Premier League 2012, Week 22 Preview And Fixtures: Sunday Could Be The Biggest Day In This Season's Title Chase

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 14: Jermain Defoe of Spurs reacts during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Wolverhampton Wanderers at White Hart Lane on January 14, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

The real fun comes on Sunday, but the Premier League weekend begins with a fun trip to Carrow Road for Chelsea.

Four of the top five are in action on a Sunday that could either give Manchester City a sizable lead or throw the entire thing into an enormous, chaotic mess. Guess which one I'M hoping for!

Saturday January 21st

Norwich City vs. Chelsea

12:45 GMT (7:45 AM ET); Carrow Road

The only member of the top 5 not in action on Sunday, Chelsea will be paying close attention to the following day's proceedings. Without a pretty impressive collapse by all three teams above them a title is probably out of reach, but they're not so far out front of Arsenal (or Newcastle or Liverpool for that matter) to consider the Champions League a foregone conclusion. As for Norwich, well, let's hope they've enjoyed their stay in the top half!

Pick: Chelsea, 3-1

Everton vs. Blackburn Rovers

15:00 GMT (10:00 AM ET); Goodison Park

Blackburn's win over Fulham last week pulled their head above water, but only just; they're still in a precarious position, and at least two (and possibly all three) of the teams below them look like better teams on paper. Thank goodness then for new loanee Anthony Modeste, because if a striker that can't lock down a regular place for the 9th best team in France won't help Rovers, no one will.

Pick: Everton, 2-1

Fulham vs. Newcastle United

15:00 GMT (10:00 AM ET); Craven Cottage

Newcastle started the season on a tear, ran into a really rocky stretch of schedule and suffered some massive injuries. Funny thing though; the collapse a lot of people predicted didn't come (or at least it hasn't yet) and Newcastle are still within spitting distance of the Champions League in just their second season back from the Championship. I was pretty outspoken in saying that Mike Ashley was out of his mind to fire Chris Houghton and bring in Alan Pardew, but in fairness to me I am a total idiot a lot of the time.

Pick: Newcastle, 2-0

Queens Park Rangers vs. Wigan Athletic

15:00 GMT (10:00 AM ET); Loftus Road

Mark Hughes has a really, really high opinion of his managerial abilities. For the sake of Tony Fernandes' financial health, he'd better hope he's right.

Pick: Draw, 2-2

Stoke City vs. West Bromwich Albion

15:00 GMT (10:00 AM ET); Britannia Stadium

You know, if it weren't for everything they do on the field of play Stoke would be the most interesting team in the Premier League.

Pick: Stoke, 3-1

Sunderland vs. Swansea City

15:00 GMT (10:00 AM ET); Stadium of Light

The MON Express hit a bit of a speed bump last weekend, and a Swansea side that has looked way too good for way too long to label a fluke will provide another tough test for Sunderland. If you're into side bets, a good one might be whether Mark Gower completes more passes than the Black Cats.

Pick: Draw, 1-1

Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Aston Villa

15:00 GMT (10:00 AM ET); Molineux Stadium

The final sentence of the match report for this game will be "There were no survivors."

Pick: Draw, 0-0

Bolton Wanderers vs. Liverpool

15:00 GMT (10:00 AM ET); Reebok Stadium

Though it looks like a rout on paper, this game might actually be interesting; is Bolton's defense bad enough to make Liverpool's attack look competent? It's your classic plastic-bag-caught-in-a-light-breeze-meets-a-leaf-balanced-on-top-of-a-pencil scenario.

Pick: Liverpool, 2-1

Sunday January 22nd

Manchester City vs. Tottenham Hotspur

13:30 GMT (8:30 AM ET); Etihad Stadium

This is easily Spurs biggest game of the season to this point, as a win would further cement their status as completely legitimate title contenders well past the halfway point of the season. It's a big one for City as well; they've looked far from invincible for quite some time now and even more unconvincing over the past month or so. This is as vulnerable as they've been all season, and dropping points in this game would throw the title race into some pretty serious doubt.

Pick: Spurs, 3-2

Arsenal vs. Manchester United

16:00 GMT (11:00 AM ET); Emirates Stadium

Arsenal will be desperate to avenge their embarrassing 8-2 loss earlier in the season. That's silly, because what they should really be desperate for is a fullback or two.

Pick: Draw, 2-2

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