Month: May 2015

Final Day Preview and Predictions

@0riginalfooty takes a look at the weekend fixtures for the final round of Premier League football. There is not too much on the line for most clubs, but Newcastle and Hull fans will endure nervy afternoons. All matches kick off at 3pm.

Arsenal vs West Brom
As with most of the fixtures there is very little riding on this game but some of Arsenal’s players really need to buck up their ideas if they want to start the FA Cup final. The Baggies can climb several places if results go their way and there’s even an outside chance of them getting in to the top half. This really could go either way but as the Gunners are at home I’ll back them.
Prediction: Arsenal 2-1 West Brom

Aston Villa vs Burnley
The Villans utterly capitulated last weekend in their defeat to Southampton but survived relegation on the same day. Villa fans were left with mixed emotions but they will desperately be hoping for a reaction ahead of the FA Cup final. Burnley may have been relegated but they have been plucky performers throughout the season and there’s every chance they can bounce straight back up.
Prediction: Aston Villa 2-0 Burnley

Chelsea vs Sunderland
The Blues will have an enjoyable final day regardless of the result but they will be keen to finish on a high. There’s no denying that they have deserved to win the league this season and there’s every chance that they could do the same next time around. The Black Cats will be delighted to have secured survival before the final day but they must be desperate for an improved campaign next time out.
Prediction: Chelsea 1-0 Sunderland

Crystal Palace vs Swansea
The Eagles ruined Steven Gerrard’s final match at Anfield in epic fashion and have enjoyed a really excellent season under Alan Pardew. Swansea have also enjoyed a superb year and Garry Monk deserves immense credit. Despite losing to Man City last weekend they displayed the battling qualities that Monk has instilled into their play. Neither side deserves to lose their final match of the campaign but both would be satisfied with a point.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-1 Swansea

Everton vs Spurs
Roberto Martinez’s side climbed into the top ten last weekend and will be keen to stay there. They’ve endured a miserable season but a year away from the Europa League won’t do them any harm. Spurs may also be keen to avoid a European venture but may end up in the competition anyway even if they do lose here.
Prediction: Everton 2-1 Spurs

Hull vs Man United
The Tigers look down and out and need a minor miracle to survive this weekend. They need to beat United and for Newcastle to not win. Not an easy task. United’s season is virtually over barring an incredible goal difference shift between them and Arsenal to finish third. That might give Hull a chance here but it’s still a stretch to see them winning this one.
Prediction: Hull 1-1 Man United

Leicester vs QPR
A month ago, this looked as if this would be a crucial fixture in the battle for survival but it is now irrelevant. Leicester have seen the benefits sticking with a manager and their turnaround this season has been magnificent. The R’s, however, really need to evaluate their long-term strategy as a club. More needs to be spent on the future rather than trying to buy immediate success. There’s no doubt that they will be back in the near future, though.
Prediction: Leicester 2-0 QPR

Man City vs Southampton
Arsenal’s midweek draw ensured that City would finish in second place but there will be big changes at the Etihad this summer I’m sure. They have an ageing squad and it is time for some fresh faces. Southampton are arguably the success story of the season and there is still a possibility of Europa League qualification should results go their way. They pummelled Villa last weekend and should give City a decent game.
Prediction: Man City 2-2 Southampton

Newcastle vs West Ham
This is the other big game of the day as Newcastle look nervously over their shoulder. They can make life easy for themselves by beating the Hammers but that wouldn’t be the Newcastle way. West Ham have taken their foot off the gas but have enjoyed a good season overall. Sam Allardyce would love the chance to pour misery onto his former charges so don’t be surprised if West Ham really come after the Magpies. There could be many twists and turns
Prediction: Newcastle 1-1 West Ham

Stoke vs Liverpool
Stoke have enjoyed a brilliant season but there are two major stories surrounding this match and they are both Liverpool related. First, will Raheem Sterling play? His saga descended into further chaos this week and it’s hard to believe how obnoxious a player can be who’s achieved so little. I’d personally cash in on the £50million and wash my hands of him. One player who will definitely feature is Steven Gerrard who will be making his final appearance for the Reds. He has been a legendary figure in the league and deserves a winning send-off. Unfortunately for him, his teammates are not performing and Stoke will hope to crash the party.
Prediction Stoke 2-1 Liverpool

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Arsenal vs Sunderland Preview and Prediction

Wednesday

Arsenal vs Sunderland (19:45)

The Gunners have been in poor form recently and they were fortunate to get a point against Manchester United last weekend. However, that draw should guarantee that they finish in the top three this season and that represents a good campaign for Arsene Wenger’s men.

Sunderland, on the other hand, are still perilously close to the drop but know they only need a point from their final two matches to survive this season. Unfortunately for them, their fixtures are away to Arsenal and Chelsea.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what’s been going wrong for Arsenal in the last few matches – they’re simply not turning up to the games at the moment. It may be a combination of looking forward to the FA Cup final and not really having anything to play for in the league but they will be disappointed to head into the final low on confidence having been brilliant on the whole in 2015.

The Black Cats can have no such excuse, they have simply not been good enough this season but will survive largely due to the incompetence of others.

The league itself has very little to play for if Sunderland do win this so from a neutral’s perspective it would be better for an Arsenal win, which is what I think will happen anyway.

Prediction: Arsenal 3-1 Sunderland

Weekend Preview and Predictions

@0riginalfooty takes a look at the weekend fixtures for the 37th round of Premier League football. Last time out we got a measly two out of ten predictions right and no correct scores. Hopefully we will do better this week!

Saturday

Southampton vs Aston Villa (12:45)
The Saint’s season is tailing off and they are struggling to produce decent performances. They have had a terrific season overall, though, so hopefully their finish won’t put too much of a downer on things at St Mary’s. Villa, on the other hand, are in excellent form and are playing some great football. It’s hard to see the Villans being relegated even if they don’t get anything out of this match but I don’t see why they can’t win against Ronald Koeman’s floundering side.
Prediction: Southampton 1-2 Aston Villa

Burnley vs Stoke (15:00)
It was a case of too little too late last week for Burnley who ultimately did not have the quality to survive in this league. Stoke thumped Tottenham last weekend and have reached their highest ever points total. A point will guarantee them a top-half finish and I think they will get that.
Prediction: Burnley 1-1 Stoke

QPR vs Newcastle (15:00)
The R’s were relegated in appalling fashion last weekend but in truth they have been so poor all season that it was hardly a surprise. This is their chance to have a parting shot at the league and drag Newcastle into real trouble. The Magpies finally picked up a point last weekend and could have beaten West Brom but they are still perilously close to the drop zone. Hull have tougher fixtures but seem more likely to pick something up really. I think Newcastle will lose here to pile more pressure on them.
Prediction: QPR 2-1 Newcastle

Sunderland vs Leicester (15:00)
This is a huge game and a chance for one of these teams to virtually escape. Sunderland picked up a huge result, albeit with a bit of luck in front of goal, against Everton while Leicester continued their revival with a comfortable victory over Southampton. Both these teams will be desperate to win and to avoid defeat so it should be a tense game. A draw is not good enough to ease the nerves of either set of fans especially if Hull win but I think that’s what they will get.
Prediction: Sunderland 2-2 Leicester

Spurs vs Hull (15:00)
Tottenham are having a miserable end to the season and their defeat last weekend was extremely poor. It’s almost as if they’re trying to finish as far down the league table as possible to avoid the Europa League, which they will probably get anyway if Villa fail to win the FA Cup. Hull also endured a terrible result to lose to Burnley at home and have reason thrown themselves into trouble. They simply must win this match and I have a sneaking suspicion that they will get a something and possibly even nick it.
Prediction: Spurs 1-2 Hull

West Ham vs Everton (15:00)
This match could be seen as the battle for a top-half finish as Everton will leapfrog the Hammers with a victory. It’s been a good season for Sam Allardyce’s team but the gloss has been taken off by their performances in recent months. It’s not been such a good season for Everton but a season outside the Europa League might do them the world of good, assuming they don’t qualify through fair play. This really could go either way but I’ll lump for Everton.
Prediction: West Ham 1-2 Everton

Liverpool vs Crystal Palace (17:30)
The Reds nabbed a draw against Chelsea but they were heavily reliant on Man United losing and a top-four place is now beyond them. Palace are another team whose season is tailing off and it’s hard to see them leaving here with three points.
Prediction: Liverpool 2-0 Crystal Palace

Sunday

Swansea vs Man City (13:30)
The Swans pulled off another unlikely victory on Monday night by beating Arsenal and they may have done their opponents this weekend a huge favour in doing so. City are now in pole position to finish second and they will hope to capitalise on Arsenal’s defeat. They were ruthless against QPR but this will be a much tougher fixture. I had my doubts about Garry Monk’s credentials at the start of the season but he has done fantastically well and deserves infinite credit for the job he’s done and he may even guide them into the Europa League, should Villa lose the FA Cup final.
Prediction: Swansea 1-2 Man City

Man United vs Arsenal (16:00)
The Red Devils edged a victory over Crystal Palace to all but seal a top-four spot but will want to leapfrog Arsenal if possible to avoid Champions League qualifiers. The Gunners would have been virtually assured of avoiding them had they beaten Swansea but now face an anxious battle to the end of the season. Some players may have one eye on the Cup final too and I fancy United to grab a win.
Prediction: Man United 2-1 Arsenal

Monday

West Brom vs Chelsea (20:00)
The Baggies don’t have much to play for so their main target now might as well be to finish above Midlands’ rivals Aston Villa who are three points off them. West Brom have superior goal difference so should complete the job but Villa’s good form could close that gap before the start of play. Chelsea have won the league with ease but I still expect them to strengthen this summer as their rivals will come back stronger. They would like to finish on 90 points and I think they’ll take a further step towards that here.
Prediction: West Brom 0-2 Chelsea

Weekend Preview and Predictions

@0riginalfooty takes a look at the weekend fixtures for the 36th round of Premier League football. Last time out we got six out of ten predictions right and no correct scores. Will we do better this week?

Saturday

Everton vs Sunderland (12:45)
The Toffees were beaten last weekend by in-form Aston Villa and they face another relegation-threatened side this weekend. The Black Cats recorded a priceless victory against Southampton to keep themselves within touching distance of survival. Everton were in good form before last weekend and should be too good for Sundeland.
Prediction: Everton 2-1 Sunderland

Aston Villa vs West Ham
The Villans are playing some great stuff at the minute and in Fabian Delph and Christian Benteke they have two of the league’s form players. The Hammers have picked up a little bit in the last few weeks but will still be classed as underdogs in this fixture given Villa’s need for points. One more win for Villa should be enough to seal survival and you’d think it would come here.
Prediction: Aston Villa 3-1 West Ham

Hull vs Burnley (15:00)
This is a massive game for Hull and is a final chance for Burnley to give themselves a hope of survival. The Tigers would relegate the Clarets if they don’t lose so Sean Dyche’s side know they must give it a real go to have any chance of staying in the league. Hull’s fixtures are very tough after this but a win here would give them a great chance of staying up and I think they will get it.
Prediction: Hull 2-1 Burnley

Leicester vs Southampton (15:00)
The Foxes were rampant during their match against Newcastle but they won’t have it all their way in this one. Southampton may not have much to play for but Ronald Koeman still expects his team to perform to the highest level. I’m expecting Leicester to escape the drop but they may be frustrated here.
Prediction: Leicester 1-1 Southampton

Newcastle vs West Brom (15:00)
Things keep going from bad to worse for Newcastle and there is a serious possibility that they will get relegated. Their goal difference is worse than any of the sides around them and it’s hard to see it improving any time soon. It’s hard to even see them picking up another point this season. West Brom have hit the 40 point mark and are safe for another season so Newcastle will hope that their level drops and they can up their game. However, their performances have been so poor recently that it makes it impossible to back them.
Prediction: Newcastle: 0-2 West Brom

Stoke vs Spurs (15:00)
This is a game that will matter very little in the grand scheme of things but both teams are playing for pride and to finish as high up as possible. Stoke will be keen to finish in the top ten, which is by no means a certainty given Everton’s resurgence and Spurs will want to push Liverpool all the way for a Europa league spot. Neither side is in terrific form and Stoke are generally good at home so a draw seems the most likely outcome.
Prediction: Stoke 1-1 Spurs

Crystal Palace vs Man United (17:30)
This has turned into an important game for United and one that they could really do with winning. Palace’s season is over and their mini renaissance seems to have come to a halt too. United have gone off the boil and are in danger of giving away a top-four spot to Liverpool. This could go either way so I’ll sit on the fence.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-1 Man United

Sunday

Man City vs QPR (13:30)
City will be keen to end this season as soon as possible but finishing second would be a decent result considering their form in recent weeks. QPR are done and dusted if they don’t find a win here but there has been nothing to suggest that they will make this a contest. Comfortable win for City.
Prediction: Man City 2-0 QPR

Chelsea vs Liverpool (16:00)
While I think the Blues’ season may tail off in the next few weeks after winning the title, I’m not sure Jose Mourinho will let them get away with putting in a poor performance against one of the league’s top sides. This game will matter a lot to Liverpool who would be further boosted if United had dropped points the day before but Mouriho is the master of grinding out results against big teams and this will be no different.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-1 Liverpool

Monday

Arsenal vs Swansea
The Gunners blew Hull away on Monday night and are in terrific form. Swansea have also performed very capably in recent weeks despite the fact that their season is all but over. Arsenal have secured Champions League football but will be desperate to finish second and I think they will have too much for the Swans.
Prediction: Arsenal 3-0 Swansea

Weekend Preview and Predictions

@0riginalfooty takes a look at the weekend fixtures for the 35th round of Premier League football. Last time out we got one out of two predictions right and no correct scores. Will we do better this week?

Saturday

Leicester vs Newcastle (12:45)
This is the fixture that every side at the bottom of the table dreams of at the moment and is a golden ticket for the Foxes to escape relegation. Newcastle are on a hideous run of form and look set for their holidays. However, they are not yet safe from relegation and are relying on other team’s results rather than their own. From Leicester’s point of view this should be an easy win and I don’t think Nigel Pearson’s mid-week rant will distract them too much from their task.
Prediction: Leicester 1-0 Newcastle

Aston Villa vs Everton (15:00)
The Villans gave Man City an excellent game last weekend but shot themselves in the foot by giving away three terrible goals. Everton have returned to form but their 3-0 drubbing of Man United came as a real shock. This is a very different game, though. Villa are in desperate need of a win to put themselves within touching distance of safety and would rather get it sooner than later. Everton are merely playing for pride at this stage and I just have a feeling that Christian Benteke and co can cause them some real problems and sneak a win.
Prediction: Aston Villa 2-1 Everton

Liverpool vs QPR (15:00)
The Reds have completely blown their chances of a top-four finish and they can have no one to blame but themselves. Their defeat to Hull was incredibly poor and Brendan Rodgers and his players are playing for their futures. QPR couldn’t beat West Ham at home and that suggests to me that they will get relegated and playing away here won’t help their cause. An unconvincing Liverpool seems the likely outcome.
Prediction: Liverpool 1-0 QPR

Sunderland vs Southampton (15:00)
Sunderland are another team who are in desperate need for a win and if they could get it here they could throw teams above them into real trouble. The Saints, however, are not an ideal team to play still. Ronald Koeman seems to want to guarantee a Europa League place and know that a fifth-place finish would be a real achievement. Sunderland need to get a win soon but I think Southampton will have enough.
Prediction: Sunderland 0-1 Southampton

Swansea vs Stoke (15:00)
This is the biggest nothing game of the weekend between two teams in the top half of the table who have enjoyed excellent seasons. Both Garry Monk and Mark Hughes deserve great credit for the performances of their teams and I’m sure their fans will be delighted. There’re only three points between them and both teams will give it a go but an entertaining draw would not go amiss.
Prediction: Swansea 2-2 Stoke

West Ham vs Burnley (15:00)
The Hammers are playing a huge role in the relegation battle and seem to be facing a battling side every week. This is Burnley’s biggest game of the season, they simply must win or they will be relegated. Their loss to Leicester was disappointing and possibly their last realistic chance to escape from the perilous clutches of the drop. West Ham didn’t allow QPR an easy win last weekend and I think a draw here will virtually confirm Burnley’s relegation.
Prediction: West Ham 1-1 Burnley

Man United vs West Brom (17:30)
The Red Devils were soundly beaten last weekend and were fortunate that Liverpool only picked up one point in two matches. The Baggies will be confident that they have earned enough points to be safe and they will be keen to get to the end of this season as soon as possible and continue rebuilding in the summer. This should be a fairly routine victory for Louis van Gaal’s team.
Prediction: Man United 2-0 West Brom

Sunday

Chelsea vs Crystal Palace (13:30)
The Blues can seal the title with a win here and not many people would bet against them doing just that. Even fewer people would bet against them winning the league from this position and they thoroughly deserve to. It must be said that they have never been pushed too hard for the title but take nothing away from their professional performance throughout the season. Palace were in good form but have dropped off the pace in the last couple of weeks and you get the feeling that their season is over. This should be a title-winning day for Chelsea.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-0 Crystal Palace

Spurs vs Man City (16:00)
Tottenham can still finish in a Europa League spot but it will be interesting to see if they actually want that. They might prefer a league campaign without the distraction of Europe and their end of season performances may give us an indication if that’s the case. City were very fortunate to win last weekend but find themselves back in second place and will hope to put pressure on Arsenal ahead of their match with a win.
Prediction Spurs 1-2 Man City

Monday

Hull vs Arsenal (20:00)
The Tigers pulled off one of their most important victories of the season on Tuesday and have a real chance of survival now. Another win should allow them to remain in the league. The Gunners league form has been very good recently and they will be keen to finish second this season. Hull will give them a good game but Arsenal should find a way through.
Prediction: Hull 1-2 Arsenal