Monday, 11 December 2017

Predictions For Premier League Gameweek 17

It's that time of the week again when I attempt to predict the outcomes of the upcoming Premier League games. I didn't fare so well at the weekend with only one perfect prediction, two correct outcomes and seven incorrect which meant I again failed to make up any ground on the huge number of teams ahead of me in my predictions league. Here's a look at how the top five in that league stands at the moment.

NAMETHIS WEEKPOINTS
 1 (1) Dr_AFHMK
5

+80
1335
 2 (2) Wild Things
4

-20
1135
 3 (3) Brisbane City FC
5

+20
1110
 4 (4) Midotamimi
3

+30
1090
 5 (6) lukaszbee
1

+15
1065






Tuesday December 12

Burnley v Stoke City 

7.45pm GMT, Turf Moor, Burnley 

Burnley won 1-0 at home to Watford on Saturday and they're still only outside the top six on goal difference. They have only lost two of their eight home games with no other team conceding less goals at home and only Swansea scoring less. Only the top two have conceded less goals and they have seven clean sheets so far, but they are the lowest scorers in the top half of the table.

Burnley's defenders and goalkeeper have done very well for fantasy managers and there's no reason to believe that will change in this game.

Stoke were beaten 5-1 at Spurs on Saturday and they're only three points above the bottom three. They have only won once in eight away games with only West Ham conceding more goals on their travels. They have only won once in their last six games and they conceded 15 goals in those games with no other team conceding more goals so far.

Despite Stoke's poor form Xherdan Shaqiri is still doing quite well for fantasy managers.

There aren't too many goals in games at Turf Moor, but I think Burnley should get enough of them to win this game.

Prediction: 1-0

Crystal Palace v Watford 

8pm GMT, Selhurst Park, London 

Palace would almost have moved out of the bottom three with a win at home to Bournemouth on Saturday, but they let the lead slip and had a settle for a point after missing a late penalty. They're unbeaten in five home games and have scored 10 goals in those five games, but only Watford and Stoke have conceded more goals at home. They're unbeaten in five games, but they have drawn four of those games and they need to turn some of those draws into wins if they're going to avoid the drop.

I'm not so sure there are any Palace players doing enough to make an impression for fantasy managers at the moment.

Watford lost 1-0 at Burnley after going down to 10 men in the first half of the game and that defeat saw Leicester move above them. Only two teams have won more away games than Watford with only City and Liverpool scoring more away goals and the defeat at Burnley was the first time they failed to score at least two goals in an away game this season. They have only taken one point in their last three games with only three teams conceding more goals so far.

Richarlison and Abdoulaye Doucoure had both done very well for fantasy managers until recently and the fixtures over the next few weeks might well see that form return.

I think this will be a very close game and the chances are it will end with the spoils shared.

Prediction: 2-2

Huddersfield Town v Chelsea 

8pm GMT, John Smith's Stadium, Huddersfield 

Huddersfield put an end to a bad run of results with a 2-0 win at home to Brighton on Saturday. They have won three of their last four home games and have kept clean sheets in four of their eight home games. Their win last week ended a run of four defeats and they have failed to score in nine of their 16 games with only the bottom two scoring less goals.

I can't see any Huddersfield players who are consistent enough to recommend to fantasy managers.

Chelsea lost 1-0 at West Ham on Saturday and missed the chance to join United 11 points behind City. Only City have taken more away points than Chelsea despite losing to two teams in the bottom three with only City and Liverpool scoring more away goals and only City conceding less. Their defeat last week brought a very good run of 19 points from seven games to an end and only three teams have conceded less goals.

Despite Saturday's defeat at West Ham I still think Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata are very good options for fantasy managers.

I think Chelsea will put Saturday's performance behind them and win this game with a couple of goals to spare.

Prediction: 0-2

Wednesday December 13

Newcastle United v Everton 

7.45pm GMT, St. James's Park, Newcastle 

Newcastle lost yet again on Saturday when they went down 3-2 at home to Leicester and they're now only two points above the relegation zone. They have lost their last three home games and failed to score in two of them. They have only taken one point from their last seven games and they conceded 15 goals in their last five games.

I can't see any Newcastle players to remotely interest fantasy managers at the moment despite Dwight Gayle hitting some form recently.

Everton got a very good point at Liverpool on Sunday and it looks like they have eventually remembered how to defend again which I suppose is down to Big Sam. They're one of four teams without an away win, but no other team has drawn more away games with only three other teams conceding more goals away from home. They have only lost once in their last six games and they scored 13 goals in those games which has moved them into the top half of the table.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin looks like the fantasy bargain in the Everton team to me while Wayne Rooney has impressed in recent weeks too.

I think Newcastle's woes will continue with Everton emerging with a narrow victory.

Prediction: 1-2

Southampton v Leicester City 

7.45pm GMT, St. Mary's Stadium, Southampton 

Southampton led for almost the whole game at home to Arsenal on Sunday, but they had to settle for a point after a later equaliser. They have won as many home games as they have lost and they have failed to score in four of their nine home games. They have only won four of their 16 games and only one of their last seven and they have failed to score in six of their 16 games.

Charlie Austin is looking increasingly like a good buy for fantasy managers as long as he can keep clear of injuries.

Leicester won 3-2 at Newcastle on Saturday to move up to eighth place. They have only lost two of their eight away games and they're unbeaten in their last six games on the road, but they have drawn four of them. They have won their last three games and have only lost one of their last 10.

Riyad Mahrez continues to prosper for fantasy managers and it's pretty hard to ignore him at the moment.

I think this will be a very close game and the chances are it will end all square.

Prediction: 1-1

Swansea City v Manchester City 

7.45pm GMT, Liberty Stadium, Swansea 

Swansea got a much needed win at hone to West Brom on Saturday and those three points moved them off the foot of the table. They have lost more home games and scored less home goals than any other team, but they have taken four points and kept clean sheets in their last two games on their own patch. Their win last week was their first win in eight games and they failed to score in five of those games, but they have conceded less goals than both Liverpool and Arsenal while no other team has scored less goals.

Swansea's defensive options continue to impress for fantasy managers despite their precarious position in the league.

City won yet again on Sunday when they took all three points at second placed United to move 11 points clear at the top of the table. They have won all eight of their away games and no other team has scored more or conceded less goals away from home. They have won their last 14 league games and they're the highest scorers with no other team conceding less goals.

There are so many City players to choose from for fantasy managers with David Silva and Nicolas Otamendi the pick of them at the moment, but that can change at any time.

I think City will be too strong for Swansea and will continue their incredible winning streak with a few goals to spare.

Prediction: 0-3

Liverpool v West Bromwich Albion 

8pm GMT, Anfield, Liverpool 

Liverpool could only draw 1-1 at home to Everton on Sunday, but that point was enough to keep them in the top four. They're one of only two teams still unbeaten at home, but they have drawn four of their eight home games and no other team has conceded less goals at home. They have taken 17 points from their last seven games and scored 20 goals in those games with only the top two scoring more goals.

Mohamed Salah is still the must have Liverpool player for fantasy managers, but Juergen Klopp's continued squad rotation makes life tough for owners of other outstanding choices like Phillippe Coutinho and Sadio Mane.

West Brom lost 1-0 at Swansea on Saturday and they're now only outside the relegation zone on goal difference. They have only won once in their eight away games with only Palace and Huddersfield scoring less goals away from home. They haven't won in 14 games, but they did draw half of those games and they have failed to score in seven of their 16 games.

I can't see any West Brom players to interest fantasy managers in the next two games in particular.

I can't see anything other than a comprehensive Liverpool victory in this game.

Prediction: 3-0

Manchester United v Bournemouth 

8pm GMT, Old Trafford, Manchester 

United were outplayed at home to City on Sunday and the 2-1 defeat saw them fall 11 points behind their local rivals at the top of the table. They have won seven of their eight home games with only City scoring more goals at home and no other team conceding less. They had won four in a row before losing to City, but they have kept only one clean sheet in their last six games with only City scoring more goals and no other team conceding less.

United's defenders haven't done so well for fantasy managers in recent weeks and neither has Romelu Lukaku, but it's still hard to look past David de Gea as the best scoring goalkeeper.

Bournemouth drew 2-2 away to Palace on Saturday and they're still only three points above the bottom three. They are unbeaten in their last four away games and they kept clean sheets in two of those games. They have only lost one of their last six games and have kept clean sheets in three of those games.

Andrew Surman has done very well for fantasy managers in recent weeks and at a very good price too.

I think United should bounce back from last week's disappointment with a good win in this game.

Prediction: 3-0

Tottenham Hotspur v Brighton And Hove Albion

8pm GMT, Wembley Stadium, London 

Spurs strolled to 5-1 win at home to Stoke on Saturday and they made up ground on all the teams above them except for City. They have taken 13 points and scored 12 goals in their last five home games as they appear to have come to grips with playing at Wembley. That win last week was their first win in five games and they have only kept one clean sheet in their last eight games.

With Toby Alderweireld  injured the Spurs defenders haven't done too well recently so it's back to the tried and trusted Harry Kane as the best fantasy choice in their team.

Brighton lost 2-0 at Huddersfield on Saturday and they have started to slide towards the wrong end of the table in recent weeks. Only West Ham and Huddersfield have lost more away games and they have lost their last two on the road without scoring. They have only taken two points in their last five games and they failed to score in three of their last four.

Pascal Gross has done very well for fantasy managers this season, but the points have dried up in recent weeks.

I think Spurs should have too much for Brighton and should get their second comprehensive win of the week.

Prediction: 3-0

West Ham United v Arsenal 

8pm GMT, London Stadium, London 

West Ham got a much needed and very surprising 1-0 win at home to Chelsea on Saturday and they're only in the bottom three on goal difference. They have taken 10 of their 13 points at home, but had conceded eight goals in the three home games before beating Chelsea. That win against Chelsea was their first win in nine games with only Stoke conceding more goals so far.

Despite their win over Chelsea it will take a lot more to convince me any of the West Ham players are worth considering for fantasy managers.

Arsenal left it very late on Sunday, but they somehow managed to get a 1-1 draw at Southampton. They have only won two of their eight away games, but they have taken seven points from their last four away games. They have only lost once in their last five games and they kept clean sheets in three of those games despite the defensive issues they have had in recent weeks.

With Aaron Ramsey injured it looks like Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette could be the best fantasy options in the Arsenal team, but none of them come cheaply.

I think West Ham will give Arsenal a scare, but Arsenal will just about take the three points.

Prediction: 1-2

That's it for this week.

See you next week.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Arsenal's Trip To Southampton Previewed

It's been a week since a combination of our defensive horror show and an inspired performance from David de Gea saw Arsenal lose 3-1 at home to United. That performance was Arsenal in a nutshell as they yet again managed to get the hopes of us fans up only to utterly shatter them. It's a story we've seen unfold in front of us all too often for far too many years now and yet we continue to hope it won't happen.

The goals we conceded said so much about our inability to do the easy things correctly and to concentrate properly on our defending. You can point to individual errors and lapses in concentration for each goal, but the inability to defend as a team played a big role in the game too. I think we made United look an awful lot better than they are and I don't give them a snowball's chance in hell of catching City.

The second string at least strolled to a 6-0 win at home to BATE on Thursday night in our final Europa League group game. We finished top of our group and we will go into the knockout stages as one of the favourites to lift the trophy. The draw for the last 32 takes place on Monday and I wouldn't be surprised to see Arsene Wenger take the competition a little more seriously once it resumes

We have bounced back from defeats in recent months with positive results and it's something we need to do again today at Southampton. We need to put those defensive errors behind us and concentrate on our need to keep pace with the other teams chasing a top four finish. We're not going to catch City, but United aren't out of our sights yet, Chelsea lost yesterday with Spurs winning and Liverpool playing after us today.

We've had a few problems playing away to Southampton in recent seasons and the 4-0 loss there a couple of years ago is the reason Wojciech Szczesny no longer plays for Arsenal which is a shame as far as I am concerned. That was a game to forget though and one of the worst performances I have seen from an Arsenal team in many years. Given the chance Southampton can play well against almost any team in the Premier League and we cannot give them that chance today.

We did manage to do the double over them in the league last season and a fairly youthful Arsenal team won 5-0 at Southampton in the FA Cup last season too. They have won three of their eight home games this season, but those three wins were all against teams at the wrong end of the table. Besides those games they have really struggled to score goals at home although the return from injury of Charlie Austin seems to have helped them in the goal scoring department.

I don't expect to see too many changes to the Arsenal team that lost to United, but obviously the injured Shkodran Mustafi will miss out. The manager will have to decide whether to make a straight replacement for Mustafi or to bring in a player to bolster the team elsewhere. Despite playing three central defenders on a permanent basis at the moment it's still not his favourite formation and he must be sorely tempted to switch to a flat back four in every single game.

I think we could probably do with the extra man in midfield today and I wouldn't be surprised to see us switch to two central defenders. Whatever formation we play the players have to be better in possession in front of our own goal. It's something that has plagued us all season long, but not every team have been as ruthless as United were in exploiting it last week.

If we have Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette in attack we have the ammunition to take on any team and I would be very surprised if the three of them don't start today. Ozil and Lacazette have been very good in recent weeks and while Sanchez hasn't quite been at his best I don't buy into those who think he's not giving his all. He may give that ball away more than your average player, but he doesn't actually give it away more than players in a similar position to him who are taking chances to make things happen in attack.

With so many games coming over the next few weeks we have to put the defensive side of last week's defeat behind us and bounce back with three points today. We have seven league games in the next 25 days including home games against both Liverpool and Chelsea and we need to take as many points as possible from those seven games. We have every chance of starting those games in the best possible fashion today and I just hope we can do so.

That's it for today.

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Predictions For Premier League Gameweek 16

It's that time of the week again when I attempt to predict the outcomes of the upcoming Premier League games. I did quite well last week with two perfect predictions, five correct outcomes and three incorrect outcomes. I've moved up a little in my predictions league again, but I'm still nowhere near the pacesetters. Here's a look at how the top five in that league stands.

NAMETHIS WEEKPOINTS
 1 (1) Dr_AFHMK
5

+85
1255
 2 (2) Wild Things
4
1155
 3 (3) Brisbane City FC
5
1090
 4 (6) Midotamimi
3
1060
 5 (3) JediKnut
3

+80
1055






Saturday December 9

West Ham United v Chelsea

12.30pm GMT, London Stadium, London

West Ham led at City last week and they nearly held on for a point, but the 2-1 defeat leaves them only one point off the foot of the table. Only Swansea have taken less points at home and they have conceded eight goals in their last three home games. They have only won two of their 15 games and have conceded more goals than any other team while they haven't won in eight games and they conceded 19 goals in those games.

I still don't see any West Ham players who might interest fantasy managers.

Chelsea came from behind to win 3-1 at home to Newcastle last week, but they can't make up any ground on City as long as City keep winning. Only City have taken more points and conceded less goals away from home while only Liverpool and City have scored more away goals. They have taken 19 points from their last seven games and they kept clean sheets in four of those games.

Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata are the stand out fantasy performers in the Chelsea team with Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcus Alonso doing very well too while Andreas Christensen is a better priced defensive option.

I think Chelsea will be too good for West Ham and should win with at least a couple of goals to spare.

Prediction: 0-2

Burnley v Watford

3pm GMT, Turf Moor, Burnley 

Burnley lost 1-0 away to Leicester last week and that defeat dropped them out of the top six on goal difference. They have only lost two of their seven home games with with only Swansea scoring less goals at home and only United and Liverpool conceding less. They have lost two of their last three games, but only the two Manchester teams have conceded less goals so far.

Burnley's defenders and keeper have all been very good choices for fantasy managers so far this season.

Watford led at home to Spurs last week and they're only three points behind Burnley going into this game. They have won four of their seven away games with only Liverpool and City scoring more goals on the road. They're comfortably in the top half of the table even though only three teams have conceded more goals while only five teams have scored more.

Richarlison is still the outstanding fantasy option in the Watford team with Abdoulaye Doucoure doing quite well too.

I think this will be a very close game and the chances are the spoils will be shared.

Prediction: 1-1

Crystal Palace v Bournemouth 

3pm GMT, Selhurst Park, London

Palace got their second away point of the season in a 0-0 draw at West Brom last week. Only Swansea and West Brom have won less home games than Palace while only Watford and Stoke have conceded more goals at home, but they have taken eight points from their last four home games. All 10 of their points have come in their last eight games and they have failed to score in 11 of their 15 games.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek is a very reasonably priced option in the Palace team for fantasy managers while Wilfried Zaha is worth considering too. 

Bournemouth drew 1-1 at home to Southampton last week and they're now five points above the bottom three. Only seven teams have taken more away points than Bournemouth and they have taken all of their away points in their last three away games while keeping clean sheets in the last two. Only five teams have conceded less goals than Bournemouth, but they have failed to score in six of their 15 games.

I'm not too sure there are too many Bournemouth players to interest fantasy managers, but Andrew Surman has impressed in recent weeks and he's available at a very good price too.

I think Palace's good run at home will continue with a narrow win in this game.

Prediction: 2-1

Huddersfield Town v Brighton and Hove Albion 

3pm GMT, John Smith's Stadium, Huddersfield 

Huddersfield lost 2-0 at Everton last week and their away form is becoming a real concern for them. They have taken 11 points from their seven home games though, but only Swansea and Burnley have scored less goals at home. They have lost their last four games and conceded 13 goals in the process while they have failed to score in nine of their 15 games with only Palace and Swansea scoring less goals.

I can't see any Huddersfield players to recommend to fantasy managers at the moment.

Brighton lost 5-1 at home to Liverpool last week, but it was the first time this season any team put more than two goals past them. They have taken seven points from their seven away games with two wins and two assists from their last three games on the road. They haven't won in their last four games and they failed to score in two of their last three and in six of their 15 games with five clean sheets in those games.

Pascal Gross is the still by far the best fantasy option in the Brighton team even if he has gone off the boil in recent weeks and their defenders could profit from this game.

I can see this game being another very close one and the chances it will end all square too.

Prediction: 1-1

Tottenham Hotspur v Stoke City 

3pm GMT, Wembley Stadium, London 

Spurs woes continued last week when they could only draw 1-1 at Watford, but that point at least moved them back up to sixth in the league. They have only won three of their seven home games and have struggled for goals at home compared to rest of the "big six". They have only won once in their last six games and they only scored four goals in those games, but only four teams have conceded less goals so far.

Harry Kane is still the outstanding candidate in the Spurs team for fantasy managers while others such as Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen and their defenders have dropped off in recent weeks, but could be due a revival starting in this game.

Stoke came from behind to win 2-1 at home to Swansea last week and that win put them six points above the bottom three. They have only won once in seven away games with only four other teams conceding more goals away from home. They have only won once in their last five games and they only have two clean sheets in their 15 games with only West Ham conceding more goals.

Xherdan Shaqiri is in a great run of form at the moment and should be a serious consideration for fantasy managers.

Surely Spurs will get back on track by taking the three points with a few goals to spare in this game.

Prediction: 3-1

Swansea City v West Bromwich Albion 

3pm GMT, Liberty Stadium, Swansea 

Swansea led at Stoke last week, but ended up losing 2-1 and they're propping up the rest of the table. They have taken less points and scored less goals at home than any other team and they have failed to score in four of their seven home games. They have only taken one point in their last seven games and have failed to score in 10 of their 15 games with no other team losing more games or scoring less goals.

Despite their poor form Lukasz Fabianski is still a fairly good reasonably priced goalkeeper for fantasy managers.

West Brom could only draw 0-0 at home to Palace last week as their long search for a win continued. They have only won once in seven away games with only Palace and Huddersfield scoring less goals away from home. They haven't won in 13 games with only three teams scoring less goals and they have failed to score in six of their last 11 games.

I can't see any West Brom players who might make a difference for fantasy managers.

I can't see this game being a high scoring classic and the chances are it will end in a scoreless draw.

Prediction: 0-0

Newcastle United v Leicester City

5.30pm GMT, St. James's Park, Newcastle 

Newcastle led at Chelsea last week, but they lost again and they're now only five points above the relegation zone. They have lost their last two home games without scoring a goal with only three teams scoring less goals at home. They have only taken one point in their last six games and have only kept one clean sheet in their last 11 games.

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

Leicester won 1-0 at home to Burnley last week and they're only five points off the top six now. They have only won once in seven away games, but no other team has drawn more away games and they are unbeaten in their last five on the road. They have only lost once in their last nine games and they have only failed to score in three of their 15 games.

Riyad Mahrez is the best fantasy option in the Leicester team while Harry Maguire can have his good monents too. 

I think Leicester's good run will continue in this game while Newcastle will continue to head in the wrong direction.

Prediction: 1-3

Sunday December 10

Southampton v Arsenal 

12.00 GMT, St. Mary's Stadium, Southampton 

Southampton drew 1-1 away to Bournemouth last week, but that draw saw them drop into the bottom half of the table. They have won as many games as they have lost at home and they have failed to score in four of their eight home games. They have only won once in their last six games and have only kept one clean sheet in their last 10 games.

Fraser Forster is probably the best fantasy option in the Southampton team 

Arsenal's good run came chrashing to an end last week when they lost 3-1 at home to United and dropped out of the top four. They have lost four of their seven away games, but they have won two of their last three on the road. They have won five of their last seven games and have kept clean sheets in three of their last four with only three other teams scoring more goals.

Aaron Ramsey is the form player in the Arsenal team for fantasy managers while Alexandre Lacazette isn't doing too badly either.

This looks like it could be a very close game and I think Arsenal will just about get the better of proceedings.

Prediction: 1-2

Liverpool v Everton 

2.15om GMT, Anfield, Liverpool

Liverpool won 5-1 at Brighton last week and that win moved them above Arsenal into the top four. They are one of three teams unbeaten at home with only United conceding less goals at home, but they have drawn three of their seven home games. They have taken 16 points from their last six games and they scored 19 goals in those games whilst keeping three clean sheets.

Every fantasy manager should have either Mohamed Salah or Phillippe Coutinho in their team while Sadio Mane is coming back to his best after his recent injury.

Everton won 2-0 at home to Huddersfield last week to continue their progress away from the wrong end of the table. Only Palace have taken less points away from home with only three teams conceding more goals on their travels. They have taken 10 points from their last five games and they scored 12 goals in those games, but only West Ham and Stoke have conceded more goals.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin could be a very reasonably priced third striker for fantasy managers.

I think Liverpool will be strong at home and should take the local bragging rights with at least a couple of goals to spare.

Prediction: 3-1

Manchester United v Manchester City

4.30pm GMT, Old Trafford, Manchester

United won 3-1 at Arsenal last week to stay eight points behind City at the top of the table and they have a chance to cut that lead in this game. They're the only team with a 100% record at home with only City and Arsenal scoring more goals at home and no other team conceding less. They have won their last four games and they scored 12 goals in those games, but they have only kept two clean sheets in their last seven games and no other team has conceded less goals with only City scoring more.

With Paul Pogba suspended and Romelu Lukaku firing blanks it's not easy to know which United players to pick for fantasy managers as the clean sheets have dried up recently, but David de Gea is almost a must have at this stage.

City left it late yet again last week and their 2-1 win at home to West Ham kept them eight points ahead of United before this crucial local derby. They have a 100% record away from home with only Liverpool scoring more away goals and no other team conceding less. They have won their last 13 league games and they're the top scorers in the league with only United conceding less goals so far.

There are so many great options in the City team for fantasy managers and I still think you can't look much further than Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling, Kevin de Bruyne and David Silva with Nicolas Otamendi in defence an option too.

This is a huge game for United in particular, but I think City might just have too much for them.

Prediction: 1-2

That's it for this week.

See you next week.