With teams in the bottom half of the table now finding their squads are getting stretched, John Newsome believes the Premier League big beasts will be smelling blood this coming weekend.
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BRIGHTON v CHELSEA
This round of Premier League games are the reverse fixtures from Boxing Day and many results will mirror that day, with 1 or 2 shocks. This early kick-off looks a tough task for Brighton at The Amex, in front of the Sky Sports cameras. The home side have only won 1 out of the last 12 games and though they have collected points in a lot of drawn fixtures but this game won’t be the one to get back to winning ways. Chelsea haven’t lost in 7 and ground out a goalless draw against Leicester last time out – that could be seen as 2 points lost so they will be looking to beat a steady Brighton team. The same result as Boxing Day is on the cards.
Away win 0-2
ARSENAL v CRYSTAL PALACE
Arsenal rarely lose at The Emirates and come off a disappointing loss to Bournemouth on Sunday, despite taking the lead in that match. They have had 2 fantastic games in front of their home fans recently, a 3-3 draw against Liverpool and a 2-2 draw against Chelsea. Crystal Palace earned a good home win last Saturday against a Burnley team who are struggling at the moment, so it was a good time for Palace to take advantage. The Gunners should be too strong.
Home Win 2-0
BURNLEY v MANCHESTER UNITED
Burnley lost again last Saturday and have hit a slump. They are lying 7th at the moment but have not won in 6 and Manchester United will be another tough task for Sean Dyche’s team. United played Monday night and are 2nd in the table,. Depending on the team Jose Mourinho puts out, this could either be an easy win for them or a tough task at Turf Moor. Mourinho seems reluctant to play Rashford, Martial and Lukaku together but is getting away with it due to the form of Lingard. With the Premier League title almost out of reach, United must ensure they lead the chasing pack which is all they can do at this moment in time. On Boxing Day, Burnley were beating United 2-0 before Jesse Lingard scored twice to share the points. This game should be less close.
Away Win 0-2
EVERTON v WEST BROM
The honeymoon period appears to be over for Big Sam as he has not won in 5 and he will target this home game to get 3 points. They lost heavily at Wembley last week, which is no disgrace as Tottenham and Harry Kane are on fire. Maybe the way they performed might be of concern but new signing Cenk Tosun looks a decent prospect and will progress. West Brom and Alan Pardew finally got their first win since August, against Brighton on Saturday. The only possible downside to that result is both goals in the 2-0 win were scored by defenders Jonny Evans and Craig Dawson, but the but the Baggies’ faithful will take that. Boxing Day saw a 0-0 but there will be goals in this one.
Home Win 2-1
LEICESTER v WATFORD
Leicester have slowly climbed the table since the arrival of Claude Puel and are now 8th, just a win away from catching Burnley. If results go their way, they will overtake the Clarets on goal difference. They got an excellent 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge on Saturday and played with 10 men for the last 20 minutes after Ben Chilwell’s red card. Watford also drew on Saturday after coming from 2-0 down against Southampton. Troy Deeney was a substitute in that game coming on whilst the score was 2-0 and changed the game. He provided the assist for the 90th-minute equaliser to gain a valuable point and will be hoping to start. That said, Leicester will be too strong, can reverse the Boxing Day result and get all 3 points.
Home Win 3-1
STOKE v HUDDERSFIELD
This looks a very tough game for both sides, with neither team pulling up trees at the moment. Stoke played Monday night and will have less recovery time – as yet they have not appointed a full time boss and are being led by under 18s manager Kevin Russell. Huddersfield equalised in the 40th minute against West Ham and went into the break with confidence. However, within 15 minutes of the restart they were 4-1 down and unable to get back into the game. The reverse fixture on Boxing Day finished 1-1 and this will not be too different.
WEST HAM v BOURNEMOUTH
West Ham were excellent against Huddersfield on Saturday with Lanzini and Arnautovic in fine form and both scoring great team goals – Lanzini getting a brace. Bournemouth were brilliant against Arsenal on Sunday beating the Gunners for the first time and will provide a stern test at The London Stadium. There were plenty of goals on Boxing day with both teams scoring 3 and this reverse will see goals too, but the Hammers will score more.
Home Win 3-1
MAN CITY v NEWCASTLE
This looks an easy home win for Pep’s Champions elect in the late Saturday game live on BT Sports. Pep, after losing for the first time this season against Liverpool on Sunday, can get back to winning ways. Newcastle are simply not good enough. They got a draw against Swansea on Saturday with substitute Joselu coming on and making an immediate impact, scoring after 4 minutes. The reverse fixture on Boxing Day saw a 1-0 win for City, this game will see more goals in an emphatic home win.
Home Win 4-0
SOUTHAMPTON v TOTTENHAM
This Sunday game is in front of the Sky Sports cameras. Tottenham hammered the ‘Saints’ on Boxing Day 5-2 and this encounter won’t be much different. They come to St Mary’s off the back of an emphatic win against Everton with Harry Kane becoming Tottenham’s all-time leading Premier League goalscorer, overtaking Teddy Sheringham who scored 97 for Spurs. Kane now on 98 will soon hit the ton mark and will carry on breaking goalscoring records until he’s inevitably sold to Real Madrid.
Southampton are in torrid form at the moment and were 2-0 up on Saturday against Watford before squandering that lead to draw 2-2. It’s questionable whether their manager Mauricio Pellegrino will still be in the job come Monday.
Away Win 0-4
SWANSEA v LIVERPOOL
Monday Night Football live on Sky, sees Swansea take on Liverpool. The Swans got a well-deserved draw against Newcastle on Saturday and will want to try and perform in front of their home fans after the 5-0 thrashing Liverpool gave them on Boxing Day. They lie bottom of the table, 4 points from safety and will find this home game extremely demanding against the first team to beat Man City this season. Liverpool were excellent against City and even after losing Coutinho still have plenty of talented players who can to score. Keep an eye on them for next season as Jurgen Klopp is building something special and with additions in the summer, Liverpool will be a real force next term.
Away Win 0-3
Contact John Newsome, with your own predictions, requests and feedback, at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org