Logie’s Premier League Preview
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After the adventures in Europe which saw a decent effort by most British sides apart from Liverpool and Celtic it’s back to the Premiership this week and there are some very tasty and difficult ties to predict. Nothing easy this week. Did all right last week but as always one can improve. So here goes.
West Brom v Arsenal
The early kick off this weekend sees two sides who have lost their last two league fixtures. Arsenal are struggling with injury. Jack Wilshere the latest to suffer but they still have a fair enough side. Any team with Alexis Sanchez always has a chance. When it comes to the Hawthorns Arsenal have a great record here. Only one defeat here in the last 21 visits. They have never failed to score at West Brom with Arsene Wenger in charge. 11 times he has been the Gunners boss here.
Arsenal did well in Europe mid-week. That win will have lifted confidence against a West Brom side who are struggling to find form. Only one win for West Brom in their last 6 league games.
On the negative side for Arsenal 17 points after twelve games is their worst points total for 32 years. They always tend to let me down but I have to go for an Arsenal win in this one.
Sanchez could be the key again. Away win.
Burnley v Aston Villa
Now this won’t be easy either. From going nowhere suddenly Burnley are beginning to score goals and win matches. Home and away the mind boggles.
Villa made a brilliant start to the league with ten points from four games. It’s a distant memory now. The departure of Roy Keane so suddenly won’t have helped in preparations either. Burnley are unbeaten in their last 23 home games against Aston Villa and their confidence will be good going into this. The last home defeat to Villa was back in 1936 Even Jackie Fullerton would not remember that one. Sorry Jackie.
Villa have no wins in their last eight league games and only 6 goals this season shows they are not a force to be reckoned with. They did battle well for a point against Southampton but they never looked like winning if you asked me. They always looked poor at the back.
Burnley will be up for it and will feel now they can win matches.
I think they can win this one.
Liverpool v Stoke
Ah poor old Liverpool. The draw mid-week at Ludogorets means they can still qualify for the next leg of the Champions League if they beat Basel at home. The world loves a trier. Liverpool could do that all right but end up with Red Faces in the knock out. This week former players have been heaping the pressure on Brendan Rodgers saying he could be gone by Christmas. Never mind the Champions League. If he doesn’t beat the likes of Stoke and Leicester to come he could indeed be shown the door.
At least he has one plus going for him this weekend. No Balotelli. He is still injured and at this stage is looking around him to see if there are any other sporting events he can attend apart from the match. It’s about team spirit with him if you ask me. What a buy. Sorry. As I said poor old Liverpool. Ricki Lambert will lead the line for Liverpool.
Mind you the omens are good for Liverpool. The last time Stoke won here was back in 1959 when they won a Division Two game 4-3. Stoke have had no clean sheets in their last 6 games and it’s 21 years since Stoke even scored at Liverpool.
Stoke lost at home to Burnley last week to scupper my chances of a treble so I presume we can expect a reaction. I’m not convinced it will be good enough.
The Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet would need to improve as would the strikers. Only eight shots on goal in the last three league games is hardly earth shattering.
The pressure on Brendan Rodgers is immense. It might ease a little after this. Liverpool to score and win.
Man United v Hull
According to Hull boss Steve Bruce Hull are due a win at Old Trafford. I’m not sure I agree with that. United got their first away win of the season at Arsenal last week and Falcao is on the verge of a return this week. Hull have only one win in their last ten league games and have lost the last three in a row. They are a bit like Robin Van Persie’s form. Awful.
He has only scored three times this season for United.
The sides have met six times in the Premier League and United have won them all.
In fact the last time Hull won against United was a second division victory back in 1974.
Hull have scored one goal in their last four games and United haven’t lost at home since the opening day of the season to Swansea.
Home win despite the problems at the back.
QPR V Leicester
Rio Ferdinand could make a return for QPR in this fixture in place of the injured Richard Dunne. This time last season these two were flying high at the top of the Championship. It’s not just as easy in the Premiership. QPR have won two games since their return to the big time. All eight points have been won at Loftus Road.
Leicester got eight points from their opening five games but only two from their last 7. In fact its 500 minutes since their last goal. Things are not looking good.
Leicester beat Manchester United 5-3. Remember that. They haven’t won a game since.
Last season in the Championship Leicester won both fixtures against QPR and that means they will not be afraid of facing QPR. Having said that they may have to be content with a share of the spoils in this six pointer.
Swansea v Crystal Palace
Palace beat Liverpool last week and yet all this week the story has been about the fall of Liverpool and little about the brilliance of Palace. It was a great win for Swansea and yet I fell this is a harder fixture.
Swansea are under rated. With Wilfred Bony they have a player who can always score and who is always a threat.
Palace have one win against Swansea in their last ten attempts and they face a Swansea side who are useful at home. 13 out of their 18 points have been collected at home. Palace tend to concede too many goals. Only QPR have conceded more. QPR 15 Palace 12.
I fancy the home side.
West Ham v Newcastle
A case old faces meeting here. Alan Pardew back at his old club and Andy Carroll probably playing against his old club. Newcastle are a team in from. Unbeaten in their last six games in all competitions. They have gone from 18th to the top five in the league.
West Ham have beaten Liverpool and Man City at Upton Park and Mark Noble is set to create a club record with 205 league appearances for the Hammers in the Premier League.
Newcastle are unbeaten in their last three visits to Upton Park. In fact West Ham have only one win out of their last ten games at home to Newcastle.
West Ham have kept two clean sheets at home this season and Newcastle have only conceded one gaol in their last six games.
Sunderland v Chelsea
The season may not have even reached the “festive period” but in the spirit of Christmas some bookies have already paid out on Chelsea winning the League title.
This is their first fixture out of 8 in 34 days. A punishing fixture list.
Chelsea are settled and consistent and they showed mid-week in Europe that they are some outfit.
Chelsea are unbeaten in their last ten visits to Sunderland. They have won nine of them.
The last time Sunderland beat them in a home fixture was a 1-0 win back in October 2000.
Having said that. The last team to beat Chelsea was Sunderland last season.
Southampton v Man City
The first Sunday game has given us a very special fixture in Southampton against Manchester City. The question could be answered in this one. Just how good are Southampton? Steve Davis will return for them which is a massive boost. The Northern Ireland Captain is a very steady tidy player in the middle of the park and he brings composure.
City will have been given a massive boost in confidence in that rather fortunate win over Bayern Munich in the Champions League. A hat trick form Sergio Aguero was just the trick. Two goals in the last five minutes could change the entire season. Aguero will make his 100th Premiership appearance for City in this fixture.
Southampton are good against City. They are unbeaten in their last three meetings.
City last won at Southampton back in 2003 and Southampton now have 26 points. Their best ever start to the league.
They have seven clean sheets in their last eleven games and City only have a single point from their last two away.
Much depends on the boost City got from that Munich match. They might just have enough to win.
Spurs v Everton
It’s not a fixture I would tend to get excited about. Both won mid-week in Europe. Normally when Spurs play in Europe they lose.
Everton are unbeaten in their last eight games and have only conceded 2 goals.
At home Spurs have lost to the likes of West Brom, Newcastle and Stoke. They are far from a perfect side and I hate to tip them to do anything.
In the last eleven games between theses sides the away side has yet to win.
Draw written all over it.