Premier League Preview and Betting Tips for Sunday, January 2

| December 31, 2021 1:20 am PDT

Round 21 of the 2021-22 Premier League continues on Sunday, January 2. Five games are planned for that day, but you never know with COVID-19. Earlier this week we saw several games getting postponed; hopefully, the same will not happen again.

That said, I’ll go with previewing the following games as if they’re all 100% certain to go through:

  • Brentford vs. Aston Villa
  • Everton vs. Brighton
  • Chelsea vs. Liverpool

In addition to analyzing the listed games, I will also share with you my predictions for the other two of Sunday’s EPL games – Leeds vs. Burnley and Southampton vs. Newcastle.

At the end of the post, you will also find my top betting tips for January 2. I’ll reveal which bets I’m planning to make that day.

Aston Villa to Beat Brentford

Brentford could end up missing eight of its first-team players. No, it’s not COVID, it’s that they’re all injured. When it comes to the coronavirus, Brentford has already gone through a crisis two weeks ago, when 13 of their players tested positive.

Most of those guys have been cleared since, but due to the illness, they had no opportunity to train properly. What this means is that even those Brentford players who can play on Sunday aren’t going to be 100% fit.

It’s a whole different story when Aston Villa is concerned. Most of the Villans’ players are fit and ready, excluding Leon Bailey and Marvelous Nakamba, their long-term absentees.

Of course, the past two years have thought us that in times of global pandemic things can change quickly. However, at this point, Aston Villa’s key men seem ready for the clash. If nothing changes by Sunday, they should have no problems getting a win.

Everton and Brighton to Draw

Everton’s top-scorer in the Premier League is Demarai Grey with five goals. Just behind him are Richarlison, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, and Andros Townsend, each with three goals thus far.

Unfortunately for Everton, it’s possible that none of those guys will play on Sunday.

Grey is out with an unspecified illness, while the other three are still recovering from injuries. The bad news for Everton is they’re not the only ones who are struggling with fitness. The Toffees will take on Brighton without a few other players, including Salomon Rondon, Tom Davies, Fabian Delph, and Yerry Mina.

The worst thing is that the players who are cleared to play against Brighton might be out of shape. The thing is that they haven’t played a single competitive game since December 16.

Meanwhile, Brighton played two games within the last ten days. First, they beat Brentford 2-0 on Boxing Day. Then, we saw them drawing with the reigning Champions League champs, Chelsea.

The game with Chelsea took place at Stamford Bridge last Wednesday and the final score was 1-1. It was a big achievement for the Seagulls, but they must feel as if they could’ve done even better.

It’s because they were the dominant side for a significant part of the game. Not only did they have the ball in their possession longer than Chelsea, but they also created more chances than the favored opponents.

Brighton’s performance in that game has certainly lifted their players’ confidence. They probably feel as if they have what it takes to take all three points from their trip to Goodison Park.

There’s definitely a possibility for that happening on Sunday, but in my opinion, the most plausible scenario is a draw.

Liverpool to Beat Chelsea

Manchester City, the reigning champion of the Premier League, is sitting comfortably in the #1 position. Ahead of Round 21, the Citizens have eight points more than the second-placed Chelsea. They also have nine points more than Liverpool, a team that’s currently in the #3 position.

The good news for the Reds is that they’ve played one game fewer than both Man City and Chelsea. What this means Liverpool is in a slightly better potion to continue the title race than Chelsea.

This goes especially if Liverpool wins on Sunday. If that happens, Chelsea can say farewell to their title dream.

Some people, however, already think that catching up with Manchester City is a mission impossible for the Blues. Their manager Thomas Tuchel seems to feel that way.

“We would be stupid to think we can do it out of Covid and injuries. Just play and everybody would be stupid to do it without 23 fit players,”Chelsea manager said

Tuchel is blaming COVID and injury problems for his team’s disappointing performances in December. They played seven Premier League games that month, winning three, drawing three, and losing one.

Liverpool did better, although we did see the Reds losing their last game of the year. Last Tuesday, they lost 1-0 to undermanned Leicester City, which came as a shock to everyone. Proof of how surprising the result was is that the odds on Leicester were as high as +800.

The Reds disappointed their fans in that game, but they now have a chance to put smiles back on their faces. Unless things change by Sunday, all of Liverpool’s key men should feature against Chelsea. That said, the Reds have the motivation, as well as the player quality to win this game.

Picks for the Remaining Two Games on Sunday

  • Leeds and Burnley to Draw
  • Southampton to Beat Newcastle

I have a feeling that the Leeds vs. Burnley game could get postponed. My feeling isn’t baseless – I think this because Leeds’ roster is decimated with injuries/COVID-19 cases.

However, if the Premier League officials give the game the green light, we’ll probably see a draw happening. It’s just that I cannot see the banged-up Leeds winning. At the same time, I also can’t see Burnley getting anything more than a single point.

It’s a similar situation when the Southampton vs. Newcastle game is concerned. Southampton is better than Newcastle, but they have serious problems with absentees. Still, those problems aren’t serious enough for them to lose to such a disastrous team as Newcastle.

Top EPL Betting Tips for January 2

Aston Villa to Beat Brentford2.45
Everton and Brighton to Draw3.10
Liverpool to Beat Chelsea2.35

If you take a look at the odds, you might get to think that these bets are risky. I don’t think so; the odds are long simply because I took them from, a sportsbook famous for offering attractive Premier League odds.

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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