Nigel Pearson

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

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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

Leicester 1-0 Aston Villa

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Benteke came close with a header but Leicester held on.

New Year Preview and Predictions

@0riginalfooty takes a look at the New Year’s Day fixtures for the 20th round of Premier League football. Following a surprising set of results last weekend, we got two out of ten predictions right and no correct scores. Will we do better this week?

Stoke vs Man United (12:45)
The Potters have climbed to 11th after their victory over struggling West Brom and are more than capable of finishing in the top half of the table. United may have been disappointed to have not beaten Spurs but their rivals also dropped points and it shouldn’t do too much damage to their top-four hopes. Stoke are traditionally strong at home and have put in some decent performances against the big sides this season and may well get a point here too.
Prediction: Stoke 1-1 Man United

Aston Villa vs Crystal Palace (15:00)
While Fabian Delph’s red card may have been harsh, Villa’s lack of discipline is costing them dearly at the moment. Delph’s lunge was needless above anything and gave Martin Atkinson a decision that he shouldn’t have even had to make. Having said that, Villa performed admirably with ten men and can take heart from their display and earned another valuable point. Palace also battled to a draw against relegation rivals QPR and they will probably set up in a similar fashion at Villa Park with the intention of returning to London with a point. They’re capable of getting it and will frustrate the Villa faithful with another home draw to offer a springboard before Alan Pardew’s arrival.
Prediction: Aston Villa 1-1 Crystal Palace

Hull vs Everton (15:00)
Hull’s defeat to Leicester undid the good work they had done the previous week against Sunderland. They have to start winning the matches against their rivals at the bottom of the table else they could face the drop. Everton are enduring a similarly torrid time at the moment and a top-four place is already beyond them. Roberto Martinez needs a win desperately and there aren’t many teams in the league that are better to play to provide you with such a luxury. This will be a cagey affair and either side could get all three points but an Everton win is long overdue.
Prediction: Hull 1-2 Everton

Liverpool vs Leicester (15:00)
Liverpool produced an excellent performance to thump Swansea 4-1 and will now set their sights on climbing up the table. Leicester, meanwhile, got a long-awaited win over Hull and saved Nigel Pearson’s job in the process. Had they lost that match, there would have been no way back but they have given themselves a lifeline and stayed in touch with their rivals at the bottom. To get a win at Anfield seems unlikely, though.
Prediction: Liverpool 1-0 Leicester

Man City vs Sunderland (15:00)
Manuel Pellegrini will have been furious at his side for the manner in which they dropped two points against lowly Burnley. With Chelsea dropping points, it was the ideal opportunity to put real pressure on their title rivals. Sunderland will be equally disappointed that they didn’t get three points against 10-man Aston Villa. Sunderland played very poorly considering their man advantage and should be a good opponent for City to beat, despite The Black Cats good record against them.
Prediction: Man City 3-0 Sunderland

Newcastle vs Burnley (15:00)
Both these sides performed admirably to earn good results at the weekend. Newcastle battled back from a goal down to beat Everton 3-2 while The Clarets clawed themselves level having gone two goals behind against the champions Man City. Newcastle are surprisingly set to lose Alan Pardew to Crystal Palace and it will be interesting to see how the players react to his departure. Burnley have shown that they can battle against the best teams in the league and no team they play against will get an easy ride. A draw seems a likely outcome.
Prediction: Newcastle 1-1 Burnley

QPR vs Swansea (15:00)
QPR will have been disappointed in dropping points against Crystal Palace at home but their opponents were very organised and played for a point. Swansea, who were comfortably dismantled by Liverpool, won’t arrive with that attitude and will go to Loftus Road believing they can win. The R’s home form has been generally very good and they are capable of winning this one.
Prediction: QPR 2-1 Swansea

Southampton vs Arsenal (15:00)
The Saints defied the odds with their draw against league leaders Chelsea while The Gunners saw off high-flying West Ham. Southampton have impressed in their two matches against Arsene Wenger’s men this season but came up short in their last league encounter. These are two of the stronger teams in the league and are very difficult to separate so a draw seems a sensible option.
Prediction: Southampton 1-1 Arsenal

West Ham vs West Brom (15:00)
The Hammers have lost back-to-back matches to two of the league’s best teams so they will be pleased to face opposition as weak as The Baggies. Alan Irvine’s reign has come to an end but a new boss won’t be in place before this one. They will hope to lure Tony Pulis to the club due to his excellent managerial record at avoiding relegation. It’s hard to see anything but a West Ham win.
Prediction: West Ham 2-0 West Brom

Spurs vs Chelsea (17:30)
Spurs will have been relieved to take a point off Man United and keep themselves firmly in the frame for Champions League football. Chelsea may have dropped points but their only real title challengers Man City dropped points as well so little damage was done. Jose Mourinho generally sets up very well against the best sides and Chelsea always seem to beat Spurs so it’s hard to bet against them doing the same here.
Prediction: Spurs 1-2 Chelsea

Weekend Preview and Predictions

@0riginalfooty takes a look at the fixtures for the 19th round of Premier League football. On Boxing Day we got seven out of ten predictions right and three correct scores. Will we do better this week?

Sunday

Spurs vs Man United (12:00)
Spurs’ recent upturn in form means that if they win this match, they will be within two points of United. Having said that, their recent matches have been against relatively weak opposition so it may be too soon for their fans to get ahead of themselves. Louis van Gaal’s side overcame their blip against Aston Villa with an emphatic win over Newcastle on Boxing Day. This should be a good match but United look the stronger team and should have the edge.
Prediction: Spurs 1-2 Man United

Southampton vs Chelsea (14:05)
Southampton have returned to the top four after another good victory but they are yet to really dominate one of the league’s top sides. Chelsea were comfortable against West Ham until the last five minutes and they are a very strong team. Southampton will be competitive but it’s hard to predict against Chelsea at the moment.
Prediction: Southampton 1-2 Chelsea

Aston Villa vs Sunderland (15:00)
Villa may have lost two of their last three games but they were very unfortunate to lose in both those instances and Paul Lambert’s side have been on the receiving end of several poor refereeing decisions in recent weeks. Sunderland, meanwhile, let a home lead slip against struggling Hull and will be nervously looking over their shoulders again. Had they beaten Hull I would have backed The Black Cats to nick a draw but Villa are due a win and some good luck and they have a good record against their opponents.
Prediction: Aston Villa 3-1 Sunderland

Hull vs Leicester (15:00)
Hull’s fight-back may have saved Steve Bruce from increasing pressure and now gifts them an opportunity to catapult themselves towards safety with a win against bottom side Leicester. The Foxes are playing for Nigel Pearson’s job, in my opinion, and defeat here will condemn him to the sack. Back-to-back wins can utterly change a team’s standing in this league and Hull are about to demonstrate that.
Prediction: Hull 2-0 Leicester

Man City vs Burnley (15:00)
City are playing very well at the moment and are brushing weaker opposition aside. Burnley, on the other hand, are in the middle of a tough run of fixtures that they will be glad to see the back of. City should put The Clarets to the sword, even if they are without their strikers once more.
Prediction: Man City 3-0 Burnley

QPR vs Crystal Palace (15:00)
This is a massive game and is filled with uncertainty now that Neil Warnock has been sacked from his post as Palace manager. QPR almost snatched a point against Arsenal at the weekend but this match is far more important to them and they can reach the 20-point mark with victory. Palace sacked their manager at the most bizarre moment of the season possible. Warnock should have been given the chance to get a result out of this match rather than being given the boot just before it. Sometimes a change in personnel can give a team a boost but QPR are strong at home and seem to beat their relegation rivals consistently and I don’t see that changing here.
Prediction: QPR 3-0 Crystal Palace

Stoke vs West Brom (15:00)
Stoke again surprised me last weekend with another outstanding result and they look assured of a place in the Premier League once more. West Brom, however, do not. Alan Irvine has already admitted his job is under threat and if they lose this one, he could be fired. Stoke seem to slip up randomly, which can offer The Baggies hope, but I’d be surprised if West Brom got a result.
Prediction: Stoke 1-0 West Brom

West Ham vs Arsenal (15:00)
The Hammers rested a couple of players in their defeat to Chelsea and they will have targeted this match as a more winnable game. The Gunners did well to hang on with 10 men against QPR but West Ham have shown that they are no pushovers and they have the firepower up front to hurt Arsene Wenger’s men. This should be quite a fast-paced and entertaining game and these teams are difficult to separate. For all of Alexis Sanchez’s brilliance, Arsenal look too lightweight in midfield and catastrophic at the back. West Ham have big strong forwards who will fancy their chances against Arsenal’s weakened back-line and they are capable of getting a result here.
Prediction: West Ham 2-2 Arsenal

Newcastle vs Everton (16:15)
Both these teams are in poor form and it will be interesting to see how this one pans out. Alan Pardew’s men have lost every match since beating Chelsea and don’t look like producing a good result anytime soon. Having said that, Everton have been appalling this season and another home loss to Stoke was very disappointing. They are already 10 points off the guaranteed Europa League spot and their form is extremely poor. Roberto Martinez may decide to gamble and go for broke in the Europa League because qualification through the Premier League seems improbable. This could go either way but both defences look leaky so there should be goals.
Prediction: Newcastle 2-2 Everton

Monday

Liverpool vs Swansea (20:00)
Both these teams won on Boxing Day but neither won convincingly. Liverpool edged out Burnley while Swansea held off an Aston Villa fightback. Neither side is in incredible form but Swansea’s squad looks tired to me and Liverpool may just have enough to earn an important win.
Prediction: Liverpool 2-1 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 17th round of Premier League football. Last weekend we got seven out of ten predictions right and three correct scores. Will we do better this week?

Saturday

Man City vs Crystal Palace (12:45)
City may not have been at their best last weekend but they still ground out a result and head into the Christmas period in good form. Palace picked up another point towards safety last weekend but will be second best here. This should be a comfortable win for the home team.
Prediction: Man City 3-0 Crystal Palace

Aston Villa vs Man United (15:00)
Villa may have lost last weekend but they looked in control until Kieran Richardson got sent off and they performed admirably with 10 men for 70 minutes. United have won six on the spin but haven’t played particularly well in many of those fixtures. Winning when you’re not playing well is a good sign but Christian Benteke is a different kettle of fish to most other strikers in the league and he will put a lot of pressure on United’s weak backline. Having said that, United’s strikers are starting to find the back of the net and should be able to outscore Villa.
Prediction: Aston Villa 2-3 Man United

Hull vs Swansea (15:00)
Hull are in terrible form and are showing few signs of turning it around. Swansea saw Spurs leapfrog them last season and now sit in ninth, which is roughly where I’d expect them to finish this season. Hull desperately need to win their home games but Swansea should have too much for them.
Prediction: Hull 1-2 Swansea

QPR vs West Brom (15:00)
QPR suffered yet another away loss to Everton last weekend but teams really struggle to go to Loftus Road and get a result. West Brom recorded victory over their local rivals last weekend but were by no means convincing given that they had a man advantage for the majority of the game. QPR’s home form is what will keep them up this season and they should drag West Brom back into trouble here.
Prediction: QPR 2-0 West Brom

Southampton vs Everton (15:00)
Southampton have now lost five in a row and are suffering a small crisis. The loss to Burnley was really disappointing for Ronald Koeman’s team and their squad is being stretched very thin during the Christmas period. Everton, meanwhile, look like they’re about to kick on and then suffer a surprising result – they are really lacking consistency. A draw looks probable here.
Prediction: Southampton 1-1 Everton

Spurs vs Burnley (15:00)
Spurs have suddenly began a climb towards the top-four and are only two points behind their main rivals Arsenal who face fellow rivals Liverpool later in the weekend. Burnley earned a magical win over Southampton and pulled themselves out of the relegation zone. Away from home they look more vunerable, however, and Spurs should take advantage of one of their main rivals dropping points and win here.
Prediction: Spurs 3-1 Burnley

West Ham vs Leicester (15:00)
West Ham are proving to be the surprise package of the season but there appears to have been some unrest in the camp this week over their wage structure. Sam Allardyce was rightly furious at certain members of his squad demanding a pay rise when they are yet to achieve anything this season. Leicester, meanwhile, are now five points away from Burnley who are just above the relegation zone and I’ll be surprised, if they don’t win before the New Year, if Nigel Pearson keeps his job. This should be a comfortable victory for The Hammers.
Prediction: West Ham 2-0 Leicester

Sunday
Newcastle vs Sunderland (13:30)
This derby matchup should provide entertaining viewing and Newcastle’s goalkeeping woes aren’t helping them. They suffered a heavy defeat to Spurs and were knocked out of the Capital One Cup but their league form is still stronger than their rivals. Sunderland drew yet again last week but the fans will want a victory here, which may leave spaces for Newcastle to exploit.
Prediction: Newcastle 3-1 Sunderland

Liverpool vs Arsenal (16:00)
This is a vitally important match for both these clubs. Arsenal need to keep pressure on Manchester United and keep distance between themselves and Liverpool while Liverpool desperately need to close the gap on their top-four rivals. Arsenal are certainly in better form following their 4-1 victory over Newcastle and pressure is really mounting on Brendan Rodgers. While Liverpool are in the bottom half, they are still only five points behind The Gunners and this is a great opportunity to really close that gap. Having said that, Arsenal will see it as a chance to put Liverpool’s top-four challenge to rest and I think they’ll have too much for The Reds.
Prediction: Liverpool 1-2 Arsenal

Monday
 
Stoke vs Chelsea (20:00)
This is a game Man City will be looking at and hoping that Chelsea will slip up. Stoke are known for being solid at home but have been less consistent there this season. Chelsea are still viewed as favourites for the title and won’t give Manuel Pellegrini an early Christmas present by losing here.
Prediction: Stoke 1-2  Chelsea

Weekend Preview and Predictions

@0riginalfooty takes a look at the fixtures for the second weekend of Premier League football. Last week we got six out of ten correct, will we do better this time around?

Saturday

Aston Villa vs Newcastle (12:45)
Villa made a fantastic start to the new season by beating a much-fancied Stoke team away from home. The Villans deployed a new look back four and one that looked infinitely more capable of dealing with the challenges faced in the Premier League. Newcastle may have fell to defeat in their first outing but they gave a decent account of themselves against a strong Man City team and can take heart from their performance. This one could go either way and I think both sides would be pleased with a point.
Prediction: Aston Villa 1-1 Newcastle

Chelsea vs Leicester (15:00)
Mourinho’s men demonstrated why they are heavily tipped to win the league this season by ably dispatching newly promoted Burnley on Monday night. They face another promoted side this weekend, in the form of Nigel Pearson’s Leicester, who began life in the Premier League with a commendable draw at Goodison Park. Leicester will be on a high from their performance last weekend but fixtures in this league don’t come much tougher than this. They should succumb to a comfortable defeat.
Prediction: Chelsea 3-0 Leicester

Crystal Palace vs West Ham (15:00)
Palace were left devastated by a late Aaron Ramsey goal to deny them a brilliant first point after the departure of Tony Pulis. West Ham suffered a similar fate against Spurs, who were down to ten men for the majority of the match, so both sides could be low on confidence. This is likely to be a cagey match that neither side will want to risk losing. A bore draw seems the most probable outcome. 
Prediction: Crystal Palace 0-0 West Ham

Southampton vs West Brom (15:00)
The Saints began their season with a decent showing against a Liverpool side, who plucked several of their stars in the transfer window, although they did succumb to defeat. The Baggies, on the other hand, earned an early point at home to Sunderland. Saido Berahino scored twice for the Midlands side in their first match and Alan Irvine will be praying that he can be the answer to their goal scoring problems. Both these sides are tipped to struggle this season and victory in these matches could prove vital in their bids to stay afloat. Southampton have the home advantage and should be buoyed by a positive performance at Anfield so they will win this one.
Prediction: Southampton 2-1 West Brom

Swansea vs Burnley (15:00)
The Swans made the unlikeliest of starts by beating Man Utd at Old Trafford and they were thoroughly deserving of their win. Burnley’s comfortable defeat to Chelsea was less surprising, although it is difficult to gauge how they will cope at this level having only played The Blues. Swansea will be on a high after last weekend’s triumph and the confidence they have should be enough to see off Sean Dyche’s side. If they are overconfident they could find themselves dropping valuable points but Garry Monk will hope to keep them in check.
Prediction: Swansea 2-1 Burnley

Everton vs Arsenal (17:30)
This is likely to be one of the best fixtures of the weekend where two sides who love to attack go against one another. The Toffees smashed The Gunners 3-0 in the same fixture last season so the London side will be aware of how big a threat Roberto Martinez’s side are. Everton will be disappointed to have dropped points against Leicester last weekend whilst Arsene Wenger’s team can count themselves very fortunate to have taken all three points off Crystal Palace in a very laboured display. Arsenal also had to play in Turkey on Tuesday night so they will hope that the trip won’t have taken too much out of them. This should be a lively encounter and one that could end in a high-scoring draw.
Prediction: Everton 2-2 Arsenal

Sunday

Hull vs Stoke (13:30)
The Tigers made a winning start to the season by narrowly defeating QPR thanks to a James Chester goal. Meanwhile, The Potters were surprisingly beaten by Paul Lambert’s Aston Villa side at home. Both sides will have pinpointed this as a potentially winnable fixture and it’s one that could go either way, as they’re two evenly matched sides. One thing that could tip the balance in Stoke’s favour was Hull’s midweek trip to Belgium, where they were defeated, in the Europa League. It should be a tight game but Stoke may just edge it to bounce back from opening day disappointment.
Prediction: Hull 1-2 Stoke

Spurs vs QPR (13:30)
This is a battle between two London sides and it features Harry Redknapp doing battle against his former club. Spurs kicked off their season with a well fought victory against West Ham, despite being down to ten men for the majority of the match. QPR, on the other hand, were defeated by Hull. Tottenham faced a midweek venture to Cyprus, where they secured an away victory, and that could take its toll but, in truth, this is a match that they will be confident of winning. Both sides looked well organised defensively so it will be a low scoring affair but Spurs should come out on top.
Prediction: Spurs 1-0 QPR

Sunderland vs Man Utd (16:00)
The doom and gloom has seemingly returned around Old Trafford after a poor display and result against Swansea last weekend. Despite the disappointment, the result could prove a blessing in disguise. Louis van Gaal knows he needs to add quality to his squad urgently and their showing against The Swans will certainly have convinced Ed Woodward to let the manager buy whatever he needs. Sunderland made a decent start with a point against West Brom and will have fond memories of knocking United out of the League cup over two legs last season so they will have no fears. It will be interesting to see how much of a reaction van Gaal will prise out of his players and we think they will pinch a victory.
Prediction: Sunderland 1-2 Man Utd

Monday

Man City vs Liverpool (20:00)
This is the other massive match this weekend and one that is very close to call. Manuel Pellegrini’s side made a very impressive start away at Newcastle and ran out comfortable 2-0 winners. Encouragingly, Sergio Aguero featured off the bench and scored their second goal and they will be hopeful that he is fit enough to spearhead their attack this weekend. Liverpool also began the new season with a victory although it was less convincing than many expected. It remains to be seen how they cope without Suarez on the really big occasions such as this one. We are expecting a fast-paced and exciting encounter where City will find a win.
Prediction: Man City 3-1 Liverpool

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

A First Time Footballer

Last week, A First Time Footballer took on the challenge of trying to learn the managers of the Premier League teams. Having only known 3 prior to the test, I wasn’t feeling particularly confident. The results are in…

1. Who is Harry Redknapp the manager of? QPR
2. Who is Everton’s manager? Roberto Martinez
3. The manager of Leicester is…? Nigel Pearson
4. Man Utd have recently employed…? Louis van gaal
5. Liverpool are managed by…? Brendan Rodgers
6. Tony Pulis manages which club? Crystal Palace
7. Garry Monk is the manager of which team? Swansea
8. Who is the boss of West Ham United? Pass
9. Who manages West Bromwich Albion? Alan someone?
10. Alan Pardew manages which side? Newcastle

8/10

I am actually quite pleased with my 80%. By no means did I spend the past week or so studying the managers religiously. In fact, I’ve been on holiday and Premier League revision has been far from my mind. However, I did try and come up with some random yet memorable ways of getting the names to stick in my head (e.g. Surely the Queen and red-headed Harry don’t take knapps in the park = QPR Harry Redknapp) and I think it turned out pretty well. I’ve still got a little bit of work to do, but it’s all about baby steps when you are trying to tackle something as varied and ever-changing as football.

Whilst I was on holiday, I visited some family friends who live in LA. The son of the family is soccer mad and often stays up until the early hours of the morning to follow English football, particularly to support his beloved Manchester City. He plays for a team called ‘Santa Monica United’ and apparently it is quite a costly hobby.

A large reason for the high membership price is that a lot of very poor children want to play football for a team. In many cases they don’t speak English, can’t afford football boots and couldn’t dream of being able to pay for membership at a club. However, they play phenomenal football and are blessed with raw skill and talent. So, the families that can afford to pay their membership, cover the costs for the children that can’t. The system works because it benefits everybody involved – the kids desperate to train can do so, the families that are paying extra don’t mind because their team becomes stronger and improving the side is the main goal.

I don’t really know if this is what happens in all clubs or not, but I was really impressed with the idea. It just goes to show that despite the many criticisms of football and the money involved in the industry, it does bring together people from an array of upbringings and backgrounds because of their shared love of the game. Actually, football is pretty great.