Premier League fixtures to look forward to in January

With the FIFA World Cup concluding on December 18, football fans won’t have to wait long before they can get their fix of the beautiful game. With the Premier League returning on Boxing Day, there a number of enthralling narratives that we can look forward to once the English top-flight returns.

Additionally, given the disruption to the 2022/23 season due to the World Cup taking place during winter for the first time in the tournament’s history – the month of January could prove crucial in the context of a number of clubs’ campaigns.

With that in mind, read on as take a look at some of the highly anticipated Premier League clashes scheduled for January.

Arsenal v Newcastle United

Arguably the two form teams of the competition before the league paused for the World Cup, league leaders Arsenal and third-placed Newcastle United clash at Emirates Stadium on January 3.

The Gunners have amassed an impressive 12 wins in their opening 14 fixtures – with notable victories over top six heavyweights Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea. If they’re to hold on to their spot atop the table however, they’ll need to do it without superstar forward Gabriel Jesus for much of the season – after the 25-year-old suffered a knee injury in Brazil’s 1-0 loss to Cameroon in Qatar.

Fortunately for fans, the Brazilian’s surgery was reportedly a success – however, with him expected to be sidelined for up to three months, it’s a huge blow for Mikel Arteta’s side. Jesus has been brilliant since moving to Arsenal in the off-season, registering five goals and five assists.

With Jesus unavailable, the Gunners will have their work cut out for them against an in-form Newcastle outfit. After managing just one win from their opening seven fixtures of the season, the Eddie Howe-managed side found themselves mid-table. However, their performances over the past two months have been nothing short of exceptional. Having won seven of the last eight, which includes notable victories over top ten opposition in Spurs, Brentford, Fulham and Chelsea – Kieran Trippier and company appear to have hit their stride at the right time.

Their run has catapulted them into third place on the table, and if they can secure a scalp like Arsenal at this point in their campaign, it will do Howe’s squad the world of good as we approach the business end of the season.

For those after football odds, Arsenal will likely enter as favourites come game day.

Manchester United v Manchester City

One of the biggest rivalries in all of world sport, the Manchester Derby is back on January 14 when United host City at Old Trafford. There’s no denying that City have gotten the better of their cross-city rivals in recent years, with the east Manchester club having won three on the trot – including a 6-3 rout of Erik ten Hag’s men in October. And while City are expected to make light work of them once again when they meet next month – United have more of a chance of coming away with the win than many are giving them credit for.

With Red Devils forward Marcus Rashford and midfielder Casemiro starring at the World Cup for England and Brazil respectively – they could pose plenty of problems at the back for John Stones and company. With that being said, it’s not United’s goal-scoring threats or lack thereof that is of concern, it’s whether they can stop opposition forwards and attacking midfielders Erling Haaland, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish and Kevin De Bruyne from running riot upfront.

If they can maintain City’s attacking threats, they’re in with a shot – whereas if they can’t, they’re in for a long night. Nevertheless, it should be an incredibly entertaining contest.

Liverpool v Chelsea

This is an enthralling match-up for different reasons than the fixtures listed above. Both teams are in poor form and barely sit inside the top eight after 17 weeks of football. Chelsea’s inconsistency has plagued them immensely, while Liverpool look far more disjointed since their star forward Sadio Mane left the club in the off-season to join Bayern Munich.

In what is a pick em’ type match-up, Liverpool could get the edge in the January 21 fixture purely because they are at home. It’s hard to separate them otherwise.

Huynh Nguyen

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