Tottenham
  • Crystal Palace vs. West Ham

Keep on reading to learn everything about the teams’ forms, stats, latest injury news, and more. In addition to all that, you will also get my top betting picks for all the games scheduled for Saturday, January 1.

Manchester City to Beat Arsenal

Arsenal vs. Manchester City is the game that kicks off Round 21 of the 2021-21 Premier League. It’s the first game on the program, as well as the most interesting one.

The reason is that both teams involved have been terrific over the last couple of weeks. Both Arsenal and Manchester City won their previous five games in all competitions.

For one (or both) of them, the winning streak will end on Saturday. If you ask soccer bookmakers, the team that will start the year 2022 with a loss is Arsenal. Oddsmakers are giving the role of a huge underdog to the Gunners and I have to agree with them this time.

There are many reasons why I think Arsenal will lose, starting with the fact that they’ll be without their manager to guide them. The story goes that Mikel Arteta has tested positive for COVID-19, for which he’ll have to stay home.

Speaking of the coronavirus, the Gunners have many confirmed cases, with all three of their right-backs testing positive – Cedric Soares, Takehiro Tomiyasu, and Calum Chambers.

It’s possible that, at least, one of them will return by Saturday. However, after two weeks in quarantine, the guy probably isn’t going to be 100% fit.

More bad news for Arsenal fans is that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s beef with the club management is not fading away. The former captain has been suspended by the club for breaching the disciplinary, for which he was stripped of captaincy.

As if all this wasn’t enough for Arsenal, this team’s schedule is also going to get real ugly. On the first day of 2022, they have to play against the Premier League’s best team – Manchester City.

Not only does Man City have the player quality to beat Arsenal, but the Citizens will be super motivated to do so. The reason is that with a win on Saturday, they make another giant leap toward the title.

Leicester City to Beat Norwich

The year 2021 wasn’t too great for Leicester City. In the first part of the Premier League season, they got to a 7-4-7 record (W-D-L), collecting a total of 25 points, which puts them in the #9 position in the league table.

It’s needless to say that the Foxes have no chance of winning the title, but they could still challenge a Champions League place. For that to happen, they need to continue winning.

They won their previous game, even though not many believed (me included) that they’re going to do it. Last Tuesday, they defeated Liverpool 1-0 despite being huge pre-game underdogs.

The odds on Leicester were as long as +800 before the clash with the Reds. The reason behind that was that they were without eight of their first-team players due to injuries/COVID.

It’s pretty much the same story when it comes to their next game. However, this time, they’re having a much easier task on their hands. Leicester City is taking on the worst team in the league.

I’m talking about Norwich, a team that’s collected only 10 points in 19 games this season. The Canaries have a 2-4-13 record in the 2021-22 season, with a score differential of 8-42.

Ahead of Round 21, they’re the only team in the Prem that still has a single-digit number of scored goals. Speaking of goals, Norwich players haven’t put one away in the previous five Premier League games. The last time they did it was when they drew 1-1 with Newcastle on November 30.

Tottenham to Beat Watford

Antonio Conte’s boys are flying relatively high right now. Even though Tottenham’s played just 17 games so far in the Prem, this team is sitting in the #6 place ahead of Round 21.

It’s all because of their amazing performances in December when we saw the Spurs winning three Premier League games and drawing two. Actually, their good run started even before that. It was October 30 when we saw them losing in the top English flight the last time.

A team whose form has been almost completely opposite is Watford. This team lost their previous five Premier League games and is now sitting just one spot above the relegation zone.

The trouble for Watford is that six of their first-squad players will miss Saturday’s game. Still, even if those guys were fit, the Hornets would still be thought of as major underdogs.

When it comes to the Spurs, they too have some injury concerns, but all of their key men are fit for the Round 21 game.

Crystal Palace and West Ham to Draw

Five of the previous ten duels between Crystal Palace and West Ham finished in a draw. I think their Saturday’s duel will have the same fate.

Even though West Ham is sitting much higher in the standings than Crystal Palace, the fact is that these two have been in a similar form lately. Each team collected seven points in the past five Premier League games, for example.

Further, both teams have been scoring a lot of goals, as well as conceding a lot of them. That said, we will probably see a real thriller on Saturday at Selhurst Park.

So, if you’re not feeling comfortable with betting on the draw – as many soccer bettors are – maybe putting your money on goals would be a better solution?

I think Crystal Palace vs. West Ham game will produce goals galore.

Best Premier League Picks for January 1, 2022

Manchester City (-1.5) Against Arsenal2.30
Leicester to Win to Nil Against Norwich2.75
Tottenham to Beat Watford1.61
Crystal Palace vs. West Ham – Both Teams to Score1.70

You can find these bets at Betway, which is the bookmaker whose odds I used. If you’re wondering why I went with these picks, let me elaborate.

First of all, I think Manchester City will demolish Arsenal. They should be able to win with at least two goals difference, which is a bare minimum.

I also think Leicester City will have an easy job against Norwich, a team that’s been averaging just 0.42 goals per game this season. I just cannot see them improving their scoring average against Leicester, which is a team famously tough to score against.

When it comes to the Tottenham vs. Watford game, I think the Spurs will win, although the Hornets might give them a run for their money.

Finally, BTS seems like the best betting option in the Crystal Palace vs. West Ham game. After all, we’ve seen both teams scoring in nine of their previous duels.

Zarko Naric

Zarko Naric – the World's Greatest Sportswriter, according to his grandma.

Zarko started writing for in 2019, covering sports like soccer, tennis, and basketball,  as well as some more niche sports like cycling, for example.

In addition to writing news, picks, and blog pieces focused on sports, Zarko’s also been covering politics, TV/music contests, and so on.

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