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Trent Alexander-Arnold
Odds and Ends

Premier League Pick 'Em Matchday 22 Analysis

by Nick Hennion
Updated On: January 14, 2022, 12:14 pm ET

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The Premier League season has returned, and so has your chance to cash in big. 

The free-to-play Premier League Pick ‘Em contest made its return in the NBC Sports Predictor app along with the new EPL season and continues this week with a new slate of five games. 

Each matchday, participants are given five Premier League contests in which they attempt to predict the final score of each fixture. If a player nails all five scores correctly, they can walk away with a cold $50,000 jackpot! 

Even if no entry correctly picks the five scores perfectly, there’s still a weekly guarantee of $1,000 in prizes for players with the top overall scores. 

Here’s a look at the five matchups selected for this week’s contest, as well as our prediction of the eventual outcome. 

Matchup #1 - Newcastle United vs. Watford

Analysis: Newcastle are desperate for the points and I think you see them come out and play like it. Even though they’ll be without Callum Wilson, new signings Kieran Trippier and Chris Wood should reinvigorate this Newcastle attack and expose Watford’s weak defense, which has allowed at least 1.5 xG to the Magpies in two straight meetings. Plus, although they drew 1-1 at Vicarage Road, Newcastle won on xG 2.5-1.1. Go for the hosts to grab all three points as they seek to escape the relegation zone. 

Prediction: Newcastle 2, Watford 1

Matchup #2 - Aston Villa vs. Manchester United

Analysis: If there’s one thing I definitely expect from this fixture, it’s goals. In their last two head-to-head meetings, these sides have combined for eight big scoring chances, but have only scored two combined goals. Plus, both sides arrive in good offensive form. In Villa’s last five EPL fixtures, they’ve generated seven goals on seven expected while United have produced nine goals on 8.9 expected in their last six EPL fixtures. Plus, with the additions of Philippe Coutinho and Lucas Digne, expect Villa to play a much more offensive style. That said, go for each side to earn a point at Villa Park. 

Prediction: Aston Villa 2, Manchester United 2

Match #3 - Liverpool vs. Brentford

Analysis: We collectively caught a glimpse of Liverpool sans Mo Salah and Sadio Mané in the League Cup, and it wasn’t pretty. Now, on short rest, they have the same attack that couldn’t break down a 10-man Arsenal battle a Brentford defense that is due for some positive defensive regression. This season, the Bees have conceded 30 goals on 23.6 expected, per fbref.com. Additionally, they’ve never kept a clean sheet in their last six EPL fixtures, but have kept three sides under 1.0 xG. Liverpool get all three points here, but it should be closer than their past home victories. 

Prediction: Liverpool 2, Brentford 1

Match #4 - West Ham vs. Leeds United

Analysis: Patrick Bamford and Jack Harrison should be back in the fold for manager Marcelo Bielsa, which will undoubtedly give a boost to Leeds’ attack. The other positive relating to the visitors is that they’re due for some good Fortune against West Ham as they’ve scored twice on 4.5 xG in their last three contests. That said, Leeds’ defense has never proven capable of limiting West Ham’s attack. In the last three matchups, Leeds have conceded six times on six expected, per fbref.com. Given how well West Ham have played at home this season - wins in four of the last six, xG wins in eight of ten - go for the Hammers to win all three points in a high-scoring affair. 

Prediction: West Ham 3, Leeds 2

Match #5 - Tottenham vs. Arsenal

Analysis: Although Tottenham lost 3-1 in the reverse meeting at the Emirates, they won the second-half on xG and matched Arsenal on big scoring chances. Now they return home where they’ve had much more success in the North London Derby. Spurs are unbeaten in the last four NLD’s at their home ground (W3-D1) and have held Arsenal below one unexpected goal in three of four as well. Add in that Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta may be without Martin Odegaard and that Spurs have won all three home matches under Antonio Conte on xG and I expect Spurs will snatch all three points from under the Gunners. 

Prediction: Tottenham 2, Arsenal 1


Nick Hennion

Nick Hennion serves as a soccer betting contributor for NBC Sports EDGE. Previously, he served as a social media and television producer at the Vegas Stats & Information Network (VSIN) after earning his master’s degree in sports journalism at Northwestern University. You can find him on Twitter @NickHennion.