Premier League Preview
Its gone from bad to worse in recent weeks. This first round of midweek fixtures throws up some great games and we will be splitting the preview’s in two, covering Tuesday and Wednesday. The league table is a very good representation of the standard of all teams at the moment. The Top 5 are heads and shoulders above the rest. At the other end the annual dogfight to stay up seems larger than ever this season. Let’s try and get back on track as SPORTSvox takes a look at the fixtures this week in our Premier League preview.
Tuesday 4th December Fixtures
Bournemouth v Huddersfield
Four losses in a row doesn’t inspire you with lots of confidence but their play has been much better than the results suggest for Bournemouth. Huddersfield have improved, they have had to but still languish at the bottom of the goal scoring charts. This will be a tight affair, I normally don’t like these sort of stats but Huddersfield haven’t one a midweek game in the Top flight in 14 attempts. I cannot see that changing here however, Eddie Howe’s men to get back on track.
Prediction: 2 – 1
Brighton v Crystal Palace
Two clubs that until recently have been relying in Glen Murray and Wilfried Zaha respectively. I must admit I am surprised with Brighton so far this season. Not for their effort but constantly churning out results. For Palace it was a welcome win at the weekend and some good football to boot.
Brighton are tough at home and will be hard to beat. This will be a good victory if Palace can pull this off, but I can only see a hard fought draw here.
Prediction: 1 – 1
West Ham v Cardiff
West ham surprised me at the weekend with their result but consistency has been the key for the ‘Hammers’ so far. It could so easily fall apart against a well drilled Cardiff side that relish a battle. Neil Warnock has several injury concerns and the ‘Bluebirds’ have not won in nine attempts against West Ham.
Another hard one to call but I fancy West Ham to sneak this one.
Prediction: 2 – 1
Watford v Man City
The perennial downturn in Watford’s fortune seems to have started earlier than normal this season. One point from their last 12 is worrying for Javi Gracia. Watford are not a side to sit back and I think they will give it a go against City who will be without Aguero.
For Pep Guardiola however he has those riches at his disposal and will need to navigate a busy period coming up for City. They have shown class and determination so far this season. This busy period will determine whether they are competing on all fronts come 2019. I can only see their run continue and pick up three points here but I can see them conceding.
Prediction: 1 – 3
Wednesday 5th December Fixtures
Burnley v Liverpool
In seasons past a trip to fortress Turf Moor in December would not be one any team would relish. It’s not quite so formidable at the moment for Sean Dyche and his team. They have managed just four points at home from six games and no victory at all in seven. Their home form will need to change considerably if they are to pull themselves out of the relegation battle.
A new resilient Liverpool will be without Saido Mane but have managed to pick up points both ways this season so far. They are not quite at their attacking peak of last season but the results are there. They will need all that grit to compete first against Burnley. From there you would hope their undoubted ability will shine through.
Will be a tough encounter but I expect Liverpool to come through in the end.
Prediction: 0 – 2
Everton v Newcastle
As mentioned pre season I fancied Everton to have a good campaign. There are definitely signs of their summer arrivals developing Everton into a very functional side. Marco Silva’s side have won their last four at home, have a great record against Newcastle and will be looking to extend that run here.
Although Rafa Benitez has seen a mini revival in recent weeks, their loss at home to West Ham showed their limitations. Their midweek record doesn’t bode well either. They haven’t won in 17 attempts and i cannot see them getting anything from this game either.
Everton to continue their push to be ‘best of the rest’ this season.
Prediction: 2 – 0
Fulham v Leicester
It will be emotional for Ranieri but sentiment will not take over. Fulham have improved no doubt and he will see this as three points there for the taking. there is definitely quality in the squad and it will be a great atmosphere at Craven Cottage. They will look to get on the front foot early and i am even tipping them to get their first clean sheet of the season here.
This is mainly down to Leicester having several injury concerns to the nucleus of their squad. They haven’t lost in five, but its been built on solid defensive performances and that will be affected here.
A slight shock maybe but I fancy Fulham to continue their progress here.
Prediction: 2 – 0
Wolves v Chelsea
Wolves fall from grace has been dramatic. For all of their good early season promise I did fear for them when they didn’t convert their chances within games. Without scoring they are now in free fall. They will also be without Neves and I cannot see them posing that much threat to Chelsea.
Sarri’s side came down to earth with a bump against Tottenham but they certainly have enough depth in their squad to recover. They will need a good performance here to head into the weekend against City. some of the fringe players who arguably could be starters will be looking to prove a point in this one.
I cannot see Wolves getting back on track here and expect Chelsea to prevail.
Prediction: 0 – 3
Man Utd v Arsenal
How times have changed. At the start of the premier league years this would have be seen as a title decider. Roll on 20 years and both clubs are rebuilding, under new managers and still looking for success.
For Mourinho this is a bigger game, he needs to get the fans back on side and there is no better way than beating an in form Arsenal. That will be easier said than done. United have injury concerns and cannot park the bus in this one. If they are to win my gut feeling is that they will have to out score Arsenal which will be tough. the big players will need to turn up and try to keep Arsenal on the back foot.
For Emery this is the next step on his transformation at the club. His team are looking settled, the attacking flair is back and in form players like Aubameyang will cause United problems. The only negative is their recent record at Old Trafford, but for me you can throw recent stats out the window. Its a new era in this fixture for both sides and I fancy Arsenal to come out on top in an entertaining game.
Prediction: 1 – 2
Tottenham v Southampton
Spurs will be looking to bounce back after their defeat to Arsenal. A derby defeat always hurts but Pochettino will be looking for the right reaction from his players. This will be more about concentration and patience than anything else.
I feel slightly bad for Mark Hughes, he just hasn’t had the squad available to compete so far and the lack of goals has been well reported on SPORTSvox. Southampton need a striker still and in the interim it will be all about trying to steady the ship as much as possible before the January transfer window. I fear if this doesn’t happen then come 2019 they will be too far adrift at the bottom to get out of the relegation zone. Its a big task for the new manager coming in.
A long night for Southampton ahead and Tottenham to win comfortably for me.
Prediction: 3 – 0