Man City’s incredible winning run could be under threat, from a Crystal Palace side that has improved massively under Roy Hodgson, our football pundit John Newsome believes.
NEWCASTLE v BRIGHTON
Newcastle are at home again after Wednesday’s narrow loss to Man City. They had an excellent win away at The London Stadium against West Ham and will want to bounce back to winning ways against a solid Brighton side. Brighton lost to Chelsea on Boxing Day and are away from home again after beating Watford last Saturday, so both teams have similar form going into this final game of the year. That said and with home advantage, the Toon Army can collect all 3 points.
Home Win 3-1
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BOURNEMOUTH v EVERTON
Bournemouth played in a terrific game on Boxing Day against West Ham and gave their home fans an excellent post-Christmas treat. The Cherries were losing, then winning, then losing again before grabbing a last-gasp equaliser in the 93rd minute to share the points with the Hammers. Everton ground out a nil-nil draw against West Brom and with the games coming thick and fast over the Christmas period, it’s all down to which manager rotates their squads better. Wayne Rooney has missed the last 2 games, but if he returns in this, he can get the Toffees scoring again.
CHELSEA v STOKE
This looks a certain home win. Chelsea seldom lose at Stamford Bridge and should be too strong for Stoke. The Stoke fans are getting disgruntled with ex-Chelsea star Mark Hughes, but they still have points in hand over the teams currently sitting in the relegation zone. Morata scored again on Boxing Day and takes his tally for the season to 10, which is a decent return. He should be able to add more goals in this game.
Home Win 2-0
WATFORD v SWANSEA
Home win simple as that. Watford got back to winning ways on Boxing Day after losing the previous 4. They got a great victory against a resurgent Leicester side and should be way too strong for a poor Swansea team who were hammered away against Liverpool. Swansea are still without a manager and Leon Britton continues in his caretaker role, but they do need to get a permanent appointment in quickly as they look the weakest side in the division right now. Luckily for the Swans faithful, Tony Pulis isn’t available after he took the Middlesboro job! Watford were helped by a Leicester own goal to get the win but they are without the services of Troy Deeney after his 4 game ban. However, the Hornets should still prevail.
Home Win 2-0
HUDDERSFIELD v BURNLEY
The problem with Huddersfield is they concede goals and the Yorkshire club have actually conceded more goals than Swansea, who sit at the bottom of the league. The Terriers are better at home and should hold on for a draw against a very good Burnley team. Burnley went 2-0 up against Manchester United on Boxing Day, but United came back strong to get a draw. The points look likely to be shared again here.
LIVERPOOL v LEICESTER
Liverpool score for fun at Anfield with two of the ‘Fab Four’ Coutinho and Firminho scoring on Boxing Day in the emphatic 5-0 destruction of Swansea. Leicester are a decent side, grabbing a last-minute equaliser on Saturday against Manchester United, but then lost away at Watford on Boxing Day – all be it by a Kasper Schmeichel own goal. That said, Liverpool will be too strong for the Foxes.
Home Win 3-1
MAN UNITED v SOUTHAMPTON
a Late kick off on Saturday evening in front of the BT Sports cameras sees Manchester United take on Southampton. A couple of weeks back this would have looked a certain win for Manchester United, but something has gone wrong at Old Trafford this past fortnight and if they are not too careful will slip down the league. Jesse Lingard bagged a brace to earn a point against Burnley and will want to be recalled to the starting line up. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, unfortunately, now looks past his sell-by date and actually slows United down. Jose doesn’t seem to want to play Lukaku, Rashford and Martial together, which is frustrating. Pogba and Matic sat behind, feeding these 3, would rival Peps City. Southampton haven’t won in 7 and are slipping dangerously close to the relegation zone. They were thumped away at Wembley on Boxing Day – no disgrace as Tottenham are a fine side but will have to start improving. United can get back to winning ways and inflict further pain on the Saints.
Home Win 4-0
CRYSTAL PALACE v MAN CITY
This might surprise a few people but with Crystal Palace playing at home, in front of the BT Sports cameras, they can get a draw against Pep’s High Flying City. It all depends on team selection and whether Wilfried Zaha is fit enough to play 3 games in a row. Roy Hodgson’s side have gone 9 games without losing and can get into City and score. We all know Man City are on a roll, but they looked laboured against Newcastle on Wednesday and although they are winning game after game, this might be Palace’s chance to get a result. Roy Hodgson is a wily old fox and could have a defensive plan to stop Pep. Team selection is vital, with Zaha, Palace might just get a result, without him, they’ll lose.
WEST BROM v ARSENAL
The final game of 2017, live on Sky Sports. Alan Pardew has yet to get a win as new boss of West Brom and his wait may go on. Arsenal played away at Crystal Palace on Thursday night, but Palace are a better side than West Brom and will be too strong. There won’t be many goals as West Brom a still defensively sound but they struggle to score. They are the second lowest scorers in the Premier League and that’s the reason they are the second bottom of the table. Arsenal score goals, however, they have not scored that many away from The Emirates. That said they will get all 3 points.
Away Win 0-2
Contact John Newsome, with your own predictions, requests and feedback, at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org