Month: January 2015

Weekend Preview and Predictions

@0riginalfooty takes a look at the weekend’s fixtures for the 23rd round of Premier League football. Last time out we got six out of ten predictions right and one correct score. Will we do better this week?

Saturday

Hull vs Newcastle (12:45)
Hull were appalling in their last league match where they were thumped by West Ham and their poor form this season continued. Newcastle, meanwhile, have announced that John Carver will stay on until the end of the season – despite not displaying great form under him. Neither side is in great form so a draw looks the most likely result.
Prediction: Hull 1-1 Newcastle

Crystal Palace vs Everton (15:00)
Palace’s magical revival under Alan Pardew continued with an excellent FA Cup victory over Southampton. Everton have really struggled to find their feet so far this campaign but look more solidified at the back than earlier in the season and could return to Merseyside with a point.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-1 Everton

Liverpool vs West Ham (15:00)
The big headline ahead of this fixture is that Daniel Sturridge is due to return in some capacity. His teammates have started to pick up their form in recent weeks but The Hammers will not be easy opponents to beat. Sam Allardyce has turned his side into a well-oiled machine that plays attractive football and will provide a stern test. The Reds should scrape a win, though.
Prediction: Liverpool 2-1 West Ham

Man United vs Leicester (15:00)
If the reverse fixture of this match is anything to go by then this should be an exciting contest. Leicester stunned Louis van Gaal’s men to win 5-3 at the King Power Stadium. United have struggled to put teams to the sword recently while Leicester have improved but The Red Devils should come out on top.
Prediction: Man United 2-0 Leicester

Stoke vs QPR (15:00)
The Potters marched on in the FA Cup by beating Rochdale and sit in the top half of the Premier League. QPR may be in the relegation zone but they are only one point away from safety. They are still yet to pick up a point on the road this season and it seems unlikely they’ll get one here.
Prediction: Stoke 2-0 QPR

Sunderland vs Burnley (15:00)
Gus Poyet has been criticized recently for Sunderland’s style of play and their lack of goals but he will be hoping that the acquisition of Jermain Defoe can help to change that. Burnley have battled for every point this season and there is every chance that they will fight for another one here.
Prediction: Sunderland 1-1 Burnley

West Brom vs Spurs (15:00)
Tony Pulis appears to have instilled belief back into this West Brom team and they won’t fear anyone. Spurs booked a trip to Wembley to face Chelsea in the League Cup final but their midweek match may have taken it out of them. The Baggies could well earn another vital point towards safety.
Prediction: West Brom 1-1 Spurs

Chelsea vs Man City (17:30)
This is the big match of the weekend and one that City will be desperate not to lose. City have slipped to five points behind the leaders in recent weeks and won’t fancy chasing an eight-point deficit. Jose Mourinho’s side are without Diego Costa through suspension and are likely to be without Cesc Fabregas too. City may just feel they have the edge to win but Mourinho knows how to set his sides up against the top teams and they should get a point.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-2 Man City

Sunday

Arsenal vs Aston Villa (13:30)
Arsenal are in excellent form at the moment and are only one point shy of fourth spot. Villa have made some astute signings this window and Carles Gil looks as if he could be the creative spark that they may need. Having said that, they are playing The Gunners at the wrong time and there will only be one result in this one.
Prediction: Arsenal 2-0 Aston Villa

Southampton vs Swansea (16:00)
The Saints crashed out of the FA Cup to Crystal Palace, which now has added a little bit of pressure on them to finish in the top four. I said a few weeks ago that Swansea looked slightly fatigued and the sale of Wilfried Bony leaves them looking less effective in attack. Southampton should come out on top.
Prediction: Southampton 2-0 Swansea

Weekend Preview and Predictions

@0riginalfooty takes a look at the weekend’s fixtures for the 22nd round of Premier League football. Last time out we got four out of ten predictions right and one correct score. Will we do better this week?

Saturday

Aston Villa vs Liverpool (15:00)
Villa are in a real mess at the moment and were fortunate to not lose to Leicester by five or six last weekend. Liverpool, meanwhile, performed well in the first half of their victory over Sunderland with Lazar Markovic finally beginning to demonstrate why they forked out £20m for him. Villa fans are due to launch a protest this weekend over how the club is being run which will only add to the already toxic atmosphere at Villa Park. Another defeat without scoring could really add to Paul Lambert’s woes but it’s hard to see any other outcome.
Prediction: Aston Villa 0-1 Liverpool

Burnley vs Crystal Palace (15:00)
Burnley will have been disappointed in the manner of their defeat to Tottenham Hotspur to be knocked out of the FA cup but realistically The Clarets will be better served focusing on survival. Crystal Palace’s new boss Alan Pardew got off to the best possible start with their win over Spurs last weekend but this is a more important game in terms of doing damage to their rivals. Burnley are generally strong at home and the honeymoon period may end swiftly for Pardew this weekend.
Prediction: Burnley 2-1 Crystal Palace

Leicester vs Stoke (15:00)
The Foxes are on a decent run of form at the minute but their big problem is their inability to take chances. David Nugent could have scored a hat-trick last weekend against Villa but wasted all his opportunities. Stoke were very poor against Arsenal last weekend but it’s not often they perform poorly in two consecutive games and they can come away from The King Power Stadium with a point.
Prediction: Leicester 1-1 Stoke

QPR vs Man United (15:00)
There has been a lot of talk surrounding Harry Redknapp’s position at QPR but I still believe he’ll keep them in the Premier League this season, largely due to their home form. United have hit a sticky patch in their season and have slipped to fourth place following their defeat to Southampton. Due to QPR’s strength at home they are well placed to earn a draw.
Prediction: QPR 1-1 Man United

Swansea vs Chelsea (15:00)
The Swans have lost Wilfried Bony and it will be interesting to see how many goals they score without him. I suspect their outlay will decrease significantly. Chelsea are having no such problem and extended their lead at the top to two points – a lead they will be in no mood to relinquish here.
Prediction: Swansea 0-2 Chelsea

Spurs vs Sunderland (15:00)
It was typical of Spurs to beat Chelsea and then lose to Crystal Palace in the following match – they lack consistency. Sunderland performed admirably in the second half when they were down to ten men but lacked a cutting edge in front of goal. Jermain Defoe should add firepower to their attack but it’s hard to see him doing any damage against his former club here.
Prediction: Spurs 2-0 Sunderland

Newcastle vs Southampton (17:30)
Newcastle are another team who lack consistency and their lack of manager is hardly ideal. Southampton, however, keep marching on and will hope to maintain their push for a top-four spot. I’m still not convinced that they’ll get it but they should win this one.
Prediction: Newcastle 1-2 Southampton

Sunday

West Ham vs Hull (13:30)
The Hammers have slipped to seventh in recent weeks but are still enjoying an excellent season and should finish inside the top ten. Hull continue to struggle and the supporters have accepted that this relegation battle could last to the end of the season. It’s hard to see anything but a home win.
Prediction: West Ham 2-0 Hull

Man City vs Arsenal (16:00)
This is the game of the weekend. City dropped points last weekend to Everton and won’t want to give Chelsea any more impetus in the title race, while Arsenal played as well as they have done for a while as they dismantled Stoke. If they can play like that at The Etihad then they will certainly have a chance but City could call upon Sergio Aguero from the start this weekend, which makes a huge difference. This should be an entertaining game but City will most probably come out on top.
Prediction: Man City 3-1 Arsenal

Monday

Everton vs West Brom (20:00)
The Toffees stopped their slide with a good draw against Man City but they have struggled for form all season and Tony Pulis’ side are no pushovers. It was no surprise to see The Baggies win their first match under Pulis and they will be tough to beat under his stewardship. It could be another frustrating evening for Roberto Martinez’s side.
Prediction: Everton 1-1 West Brom

Leicester 1-0 Aston Villa

Paul Konchesky pulled Leicester to within two points of safety as The Foxes beat Aston Villa.

Konchesky struck a fine left-footed strike at the end of the first half in a match that Leicester dominated.

Matty James and Ciaran Clark were sent off in stoppage time as tempers boiled over.

The Foxes remain bottom of the table but are level with relegation rivals Crystal Palace on 17 points.

David Nugent wasted a great early opportunity by putting an effort wide in the 13th minute after Marc Albrighton slid him in.

Christian Benteke then had the ball in the net but he was flagged offside.

Nugent passed up another glorious opportunity to score, this time with his head, as he managed to put the ball wide from three yards.

He came close with a spectacular volley from the edge of the area that cannoned off the bar.

Leicester continued to pile the pressure on and Konchesky fired in a brilliant effort from just inside the area after Alan Hutton failed to clear.

The Foxes came out the traps quickly in the second half and almost doubled their lead but Brad Guazan expertly denied a Matty James header with a fingertip save.

Guzan made another excellent stop to deny former villa man Albrighton’s drive.

James lunged in on Jores Okore to earn a straight red card while Clark received a second yellow card for his reaction to the incident.

Benteke came close with a header but Leicester held on.

Sunderland 0-1 Liverpool

Lazar Markovic scored an early winner for Liverpool as they saw off ten-man Sunderland.

The former Benfica man poked the ball past Costel Pantilimon in the ninth minute that capped off an excellent performance for the Serbian.

Liverpool dominated the first half but struggled to kill the game off after Liam Bridcutt was sent off following a second booking after half time.

Neither side created too many chances but Markovic and Adam Johnson both hit the woodwork with shots from distance.

Liverpool wanted an early penalty when Markovic went down as he raced through but Craig Pawson ruled that Wes Brown didn’t make contact.

Markovic was rewarded five minutes later as he bundled the ball through Pantilimon after battling past Patrick van Aanholt in the box.

Markovic almost added a stunning second with an audacious and improvised effort that crashed against the bar.

Bridcutt was then booked for clipping Steven Gerrard’s heels in the middle of the pitch.

Jordan Henderson hit the post after a smart chest and volley but was penalised for handball.

Fabio Borini almost added a second after racing in behind Brown, skipped past Pantilimon but could only find the side netting.

Bridcutt was then sent off after receiving a second yellow for bringing down Emre Can on the right hand side.

Sunderland appeared galvanised by the red card and Johnson almost grabbed a stunning equaliser but his long-range effort swerved against the bar.

It was a brief renaissance, however, and Liverpool comfortably held on for the win.

Weekend Preview and Predictions

@0riginalfooty takes a look at the weekend’s fixtures for the 21st round of Premier League football. Last time out we got four out of ten predictions right and one correct score. Will we do better this week?

Saturday

Sunderland vs Liverpool (12:45)
Sunderland are continually proving themselves to be difficult to beat, although they don’t win enough games. Liverpool slipped up against Leicester in their last match and were very lucky to even get a draw after earning some very dubious penalties. Sunderland have enough about them to get a point.
Prediction: Sunderland 1-1 Liverpool

Burnley vs QPR (15:00)
This is a big game for both these teams. A win will do great damage to their relegation rivals and allow the other breathing space. Burnley fought hard for a point against Newcastle while QPR dropped two points against 10-man Swansea. The R’s are yet to pick up a point on the road this season but they will know how important it is not to lose this match and I think they can get a draw.
Prediction: Burnley 1-1 QPR

Chelsea vs Newcastle (15:00)
Chelsea’s remarkable loss to Spurs was completely unexpected and nobody would have thought that they would concede five goals in a single match this season. Newcastle were also involved in a goal fest against Burnley and will have confidence coming into this game having beaten Chelsea earlier in the season. Having said that, Chelsea rarely lose two league matches in a row and normally make a statement to their rivals after defeat. A comfortable home win.
Prediction: Chelsea 3-0 Newcastle

Everton vs Man City (15:00)
Everton are close to scooping the prize for most disappointing team of the season and if they continue this form, they could get relegated. I’ve been expecting them to turn things around for a while but they look shot of confidence and are really struggling. City, on the other hand, pulled level with Chelsea at the top of the table and will believe they can regain their title. Everton’s misery will go on.
Prediction: Everton 0-3 Man City

Leicester vs Aston Villa (15:00)
This is another big game at the bottom of the table. Leicester have clawed their way back into contention after appearing dead and buried a few weeks ago. Meanwhile, Villa may be sitting in 12th but they are struggling in front of goal and face a tough run of fixtures against three of last seasons top four in their next three matches. Paul Lambert is coming under increasing pressure from the fans and will be desperate for all three points here. They might be playing Leicester at the wrong time, though, and The Foxes are good value for at least a draw.
Prediction: Leicester 1-1 Aston Villa

Swansea vs West Ham (15:00)
The Swans have lost top scorer Wilfried Bony to international duty and that will prove a huge miss. There’s a good chance that he has played his last game for Garry Monk’s side and will join Man City in this transfer window. West Ham dropped two points in what should have been a comfortable win against West Brom but they have enough to get a point from this one.
Prediction: Swansea 1-1 West Ham

West Brom vs Hull (15:00)
This is another huge relegation matchup this weekend between two struggling sides. Hull pulled off a good victory against Everton in their last league match, while The Baggies fought hard for a point away at West Ham. Only a point separates the two teams but West Brom have Tony Pulis in charge now who oversaw a comfortable FA Cup victory last weekend and he has a knack of earning good results.
Prediction: West Brom 3-2 Hull

Crystal Palace vs Spurs (17:30)
Alan Pardew takes charge of his first league game against London rivals Spurs who demolished Chelsea in their last match. The Eagles will be up for this game and Selhurst Park should be rocking and I fancy Palace to nick a point.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-1 Spurs

Sunday

Arsenal vs Stoke (13:30)
The Gunners were very poor in their last fixture against Southampton and Wojciech Szczesny is under pressure following a very poor performance and for being fined for smoking in the team’s showers. The Potters did well against Man United and beat Arsenal earlier in the season. Stoke will be confident of attacking Arsenal’s defence but Arsenal are generally strong at home and should have too much for them.
Prediction: Arsenal 2-1 Stoke

Man United vs Southampton (16:00)
This is a battle between two sides who believe that a top-four spot is achievable this season. United have dropped points in recent weeks and the gap between them and their rivals has shrunk. Southampton, on the other hand, have battled back into contention after a poor run of form and Ronald Koeman is confident that they will be fighting at the top of the table for the rest of the season. This could go either way and should be an entertaining game but I’ll sit on the fence and predict a draw.
Prediction: Man United 2-2 Southampton