Best January Premier League Matchups
January is one of the most critical months in the Premier League. Champions League is on hold until February and International matches are few, with only an occasional friendly taking players away from their professional clubs. With the January transfer window upon the sport, many of the sides will try to shore up their defence, add some offence or do some of both. Usually, signings at this time involve less money, but nevertheless a significant move can keep a team out of the relegation zone or help secure a coveted Champion’s League or even a Europa League spot. No matter what happens, these are the matches you should watch.
Wednesday, January 4
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Chelsea
The second half of this all-London derby at White Hart Lane is the last match of the Premier League festive season. The Spurs will seek revenge for the last match in which Chelsea held superstar striker Harry Kane scoreless while young phenom Dele Alli only had a single assist in a match that Chelsea won by a 2-1 score. That contest handed the Spurs their first loss of the season as previous Tottenham had either ended in a win or a draw.
Sunday, January 15
Manchester United vs. Liverpool
Although technically not a derby, this match might as well be as the two cities in Northwest England are only about 40 miles apart. Look for drama at some point in the match from the self-avowed “Special One,” Jose Mourinho, United manager, particularly if his side remains outside of a coveted Champion’s League spot. Liverpool has had difficulty with its defense all season. Watch for maneuvering by colorful Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp to do some creative maneuvering later in the match, particularly if his side is trailing.
Everton vs. Manchester City
The two blue teams from Manchester and Liverpool will face each other on the same day at Goodison Park in Liverpool. The big question for this contest is whether Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City crew will have settled into the possession-style of football that the Spaniard prefers. City have struggled with with Guardiola’s style all season, playing erratically, even in games that they have won. The last meeting between the two clubs in October ended in a 1-1 draw. Look for the Evertonians, always a mid-table squad, to give City a run for the money.
Tuesday, January 31
Liverpool vs. Chelsea
This match closes out January at Anfield in Liverpool where the two cross-country rivals may possibly battle for first place. A revived Chelsea, led by manager Antonio Conte, has led the table almost all season. Liverpool won the previous match 2-1 between the two clubs in September, but Chelsea has gained strength since that time. Look for striker Diego Costa to take advantage of holes in Liverpool’s defence.