Roberto Martinez

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

Midweek Preview and Predictions

@0riginalfooty takes a look at the midweek fixtures for the 25th round of Premier League football. Last time out we got five out of ten predictions right and one correct score. Will we do better this week?

Tuesday

Arsenal vs Leicester (19:45)
The Gunners suffered a disappointing derby defeat to bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur having been ahead and, in truth, looked the weaker side. Leicester suffered another defeat and their mini-renaissance has come to a halt. There were further problems after the match after Nigel Pearson was reportedly sacked only for those rumours to be proved as false later on. In short, Leicesterface a very uncertain future. Arsene Wenger will be looking for a response from his side to keep them in the hunt for a top-four spot and they shouldn’t have too much trouble beating The Foxes.
Prediction: Arsenal 3-0 Leicester

Hull vs Aston Villa (19:45)
This is a huge match between two sides struggling at the bottom of the table but both will enter it with renewed optimism. Hull were moments away from leaving the Etihad with all three points and their performance has reduced the pressure on Steve Bruce, which will further decrease if they beat Villa. The Villans, meanwhile, produced a spirited display against Chelsea and if they can start performing like that against the sides around them, then they are more than capable of escaping the drop. It’s hard to predict which side will be boosted the most from their weekend endeavours but both teams will be desperate to not lose and a draw could be on the cards.
Prediction: Hull 1-1 Aston Villa

Sunderland vs QPR (19:45)
The Black Cats have started to pull clear of relegation trouble and the signing of Jermain Defoe has given the whole club a lift. On the other hand, QPR seem to be in big trouble. They conceded a late goal to lose to Southampton and could really do with a morale-boosting victory away from home. It’s hard to see that happening, though.
Prediction: Sunderland 2-0 QPR

Liverpool vs Spurs (20:00)
Liverpool missed a big opportunity to close the gap on a few of their top-four rivals with a goalless draw against Everton. Spurs had no such problem and Harry Kane emphatically fired them to victory over Arsenal to guide them into fifth. Liverpool thumped Spurs 3-0 in the reverse fixture but Mauricio Pochettino’s men have had success in their most recent matches against their rivals and you wouldn’t bet against them getting at least a draw at Anfield.
Prediction: Liverpool 2-2 Spurs

Wednesday

Chelsea vs Everton (19:45)
Jose Mourinho’s men may not have been at their best at Villa Park on Saturday but they did what every great side does and ground out a victory. Everton have improved greatly in the last few weeks but are still not playing at the level that Roberto Martinez would expect of them. Chelsea should earn a comfortable home victory.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-0 Everton

Man United vs Burnley (19:45)
Daley Blind scored a late equaliser to earn United a point at Upton Park while Burnley let another two goal lead slip against West Brom. Burnley’s run of fixtures looks daunting and it’s hard to make a strong case for their survival given their tendency to drop points from winning positions. United have been very up and down all season and have rarely looked like the attacking force that most people were expecting to see. Having said that, they have enough to beat The Clarets.
Prediction: Man United 2-1 Burnley

Southampton vs West Ham (19:45)
The Saints recorded an impressive away win at Loftus Road to move into third in the table and Ronald Koeman’s side continue to battle for a top-four place. The Hammers dominated Man United but just came up short to land all three points. Both these sides have demonstrated throughout the season that they are no pushovers and this should be a tight game but I fancy Southampton to nick it.
Prediction: Southampton 2-1 West Ham

Stoke vs Man City (19:45)
Both these sides scored late on to earn a point this weekend. Peter Crouch nodded home to level for The Potters against Newcastle while James Milner’s free-kick salvaged a point against Hull. It’s very difficult to predict against Stoke when they’re at home but the fact that City will be desperate to bounce back after their weekend result coupled with their wanting to avenge their defeat to Stoke in the reverse fixture should mean that they come out on top.
Prediction: Stoke 1-2 Man City

Crystal Palace vs Newcastle (20:00)
This game will mean an awful lot to Alan Pardew, who will be desperate to record a win over his former side. Pardew’s short reign at Palace has been an unqualified success and they recorded another victory against Leicester to fire themselves into 13th and six points clear of the relegation zone. John Carver, on the other hand, has done ok in his brief time in charge of The Magpies but his spell at the helm has been largely unspectacular. The atmosphere should be intense inside Selhurst Park and I’m tipping Pardew to get the win.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 2-1 Newcastle

West Brom vs Swansea (20:00)
Both sides recovered from losing positions to earn a point at the weekend and Tony Pulis is yet to produce the airtight defence that many people were expecting of him. Swansea have enjoyed a very good season but I can’t see them finishing any higher than their current position in 9th but a mid-table finish would represent a success. A draw seems inevitable in this one.
Prediction: West Brom 1-1 Swansea

Weekend Preview and Predictions

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

Saturday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday

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

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

Monday

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

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

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

Saturday

QPR vs Stoke (12:45)
Both these sides have made very poor starts to the campaign. QPR have the worst goal difference in the league and have lost three of their opening four matches. Stoke, on the other hand, have had what on paper looked like a relatively easy start and only a shock win over Manchester City has saved them from being glued to the bottom of the table. They will be desperate to get a win against one of the sides around them but a draw seems more likely here.
Prediction: QPR 1-1 Stoke

Aston Villa vs Arsenal (15:00)
Villa have been one of the best sides in the league to date and put in a magnificently gritty performance to earn a victory at Anfield last weekend. Arsenal, meanwhile, have made an indifferent start to the campaign and were battered by Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League on Tuesday. However, they still remain undefeated in the league. There are serious concerns over Arsenal’s defence but they are always a threat going forward and should bounce back against Paul Lambert’s side.
Prediction: Villa 1-2 Arsenal

Burnley vs Sunderland (15:00)
Burnley were agonisingly close to sealing their first league victory of the season against Crystal Palace and saw a late penalty wonderfully saved by Julian Speroni. They are proving to be no pushovers though and can take heart from their start. Sunderland have started decently enough and have earned draws against Spurs and Manchester United but they look a little toothless in attack. A low scoring draw seems the most likely outcome in this one.
Prediction: Burnley 1-1 Sunderland

Newcastle vs Hull (15:00)
Newcastle have won the award for worst performance of the season so far with their dismal showing against Southampton and Alan Pardew is under huge pressure to get a result here. Hull have made an okay start to the season and will fancy their chances of picking up at least a point here. Pardew will probably need a win to keep his job but it’s hard to see them getting it.
Prediction: Newcastle 1-1 Hull

Swansea vs Southampton (15:00)
This could be one of the games of the weekend as two sides who have played some excellent football go head to head. Swansea’s winning streak was brought to an end by Chelsea last weekend whilst Southampton mauled Alan Pardew’s hapless Newcastle side. Both these sides were tipped to struggle this season due to their manager’s lack of experience in the league and, in Southampton’s case, a mass exodus of their playing staff. However, both sides and managers deserve immense praise for their start and this is a tough game to call. It should be a game full of goals and a great one for the neutral.
Prediction: Swansea 2-2 Southampton

West Ham vs Liverpool (17:30)
West Ham have had a decent start to the season and fought back well to draw against Hull on Monday night. Liverpool, on the other hand, dropped points against Villa at the weekend when trying to rotate their squad. They were very easy to defend against in the absence of Sterling and Sturridge. Fortunately for Liverpool, West Ham aren’t as solid as Villa are at the moment and an away win is on the cards.
Prediction: West Ham 1-3 Liverpool

Sunday

Leicester vs Manchester United (13:30)
What a start to the season Leicester have made. They have been a brilliant addition to the league and have secured some fantastic results. Leonardo Ulloa is proving to be a superb buy and will cause this weak Manchester United defence a lot of problems. United, however, managed a good result and performance themselves last weekend, albeit against a very poor QPR side, but there are still questions to be answered at the back. Leicester won’t be afraid here and can continue their brilliant campaign.
Prediction: Leicester 2-2 Manchester United

Spurs vs West Brom (13:30)
Spurs threw away three points against Sunderland last weekend and were guilty of not taking several great chances in the second half. They did play well though and Pochettino can be encouraged, on the whole, by his sides performances. At the other end of the scale, The Baggies look like a very average side and they will struggle to score against this Spurs team. Don’t be surprised to see Alan Irvine’s team rooted to the bottom of the league after this weekend.
Prediction: Spurs 3-0 West Brom

Everton vs Crystal Palace (16:00)
The Toffees finally got off the mark with an away win at West Brom and that should kick start Roberto Martinez and his side’s season. Palace are still finding their feet under Neil Warnock and were very grateful to Julian Speroni and his penalty save to avoid defeat last weekend. This should be a fairly routine win for Everton.
Prediction: Everton 2-0 Crystal Palace

Man City vs Chelsea (16:00)
This is a clash between the two sides most people believe will win the league this season. City have made a fairly poor start by their lofty standards and are without a win in their last three matches after defeat in Munich. Chelsea, on the other hand, have been magnificent in the league but a midweek home draw with Schalke demonstrated their reliance on Diego Costa. Mourinho ended City’s fantastic run at home last season but he would be happy with a draw to maintain the early five-point gap.
Prediction: Man City 1-1 Chelsea

Weekend Preview and Predictions

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

Saturday

Burnley vs Man Utd (12:45)
Neither side has recorded a Premier League win this season and The Clarets are yet to register a point. In fairness to Burnley, they produced a good second half display against Swansea and they will be encouraged that they won’t be pointless for too long. United, on the other hand, have made a terrible start to the season and, worryingly, are showing no attacking creativity or incisiveness to strike fear into any opposition. Their midweek hammering by the MK Dons has made things even worse and confidence will be at an all time low. On the plus side, United have brought in a world class player in Angel Di Maria, one of the stars of Real Madrid’s Champions League victory last season. Playing away from home should take some pressure off the players and they will hope that the signing of Di Maria will give them enough of a lift to record their first three points. Judging by their current form, however, don’t be surprised to see them slip up once more.
Prediction: Burnley 0-1 Man Utd

Man City vs Stoke (15:00)
Manchester City may not have hit their best form so far but they have still recorded two relatively comfortable victories over decent opposition. In contrast, Stoke have made a stuttering start to the season by losing at home to an unfancied Villa side and only managing a draw against ten-man Hull. On the plus side, they did record a comfortable victory against Portsmouth in the Capital One Cup, although they will face a much sterner test here. Stevan Jovetic appears to have put his previous injury concerns behind him and looks a real threat going forward, which will really please Manuel Pellegrini. Provided City aren’t overconfident, this should be a straightforward home victory.
Prediction: Man City 3-0 Stoke

Newcastle vs Crystal Palace (15:00)
Newcastle, whilst only having one point on the board, have made a solid start and look set for a good season. Meanwhile, Crystal Palace have had a nightmare start to the campaign, although they avoided an upset against Walsall in the cup with a confident three goal victory. They have appointed Neil Warnock as their new manager, so they will have some stability on that front, and are set to re-sign Wilfried Zaha on loan so there should be a slightly more positive buzz around Selhurst Park. Having said that, Warnock’s record at this level is fairly poor and fans may question the appointment. Newcastle will feel confident going into this one and should have enough to earn their first three points of the season.
Prediction: Newcastle 2-0 Crystal Palace

QPR vs Sunderland (15:00)
Harry Redknapp and his side have made a really disappointing start to the campaign and there is already talk of him facing the axe. Sunderland, in comparison, have drawn both their matches and performed very well against a struggling Man Utd last weekend. Redknapp’s players will be shot of confidence after their thumping at the hands of Spurs and the fans will be expecting a big performance this weekend. Sunderland look like a tough side to beat and they should come away with another point here.
Prediction: QPR 1-1 Sunderland

Swansea vs West Brom (15:00)
Swansea have made a truly magnificent start to the season and Garry Monk will be delighted with the performances of all his players thus far. West Brom may not have made such a glamorous start but they have a couple of points on the board and Alan Irvine will be pleased with the battling qualities his side have demonstrated to date. Irvine’s side seem well organised and won’t roll over easily so Swansea’s 100% record may come under threat here. A draw seems the most likely outcome in this one.
Prediction: Swansea 2-2 West Brom

West Ham vs Southampton (15:00)
The Hammers bounced back from opening day disappointment to easily dispense of Crystal Palace with the free-flowing football that Allardyce has promised. Ronald Koeman won’t be too disheartened by his side’s performances so far, although they appear less dangerous in attack this season. This is yet another game that’s very difficult to call but West Ham seem to be on a high and should just about manage a victory, although with less ease than last weeks encounter.
Prediction: West Ham 2-1 Southampton

Everton vs Chelsea (17:30)
Everton have thrown away leads late on in their first matches of the season and will be bitterly disappointed to only have two points when they could easily have had six. Chelsea have waltzed to two comfortable victories against the promoted sides but this is their first real test. Jose Mourinho won’t underestimate his opposition and will be likely to keep it fairly tight, making sure they don’t lose the game, and try to nick the three points. Roberto Martinez won’t change his attacking philosophy and will go all out to try and win this one but Chelsea have the quality to pick them off. This should be an entertaining fixture and one Chelsea will just nick.
Prediction: Everton 1-2 Chelsea

Sunday

Aston Villa vs Hull (13:30)
The Villans had made an excellent start to the season until their midweek home loss to League One side Leyton Orient. Goals seem to be the biggest issue for Paul Lambert’s side but they will be happy enough defensively (https://originalfooty.wordpress.com/2014/08/24/villa-solidity-gives-great-reason-for-optimism/). Lambert will also be aware of their terrible run of fixtures following this match that combines trips to Anfield, Stamford Bridge and Goodison Park with hosting Arsenal and Manchester City. They will want to leave this match with all three points so they don’t slip too far down the table in a period where they are unlikely to pick up many points. Hull, like Villa, have also made a good start to the season and will be feeling buoyant about their chances of finishing well in the league. They will be disappointed to have crashed out of the Europa League on away goals but it could prove to be a blessing in disguise. Hull were, realistically, unlikely to win the competition and it would have added a large number of fixtures to their season that may have effected their league form. Villa could do with the win but a low scoring draw seems the more likely scenario.
Prediction: Aston Villa 1-1 Hull

Spurs vs Liverpool (13:30)
This should be a very interesting encounter and will give us more of an indication of how far Spurs have come since Mauricio Pochettino’s arrival. They have been very good so far this season and have won all their matches. Liverpool haven’t made the start they might have hoped for and, once again, defensive errors cost them against Manchester City. On current form there doesn’t seem to be too much between the two sides so we can expect an entertaining draw.
Prediction: Spurs 2-2 Liverpool

Leicester vs Arsenal (16:00)
Leicester have had a terrible run of fixtures to start the season but have performed admirably. Earning a point against Everton was a good result and there is no shame in defeat at Stamford Bridge. Arsenal have made a slower start than many people expected but showed good fight to score late goals in both their matches to earn four points as opposed to one. Arsene Wenger has been rocked by the news that Olivier Giroud has been ruled out until late December with an ankle injury and it remains to be seen if he drafts in a replacement for him. Leicester, on the other hand, have added experienced midfielder Esteban Cambiasso to their ranks and they will hope that he can provide some additional quality and bite to their midfield. Regardless of whether he plays or not, Arsenal should still have too much for them.
Prediction: Leicester 0-2 Arsenal

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