Thursday, 18 January 2018

Predictions For Premier League Gameweek 24

It’s that time of the week again when I attempt to predict the outcomes of the upcoming Premier League games. I didn’t do too well last week with two perfect predictions, two correct outcomes and six incorrect outcomes which leaves me still in the lower reaches of my predictions league. Here’s a look at how the top five in that league stands.

NAMETHIS WEEKPOINTS
 1 (1) Dr_AFHMK
6
1670
 2 (2) Midotamimi
4
1555
 3 (3) betojohn 
ioannis papanikos
6
1515
 4 (4) JediKnut
4
1420
 5 (7) Rutland Gooner
2
1350






Saturday January 20

Brighton And Hove Albion v Chelsea 

12.30pm GMT, AMEX Stadium, Brighton 

Brighton lost 2-0 at West Brom last week and they’re sliding quickly towards the wrong end of the table. Only West Brom and Swansea have won less games at home, but they have only lost one of their last 10 games at home and have kept clean sheets in three of their last five games at home. They have only won once in their last 12 games and they failed to score in eight of those games with only Swansea scoring less goals.

I can’t see any Brighton players to recommend to fantasy managers at the moment.

Chelsea could only draw 0-0 at home to Leicester last week and have dropped back to fourth place as a result. Only City have taken more away points and no other team has conceded less away goals, but they have only won once in their last five away games. They have only lost once in their last 15 games with clean sheets in nine of those games and no other team has conceded less goals.

Chelsea’s defenders have done very well for fantasy managers and Marcus Alonso is the best of them, but they’re all worth having.

I think Chelsea should get back to winning ways in this game with a couple of goals to spare.

Prediction: 0-2

Arsenal v Crystal Palace 

3pm GMT, Emirates Stadium, London

Arsenal led at Bournemouth last week, but ended up losing 2-1 and they’re quickly losing touch with the top four. Only the top two have taken more points at home and only City have more home goals, but they have drawn the last two on their own patch. They have only won twice in their last nine games, but they did draw five of those games and they haven’t kept a clean sheet in five games.

With so much turmoil in the Arsenal squad it’s hard to know which of their players to recommend to fantasy managers.

Palace got a very important 1-0 win at home to Burnley last week as they continue to climb away from the bottom three. They have only won two of their 11 away games and only Brighton have scored less away goals, but they are unbeaten in their last five games on the road. Arsenal are the only team to beat them in their last 12 games, but they did draw six of those games and they kept clean sheets in five of them.

I still think Wilfried Zaha can do well for fantasy managers and the Palace defenders have done well recently too, but maybe not in this game.

I think this will be a very tight game, but Arsenal’s ability to score goals at home might just see them triumph.

Prediction: 2-1

Burnley v Manchester United 

3pm GMT, Turf Moor, Burnley

Burnley lost 1-0 at Palace last week and their lack of goals has seen them fall far below the top six. They have lost their last two home games with only Swansea scoring less goals at home and only three other teams conceding less goals at home. They haven’t won in six games and they failed to score in four of those games with only three teams scoring less goals.

I’m not so sure the Burnley defenders who had being doing so well for fantasy managers are still the best choice and certainly not in this game.

United won 3-0 at home to Stoke last week to close the gap to City at the top of the table to only 12 points. Only City have taken more away points than United with only City and Chelsea conceding less away goals and they have taken 13 points in their last five away games. They have only lost once in their last 12 games and they haven’t conceded a goal in their last three with no other team conceding less goals.

United’s defenders are looking very good for fantasy managers at the moment and Paul Pogba isn’t the worst buy either while Jesse Lingard has been in very good form recently.

I think United will continue their fruitless attempt to catch City by taking all three points in this game.

Prediction: 0-2

Everton v West Bromwich Albion

3pm GMT, Goodison Park, Liverpool

Everton were beaten 4-0 at Spurs last week and the upturn their new manager brought has well and truly ended. Only the top six have taken more points at home than Everton and they have failed to score in their last two home games. They haven’t won in five games and they failed to score in four of those games. 

I can’t see any Everton players who might make a difference for fantasy managers at the moment.

West Brom finally managed a victory last week when they won 2-0 at home to Brighton, but they’re still in the bottom three. No other team has won less away games and they haven’t won in 10 games on the road with only Brighton scoring less away goals. Their win last week was their first one in 21 games with only Swansea and Brighton scoring less goals.

I still can’t see any West Brom players to recommend to fantasy managers.

I think this will be a close game and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it end in a draw.

Prediction: 1-1

Leicester City v Watford 

3pm GMT, King Power Stadium, Leicester

Leicester played very well away to Chelsea last week and they were well worth the 0-0 draw they got. They have taken 10 points from their last five games at home, but they have scored more goals away from home than they have at home. They have only one once in their last six games, but they have kept clean sheets in their last two games.

Riyad Mahrez is still the outstanding fantasy option in the Leicester team while Harry Maguire has done very well too.

Watford came from 2-0 down to get a 2-2 at home to Southampton last week even if it was courtesy of a last minute hand ball. After starting off the season very well away from home they have lost six of their last seven on the road. They have only won once in their last 10 games and they lost seven of those games with only Stoke conceding more goals.

Richarlison has been the best fantasy choice in the Watford team so far, but Abdoulaye Doucoure has done very well in recent weeks.

I think Leicester should have enough to get the better of what looks like being a very close game.

Prediction: 2-1

Stoke City v Huddersfield Town

3pm GMT, bet365 Stadium, Stoke

Stoke lost 3-0 away to United last week, but they’re still only one point away from the relative safety of seventeenth place. Only two teams have lost more home games and only Watford have conceded more goals at home. Only Swansea have lost more games while no other team has conceded more goals and they have only taken four points from their last eight games.

I can’t see any Stoke players to recommend to fantasy managers at the moment.

Huddersfield lost 4-1 at home to West Ham last week and they’re now only four points above the bottom three. Only Stoke and Brighton have lost more away games whilst only Stoke and West Ham have conceded more away goals. They haven’t won in their last five games and they conceded seven goals in their last two with only three teams conceding more goals.

Like Stoke I can’t see any Huddersfield players who might interest fantasy managers at the moment.

This is a big game for Stoke in particular and I think they might just about take the three points.

Prediction: 2-1

West Ham United v Bournemouth 

3pm GMT, London Stadium, London

West Ham won 4-1 away to Huddersfield last week and that win moved them five points clear of the relegation zone. They have only lost once in their last five home games, but only four other teams have scored less goals at home. They have only lost once in their last eight games and they scored 15 goals in their last six games with only two teams conceding more goals.

I suggested both Marco Arnautovic and Manuel Lanzini might do well for fantasy managers last week and I wish I had taken my own advice.

Bournemouth came from behind to win 2-1 at home to Arsenal last week and moved four points above the bottom three. They have only won two of their 11 away games and haven’t won in the last five on the road with only three other teams scoring less goals away from home. They are unbeaten in four games with nine goals scored in those games, but they haven’t kept a clean sheet in 10 games.

Despite their win against Arsenal last week I still don’t think there are any Bournemouth players fantasy managers should spend their money on.

I think West Ham will continue to climb the table by winning this game.

Prediction: 3-0

Manchester City v Newcastle United 

5.30pm GMT, Etihad Stadium, Manchester

City lost their first league game of the season when they went down 4-3 at Liverpool last week, but they’re still 12 points clear of second placed United. They have won 10 of their 11 home games and no other team has scored more goals at home with only United and Liverpool conceding less goals at home. They have won 20 of their 23 games and they have scored more goals than any other team with only United and Chelsea conceding less.

Raheem Sterling, Kevin de Bruyne and Sergio Aguero all look like very good fantasy choices  while the rest of the City team aren’t too far behind them.

Newcastle came from behind to get a 1-1 draw at home to Swansea last week and they kept themselves three points above the bottom three. They have taken almost as many points away from home as at home and they have won their last two away games. They have taken eight points from their last five games and they kept clean sheets in two of their last three.

I can’t see any Newcastle players to interest fantasy managers at the moment.

I can’t see anything other than a comprehensive City win in this game.

Prediction: 4-0

Sunday January 21

Southampton v Tottenham Hotspur

4pm GMT, St. Mary's Stadium, Southampton

Southampton led 2-0 at Watford last week, but they had to settle for a draw after a controversial late goal for the home team and they’re only a point above the relegation zone. Only two teams have lost more home games and they haven’t won in their last four at home with only four other teams conceding more goals on their own patch. They haven’t won in 10 games and they have only kept one clean sheet in their last 14 games.

Like so many other teams at the moment I can’t see any Southampton players to recommend to fantasy managers.

Spurs strolled to a 4-0 win at home to Everton last week, but they still find themselves in fifth place. They have won their last two away games without conceding a goal after taking only one point from the previous five. They have taken 13 points from their last five games and they scored 15 goals in those games.

Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son are must haves for fantasy managers at the moment while Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli are doing pretty well too.

I think Spurs should continue to put pressure on the teams above them by winning this game by at least two goals.

Prediction: 1-3

Monday January 22

Swansea v Liverpool 

8pm GMT, Liberty Stadium, Swansea

Swansea led at Newcastle last week, but they had to settle for a point and they’re still propping up the rest of the table. No other team has taken less points or scored less goals at home and they have failed to score in four of their last six games at home. They have lost four of their last seven games and they failed to score in three of those games with no other team scoring less goals.

I can’t see any Swansea players who might make a difference for fantasy managers at the moment.

Liverpool put an end to City’s unbeaten start to the season last week and they are targeting second placed United. They have taken 16 points from their last six away games and scored 21 goals in those games with no other team scoring more away goals, but only four other teams conceding more on the road. They are unbeaten in 14 games and they won 10 of those games with only City scoring more goals.

Mohamed Salah is still by far the best fantasy choice in the Liverpool team while both Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane are good options too.

Prediction: 0-3

That’s it for this week.

See you next week.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Arsenal’s Trip To Bournemouth Previewed

The games are coming thick and fast for Arsenal at the moment, but there is a midweek break after this game. The squad is struggling with injuries at the moment, but it looks like those injured players will start returning after today. Until then we have to make do with what we have and try to put out a team at Bournemouth today that can take all three points.

We have lost ground in the hunt for a top four place, bur we have the opportunity in the next few weeks to make up some of that ground with some of the teams above us playing each other. When that happens we have to make sure we win our games starting with today when Liverpool play City directly after our game. Normally a City win is what I would want to further our chances of catching them, but we also need somebody to stop City closing in on the Invincibles’ record.

Elsewhere Spurs strolled to victory against Everton yesterday while United will be expected to so against Stoke, but Chelsea could only draw 0-0 at home to Leicester yesterday and we need to keep pace with all of them. Anything other than three points today would be yet another blow to a team who have only won twice in eight league games. We may have only lost one of those games, but the five draws have really dented our top four chances and we need to find a way to win today.

With that in mind we have to hope Mesut Ozil will be passed fit to play and Alexis Sanchez will play from the start. Whatever the transfer and contract situation might be with Alexis he is a match winner and we’re short of wins at the moment. With Alexandre Lacazette failing to find the net for far too long now we might need the firepower Alexis offers to win today.

There’s a slight chance Sead Kolasinac will return in defence, but I think we will see the same defence which held Chelsea on Wednesday night with the exception of Petr Cech returning in goal. In midfield it’s a matter of whether Jack Wilshere recovers from his knock in time to play or Aaron Ramsey is up to starting after returning from his injury. With the past injury record and fragility of both players I’m not sure which way it will go, but I think whoever starts will be replaced by the other one soon after the hour mark. 

I suspect Ramsey might play because Wilshere is so fragile and I don’t think Ozil will be risked. There are reports this morning that Alexis isn’t even in the squad so we could see a very similar team to the one which struggled to make chances against Chelsea. Of course Bournemouth are no Chelsea, but we will still need to offer an awful lot more in attack if we’re going to win. 

If Alexis isn’t in the squad his departure must be imminent and I really hope we have a top class replacement lined up. If he goes without being replaced it will be tantamount to neglect a sacking offence in my opinion. It looks like we might find out very soon and the way our transfer policy has worked recently I won’t be holding my breath. For the moment it’s “Come On The Arsenal” today at Bournemouth before we get back to the circus and shambles that is the running of supposedly the sixth richest club in the world.

That’s it for today.

See you tomorrow.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Predictions For Premier League Gameweek 23

It’s that time of the week again when I attempt to predict the outcomes of the upcoming Premier League games. I did reasonably well last week with two perfect predictions, four correct outcomes and five incorrect which moved me up another few places in my predictions league. I'm still nowhere near the top of that league though and here's a look at how the top five in that league stands.

 1 (1) Dr_AFHMK
6
1650
 2 (2) Midotamimi
4
1565
 3 (4) betojohn
ioannis papanikos
5
1440
 4 (3) JediKnut
4
1410
 5 (5) Wild Things
4
1340










Saturday January 13

Chelsea v Leicester City

3pm GMT, Stamford Bridge, London 

Chelsea came from behind to lead 2-1 at Arsenal in their last game, but they had to settle for a draw in the end and dropped back to third place as a result. They have won their last seven home games and kept clean sheets in five of those games with only Liverpool and United conceding less goals at home.Since losing to Palace they have taken 33 points from 14 games, but they just can't close the gap on runaway leaders City who are the only team to have conceded less goals.

With Chelsea’s attacking players struggling for fantasy managers their defenders are still very good bets and Marcus Alonso is the best of them.

Leicester won 3-0 at home to Huddersfield in their last game, but they’re nine points off the top six. They lost their last two away games after going unbeaten in the previous seven on the road and only six teams have taken more points away from home. Their win against Huddersfield was their first win in five games and they're nine points behind their goal of a top six place.

Riyad Mahrez is by far the best option in the Leicester team for fantasy managers while Harry Maguire has done well too and Jamie Vardy is a possibility if he’s passed fit to play.

I don’t think Leicester will give Chelsea an easy run, but Chelsea should win with a couple of goals to spare.

Prediction: 2-0

Crystal Palace v Burnley 

3pm GMT, Selhurst Park, London

Palace came from behind to win 2-1 at Southampton in their last game to continue their climb up the table. They have only lost once in their last eight home games, but they did draw four of those games and only Stoke and Watford have conceded more goals at home. They have only lost once in their last 11 games and they look likely to avoid the drop despite being only two points above the bottom three. 

Wilfried Zaha is the Palace player to have for fantasy managers at the moment.

Burnley lost 2-1 at home to Liverpool in their last game as they continue to lose ground on the top six. Only the top five teams have taken more points away from home with only City and Chelsea conceding less goals on their travels. They haven't won in five games and they failed to score in three of those games too, but only the top three teams have conceded less goals.

Burnley’s defenders and goalkeeper have all done very well for fantasy managers and each squad should have at least one of them in it.

I think this will be a very close game and a draw is probably the most likely outcome.

Prediction: 1-1

Huddersfield Town v West Ham United 

3pm GMT, John Smith’s Stadium, Huddersfield 

Huddersfield lost 3-0 at Leicester in their last game, but they’re still comfortably in mid-table.They haven't won in their last three games at home and only three teams have scored less goals on their own ground. They haven't won in their last four games and have failed to score in the last two with only three teams scoring less goals and only three teams conceding more.

I can’t see any Huddersfield players who might make a difference for fantasy managers at the moment.

West Ham got a very good point away to Spurs in their last game to move two points above the relegation zone and they very nearly took all three. They have only won once in 12 away games, but they are unbeaten in their last three on the road and only Stoke have conceded more away goals. They have taken 12 points from their last seven games and they're the top scorers in the bottom half of the table, but only Stoke have conceded more goals.

Marco Arnautovic (if he’s fit) and Manuel Lanzini might be a good bet for fantasy managers at the moment and their defenders have done well recently too, but it’s probably best to avoid West Ham players.

I think this will be another very close game and the chances are it will end in a draw too.

Prediction: 1-1

Newcastle United v Swansea City

3pm GMT, St. James’s Park, Newcastle 

Newcastle won 1-0 in a relegation three pointer at Stoke in their last game to move out of the bottom three. They have only taken one point from their last six home games and they failed to score in five of those games with only Swansea scoring less goals at home. They have taken seven points from their last four games to move out of the bottom three and they even managed to keep clean sheets in their last two games.

I can’t see any Newcastle players to recommend to fantasy managers at the moment.

Swansea lost 2-0 at Spurs in their last game and they’re still at the foot of the table with four points to make up on seventeenth place. They won their last away game at Watford, but they had lost their previous seven and only three other teams have taken less points on the road. They have lost more games and scored less goals than any other team with 10 defeats in their last 14 games.

I can’t see any Swansea players to recommend to fantasy managers either despite the performances of Lukasz Fabianski in goal for them.

This is another relegation three pointer which is huge for both clubs and I think Newcastle will just about shade it.

Prediction: 2-1

Watford v Southampton 

3pm GMT, Vicarage Rosd, Watford 

Watford lost 3-1 away to City in their last game and they’re still in the top half of the table, but only just. They have lost three of their last five home games with no other team conceding more goals on their own patch. They have lost six of their last seven games with only Stoke conceding more goals so far despite Watford being in the top half of the table.

Richarlison and Abdoulaye Doucoure are both still reasonably priced options for fantasy managers who perform well regularly.

Southampton led at home to Palace in their last game, but ended up losing 2-1 and they’re only above the bottom three on goal difference. Only the bottom two clubs have taken less points away from home and they haven't won in their last eight games on the road. Only West Brom have won less games and they have only won once in their last 13 games.

I can’t see any Southampton to recommend to fantasy managers at the moment.

This isn’t an easy game to predict, but I think it will more than likely end with the spoils shared.

Prediction: 2-2

West Bromwich Albion v Brighton and Hove Albion 

3pm GMT, The Hawthorns, Birmingham 

West Brom led away to fellow strugglers West Ham in their last game, but ended up losing 2-1 and they're only off the foot of the table on goal difference. They haven't won in their last 10 home games, but they did draw seven of those games and only three other teams have scored less goals at home. It's been 20 games since their last league win, but they have drawn half of those games and only Swansea have scored less goals.

I can't see any West Brom players who might be of interest to fantasy managers.

Brighton drew 2-2 at home to Bournemouth in their last game and they're still three points above the bottom three. No other team has lost more games away from home while they have taken only one point and scored no goals in their last five games on the road. They have only won once in their last 11 games and they failed to score in seven of those games with only the bottom two clubs scoring less goals.

I can't see any Brighton players either to interest fantasy managers.

I can't too many goals in this game, but I have a feeling West Brom might just taste the sweet flavour of victory for the first time since August. 

Prediction: 1-0

Tottenham Hotspur v Everton 

5.30pm GMT, Wembley, London 

Spurs drew 1-1 at home to West Ham in their last game and they lost a little ground on the top four as a result. They are unbeaten in 10 games at home and have won six of the last eight on their own patch. They have taken 16 points from their last seven games and have kept clean sheets in three of those games and a win in this game could move them back into the top four if Liverpool lose to City.

Harry Kane is still the must have Spurs player for fantasy managers with Heung-Min Son, Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli all doing very well too.

Everton lost 2-0 at home to United in their last game and their recent revival seems to have come to a halt. They have only won once in their 11 away games and only four other teams have conceded more goals away from home. They have only taken two points from their last four games and they failed to score in three of those games.

Wayne Rooney has been the best of the Everton players for fantasy managers with their defenders doing well recently too and much is expected of new boy Cenk Tosuin, but maybe not in this game. 

I think Spurs should be too strong for Everton and should win by at least two or three goals.

Prediction: 3-0

Sunday January 14

Bournemouth v Arsenal 

1.30pm GMT, Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth 

Bournemouth drew 2-2 at Brighton last time out and that point keeps them one point above the bottom three. Only Swansea and Newcastle have lost more home games while only three other teams have conceded more goals at home. They are unbeaten in three games, but they hadn't won in their previous seven. 

I can’t see any Bournemouth players who might make a difference for fantasy managers at the moment.

Arsenal led at home to Chelsea in their last game, but they had to come from behind to get a 2-2 draw and they lost more ground on the top four. They are unbeaten in five away games, but they did draw three of those games and have only won three of their 11 away games. They are unbeaten in seven games, but they drew five of those games and they need to turn those draws into wins very quickly.

Alexis Sanchez looks like he’s found some form for fantasy managers (as long as he isn’t sold) while Mesut Ozil has done well recently too.

I can’t see either team keeping a clean sheet in this game and the chances are Arsenal will outscore Everton.

Prediction: 1-3

Liverpool v Manchester City

4pm GMT, Anfield, Liverpool 

Liverpool came from behind to win 2-1 at hone to Burnley in their last game and those three points strengthened their grip on a top four spot. They're one of only two teams unbeaten at home, but they have drawn five of their 11 home games and they have conceded less home goals than any other team. They're unbeaten in 13 games with clean sheets in six of those games and only City have scored more goals.

Mohamed Salah is by far the best fantasy option in the Liverpool team with Phillippe Coutinho having departed while Roberto Firmino isn't a bad option either.

City had a comfortable 3-1 win at home to Watford in their last game to maintain their 15 point lead with only 16 games left to play and it would take a brave person to bet against them winning the title in record time. They drew their last away game at Palace, but they are the only points they have dropped away from home so far and they have conceded less goals on their travels than any other team with only Liverpool scoring more. They have won 20 of their 22 games while scoring more and conceding less goals than any other team and it's surely just a matter of how many records they break on the way to the league title.

Raheem Sterling still looks like the best option in the City team for fantasy managers while Sergio Aguero might not be a bad choice either with Gabriel de Jesus injured and Kevin de Bruyne, David Silva, Leroy Sane and Nicolas Ottamendi are all good choices too.

Liverpool are one of the few teams who can hope to inflict City's first defeat on them,. but I think City will prevail in the end of this game.

Prediction: 1-3

Monday January 15

Manchester United v Stoke City

8pm GMT, Old Trafford, Manchester 

United won 2-0 away to Everton in their last game and that win moved them above Chelsea into second place, but they're 15 points behind City. Only City have taken more points at home with only City and Arsenal scoring more goals at home and only Liverpool conceding less. They have drawn three of their last four games and kept clean sheets in the last two with only City conceding less goals.

Jesse Lingard is the United player in form for fantasy managers at the moment while Paul Pogba and their defenders and keeper should be considered too.

Stoke lost at home to Newcastle in their last game and that defeat moved them into the relegation zone on goal difference. They have only taken two points from their last six away games and no other team has taken less points or conceded more goals away from home. They have only taken four points from their last seven games and they conceded 17 goals in those games with no other team conceding more goals.

I can't see any Stoke players who might make a difference for fantasy managers at the moment.

I think United should win this game fairly comfortably.

Prediction: 3-0

That’s it for this week.

See you next week.

Arsenal Find The Parking Brake On Their Bus At Chelsea

In my preview yesterday I didn't hold out much hope of Arsenal repeating their 0-0 Premier League result at Chelsea in the Carabao Cup last night. With a host of injuries to deal with which included three first choice defenders as well as Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil I just couldn't see how we could contain a team we were unable to contain in the league last week with a much stronger team. Arsene Wenger also chose to leave star man Alexis Sanchez on the bench which left us with very little creativity in the team as he opted for a containment policy.

Thankfully I was completely wrong as we rarely looked under too much pressure and coped with anything they had to throw at us with relative ease compared to last week. There were a few scary moments of course, but there was never a time when they completely opened us up and I thought a goal was inevitable. The team played and defended as a team and the mistakes in defence and in front of the defence were kept to an absolute minimum.

The one time I can remember us losing the ball in front of the defence was from a poor Jack Wilshere pass and Granit Xhaka stepped up to take a yellow card for the team to stop the Chelsea attack. I have my issues with Xhaka and I don't think he has performed as well as he should have, but I'm not sure we play a game which suits his particular skill set either. Wilshere was impressive again, but the injury he picked up will rule him out of Sunday's trip to Bournemouth and our injury problems are really mounting at the moment.

Wilshere has gradually improved with each game since his enforced inclusion in the team due to Ramsey's injury. I was worried with the amount of games he had to play over the festive period because of his injury record, but his injury last night was not fatigue related as he sprained his ankle blocking a pass. It will probably mean he's only out in the short term, but I don't expect him to be rushed back considering his problems in the past.

His injury could well open a door for Ainsley Maitland-Niles to play in his preferred position with Francis Coquelin on his way out of the club unless Ramsey can recover by Sunday. If AMN does switch to the centre of midfield we will have to come up with a left back which would mean either Nacho Monreal or Sead Kolasinac would have to recover from injury. AMN might well be the answer to our central midfield issues in the long term, but he still has a lot to learn and he could probably do with a loan spell in that position for another club.

Alexis did come on with 25 minutes to go for Alexandre Lacazette who it appears was ill before the game and nearly didn't make the team at all. Hopefully he will recover in time for Sunday too because again our attacking options are limited with Olivier Giroud still injured. Lacazette needs a goal from somewhere and his current lack of confidence in front of goal was highlighted when a blazed a first time shot high and wide from a good position last night.

If last night taught us anything it's maybe that Per Mertesacker has possibly played for the last time and both Calum Chambers and Rob Holding need to play ahead of him when they are fit. They are better suited to playing as part of a three man central defence for the moment at least and fitted well with Shkodran Mustafi last night for the most part. I don't think we exactly parked the bus, but we made things hard for Chelsea and their star players were kept almost entirely out of the game. The performances of both Eden Hazard and Alvora Morata certainly helped our cause last night and I can only imagine the criticism that would have been levelled at Ozil if he had played as badly as either of them.

Ozil missed out last night again with what seems like a recurring knee injury and it looks to me like the manager might well be picking and choosing his games. He has missed out on some tough away trips recently and been fit to play at home a few days later and maybe he didn't play last night because the game plan wasn't suited to him. If that's the case it's not a bad thing to pick a team with a specific purpose and the manager can take the plaudits today, but would have come in for severe criticism if it had gone the other way.

The injured players will at least have an opportunity to recover a little now with a week between games after we play at Bournemouth on Sunday. We follow that with a home game against Palace a week later before the return game against Chelsea. If the time scales we have been given for most of the injured players are to be believed we should hopefully see most of them back in the squad in the six days between those two league games.

I'm not sure what sort of team we will be able to put out on Sunday though and considering our away form we need to be very concerned about that game. Nothing short of a win will do as we have already lost too much ground on the top four, but we have the chance to close the gap with Liverpool playing at home to City after our game. From our point of view we want a City win, but somebody has to beat City and the sooner the better as they close in our the record of our "Invincibles" so I'm not really sure what I want from the game.

Finally for today we were treated to our first taste of VAR last night and when it was used it backed up the referees decisions both times. The penalty claim by Chelsea in the second half was definitely not a penalty, but I'm not so sure about the penalty claim by AMN in the first half. He stumbled after vaulting a challenge from Victor Moses and by the letter of the law I think that constitutes a penalty as the challenge caused him to fall regardless of contact. It was certainly as much of a penalty as the one Hazard got against us last week, but I don't think there was any contact with AMN and I'm sure that's why it wasn't given. I may be wrong about the rules, but I don't think so, but if I'm not then those viewing the footage were a little confused by them. The only explanation I can think of is that they thought AMN could keep his feet and that's why they didn't give it or they just don't have a clue which is quite possibly a far better explanation.

That's it for today.

See you tomorrow.