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Key Premier League games in January: What’s in store this month

| 02.01.2022

Key Premier League games this month

January is a crucial month in both the Premier League title race and relegation battle, so we’re taking a look at some of the most important matches over the next five weeks.

Champions Manchester City, 1/9 to retain their title at the start of 2022, begin the year with a mouth-watering trip to Arsenal and also take on Chelsea a couple of weeks later.

The fixture compilers will have to find room to fit in many games postponed for Covid cases in between the FA Cup and two-legged Carabao Cup semi-finals but we are focusing on some of the key Premier League games this month that are set in stone.

Arsenal v Man City (Jan 1)

New Year’s Day gets off to a cracking start as Manchester City look to go 11 points clear at the top of the table by winning their 11th successive Premier League game in a top-four clash at the Emirates.

City head to north London with confidence having beaten the Gunners nine times in a row in the top flight, the last five without conceding, including a 5-0 win at the Etihad in August.

Mikel Arteta will be absent for the game having tested positive for Covid for the second time in 21 months but four successive wins mean they take on City in good shape, although they have lost four of their five games against the traditional top six this season.

Chelsea v Liverpool (Jan 2)

Twenty-four hours later another top-four clash takes place at Stamford Bridge where Chelsea and Liverpool are bidding to keep pace with City.

The Reds head into the game having taken just one point from their trips to Tottenham and Leicester while the Blues could only draw with Everton, Wolves and Brighton in a four-match spell in which they beat Aston Villa.

Thomas Tuchel insisted Chelsea would be “stupid” to think they could compete for the title with a squad ravaged by Covid-19 and injury but Romelu Lukaku is back, scoring in his last two Premier League games, so they are not without hope.

The Reds are bidding to win at Chelsea for the third year in a row in what should be one of the key Premier League games this month.

Leeds v Burnley (Jan 2)

On the same day there is a very important game towards the foot of the table as Burnley travel to Leeds just 72 hours after they take on Manchester United at Old Trafford in the final Premier League game of the year.

Leeds were forced to postpone the Boxing Day clash with Liverpool and the game against Aston Villa two days later because of coronavirus and injury issues, so it remains to be seen what shape they will be in at Elland Road where Patrick Bamford is “touch and go” to return.

Man City v Chelsea (Jan 15)

The week after the third round of the FA Cup involves a blockbuster clash between Manchester City and Chelsea, who simply cannot afford to lose if they are to entertain thoughts of winning the title.

Tuchel’s normally chirpy demeanour disappeared on the back of a 1-1 draw with Brighton during which Reece James and Andreas Christensen joined a lengthy injury list.

City deservedly won the reverse fixture 1-0 to make it three successive matches in which the away team had won when these teams met in the Premier League, so Chelsea are not out of the equation.

Tottenham v Arsenal (Jan 16)

The race for fourth spot looks to be a four-way battle between Arsenal, West Ham, Manchester United and Tottenham, so the north London derby certainly qualifies as one of the key Premier League games this month.

Antonio Conte, Tottenham manager, Key Premier League games this month

Arsenal enjoyed a 3-1 victory against their arch rivals almost four months ago but Antonio Conte has revitalised Spurs since replacing Nuno Espirito Santo and Harry Kane is starting to find his scoring boots again.

The home team has won the last four north London derbies and the last time the away side triumphed came nearly eight years ago.

Leeds v Newcastle (Jan 22)

Leeds have another relegation scrap on their hands in January but they could be up against some unfamiliar faces in Newcastle’s starting line-up if the club’s cash-rich owners decide to make new signings during the transfer window.

At the start of 2022, the Magpies had won just once, although eight draws meant they were one point and one place clear of bottom-of-the-table Norwich.

Man Utd v West Ham (Jan 22)

At the other end of the table, a spot in next season’s Champions League is the prize potentially on offer to one of these clubs who met twice over the space of four days in September.

David de Gea, Cristiano Ronaldo, Victor Lindelof, Key Premier League games this month

Jesse Lingard’s winner gave United a 2-1 at the London Stadium where he spent the latter part of last season on loan but Manuel Lanzini sealed a 1-0 win in the third round of the Carabao Cup at Old Trafford.

United had won the previous three encounters against West Ham by one-goal margins, so a close game looks in prospect in what has been a tricky start for interim boss Ralf Rangnick.

Chelsea v Tottenham (Jan 23)

London rivals Chelsea and Tottenham will meet three times in a hectic 19 days in January having been paired together in a two-legged League Cup semi-final so they should be well acquainted with each other by the time they clash in the Premier League.

The Blues ran out 3-0 winners at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to make it five wins and one draw in the last six meetings between the clubs.

With Conte at the helm and Spurs starting to show signs of improvement, the game at Stamford Bridge could be a much closer affair.

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Warren Barner