Premier League Predictions 22 January 2012

Super Sunday lives up to its name for once with two cracking fixtures taking place on 22 January. First up, Premier League leaders Manchester City take on third-placed Tottenham Hotspur at the Etihad and later on, second placed Manchester United travel to the Emirates to face Arsenal. Victories for both Manchester sides are predicted – find out why here.

Manchester City vs Tottenham Hotspur

This has been a massive fixture for both teams in the past couple of seasons. In 2010, striker Peter Crouch got the winner to guarantee Champions League football for Spurs for the first time and last season, an own goal from Crouch in a 1-0 defeat meant it was City who would play in Europe’s most lucrative competition.

City top the Premier League table and go into the match three points ahead of local rivals United. A victory against Spurs is imperative to keep a three point margin should Alex Ferguson’s side win at Arsenal later in the day. City have an excellent record at home this season – winning all 10 matches and have scored 31 goals in the process, conceding just four.

Spurs have also been excellent on the road this season – winning six, drawing two and losing two but it could be argued the pressure is getting to Harry Redknapp’s side. Spurs could only muster a 1-1 draw at home against Wolves last weekend, with Luka Modric sparing his team’s blushes after they fell behind to a Steven Fletcher goal in the first half.

Compare that to City, where much has been said about their vulnerability due to the loss of Vincent Kompany to suspension and Yaya and Kolo Toure leaving for the Africa Cup of Nations. On Monday night they faced a difficult trip to a Wigan side fighting for their lives at the bottom of the table. But, while Spurs only drew, City held their nerve to grind out a 1-0 victory and get back on track after suffering successive Cup defeats.

Spurs have won four of their last six visits to City but with Roberto Mancini’s side holding onto a perfect home record so far, I think they are capable of adding another tick to the win column.

Verdict: Manchester City @ 1.91 (Ladbrokes)

Arsenal vs Manchester United

The City result will determine just how vital this match is for United but if Alex Ferguson’s side harbour any ambitions of overtaking their local rivals, a victory against Arsenal would be a good start.

Arsenal will want to throw a spanner in the works and gain some revenge for the humiliating 8-2 defeat at Old Trafford last August. But, depending on Saturday’s results they will be at least four points behind fourth placed Chelsea going into this match and still licking their wounds from a 3-2 defeat at Swansea last weekend, they won’t want to do anything stupid.

Champions League football is the goal for Arsene Wenger this season and they cannot afford many more slip-ups if they are to overtake their west London rivals. If they can’t do it, Newcastle and Liverpool will give it a good go. Not losing this match will be on Wenger’s mind.

United have a solid away record this season, winning seven out of 10, two draws and just one defeat – exactly the same record that Arsenal have at the Emirates this season. The goals for and against are almost identical too: Arsenal have scored 16 and conceded six at home, while United have scored 19 and conceded six away.

In terms of picking goalscorers – both Arsenal and United hotshots have a great record against each other. Arsenal striker Robin Van Persie has netted three times past United while Wayne Rooney has scored six goals in his last six appearances against the Gunners in all competitions.

Verdict: Manchester United @ 2.62 (Paddy Power)

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