Premier League 2012, Week 21 preview and fixtures: Roll your hungover butt out of bed

Julian Finney

Why is there an early game on New Year's Day? Because you did something to anger the schedule gods. Roll out of bed, slam an energy drink, and watch some Premier League football.

Yes, there are Premier League games on Tuesday morning. No one knows why this is a thing.

Tuesday games

West Bromwich Albion vs. Fulham

The Hawthorns; 12:45 p.m. GMT/7:45 a.m. ET

Hey, Premier League. If you were going to make me wake up early on New Year's Day, could you at least give me a marquee fixture? That's not to trash WBA or Fulham, since they're both fine teams, but I want to be woken up by some top-notch football.

Anyway, Fulham kind of stink right now and could really use a result at The Hawthorns. West Brom are facing numerous injury problems, and they'll probably have trouble pulling out a win for that reason alone.

Pick: 1-1 draw.

Manchester City vs. Stoke City

Ethiad Stadium; 3 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET

City will be without the services of Samir Nasri after he got sent off for a headbutt last week. Between his absence and Edin Dzeko's form, Roberto Mancini will probably try some hilariously stupid formation with Yaya Toure in defense or something. Stoke get Ryan Shawcross and Geoff Cameron back from suspension, so good for them.

Pick: 0-0 draw because Stoke.

Swansea City vs. Aston Villa

Liberty Stadium; 3 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET

We didn't actually give Aaron Campeau a week off, he just drowned himself in a vat of acid after Aston Villa's most recent loss. Holy shit are Aston Villa a horrible team.

Pick: Infinity-0, Swansea.

Tottenham Hotspur vs. Reading

White Hart Lane; 3 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET

Spurs are without Gareth Bale, which means they will be extremely boring. They'll start a technically adept central player like Clint Dempsey or Gylfi Sigurdsson in Bale's place, then pass the ball in circles without knowing what to actually do with it. They'll score a goal anyway because Reading are a bad team.

Pick: 1-0, Tottenham.

West Ham United vs. Norwich City

Upton Park; 3 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET

Remember West Ham's surge into the top half? They're quietly cooling off and dropping down the table. They're up against some tough opposition in Norwich, and might drop points once again. This is by far the most 'English' game of the round, with Chris Hughton and Sam Allardyce coaxing their Championship All-Star teams into a form of direct, defensively sound football that will keep them up in the Premier League.

Pick: 1-1 draw.

Wigan Athletic vs. Manchester United

DW Stadium; 3 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET

The Latics looked pretty fantastic in a win over Aston Villa this weekend, though they were playing Aston Villa. They can probably score against Manchester United's shaky center, though they won't stop goals from going in. this might get stupid, like that Newcastle-Arsenal game.

Pick: 11-6, Man United.

Southampton vs. Arsenal

St. Mary's Stadium; 5:30 p.m. GMT/12:30 p.m. ET

Oooh, another stop on the 'Teams That Make Theo Walcott Look Good Magical Mystery Tour'!

Pick: 5-1, Arsenal.

Wednesday games

Chelsea vs. Queens Park Rangers

Stamford Bridge; 7:45 p.m. GMT/2:45 p.m. ET

Blah blah blah garblewarble racism garblewarble Frank Lampard.

Pick: 2-0, Chelsea.

Liverpool vs. Sunderland

Anfield; 7:45 p.m. GMT/2:45 p.m. ET

When these teams first met, their match was an abomination and an absolute disgrace to the sport. Both teams have gotten a little bit better since then, though Liverpool magically got steamrolled by Stoke a week ago. This game might be watchable, but it probably won't be. The commentators will probably talk a lot more about Liverpool transfer rumors than the actual game.

Pick: 0-0 draw.

Newcastle United vs. Everton

St. James' Park; 8 p.m. GMT/3 p.m. ET

If Newcastle's entire squad wasn't injured, this would be the best game of the round by some distance. Hopefully, some of their players can get fit for the match and provide some opposition to Everton. The Magpies have looked downright exhausted at the end of their last two games, and it's unlikely that they'll magically hit peak fitness for this one. Expect another letdown on Tynside.

Pick: 3-1, Everton.

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