Gus Poyet

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

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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

Boxing Day Preview and Predictions

@0riginalfooty takes a look at the Boxing Day fixtures for the 18th round of Premier League football. Last weekend we got six out of ten predictions right and two correct scores. Will we do better this week?

Chelsea vs West Ham (12:45)
Jose Mourinho’s men produced yet another solid display to win away at Stoke and ensure that they remained top of the Premier League tree this Christmas. West Ham continue to be the surprise package of the season and Andy Carroll is reminding us all that he is a large asset, when he stays fit. West Ham will be competitive, as the have been all season, but Chelsea should put early pressure on Manchester City.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-1 West Ham

Burnley vs Liverpool (15:00)
Results largely went against Burnley last weekend and returned them to the drop-zone but The Clarets are proving to be a competitive side who will fight until the end. Liverpool, meanwhile, will be encouraged by their performance against Arsenal but there are still question marks over their ability to defend. If Burnley can take the opportunities that Liverpool will almost undoubtedly present them, then they can get a result here.
Prediction: Burnley 1-1 Liverpool

Crystal Palace vs Southampton (15:00)
Palace are nervously looking over their shoulder and are yet to win in December. Southampton emphatically shook off fears that their season was coming to a grinding halt with an emphatic victory over Everton, who they will believe they can finish above. This could go either way but Palace have demonstrated a lack of killer instinct and The Saints can exploit that.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-2 Southampton

Everton vs Stoke (15:00)
The Toffees are having a dreadful season and are closer to the relegation zone, in terms of points, than they are to the top four. Another poor result against Southampton has added weight to the theory that teams know how to play against them and there is no plan B. Stoke have had a strange season and continually produce unpredictable results but they are capable of doing better. Roberto Martinez will be desperate to get a response from his players this week and they should have enough to see off The Potters.
Prediction: Everton 2-1 Stoke

Leicester vs Spurs (15:00)
The Foxes suffered another loss against West Ham last weekend and Nigel Pearson’s days look numbered. Spurs edged to yet another win and are now level with top-four rivals Arsenal. They will want to keep the pressure up on The Gunners before their match later in the day and should have enough to beat Leicester.
Prediction: Leicester 1-2 Spurs

Man United vs Newcastle (15:00)
United stuttered to a draw against 10-man Aston Villa but they can still take heart from the fact that they sit five points ahead of their realistic top-four contenders in the form of Arsenal and Spurs. Newcastle have started to slide since their good run of form and the late loss to Sunderland was a big blow for Alan Pardew’s team. United should return to winning ways.
Prediction: Man United 3-1 Newcastle

Sunderland vs Hull (15:00)
This is a massive fixture for both these teams. Adam Johnson produced another moment of magic in the latest Tyne-Wear derby to give The Black Cats some breathing space between themselves and the relegation zone. Hull continued their struggles with a home loss against Swansea but know that if they can beat their relegation rivals here that they could rise out of the drop zone. Steve Bruce would love to put one over on his former side but Gus Poyet has made Sunderland difficult to beat and they could record back-to-back victories here.
Prediction: Sunderland 1-0 Hull

Swansea vs Aston Villa (15:00)
Swansea will be very pleased with their season so far and enjoyed another good win last weekend. Villa will also be happy with their draw against Man United last weekend and put in a plucky display. They are quietly going about their business and have reached the halfway mark of the magic 40 points so are on track for survival. Having said that, Villa’s record against Swansea in the Premier League is dire and The Swans will fancy their chances at home.
Prediction: Swansea 2-1 Aston Villa

West Brom vs Man City (15:00)
West Brom put in a catastrophic performance last weekend and threw away a two-goal lead to allow fellow strugglers QPR to draw level with them on points. City have closed the gap significantly on Chelsea and are in good form, especially considering their shortage of strikers. There will only be one outcome in this game and it’s not good news for Baggies fans.
Prediction: West Brom 1-3 Man City

Arsenal vs QPR (17:30)
The Gunners didn’t show up last weekend and still almost beat Liverpool. The manner in which they threw away their lead will not have gone down well with Arsene Wenger and QPR may be in for a tough afternoon. The R’s are beating their relegation rivals and winning at home but continue to offer very little away from home and they will lose again here.
Prediction: Arsenal 3-0 QPR

Weekend Preview and Predictions

@0riginalfooty takes a look at the fixtures for the 11th 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

Liverpool vs Chelsea

Liverpool are in a miserable vein of form and pressure is starting to ramp up on Brendan Rodgers. Chelsea suffered a shock mid-week draw but are still unbeaten in all competitions and a trip to Anfield won’t strike fear into the hearts of Mourinho’s men. Chelsea look solid in the league at the moment and they should get a win here.
Prediction: Liverpool 1-2 Chelsea

Burnley vs Hull
Burnley are yet to find a win this season but I’m certain it will come eventually and this could be a good opportunity to register all three points. Hull aren’t playing badly by any means but players can often face sides like Burnley being overconfident and slip up and I think that might happen here.
Prediction: Burnley 1-0 Hull

Man Utd vs Crystal Palace
United earned a hard-fought point over Chelsea and performed admirably with 10 men against rivals city. Palace, on the other hand, are sliding down the table and suffered a poor loss to a Sunderland team in poor form prior to the match. United will be confident of a comfortable victory in this one.
Prediction: Man Utd 3-1 Crystal Palace

Southampton vs Leicester
Southampton are in fine form and don’t look like being beaten by Leicester who lie in the bottom three. The Foxes excellent early season form has deserted them and they need to find the fast tempo that made them so attractive to watch earlier in the campaign. Ronald Koeman’s side should continue their rich vein of form in this one.
Prediction: Southampton 2-0 Leicester

West Ham vs Aston Villa
The Hammers showed great character by coming back from two goals down to earn a draw against Stoke. Stewart Downing has been in excellent form and thoroughly deserves his England call up. Villa produced a good performance last weekend and were desperately unlucky not to win but they have now lost Christian Benteke who looked as if he was returning to his best form against Spurs. Villa look a different team with him in the side and it’s hard to see them beating an in-form West Ham.
Prediction: West Ham 2-0 Aston Villa

QPR vs Man City
QPR performed admirably against Chelsea last weekend and are starting to compete at this level. City suffered an embarrassing loss to CSKA Moscow on Wednesday night and confidence appears to be at an all time low. Manuel Pellegrini will have to turn it around quickly if he is to keep his job and a win in this one could help get them back on track.
Prediction: QPR 1-2 Man City

Sunday

Sunderland vs Everton
Sunderland stopped the rot with an emphatic away win over Crystal Palace and Gus Poyet will be delighted to have a bit of momentum heading into this game. Everton were excellent against Lille on Thursday night and they are starting to look like top-four contenders again.
Prediction: Sunderland 1-2 Everton

Spurs vs Stoke
Spurs may have won last weekend but their performance was uninspiring to say the least and Benteke’s red card really swung the match in their favour. Mark Hughes was delighted with his side’s performance last weekend but will secretly be disappointed with their capitulation. Spurs need a performance at home and they should get a win here.
Prediction: Spurs 2-1 Stoke

West Brom vs Newcastle
This is a tough game to call as both sides are in good form at the moment. The Baggies beat Leicester away last time out while Newcastle beat Liverpool to continue their rich vein of form. Both teams will fancy their chances but a draw seems the most likely outcome.
Prediction: West Brom 1-1 Newcastle

Swansea vs Arsenal
Swansea came away with a well-earned point against Everton last time around while Arsenal put Burnley to the sword. Alexis Sanchez has come into excellent form at the moment and Arsenal look threatening going forward but Swansea can exploit them at the back. It should be a high-scoring game but one that Arsenal will win.
Prediction: Swansea 2-3 Arsenal

A First Time Footballer

As the Original Footy know-it-alls near the end of their Premier League previews, I still feel completely and utterly lost. I have been reading the posts, but there is mountains upon mountains of information about the teams involved – names I can’t spell or even begin to pronounce, movements of players from foreign and exciting lands, absurd sums of money in the fight for the best footballers – all of which I find baffling. For those of you who, like me, want to learn a bit more about the game but can’t hope to retain all the information in the Original Footy previews, the key is to go at it in bite-size chunks. So, we will begin today with the managers of the Premier League teams. I’m going to ask one of the guys at @0riginalFooty to test me on this at some point next week, so it’s time to start learning!
Arsenal – Arsene Wenger
Aston Villa – Paul Lambert
Burnley – Sean Dyche
Chelsea – Jose Mourinho
Crystal Palace – Tony Pulis
Everton – Roberto Martinez
Hull – Steve Bruce
Leicester – Nigel Pearson
Liverpool – Brendan Rodgers
Manchester City – Manuel Pellegrini
Manchester United – Louis van Gaal
Newcastle – Alan Pardew
QPR – Harry Redknapp
Southampton – Ronald Koeman
Stoke – Mark Hughes
Sunderland – Gus Poyet
Swansea – Garry Monk
Tottenham – Mauricio Pochettino
West Brom – Alan Irvine
West Ham – Sam Allardyce

At present I would say that I know 3 of these for sure. A measly 3 managers. Arsene Wenger is one of them and is an easy one to remember because his name is so similar to the name of his team. I actually know Paul Lambert and Aston Villa, but only because a good friend of mine speaks of very little else other than his favourite team. Finally, Manuel Pellegrini is where my knowledge of Premier League managers ends. I was on a flight back from Malaga last summer and he happened to be on the same plane as me. When collecting our luggage, he was stood with all the “normal” people and I noticed lots of passengers going up to him and asking for his autograph. Needless to say, I had no idea who he was so I sneaked a photo of him and sent it to a few of my football-savvy friends who confirmed that it was Manchester City’s new manager. So, I currently stand at a meagre 3 out of 20. I have a lot of work to do. Look out for A First Time Footballer’s post next week to find out how well (or not as the case may be) I fare in my Football Manager test…

Premier League Preview: Sunderland

There are only 3 weeks to wait ‘til the start of the Premier League. Over the next few weeks @0riginalfooty will preview the new season, take a look at each team and offer our predictions as to where each side will finish. Here we take a look at Sunderland.

On the face of things, a 14th place finish in the Premier League and two decent cup runs looks like a successful season for the Black Cats. However, in reality they spent the majority of the season in the relegation zone in a miserable campaign until a late surge kept them afloat. Gus Poyet will be hoping for a much more comfortable year this time round.

The Manager
Gus Poyet has plenty of Premier League experience, having played for both Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, and is a highly rated up-and-coming manager. He enjoyed a very successful spell at the helm of Brighton and Hove Albion, although it ended sourly, and saved Sunderland from relegation as well as reaching the final of the League Cup.

Poyet is no stranger to the Premier League

Poyet is no stranger to the Premier League

Biggest Signing
Sunderland have made some decent additions to their squad so far, without spending too much money. Patrick van Aanholt has moved from Chelsea, having previously been out on loan, and should slot in at left-back. The Black Cats have also made three signings on three transfers: Costel Pantilimon, Billy Jones and Jordi Gomez. Of these, the biggest, both in terms of stature and reputation, is former Manchester City goalkeeper Pantilimon. The giant Romanian had a spell as Pellegrini’s number one keeper when Joe Hart suffered a dip in form and he performed admirably during his time between the sticks. He should prove to be a good addition for Gus Poyet.

Pantilimon will be a large presence in the Sunderland goal

Pantilimon will be a large presence in the Sunderland goal

Who is tipped to join them?
Poyet has expressed his concern at the lack of activity this window and the Black Cats haven’t been tipped to sign too many new faces. The main man believed to be on their radar is Fabio Borini from Liverpool, who was on loan to them last season, and they have agreed a fee of around £14 million to acquire his services. There has been a long wait to complete the transfer, however, and it is reported that Borini may prefer to stay on Merseyside.

It remains to be seen if Borini will move to Sunderland permanently

It remains to be seen if Borini will move to Sunderland permanently

Who should they sign?
The Black Cats look a little short in defence and will be keen to add some new recruits to bolster their squad. Poyet will be desperate for a new right-back in particular, especially having reportedly missed out on Carl Jenkinson, and Luis Pedro Cavanda is a potential option. Sunderland will also want competition at centre-back that Sebastian Bassong could provide.

Bassong would jump at the chance to return to top flight football

Bassong would jump at the chance to return to top flight football

Key Player
Adam Johnson. At points last season, there were calls for Adam Johnson to return to the England setup after several impressive displays, however, they did not come often enough. On his day, he is a tough proposition for any opposing fullback and if he can find his best form more consistently then Sunderland will have no trouble avoiding relegation.

Johnson would be a top player if he could consistently find form

Johnson would be a top player if he could consistently find form

Prediction
Sunderland appear to be building sensibly under Gus Poyet, who I believe is a good manager, and I think that we will see steady progress for the Black Cats over the next few seasons. I’m not expecting miracles by any stretch and think that they will actually finish a couple of places lower than last season but they should steer clear from relegation and have a more comfortable campaign. Expect Sunderland to finish 16th.