Top-flight football in its regular guise returns this weekend with a full list of games for us to get our teeth stuck into.
The action commences on Saturday at 12.30, as Tottenham – fresh from a thrilling 3-2 victory over Brentford in midweek – travel to the north west to take on Everton. The Toffees were held to a 0-0 draw against Fulham on Tuesday; a solid point to pick up on the road but one which does not keep them above the drop zone, with Luton’s surprise 4-0 demolition job on Brighton seeing them move to 17th and outside of the bottom-three, a single point above Everton, as we head into Gameweek 23.
Tottenham are well in the mix to secure a top-four finish this season and still find themselves in with an outside chance in the race for the title, sitting eight points behind leaders Liverpool and just three behind second-placed Man City (albeit having played a game more than the Cityzens).
Ange Postecoglou was boosted by the return of star creator James Maddison in midweek, who he will hope can galvanise his team during the second part of the campaign and ensure they secure Champions League football for 2024/25.
A win here away at Everton is imperative, as fifth-placed Aston Villa are hot on their heels and can leapfrog them into the top-four should the north Londoners fail to beat Sean Dyche’s men and Villa claim three points in their fixture this weekend.
Unai Emery’s side will be favourites to complete such a task, too, with a trip to bottom side Sheffield United on the agenda on Saturday. The Blades have only won two league games all season and are cut adrift from safety by nine points as things stand – with their hopes of remaining in the top-flight next season dwindling by a worryingly thin thread.
These two shared the points when they met just before Christmas in a game Sheffield United almost won, but for an extremely late gut-puncher of a goal from Villa which deprived the South Yorkshire club a rare away victory. With this in mind, Blades fans will perhaps be hopeful of upsetting the applecart in this one, especially with new boy Ben Brereton Diaz up front – who joined on loan from Villarreal in January and has gotten off to a flyer with two goals in his opening two games.
The action continues to come thick and fast on Sunday, with four more games filling the slate. The standout bout of the weekend features two title rivals fighting tooth and nail for the bragging rights at 4.30pm, as Arsenal and Liverpool clash for the third time this season.
Having faced off against each other at Anfield over Christmas – a game which ended with honours even at 1-1 – Liverpool were the victors in the reverse fixture at the beginning of January, beating the Gunners 2-0 at the Emirates in the third round of the FA Cup.
A win here is vital for both teams in the title race but it is the hosts that simply cannot afford a slip up. Should Liverpool continue their recent destructiveness and win, that would put them eight points ahead of Mikel Arteta’s men and potentially out of sight, with Manchester City an unwanted filling in the top-three sandwich, dangerously close to upwardally overspilling. A victory for Arsenal, though, would close the gap to just two points and really turn the heat up on Liverpool heading into the business end of the campaign.
Both clubs will take confidence from wins in midweek, with Arsenal beating Nottingham Forest 2-1 away from home and Liverpool teaching Chelsea a lesson at Anfield on Wednesday, thrashing the Blues 4-1. With 17 goals scored in the previous six games between these two heavyweights across all competitions, goals should not be in short supply come Sunday afternoon.
Which net is punished more still remains to be seen.
Premier League GW22 – Fixtures in full
SATURDAY 3RD FEBRUARY
Everton 12:30 Tottenham Hotspur
Brighton & Hove Albion 15:00 Crystal Palace
Burnley 15:00 Fulham
Newcastle United 15:00 Luton Town
Sheffield United 17:30 Aston Villa
SUNDAY 4TH FEBRUARY
AFC Bournemouth 14:00 Nottingham Forest
Chelsea 14:00 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Manchester United 14:00 West Ham United
Arsenal 16:30 Liverpool
MONDAY 5TH FEBRUARY
Brentford 20:00 Manchester City