Premier League Match Previews by @OurLogie
As we approach the hectic Christmas schedule there are some top class games on offer this weekend in the Premiership.
League leaders Chelsea won’t be in action until Monday when they visit Stoke. Man United will be hoping to improve on their recent good form and results at the bottom suggest that fight for survival will go all the way to the wire. Seven out of ten last week correct was a far effort so let’s hope we can get close to that again this time out.
Man City v Crystal Palace
City are missing several players through injury. Apart from Aguero you can add Kompany and Dzeko to that list so things are not going to be easy for them. Having said that they are on a great run. Seven wins out of their last eight says it all with only QPR taking a point off them in that period. After this they are facing into matches against West Brom, Burnley and Sunderland so it may not be the hardest holiday programme of all. City are looking for their sixth straight league win and it’s hard to see Crystal Palace stopping them achieving that. Palace have had only one win in their ten games. Neil Warnock can point to two hard earned draws in their last two games but City are a much more difficult task.
The last time Palace beat City was way back in 1990. I think that little bit of history will remain for another season at least.
City to win.
Aston Villa v Man United
United are on a roll. They have won six in a row and yet you look at this fixture and you have to figure that it won’t be easy. United beat Liverpool 3-0 last week but it wasn’t a great performance. Liverpool created several chances and should have scored a few of them. David De Gea was brilliant. Man of the Match tells it’s own story.
This week some people have been suggesting that United are genuine title contenders but I don’t agree. They still have serious issues in defence and that will do them harm long before the title is decided.
Villa lost away to West Brom and that was a massive blow to their confidence never mind losing three precious points. Villa will give it everything in this fixture but history is very much on the side of United.
In their last 13 visits to Villa Park they have won 12 and their last defeat was way back in 1995.
United have players who can sscore and with De Gea in such good form it’s hard to see Villa winning it.
It won’t be east but the money is on United to take all three points and keep their good run going.
Hull v Swansea
I felt sorry for Swansea last week. I got two out of my Irish News treble and Swansea were the team to let me down. They were mugged by Spurs in the end. Swansea had so many chances but you have to take them at this level and they did not do that.
Swansea are still a decent side and Gary Monk will want a response.
This will not be an easy fixture. Hull are suddenly second from bottom. It’s nine games since they had a win and the pressure is now on Steve Bruce.
This will be a battle all the way but I’m going for a draw in this one.
QPR V West Brom
West Brom will have been delighted with all three points against Villa last week. But that one win doesn’t change too many things. West Brom are far from being a good side and they are facing into a QPR team who are awful on the road but not too bad at Loftus Road. It’s turning into something of a fortress at home and if Rangers could get the odd result away from home it could mean the difference between survival or relegation.
It’s very tight at the bottom with only a few points difference between safety and despair.
QPR need to stop conceding goals. Only three clean sheets this season says it all but they are facing a side who are not prolific in front of goals.
Another tight one to call but I’m going for a home win in this one.
Spurs v Burnley
Burnley travel to London in good heart after that win over Southampton last week but they are facing a Sours side who are also showing good form.
On top of that Sours have been lucky of late. They won at Swansea which they hardly deserved.
In Harry Kane they have a player who is top form and will cause trouble for Burnley. Burnley are battling well in the top flight but away games at the likes of Spurs are sometimes a bridge too far.
Spurs tend to let in too many goals but the strike force at Burnley is not really of the highest quality.
Southampton v Everton
Of all the top flight games this weekend this is the hardest one to predict. Southampton’s loss of form has been more than a blip. They have now gone six games without a win and the mid week cup defeat to Sheffield United was a bitter blow.
Everton looked good in the win over QPR on Monday but they are no great shakes away from home. The last away win for them was at Burnley back in October. They are still not the team of last season. They have only three clean sheets this season and shows just why they have struggled.
Southampton have been hit by injuries and they have slipped to fifth in the table and they need to start getting back to winning ways. Looking at history Southampton haven’t lost to Everton on the last five occasions. The Saints have won two and drew three.
The smart money I think is on a draw but I’m going for Southampton in this one. Everton are not great away from home. This could be the game to see Southampton back on form.
West Ham v Leicester
It’s three months since Leicester won a league game. They are bottom of the table and five points adrift. Things are not looking good. Since that famous win over Manchester United Leicester have taken just two points from their last 11 games. It’s the stuff of relegation and the chances are they will still be bottom of the pile come Christmas and the turn of the year.
West Ham are fourth and flying. In the past they had decent teams but nowadays they also have players who can come off the bench and change games and that is the real difference.
In 27 trips to Upton Park Leicester have only recorded one win. West Ham are undefeated in their last six against Leicester home and away.
Newcastle v Sunderland
Newcastle have problems at the back with their goalkeepers. Third choice keeper Jack Alnwick was injured in the league cup defeat at Spurs but he has been passed fit to play. 17 year old Freddie Woodman will keep his place on the bench. Alan Pardew was considering asking the Premier League if he could draft in a goal keeper because of this emergency.
The chances are he will get no sympathy from any of the Sunderland fans. It may not be Halloween but we can expect fireworks in this game. It will be feisty not festive in this game. Newcastle have hit another rough patch. They have conceded eight goals in their last two games. 4-1 to Arsenal in the league and 4-0 to Spurs in the League Cup. Things can only improve.
Sunderland will not fear going to Newcastle. It’s six games since they won a game but this is a different sort of game all together. There is much more than points at stake here.
Both sides will do everything to avoid defeat and that’s why I’m going for a draw.
Liverpool v Arsenal
Liverpool made lots of chances last week against United but didn’t take any. They did get a morale boosting win at Bournemouth in the league cup which perhaps shows just how far Liverpool have fallen back in the pecking order.
Sterling has been leading the line but the problems remain for Brendan Rodgers. Ballotelli has been banned for a game because of his work on social media. It’s a pity for Rodgers it wasn’t longer. The sooner he is shown the door at Liverpool the better. He is not the only reason for the decline but he is a major part of it all. Why he was signed in the first place is beyond me. It’s the biggest negative I have against Rodgers and Liverpool.
Despite all that both sides will see each other as teams well capable of making it into the last four. As a result both will be cagey to an extreme. The big thing here is not to lose. If Liverpool can hold Sanchez they can do that.
Yet another draw for Super Sunday.
Stoke v Chelsea
Stoke beat Chelsea in this fixture last year but I can’t see a repeat . By the time this match is played Manchester City should be level on points with Chelsea and that will certainly add something of an edge to it all. Stoke are mean at home and they are very hard to beat but this is a different sort of Chelsea side. I think they and City are just so much better than anything else in the Premiership.
Stoke for all their great efforts have only kept two clean sheets this season and that will spell trouble against a Chelsea side who score for fun. It’s hard to see them holding out against the likes of Costa and Co. Edin Hazard is on the verge of signing a new deal with Chelsea which shows they are serious at staying at the top table for sometime to come.
Stoke will battle all the way but Chelsea have too much class.
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