Big clubs have been buying and selling big-name players, this January transfer window. John Newsome reflects on the upcoming midweek games and which teams have been boosted.
WEST HAM v CRYSTAL PALACE
Midweek Premier League games return after the FA Cup weekend. There’s a point separating these 2 sides lying just above the relegation places and both teams will be looking to continue their recent improvement.
West Ham are in fine form of late and David Moyes has got Marco Arnautovic playing well, however he picked up an injury in the last game and will miss this one. Crystal Palace too are in fine form, but had a blip against Arsenal and were 4-0 down after 22 minutes. They will forget about that and look to this game to get back on track. There will be goals in a lively draw and the result should mirror the reverse fixture from October.
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SWANSEA v ARSENAL
Swansea stunned Liverpool last Monday gaining 3 valuable points in front of their home fans. They will try again to shock one of the big boys but are still lying bottom of the table. It’s very tight at the bottom and a couple of wins will move any of the teams up the league. That said, Liverpool had chances and Arsenal will create too and should be too strong for the “Swans” and with Lacazette getting a much-needed goal in the Palace game, his 1st in 10, will hope to kick-start his season and become the main striker now Alexis Sanchez has gone. Arsenal had to come from behind to beat Swansea 2-1 in the game at the “Emirates” and this game won’t be too different.
Away Win 0-2
HUDDERSFIELD v LIVERPOOL
Huddersfield have hit a slump at the moment and have lost their last 3 games. They were unlucky last time out facing a Stoke side who had just appointed a new manager and their players turned in an eye-catching performance to impress the new guy. When these 2 met at Anfield, the “Terriers” held out until half time but the second half saw Liverpool step up a gear and score 3 goals. The home fans have had nothing to cheer about for a long time and have not seen a win since beating Brighton at the beginning of December. Liverpool squandered a lot of chances in their loss to Swansea and will want to put that result to the back of their minds. They should be too good for Huddersfield who are hovering just above the relegation places.
Away Win 0-2
EVERTON v LEICESTER
Everton have not won in 6 and lost this reverse fixture back in October 2-0 so will be looking to an improved performance against the “Foxes”. The “Toffees” have a couple of new signings in Cenk Tosun and Theo Walcott who have had 2 weeks to get to know their new teammates. Leicester beat Watford last time out and are in fine form of late climbing to 7th in the table. They will hope to be able to hang on to their star players in this Transfer Window. This game should have goals in an entertaining draw.
CHELSEA v BOURNEMOUTH
This looks a certain Home win with Chelsea rarely losing at Stamford Bridge. They hammered Stoke 5-0 last time in front of their home fans and with Morata and Fabregas resting injuries in the recent Cup games, should be back to full strength. The “Blues” have only lost 1 league game since October and won this reverse fixture by a single Eden Hazzard goal. Bournemouth have improved of late and are themselves on a 5 game unbeaten run which included an excellent win against Arsenal. That said, with the “Cherries” being the away team, they might find this game tougher.
Home Win 2-0
NEWCASTLE v BURNLEY
Newcastle are just 1 point above the relegation places and are in a group of teams all with similar records and form. They need to strengthen their squad but have not signed anyone in this window yet with time running out. The “Toon Army” have not had much to cheer about this season and have not seen their team win at St James Park since October. Burnley haven’t won in 7, they don’t concede many in games and usually lose by the odd goal. The problem for them is they don’t score many either and the games they are involved in are rarely high scoring, they won the reverse fixture 1-0. This will once again be a tight affair with not many goals.
SOUTHAMPTON v BRIGHTON
Southampton have dropped into the bottom 3 and are a point behind Brighton. Both teams are struggling and this looks another tight game with not many goals. Swansea are the only team to have scored fewer goals then Brighton. That tells you why they are down at the bottom end of the table. The “SAINTS” have gone 11 games without a win. However they have managed 6 draws in those games, including sharing the points against Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester United. Brighton draw a lot of games too and this reverse fixture in October finished 1-1. This game shouldn’t be much different.
TOTTENHAM v MAN UNITED
What a cracker of a game live on BT Sports. Manchester United claimed all 3 points when these met at Old Trafford. So Tottenham will try and gain revenge. Harry Kane is on fire at the moment and looking for his 100th Premier League goal. If United keep him quiet they can get the win here. Alexis Sanchez joined last week and is a brilliant addition to the “Red Devils” Unfortunately he has arrived too late for them to catch City and win the league. That said they can go all out for the Champions League.
Tottenham are competing with Liverpool for the 4th place spot and will be there or thereabouts. Whatever the score this will be a good game in front of the TV.
Away Win 1-2
MAN CITY v WEST BROM
Title elect Man City should be way to good for West Brom at the “Etihad”. When the teams met in October, Tony Pulis was still in charge of West Brom. They put up a fight, but eventually lost a good game, by the odd goal, 3-2. Tony only managed the “Albion” twice after that and now they are under the guidance of Alan Pardew. They lie 2nd bottom of the table at the moment on the same points as bottom team Swansea and have only won once since August 2017. The stats don’t lie. City got back to winning ways against Newcastle last time out. They had a slight blip against Liverpool losing their first game of the season. In that loss, they missed David Silva and if the game had gone on a further 5 minutes, would have drawn. But “If” is a big word and ultimately they lost. They won’t lose this game and will score 3 plus goals.
Home Win 4-0
STOKE v WATFORD
Both teams have replaced their managers in recent weeks with neither looking relegation threatened. Stoke are hovering just above the bottom 3 but should have the class and experience to pull away in the coming weeks. They probably just lost their way under Mark Hughes who had become stale and the players needed a new fresh voice. Paul Lambert was a surprise choice but got off to a flying start in his first game. Watford appear to have sacked Marco Silva for personal reasons but again should have the class and experience to stay clear of the bottom 3. In players like Troy Deeney and Richarlison, they can get goals. Their new manager is a bit of an unknown. Javier Gracia has come in from nowhere. Not much is known about him other than he managed Malaga and recently Rubin Kazan. Apart from that, we will have to wait and see if the Watford owners have made the right choice. Watford played in the FA Cup at the weekend whereas Stoke, who were knocked out in the 3rd round, didn’t, so should be fresher. The reverse fixture saw Stoke win 1-0, this should go the same way.
Home Win 2-0
Contact John Newsome, with your own predictions, requests and feedback, at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org