Premier League are set to return to action next midweek amid growing COVID-19 related concerns, with three top-flight games ready to go ahead.
According to the Daily Mail, the FA will undermine any attempts to reschedule postponed Premier League matches during the winter break.
So while a host of top-flight teams will battle in the cup competitions over the next seven days, the others will proceed with league action.
Let’s have a quick look at the three upcoming Premier League fixtures.
Southampton vs Brentford
Southampton’s 2022 Premier League action gets underway at St. Mary’s Stadium as they take on the newcomers Brentford in their first-ever top-flight meeting.
A 1-1 home draw with Tottenham Hotspur to close 2021 out extended the Saint’s unbeaten run in domestic affairs to three matches (W1, D2), though it is only enough for a dismal 14th place in the Premier League table.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men have established themselves as the ‘stalemate specialists’ this season, playing out more home league draws (six) than any other Premier League side so far.
Additionally, only two venues have featured a lower goals-per-game average than St. Marry’s (1.88) this term, highlighting Southampton’s reputation as the ‘entertainment killers.’
Meanwhile, Brentford enjoyed a stellar start to the new calendar year, coming from behind to beat Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa 2-1 on New Year’s Day.
However, following back-to-back away wins at Wolverhampton and West Ham, the Bees have gone winless in their last five Premier League matches on hostile turf (D2, L3).
But despite their uneventful form on the road, Thomas Frank’s men are still above Southampton in the league table and look to be on course of extending their top-flight status.
Everton vs Leicester City (Update – Now postponed)
Everton‘s hopes of finding their way out of a severe crisis face a daunting task as mid-table Leicester City are set to arrive at Goodison Park.
After another COVID-19 outbreak forced the postponements of their league fixtures against Burnley and Newcastle United down the final stretch of 2021, the Toffees experienced a nightmarish start to 2021.
They suffered a 3-2 home defeat to Brighton to begin the new calendar year in disturbing fashion, with the pressure ramping up on under-fire manager Rafael Benitez.
Except for a 2-1 triumph over Arsenal, the Merseysiders have failed to win 11 of their last 12 Premier League games (D3, L8) and currently languish in 15th in the table. Even then, this game should be the most popular on soccer streaming sites next week in terms of Premier League fixtures thanks to the fanbases of both sides.
In the meantime, Leicester have blown hot and cold lately, alternating between victories and defeats across their last four Premier League outings (W2, L2).
A lack of consistency, coupled with a growing list of positive COVID-19 cases at the King Power Stadium, has played a significant role in the Midlanders’ lacklustre showings.
With fourth-placed Arsenal already ten points clear, time is ticking for Brendan Rodgers’ men, who are desperate to return in contention for Champions League football next season.
West Ham United vs Norwich City
London Stadium is the venue as fifth-placed West Ham United entertain relegation-battling Norwich City in a must-win Premier League encounter.
After a run of three consecutive league matches without winning (D1, L2), the Hammers have won their last two top-flight fixtures in a row, including a 3-2 victory at Crystal Palace on New Year’s Day.
West Ham’s noticeable upturn in form has seen them take advantage of Arsenal’s recent slip-up against Manchester City to whittle down the gap to a single point.
With the Champions League promotion within touching distance, David Moyes’ side will see Norwich’s visit to the capital as a perfect opportunity to solidify their position in the top-four race.
The Londoners have won both previous Premier League H2Hs by an aggregate score of 6-0, hence their status as overwhelming pre-match favourites.
On the other hand, a horrendous 3-0 defeat at Selhurst Park in their final league game of 2021 poured more misery on Norwich’s disastrous domestic campaign.
Dean Smith could be waving goodbye to Carrow Road despite only taking over the managerial reins in November, as his team head into proceedings on a run of five league losses without scoring.
Back to the foot of the table, the Canaries will have to launch a comeback in the second half of the season if they are to avoid another swift relegation to the Championship.