Champions League

Weekend Preview and Predictions

@0riginalfooty takes a look at the weekend fixtures for the 31st round of Premier League football. Last time out we got five out of ten predictions right and no correct scores. Will we do better this week?

Saturday

Arsenal vs Liverpool (12:45)
As far as I’m concerned, Arsene Wenger’s side have already confirmed a top-four spot and there is a genuine possibility that they will finish second as Man City continue to falter. Liverpool lost a crucial battle in the race for the Champions League places and this match could prove to be a last hurrah for them. They are under pressure following their defeat to Man United and Raheem Sterling’s contract saga is not making life any more comfortable around Anfield. With home advantage for The Gunners, I’d expect them to come out on top.
Prediction: Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool

Everton vs Southampton (15:00)
The Toffees have strung together some decent results in the last few weeks and their safety is all but confirmed. Southampton, meanwhile, refuse to give up the possibility of nabbing a Champions League spot but realistically it will be beyond them. Having said that, they are more than capable of winning against a team who have nothing to play for.
Prediction: Everton 1-2 Southampton

Leicester vs West Ham (15:00)
This is a must-win game for Nigel Pearson’s team. If they fail to win then I can’t see any way back for them. The Hammers did every relegation-threatened side a huge favour by beating Sunderland last time out but Leicester will know that this is a team whose season is over and they simply have to win. I still think The Foxes will be relegated but I’ll back them to make things at the bottom even more interesting with a home win.
Prediction: Leicester 1-0 West Ham

Man United vs Aston Villa (15:00)
Louis van Gaal was under great pressure prior to the matches against Spurs and Liverpool but his side have come away with two excellent victories to put them in complete control of earning a top-four spot. Villa suffered a poor home result against Swansea in their last match and it has thrown them firmly back into the relegation mix. Tim Sherwood’s side may have half an eye on the crucial home match against QPR on Tuesday night but it is important that they put in a good performance to keep morale in the camp high. Villa certainly have the weapons to hurt van Gaal’s team if they play to their best and they will make a game of it but it’s hard to look past United in this one.
Prediction: Man United 3-1 Aston Villa

Swansea vs Hull (15:00)
The Swans continue to impress and look determined to end their season on a high. Hull have also been in decent form and gave Chelsea a run for their money in their last match. Two more wins would virtually guarantee safety for The Tigers and this is a game they could certainly get something out of but Garry Monk seems intent on finishing the season strongly and I think they will get the three points.
Prediction: Swansea 2-1 Hull

West Brom vs QPR (15:00)
The Baggies are another team looking to secure their top-flight status and Tony Pulis will be confident of achieving safety if they manage to beat hapless QPR. The R’s continue to put in poor performance after poor performance but this is the biggest week of their season. West Brom are by no means unbeatable and then they face one of the sides they could realistically catch in the form of Aston Villa on Tuesday. If they could get four points from those two matches then they would be right back in it. Sadly for them, I fancy Pulis’ team to be too strong for them.
Prediction: West Brom 2-0 QPR

Chelsea vs Stoke (17:30)
The Blues edged another step closer to claiming the title with a nervy 3-2 win over Hull and it would be amazing to witness anything other than Chelsea’s colours around the trophy this season. Stoke have tied Mark Hughes down to a new contract while the international break has been going on and they have enjoyed another solid campaign. It won’t be an easy match for Jose Mourinho’s team but one they should win.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-1 Stoke

Sunday

Burnley vs Spurs (13:30)
The Clarets are still in the frame for survival and a win here would lift them out of the relegation places for at least a couple of hours. Their opponents, however, will have seen at least one of their rivals for a top-four spot drop points on Saturday as Liverpool and Arsenal face off against each other and simply cannot afford to slip up against opposition of this ilk. Sean Dyche’s team won’t let them have it easy but I fancy Tottenham to just about nick it.
Prediction: Burnley 1-2 Spurs

Sunderland vs Newcastle (16:00)
This Tyne-Wear derby has plenty riding on it, particularly for Sunderland. The Black Cats sit a point above the relegation places and are in atrocious form. Dick Advocaat got off to a losing start against West Ham but will have had time to work with his team during the international break. Newcastle, on the other hand, are meandering towards the end of another mediocre season and defeat here would not go down well with their support. This could go either way so I’ll go for a draw.
Prediction: Sunderland 1-1 Newcastle

Monday

Crystal Palace vs Man City (20:00)
Alan Pardew’s new team rose above his former charges in the table with their victory over Stoke and he deserves great credit for what he has achieved at Selhurst Park. City put in a much better performance against West Brom in their last match but they can’t afford to drop another point if they are to have any chance of winning the title. This is not an easy fixture and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Palace get something out of it but City should edge it.
Crystal Palace 1-2 Man City

Weekend Preview and Predictions

@0riginalfooty takes a look at the weekend fixtures for the 29th round of Premier League football. Last time out we got two out of five predictions right and one correct score. Will we do better this week?

Saturday    

Crystal Palace vs QPR (12:45)
Palace may have lost last weekend but welcoming QPR at home is arguably the easiest fixture in the league at present. Palace are eight points clear of the struggling London club and it’s hard to see Chris Ramsey’s side closing that gap here.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 2-0 QPR

Arsenal vs West Ham (15:00)
The Gunners’ league form has generally been very good and I am fairly certain that they will finish third this season. At worst, their top-four place should be guaranteed. West Ham’s season has drifted away and, remarkably, Sam Allardyce’s days look numbered so it’s hard to see them really putting up much of a fight. Hammers’ fans will hope that Arsene Wenger’s team will be too focused on their trip to Monaco on Tuesday but they should still have enough.
Prediction: Arsenal 3-1 West Ham

Leicester vs Hull (15:00)
Nigel Pearson’s team are in desperate need of three points to give themselves any hope of survival. If Hull can win this then they will all but guarantee safety and they have generally performed well against the teams around them recently. The Foxes may not be down and out just yet but this will be one of the games they will have pinpointed as a must-win match. Sadly for them, it looks unlikely.
Prediction: Leicester 1-1 Hull

Sunderland vs Aston Villa (15:00)
I would be happy to wager that this match will end up last on match of the day as both sides have real trouble in front of goal. The Black Cats haven’t scored in their last three matches and are really struggling for creativity. Villa do seem to have improved under Tim Sherwood but here they will know they can’t afford to lose. What Villa do have is a good recent record at the Stadium of Light as well as a real need to win this match given their upcoming fixtures so they may pile more misery onto Gus Poyet’s men.
Prediction: Sunderland 0-1 Aston Villa

West Brom vs Stoke (15:00)
The Baggies may have lost their two previous matches to Aston Villa but they have generally been in good form and are a tough side to beat. Stoke are on course to finish in the top ten but Tony Pulis will be keen to get one over on his former club and get West Brom back to winning ways.
Prediction: West Brom 2-1 Stoke

Burnley vs Man City (17:30)
The Claret’s previous home defeat to Swansea was a hard-hitting loss and it is unlikely that they will turn their poor form around here. City can’t afford another league loss even though they may have half an eye on their trip to Barcelona. If they were to drop points here and then go out of the Champions League then it would be hard to see  Manuel Pellegrini lasting much longer.
Prediction: Burnley 0-2 Man City

Sunday 



Chelsea vs Southampton (13:30)
It’s been a turbulent week at Stamford Bridge after their disappointing Champions League exit at the hands of ten-man Paris St Germain. Southampton got their top-four bid back on track with a win against Palace but they have already slipped to seventh and that’s where I think they will finish. This should be a Chelsea win.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-1 Southampton

Everton vs Newcastle (16:00)
The Toffees’ excellent Europa League form continued on Thursday but they have endured a torrid season in the league and the threat of relegation continues to lurk in the shadows. Newcastle’s recent form has been rather sporadic and it’s difficult to predict what you’re likely to get with them. Everton rarely seem to win on the weekend after a European match so The Magpies could get a point here.
Prediction: Everton 1-1 Newcastle

Man United vs Spurs (16:00)
United snuck another win in their last match after Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul inexplicably gave Ashley Young the simple task of stroking the ball into the open net but they have been anything but fluent recently. Tottenham sit only three points behind them and are certainly challenging for a top-four spot. Harry Kane will fancy his chances against United’s flimsy backline but Louis van Gaal’s team do seem to get decent results against the top teams and I think they will earn a draw.
Prediction: Man United 2-2 Spurs

Monday

Swansea vs Liverpool (20:00)
The Swans recent form has taken a sudden upturn and they are starting to adapt to life without their former striker Wilfried Bony. Liverpool, meanwhile, have been in excellent form and have become most people’s favourites to finish in the Champions League spots. This game is more important for Liverpool to win and they should continue their march towards a top-four finish.
Prediction: Swansea 1-2 Liverpool

Midweek Preview and Predictions

@0riginalfooty takes a look at the weekend fixtures for the 28th round of Premier League football. Last time out we got three out of eight predictions right and two correct scores. Will we do better this week?

Tuesday

Aston Villa vs West Brom (19:45)
Tim Sherwood has had a terrible introduction to life managing Aston Villa and The Villans have now lost their last seven league matches. The Baggies, meanwhile, earned another win against Southampton and Tony Pulis looks set to guide them to safety. These two clubs face each other twice this week as they have their FA Cup quarter-final to look forward to on Saturday but Villa simply cannot afford to lose this and Pulis is unlikely to allow Villa to close the gap on his side so a draw would be the logical outcome.
Prediction: Aston Villa 1-1 West Brom

Hull vs Sunderland (19:45)
Last time out Hull were defeated away at Stoke while Sunderland lost away at Man United – neither of which were disastrous results. Hull have shown good form against the sides around them recently, beating both Villa and QPR, but Sunderland have demonstrated time and time again that they are very difficult to break down. This could be a cagey affair and don’t be surprised to see it finish goalless.
Prediction: Hull 0-0 Sunderland

Southampton vs Crystal Palace (19:45)
The Saints’ top-four challenge has drifted away in recent weeks and there are few people who will be genuinely surprised by that. Palace have reached 30 points, convincingly beat West Ham at the weekend and look like they will be comfortably safe. Southampton have shown throughout the season that they can bounce back from a setback and they will need to again here to keep their slim Champions League hopes alive.
Prediction: Southampton 2-1 Crystal Palace

Wednesday

Man City vs Leicester (19:45)
City wasted a golden opportunity to put Chelsea under pressure whilst they weren’t in league action but were very poor and now need a minor miracle if they’re going to bag a trophy this season. Manuel Pellegrini’s job will now be under serious scrutiny from their demanding owners. Leicester enjoyed the comfort of a break at the weekend but it is unlikely to do them many favours at the Etihad.
Prediction: Man City 3-0 Leicester

Newcastle vs Man United (19:45)
The Magpies bounced back from their crushing defeat at the hands of Man City to beat Aston Villa and virtually confirmed Premier League safety. United returned to winning ways but will know that they can’t drop points in this game as they prepare to face Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool in their three fixtures following this match. They may still not be at their fluent best but they should still be able to beat Newcastle.
Prediction: Newcastle 1-2 Man United

QPR vs Arsenal (19:45)
The R’s benefitted from a rest this weekend but the arrival of The Gunners represents a tough fixture for a side that generally rely on their home results. Arsenal may as well have had the weekend off as Everton put up little resistance but this is not an easy fixture for Arsene Wenger’s men. The pitch will suit QPR more than it will Arsenal and Chris Ramsey’s side will hope to get in their face and cause them problems. Having said that, Arsenal should have enough quality to edge this.
Prediction: QPR 1-2 Arsenal

Stoke vs Everton (19:45)
Mark Hughes’ side did what they traditionally do best and won at home this weekend while Everton faltered once more. Roberto Martinez must surely want them to focus all their attention on winning the Europa League to try to earn qualification to the Champions League through that route. Their league form is less important providing they steer clear of relegation and I can’t see Stoke giving them an easy ride here.
Prediction: Stoke 2-1 Everton

Spurs vs Swansea (19:45)
Tottenham may have been disappointed to lose the Capital One Cup final but it’s important that they put that behind them quickly and focus on their push for a Champions League place. Swansea have suddenly returned to superb form and will not make this easy for Mauricio Pochettino’s team but they have enough in the tank to get a win.
Prediction: Spurs 2-1 Swansea

West Ham vs Chelsea (19:45)
The Hammers lost the plot at the weekend and it was surprising to watch them concede such a high number of goals again. Chelsea, on the other hand, enjoyed an excellent win over Spurs to lift the Capital One Cup trophy. They will have to guard against complacency but they could be catching Sam Allardyce’s team at just the right time and can keep their five-point gap at the top intact.
Prediction: West Ham 0-2 Chelsea

Liverpool vs Burnley (20:00)
The Reds’ great form continued with a win over Man City and they are breathing down the necks of Arsenal and Man United to earn Champions League football. Burnley, meanwhile, lost to Swansea at home and I am struggling to see an escape from relegation for them now. This is the last team Sean Dyche would want his side to be facing at the moment and they won’t be able to get a result at Anfield.
Prediction: Liverpool 2-0 Burnley

Weekend Preview and Predictions

@0riginalfooty takes a look at the weekend fixtures for the 27th round of Premier League football. Last time out we got four out of ten predictions right and three correct scores. Will we do better this week?

Saturday

West Ham vs Crystal Palace (12:45)
The Hammers performed well against Spurs but threw the match away in spectacular fashion and their season is in danger of meandering into mediocrity. Palace’s charge up the table has also slowed somewhat in recent weeks but they should avoid relegation and that would be a good achievement for The Eagles. Alan Pardew will probably set his stall up to get a draw and I think they’ll get it.
Prediction: West Ham 1-1 Crystal Palace

Burnley vs Swansea (15:00)
The Clarets returned from Stamford Bridge with a miraculous point and renewed hope of survival. Swansea also earned a shock win over Man United and perhaps their season will not begin to drift as expected. Having said that, this is a very important match for Burnley and the atmosphere at Turf Moor should galvanize their team to earn a vital three points.
Prediction: Burnley 2-1 Swansea

Man United vs Sunderland (15:00)
United stuttered once again and wasted an opportunity to create breathing space between them and their top-four rivals, which leaves them susceptible to dropping out of the Champions League spots if they slip up again. Sunderland couldn’t beat relegation rivals West Brom at home and are struggling to find the back of the net. While United are not at their best, Sunderland are offering little resistance and Louis van Gaal will have no excuse if they fail to win.
Prediction: Man United 2-0 Sunderland

Newcastle vs Aston Villa (15:00)
If I could predict that both these teams would lose then I would. Newcastle’s performance was utterly appalling as they slumped to a 5-0 defeat at the Etihad and Villa’s captain Ron Vlaar gave away the most ludicrous of penalties deep into stoppage time to deny Tim Sherwood his first point for the club and to keep them firmly rooted at the bottom of the table. Sherwood has claimed that Villa need to win six of their remaining matches, having won five all season, and if you look at their fixtures you suspect that if they’re to meet that target then they will have to win here. If Newcastle play as badly as they did last week then the Villans will have a chance but there should be some sort of a response from John Carver’s men and a draw seems the most likely result.
Prediction: Newcastle 2-2 Aston Villa

Stoke vs Hull (15:00)
Stoke nicked a late win at Villa Park and look set for a top-ten finish. Hull, meanwhile, have clawed their way away from the relegation zone with wins against rivals Villa and QPR and are now four points clear of the drop in 15th. They may not be safe just yet but they have shown more mettle than the other sides around them and that will give them a big boost going into the end of season run-in. Stoke are a tough team to get the better of, however, and will keep Hull nervously looking over their shoulders.
Prediction: Stoke 1-0 Hull

West Brom vs Southampton (15:00)
Tony Pulis set his side up perfectly to take a point back to the Midlands from the Stadium of Light and will continue to make sure his side are hard to beat. Southampton may have lost to their top-four rivals but they were unfortunate not to get a penalty early on in the match and were by no means embarrassed. With only one point between them and fourth, it’s important for Ronald Koeman’s men to keep their challenge up and I think they’ll win here.
Prediction: West Brom 0-1 Southampton

Sunday

Liverpool vs Man City (12:00)
Liverpool crashed out of the Europa League on Thursday night after extra time and it will be interesting to see if playing a further 30 minutes will damage their chances against a City side who can close the gap at the top of the table to just two points. Manuel Pellegrini’s team thumped Newcastle but lost at home to Barcelona in the Champions League and are in great danger of failing to win a trophy this season. There is a lot riding on this game and both sides will be desperate to send a message to their top-four and title rivals respectively but City are the stronger side and can apply real pressure on Chelsea.
Prediction: Liverpool 1-2 Man City

Arsenal vs Everton (14:05)
The Gunners’ result against Monaco on Wednesday was one of the most shocking results in Arsene Wenger’s tenure and their Champions League hopes now dangle by a thread. Everton had no such problem as they cruised into the last 16 of the Europa League and their season now revolves around winning that competition. Despite Arsenal’s poor display against Monaco, they have the quality to beat Everton and tighten the grip on a top-four spot.
Prediction: Arsenal 3-1 Everton

Weekend Preview and Predictions

@0riginalfooty takes a look at the weekend fixtures for the 26th round of Premier League football. Last time out we got four out of ten predictions right and no correct scores. Will we do better this week?

Saturday

Aston Villa vs Stoke (15:00)
A lot has changed at Villa Park since their defeat at Hull where they were utterly appalling. They have sacked Paul Lambert, hired Tim Sherwood and moved into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup – a busy week or so. Stoke have conceded eight in their last two games and Mark Hughes will be expecting a reaction from his players. Sadly for Hughes, he might have picked the wrong weekend to play Villa and Sherwood may provide the spark for The Villans to get a much-needed win.
Prediction: Aston Villa 2-1 Stoke

Chelsea vs Burnley (15:00)
Jose Mourinho’s side continued their march towards the title with another victory over Everton and it would take a brave man to bet against them winning it now. It would perhaps take similar bravery for someone to back Burnley to stay up. They have battled hard all season but have had some poor recent results against some of their relegation rivals and it’s hard to see them getting anything at Stamford Bridge.
Prediction: Chelsea 3-0 Burnley

Crystal Palace vs Arsenal (15:00)
Alan Pardew’s team earned another point at home to Newcastle in their bid for safety and now sit five points clear of the relegation zone. Arsenal, meanwhile, are one point off fourth but with Spurs, Liverpool and Southampton playing on Sunday, they have an opportunity to put pressure on their rivals and it’s hard to see them wasting that chance.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-2 Arsenal

Hull vs QPR (15:00)
Hull climbed out of the relgation zone with a big win against relegation rivals Villa and Steve Bruce will be desperate for them to follow it up with another three points against fellow strugglers QPR. The R’s also pulled themselves out of trouble with victory over Sunderland, their first away win of the season, to keep the battle to avoid relegation wide open. This could prove a pivotal game in the hunt for survival but I’ll opt for Hull due to their home advantage.
Prediction: Hull 2-1 QPR

Sunderland vs West Brom (15:00)
Had Sunderland beaten QPR at home last time out I would have said they were all but guaranteed to beat the drop but they have allowed their rivals to draw closer to them and Gus Poyet’s position looks under threat, especially after being knocked out of the FA Cup by Bradford. The Baggies, on the other hand, are four points clear of the relegation zone and are through to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup. Tony Pulis has solidified West Brom since his arrival and may be happy to return from the Stadium of Light with a point.
Prediction: Sunderland 0-0 West Brom

Swansea vs Man United (15:00)
Swansea have generally struggled going forward without Wilfried Bony and they’ll be pleased that they acquired enough points with him as they may struggle to win matches without him. United have been heavily criticized for their playing style but they keep coming up with the results and they should pick up three more points here.
Prediction: Swansea 0-1 Man United

Man City vs Newcastle (17:30)
City welcome Yaya Toure and new signing Wilfried Bony into their matchday squad and that can only spell trouble for Newcastle. The Magpies have been very hit and miss in recent weeks and will need to be at the top of their game to get a result. City can’t afford to slip up again and need to go on a big winning streak to have a chance of lifting the title but they shouldn’t come up against too much resistance from Newcastle.
Prediction: Man City 3-1 Newcastle

Sunday

Spurs vs West Ham (12:00)
Tottenham will have been disappointed with their Europa League result at home to Fiorentina and the arrival of West Ham will be a daunting prospect as they look to keep up their push for a Champions League spot. However, the Hammers haven’t had a straightforward week either. They signed Nene on a free transfer but a reported boardroom argument has erupted and there is a lot of speculation over the future of Sam Allardyce, whose contract is up at the end of the season. This could be a tight game but Spurs should have enough to get the win.
Prediction: Spurs 2-1 West Ham

Everton vs Leicester (14:05)
The Toffees produced an excellent performance to dismantle BSC Young Boys and Romelu Lukaku’s return to form will offer great encouragement. Leicester, meanwhile, crashed out of the FA Cup last weekend, are still five points clear of safety and Nigel Pearson remains under pressure. The Foxes can hope that Everton will be jaded from their trip to Switzerland but Roberto Martinez’s team should claim victory.
Prediction: Everton 1-0 Leicester

Southampton vs Liverpool (16:15)
This is a very important game in the race for the Champions League spots and one that both teams could do with winning. The Saints are likely to be outside the top four by the time the match kicks off if Arsenal beat Crystal Palace and it remains to see how long their challenge to finish in the coveted Champions League spots can last. Liverpool managed to earn a win against Besiktas in the Europa League and if they lose here that may be their only route back into Europe’s elite competition. It will be interesting to see how much each side goes for this match but I suspect it will be a cagey affair and that neither side will be able to land a knockout blow.
Prediction: Southampton 1-1 Liverpool

Weekend Preview and Predictions

@0riginalfooty takes a look at the fixtures for the 16th round of Premier League football. Last weekend we got four out of ten predictions right and one correct score. Will we do better this week?

Saturday

Burnley vs Southampton (15:00)
Burnley may be in the relegation zone at the moment but in the last few weeks they’ve given their fans great encouragement through their gritty performances. The loss to QPR away may have dampened the mood around Turf Moor slightly but their results at home are what can keep them in the league this season. Southampton are on a three-match run of defeats but they have played strong sides and were a little unfortunate to lose on Monday against Man United. Burnley’s need to get points at home combined with Southampton’s desire to end a losing run may lead to this one ending as a draw.
Prediction: Burnley 1-1 Southampton

Chelsea vs Hull (15:00)
Chelsea may have suffered their first loss of the season last week but they have been gifted the best possible fixture to bounce back. Hull have endured a miserable run of late and have not won since October. They have slipped into the relegation zone and need to stop the rot quickly but they won’t do it at Stamford Bridge.
Prediction: Chelsea 4-0 Hull

Crystal Palace vs Stoke (15:00)
Both these teams are capable of good performances and results and yet they have disappointed their fans on many occasions this season. Palace have outplayed both Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur in their last two matches but have only come away with one point while Stoke blew Arsenal away in the first half but have disappointed in some of the fixtures that you would expect them to do better in. This game could go either way but Stoke will fancy their chances of returning from Selhurst Park with a point.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-1 Stoke

Leicester vs Man City (15:00)
Leicester’s miserable run of form went from bad to worse by losing to relegation rivals Aston Villa and they are now four points away from QPR who lie just above the drop zone. Kasper Schmeichel’s injury is another body blow to their survival hopes as he has been their most consistent performer this season. City, meanwhile, are starting to look like genuine title contenders and have narrowed the gap at the top of the table to just three points. It’s hard to make a case for anything other than a victory for Manuel Pellegrini’s men.
Prediction: Leicester 0-3 Man City

Sunderland vs West Ham (15:00)
Sunderland have won fewer games (two) than any other team in the division apart from the sides in the relegation zone and are proving to be the draw specialists in the league. West Ham are flying high in fourth but need to be careful not to get carried away and complacent. Sunderland know how to grind out a result and The Hammers may have to settle for a point.
Prediction: Sunderland 1-1 West Ham

West Brom vs Aston Villa (15:00)
The Baggies are slowly sliding down the table and are five points behind their Midlands rivals before the derby. Villa have climbed up the table with back-to-back victories and could welcome both Fabian Delph and Ron Vlaar back this weekend. Both of the fixtures between these teams were brilliant spectacles last season and a high-scoring and hotly contested derby should be on the cards again.
Prediction: West Brom 2-2 Aston Villa

Arsenal vs Newcastle (17:30)
The Gunners were very poor in the first half against Stoke last weekend and need to improve defensively. It is hard to predict against Newcastle at the moment given their excellent form and they deserve great credit for being the first team to beat Jose Mourinho’s men this season. Having said that, Arsenal earned qualification for the Champions League this week with another good win and Aaron Ramsey looks as if he could return to his best form over the crucial Christmas period. It will be tight but Arsenal should just edge it.
Prediction: Arsenal 2-1 Newcastle

Sunday

Man United vs Liverpool (13:30)
United played very poorly but managed to win against Southampton on Monday night – a trait that has been missing around Old Trafford since Sir Alex Ferguson left the club. Liverpool’s season took another turn for the worse after their Champions League exit and other teams in the division have worked Brendan Rodgers’ team out. United are in much better form than their bitter rivals and they will see this as a good chance to add further distance between themselves and their top-four rivals.
Prediction: Man United 2-1 Liverpool

Swansea vs Spurs (16:00)
Swansea had their first really poor game of the season last weekend but Garry Monk can generally be delighted with his team this season. Spurs are still yet to get going this season and Pochettino has not been as much of a success as they would have liked. Spurs also lost out on top spot in their Europa League group with defeat against Besiktas on Thursday night. A draw seems a likely result.
Prediction: Swansea 1-1 Spurs

Monday

Everton vs QPR
Everton are another team that have been sussed out this season and their defence has not been as resolute as in previous seasons. QPR have started to look solid at home but have been very poor on their travels this campaign. Everton are in need of a win to boost them up the table and they should get it here.
Prediction: Everton 3-1 QPR

 

 

Weekend Preview and Predictions

@0riginalfooty takes a look at the fixtures for the 13th weekend of Premier League football. Last weekend we got six out of ten predictions right and three correct scores. Will we do better this week?

Saturday

West Brom vs Arsenal (12:45)
The Baggies are slowly sliding down the Premier League table and could find themselves hanging perilously over the relegation zone should they be defeated here. Arsenal have been very poor in the league but their midweek dismantling of Borussia Dortmund should boost the confidence of the players. This won’t be an easy visit for Arsenal but it’s hard to see them dropping more points here.
Prediction: West Brom 1-3 Arsenal

Burnley vs Aston Villa (15:00)
Who would have thought a few weeks ago that both these teams would be coming into this match unbeaten in the past two matches? Burnley have remarkably won two on the trot including beating Stoke away, while Aston Villa have managed two draws against two of the better sides in the league so far this season in the form of Southampton and West Ham. Villa, however, are without a win in nine games and Roy Keane’s departure on Friday morning has further dampened the mood in the camp. The Villans defended resolutely against Southampton and should be good value for at least a point in this one.
Prediction: Burnley 0-0 Aston Villa

Liverpool vs Stoke (15:00)
Simon Mignolet is under fire following another mistake in their Champions League match against Liverpool slipped up once more and their form has been appalling and they find themselves on the brink of a Champions League exit and in the bottom half of the table. Stoke, meanwhile, wasted an opportunity to climb towards the top end of the table by losing at home to Burnley and will be keen to make amends this time out. Liverpool are due a win and should edge The Potters out.
Prediction: Liverpool 1-0 Stoke

Man United vs Hull (15:00)
Louis van Gaal’s men are currently in fourth place and achieving their target for the season. They earned an important away victory against fellow top-four challengers Arsenal and their young defence played very well. Hull have gone under the radar as a team performing poorly and they are only a point above the relegation zone. United should have too much for them.
Prediction: Man United 3-1 Hull

QPR vs Leicester (15:00)
This is an early relegation battle between two teams in the bottom three. Leicester have been in free-fall after making an encouraging start to the season while QPR have been steadily improving as the season has gone on. QPR’s recent improvement makes them the slight favourites and they will fancy their chances.
Prediction: QPR 2-0 Leicester

Swansea vs Crystal Palace (15:00)
The Swans were narrowly beaten by Man City last weekend but have generally had a very impressive campaign. Palace clawed their way up the league table with an excellent home win against Liverpool but still remain two points above the relegation zone. Swansea are normally quite strong at home and should have too much for Palace this weekend.
Prediction: Swansea 2-0 Crystal Palace

West Ham vs Newcastle (15:00)
Sam Allardyce this week claimed that his side needs to rediscover their cutting edge but they welcome the team with the best recent form. Newcastle have flown up the table and are only outside the top four on goal difference. Upton Park is a tough place to get a result, however, and a draw seems the most probable outcome.
Prediction: West Ham 1-1 Newcastle

Sunderland vs Chelsea (17:30)
Gus Poyet’s team have failed to impress this season but they are capable of a big result on their day and Chelsea will know not to take them lightly. Jose Mourinho’s team look unstoppable at the moment and tore Schalke apart in the Champions League. Sunderland will put up a good fight but, ultimately, Chelsea will emerge victorious.
Prediction: Sunderland 1-2 Chelsea

Sunday

Southampton vs Man City (13:30)
This is a clash between the second and third placed teams in the league and should be a hugely entertaining tie. The Saints were largely stifled by Aston Villa on Monday night and it was a well-earned point for Ronald Koeman’s team. City also had to work hard for their three points against in-form Swansea and came from behind to beat Bayern Munich in the Champions League. Sergio Aguero was terrific against Bayern and he should fire them past Southampton here.
Prediction: Southampton 1-2 Man City

Spurs vs Everton (16:00)
Both teams had Europa League matches on Thursday night so there can be no excuses for either team about having a hangover from that. Spurs have been terrible in the league and their only recent victories against Hull and Villa have stemmed from the other team being down to ten men. Had Villa and Hull kept 11 men on the field, Spurs could easily be right down at the bottom. Everton have also been inconsistent this season but performed very well against Werder Bremen and they will fancy their chances here.
Prediction: Spurs 1-2 Everton

Weekend Preview and Predictions

@Originalfooty takes a look at the fixtures for the ninth weekend of Premier League football. Last weekend we got six out of ten predictions correct and one correct score. Will we do better this week? 

Saturday

West Ham vs Man City (12:45)
West Ham maintained their excellent start to the season by beating Burnley and now find themselves sitting fourth in the table. City are achieving what people would expect of them in the league but seem to have lost the swagger of last season and the ability to brush past sides with heavy score-lines. Their midweek capitulation against CSKA Moscow could lead to an early Champions League exit, which makes every league game vital for them. West Ham have played well so far but this is a different calibre of opponent who should have too much for them.
Prediction: West Ham 1-3 Man City

Liverpool vs Hull (15:00)
The Reds are really struggling at the moment. A lot of the blame is being pinned on Mario Balotelli but, whilst he has been poor, it is ludicrous to hold him singlehandedly responsible for the clubs decline this season. Teams in the division believe they can beat this Liverpool team who look just as vulnerable at the back but without the attacking swagger provided by the likes of Luis Suarez. Hull are sitting 11th in the table, which is not far off where I’d expect them to finish at the season’s close. They will put up a fight but Liverpool should scrape a victory.
Prediction: Liverpool 2-1 Hull

Southampton vs Stoke (15:00)
Chelsea aside, Southampton are the form team this season and completely blew Sunderland away this weekend. Sunderland were very poor but The Saints played some great stuff and Koeman and his side deserve great credit. Stoke managed to come away with a contentious win over Swansea without playing particularly well – a good sign. They are a solid mid-table side but The Saints won’t fear them here.
Prediction: Southampton 3-1 Stoke

Sunderland vs Arsenal (15:00)
Sunderland will be determined to make amends for last weekend’s mauling at the hands of Southampton and will fancy their chances against an Arsenal side who aren’t in great form at the moment. Despite not playing well at the moment, Wenger’s side are showing great battle and determination to get a result and points that could be valuable come the end of the campaign. This should be close but Arsenal will most likely come out on top.
Prediction: Sunderland 1-2 Arsenal

West Brom vs Crystal Palace (15:00)
The Baggies have surprised many people with their recent performances and Saido Berahino is in stunning form. Palace, meanwhile, are struggling for a little bit of form but there still remains only one point between these sides and there shouldn’t be too much in it.
Prediction: West Brom 2-2 Crystal Palace

Swansea vs Leicester (17:30)
Swans boss Garry Monk was incensed at Victor Moses’ alleged dive last weekend but in truth he will be upset that his side didn’t put Stoke to the sword after dominating the match. Leicester have tailed off in recent weeks and teams are starting to work out how to play against them. This should be an entertaining game but Swansea should come away with all three points.
Prediction: Swansea 2-1 Leicester

Sunday

Burnley vs Everton (13:30)
Burnley are in desperate need of a win before they get completely cut off from the rest of the league along with QPR. Everton finally clinched three points at home against Aston Villa and were in complete control throughout the match. The return of Ross Barkley has come at a good time for The Toffees who, despite a poor start, are still within touching distance of most of their rivals.
Prediction: Burnley 0-2 Everton

Spurs vs Newcastle (13:30)
Spurs may have lost to Man City last weekend but they played some very good football and the likes of Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela are offering them a good attacking outlook. Alan Pardew’s job looks safe for the time being after some good recent form and he deserves credit for not hiding away in times of adversity. This should bring the end of their three-match unbeaten run, however.
Prediction: Spurs 2-1 Newcastle

Man Utd vs Chelsea (16:00)
This is the big game of the weekend and one that should be thoroughly entertaining. United still look vulnerable at the back but are a serious threat going forward and will be confident of scoring against any side in the league. Chelsea have been the strongest team in the division so far and no one looks close to matching them at the moment. Louis van Gaal will be praying that Diego Costa has not recovered from his various problems in time for the match as Costa would be licking his lips at the chance to play against United’s porous back line. Chelsea should win but it could be very high scoring.
Prediction: Man Utd 2-4 Chelsea

Monday

QPR vs Aston Villa (20:00)
QPR delivered their best performance of the season last weekend and if it wasn’t for three lapses in concentration they could have got something from Liverpool. Redknapp has since been embroiled with a public, and largely embarrassing, war of words with Adel Taarabt and there are questions arising over Harry’s judgement at the moment. Villa have just finished a terrible run of fixtures and this match should see Benteke closer to making an impact – bad news for QPR fans. Having said that, Villa’s performance levels have dropped in the last couple of weeks so this could easily end in a draw.
Prediction: QPR 1-1 Aston Villa

 

Top Signing Per Club: M-W

The transfer window has now closed and the Premier League sides will have to make do with what they have until January. Here @0riginalfooty takes a look at the top signing made by each club whose name begins between M and W.

Manchester City
Fernando (FC Porto, undisclosed). Fernando was signed to bolster City’s options in midfield and has slotted seamlessly into the side thus far. He is a strong and powerful midfielder who will do the dirty work in midfield to allow Manuel Pellegrini’s attacking options more freedom so they can maximise the damage they inflict on the opposition.
Other notable signings: Willy Caballero (Malaga, undisclosed), Eliaquim Mangala (FC Porto, £32m), Bacary Sagna (Arsenal, free).

Manchester United
Angel di Maria (Real Madrid, £59.7m). Louis van Gaal has smashed the British transfer record by acquiring the services of Argentine winger di Maria. Di Maria was influential in Real Madrid’s Champions League victory last season and was a key member of the Argentina side that reached the World Cup final. United have signed a world class player and one that has the ability to turn their fortunes around.
Other notable signings: Daley Blind (Ajax, £14m), Radamel Falcao (AS Monaco, loan), Ander Herrera (Athletic Bilbao, £29m), Marcos Rojo (Sporting Lisbon, £16m), Luke Shaw (Southampton, £27m).

Newcastle United
Jack Colback (Sunderland, free). Sunderland fans were furious that Jack Colback was allowed to move to their bitter rivals for no fee. Sunderland’s loss is Newcastle’s gain and Colback should play a big role at the heart of their midfield. He was recently called up to the England squad and, although he had to leave the squad with an injury, has a bright future in front of him.
Other notable signings: Remy Cabella (Montpellier, undisclosed), Karl Darlow (Nottingham Forest, undisclosed), Facundo Ferreyra (Shakhtar Donetsk, loan), Daryl Janmaat (Feyenoord, undisclosed), Siem de Jong (Ajax, undisclosed), Jamaal Lascelles (Nottingham Forest, undisclosed), Ayoze Perez (Tenerife, undisclosed), Emmanuel Riviere (AS Monaco, undisclosed).

QPR
Steven Caulker (Cardiff, £8m). QPR manager Harry Redknapp has been keen to add solidity to his back line this summer and highly rated English centre-back Steven Caulker fits the bill perfectly. QPR kept their first clean sheet of the season in their last match against Sunderland and there were encouraging signs that the Caulker-Ferdinand partnership is ready to blossom.
Other notable signings: Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United, free), Leroy Fer (Norwich City, £8m), Mauricio Isla (Juventus, loan), Alex McCarthy (Reading, undisclosed), Jordan Mutch (Cardiff City, £6m), Jack Robinson (Liverpool, undisclosed).

Southampton
Fraser Forster (Celtic, £10m). A lot of the focus of Southampton’s summer spending has been on replacing the key players who left for pastures new. There are question marks over how successful their recruitment drive has been, however, one position they have certainly strengthened is in goal. Forster is a top young goalkeeper who has the potential to challenge Joe Hart for the England goalkeeping jersey and represents a major coup for The Saints.
Other notable signings: Toby Alderweireld (Atletico Madrid, loan) Ryan Bertrand (Chelsea, loan), Florin Gardos (FC Steaua Bucharest, £6m), Shane Long (Hull City, £12m), Sadio Mane (Red Bull Salzburg, £10m), Graziano Pelle (Feyenoord, undisclosed), Dusan Tadic (FC Twente, £10.9m).

Stoke City
Victor Moses (Chelsea, loan). Mark Hughes has largely spent the summer bolstering his attacking options and Victor Moses represents a good piece of business for The Potters. After an uninspiring loan move at Liverpool, he will be keen to get back on track with Stoke and rediscover the form that made him heralded as a highly rated prospect.
Other notable signings: Oussama Assaidi (Liverpool, loan), Phil Bardsley (Sunderland, free), Bojan (Barcelona, £3m), Mame Biram Diouf (Hannover 96, free), Steve Sidwell (Fulham, free).

Sunderland
Jack Rodwell (Manchester City, free). Rodwell’s career may have stalled at Manchester City but The Black Cats have pulled off a major coup in landing him. He is a tall combative midfielder but has rediscovered the attacking side to his game that was evident in his goal against Manchester United. Sunderland fans can expect Rodwell to really kick on and become a key player for them.
Other notable signings: Patrick van Aanholt (Chelsea, undisclosed), Ricardo Alvarez (Inter Milan, loan), Will Buckley (Brighton and Hove Albion, £2.5m), Sebastian Coates (Liverpool, loan), Jordi Gomez (Wigan Athletic, free), Billy Jones (West Bromwich Albion, free), Costel Pantilimon (Manchester City, free), Santiago Vergini (Estudiantes, loan).

Swansea
Gylfi Sigurdsson (Spurs, undisclosed). Sigurdsson has been one of the stars of the Premier League season so far and has played a large part in guiding Swansea towards the top of the table. Swansea fans will expect more of the same from a man who looks to be enjoying his football again after an indifferent spell at Spurs.
Other notable signings: Tom Carroll (Spurs, loan), Marvin Emnes (Middlesbrough, undisclosed), Lukasz Fabianski, Federico Fernandez (Napoli, undisclosed), Bafetimbi Gomis (Lyon, free), Raheem Hanley (Blackburn Rovers, undisclosed), Stephen Kingsley (Falkirk, undisclosed), Jefferson Montero (Morelia, undisclosed).

Tottenham Hotspur
Eric Dier (Sporting Lisbon, £4m). Spurs haven’t splashed too much cash this window as Mauricio Pochettino has been briefed to bring the best out of the players already at the club. However, the signing of Eric Dier looks to be an excellent piece of business. Not only is he solid at the back, he is also a threat going forward and already has two league goals this season. He is still a young prospect and will be a major asset to Spurs in the future.
Other notable signings: Ben Davies (Swansea, £10m), Federico Fazio (Sevilla, undisclosed), Benjamin Stambouli (Montpellier, £4.7m), Michel Vorm (Swansea, £5m), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC, undisclosed).

West Bromwich Albion
Joleon Lescott (Manchester City, free). It’s been a summer of change for West Brom. The Baggies have brought in more new faces than any other side in the Premier League as they hope to draw a line under last season. Their most impressive signing is that of Joleon Lescott. Lescott has vast amounts of Premier League experience as well as playing international football and in the Champions League. Once fully fit, he will be a vital part of West Brom’s plans to stay in the division.
Other notable signings: Chris Baird (Burnley, free), Sebastian Blanco (Metalist Kharkiv, undisclosed), Jason Davidson (Heracles Almelo, undisclosed), Cristian Gamboa (Rosenborg, undisclosed), Craig Gardner (Sunderland, free), Brown Ideye (Dynamo Kiev, £10m), Sebastien Pocognoli (Hannover 96, undisclosed), Georgios Samaras (Celtic, free), Andre Wisdom (Liverpool, loan)

West Ham United
Alex Song (Barcelona, loan). Sam Allardyce has been told he must bring style rather than just substance to Upton Park and he has brought in some exciting attacking prospects to do just that. However, The Hammers’ most high profile signing is Alex Song who has joined on loan from Catalan giants Barcelona. The former Arsenal man is a quality defensive midfielder who has an excellent range of passing and will drastically improve the quality of the London club’s midfield.
Other notable signings: Aaron Cresswell (Ipswich Town, undisclosed), Carl Jenkinson (Arsenal, loan), Cheikhou Kouyate (Anderlecht, undisclosed), Diego Poyet (Charlton Athletic, free), Diafra Sakho (Metz, undisclosed), Enner Valencia (Pachuca, £12m), Mauro Zarate (Velez Sarsfield, undisclosed).

Weekend Preview and Predictions

The long-anticipated first weekend of the new Premier League season is set to begin. Here @0riginalfooty takes a look at the opening round of fixtures and offers predictions as to who will emerge victorious.

Saturday

Man Utd vs Swansea (12:45)
This is the first competitive fixture of Louis van Gaal’s reign and the Dutchman will be keen to get off to a flying start. Wayne Rooney has been announced as the new club captain, so don’t be surprised to see him get off the mark this weekend. This is a tough start for Garry Monk in his first full season as a manager and it’s hard to see them picking up anything from this one.
Prediction: Man Utd 3-1 Swansea

Leicester vs Everton (15:00)
Nigel Pearson will hope that his newly promoted side can carry their title-winning form forward to this season and establish themselves as a Premier League side. The Foxes have been disappointing in the transfer market, despite having money to spend, and face a tough encounter in their first match of the new campaign. Roberto Martinez, in comparison, has splashed £28 million alone on Romelu Lukaku and the Toffees will be hoping to challenge for a Champions League place. This won’t be an easy match for Everton but they should return to Merseyside with a hard fought three points.
Prediction: Leicester 0-1 Everton

QPR vs Hull (15:00)
Harry Redknapp’s team are the favourites of the newly promoted sides to survive in the division and will be hopeful of securing a mid-table finish. Their new signings, such as centre-backs Rio Ferdinand and Steven Caulker, signal their intentions of doing just that. Hull’s ambitions will be similar to their opponents and they should steer well clear of trouble this season, although a venture into Europe could test the depth of their squad. The sale of Shane Long to Southampton was a surprise, given that he only arrived in January, and Steve Bruce will have to replace him sooner rather than later. This match has draw written all over it.
Prediction: QPR 1-1 Hull

Stoke vs Aston Villa (15:00)
Mark Hughes is building a decent side at the Brittania Stadium and has instilled a much more exciting style of play than Tony Pulis ever did. The Potters have added some stimulating signings this summer, such as Bojan Krkic and Mame Biram Diouf, and should finish in the top half once more. Aston Villa have opted to add experienced players to their youthful squad throughout the transfer window and are desperate to avoid yet another relegation battle. Stoke are notoriously strong at home and should edge Villa in this one.
Prediction: Stoke 2-1 Aston Villa

West Brom vs Sunderland (15:00)
These are nervous times for Alan Irvine’s team. There are question marks over whether Brown Ideye can provide the goal-scoring touch that was so desperately missing last season. If he fails to hit the ground running then this could be a very difficult season for The Baggies. Sunderland, on the other hand, will feel relatively optimistic after an encouraging run of form at the end of last season. The Black Cats have added some decent quality to their squad, with the likes of Jack Rodwell and Costel Pantilimon arriving, and the mood around the Stadium of Light is generally positive. This one could go either way so we’ll sit on the fence and go for a draw.
Prediction: West Brom 1-1 Sunderland

West Ham vs Tottenham (15:00)
The Hammers have been proactive in the transfer market as Sam Allardyce attempts to develop a more expansive style of play. Players such as Mauro Zarate and Enner Valencia will bolster their attacking options in the absence of target man Andy Carroll. Mauricio Pochettino believes that his Spurs side is strong enough to secure a top four finish and if they are to achieve that then they will have to win matches like this one. Pochettino will be confident of bringing the best out of Tottenham’s misfiring stars and they should emerge victorious here.
Prediction: West Ham 1-2 Tottenham

Arsenal vs Crystal Palace (17.30)
The Gunners have enjoyed a terrific pre-season and there is a real buzz surrounding Arsene Wenger’s side. The transfer of Alexis Sanchez has been widely proclaimed as the best signing of the window and Arsenal fans genuinely believe that their team can be successful on all fronts this season. Conversely, Palace have been rocked by the news that manager Tony Pulis has left the club by mutual consent. Palace have suddenly emerged as possible relegation candidates, such was Pulis’ effect on their fortunes. The air of uncertainty around The Eagles should work in Arsenal’s favour and they should run out comfortable winners.
Prediction: Arsenal 4-0 Crystal Palace

Sunday

Liverpool vs Southampton (13:30)
This is arguably the tastiest fixture of this round of matches due to Liverpool’s continuous raid of The Saints this summer. Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren have all moved from St Marys to Anfield, which should add an element of spice to this match. Southampton fans have been extremely disappointed by the mass exodus this summer and will hope that Ronald Koeman and his new signings can adapt to the demands of the Premier League. Liverpool should emerge victorious in this one.
Liverpool 3-1 Southampton

Newcastle vs Man City (16:00)
The Magpies ended last season in appalling form and will hope that the new season brings a halt to their dreadful run. Alan Pardew has been very active in the transfer market and players such as Remy Cabella and Siem de Jong will be expected to stop their slide. City have been relatively quiet in the transfer market, only adding quality to specific areas. In truth, their squad is already strong enough to compete on all fronts and they should enjoy another good season. It won’t be straightforward but City will have enough about them to see off Newcastle.
Prediction: Newcastle 1-2 Man City

Monday

Burnley vs Chelsea (20:00)
Burnley mark their return to the Premier League by hosting Chelsea, a side widely tipped to win the league. Sean Dyche’s team finished second in the Championship last season and are expected to struggle to maintain their Premier League status beyond this campaign. If they are to survive they will have to make Turf Moor a fortress and ensure that sides do not leave there with all three points. Chelsea have strengthened extremely well this summer and have added balance, as well as quality, to their squad. This could be a tough opener for the Blues as Burnley are likely to be tough to break down but Mourinho’s side should find a way through.
Burnley 0-1 Chelsea