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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

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Weekend Preview and Predictions

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

Saturday

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday

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

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

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

Monday

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

 

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