We are into the final 10 games of the season and from now on in the games will be coming thick and fast as we enter the final quarter. Alex Ferguson used to call this period of the season “squeaky bum time”, but a few teams look like they need a kick in bum, others look like they have fallen onto theirs, while Chelsea’s is almost out of sight. Whichever condition your team’s behind is in, fret not, because you do not have to get off of yours because we at GotSoccer are here to serve and bring you all the news, predictions and previews for week 28.
Terry to be offered new contract
Chelsea captain John Terry will be offered a new contract, according to Blues boss Jose Mourinho.
Terry has made more than 550 appearances for the London club since signing professional terms in 1998.
The 34-year-old defender’s contract is due to expire at the end of the current season, but Mourinho say he will be still be at Chelsea next season.
“I can guarantee he will be a Chelsea player next season,” said Mourinho. “No doubts he’s going to get his contract.”
Terry, who was voted the MVP in Sunday’s League Cup final, feels he still has what it takes to play for the club.
“If this is my last year, then I hope it goes out on a bang,” he said. “But I am feeling great at the minute and it would be the wrong time to go.”
Jedinak banned for four games
Crystal Palace midfielder has been suspended for four games after accepting a charge for violent conduct during an EPL match with West Ham.
The Australian international appeared to intentionally elbow West Ham’s Diafra Sakho in the head towards the end of Palaces 3-1 victory at Upton Park.
The referee appeared to miss the incident during the game, but it was caught on video, allowing the FA to take retrospective action.
The suspension begins immediately meaning Jedinak will miss Palace’s visit to Southampton, as well as the games against QPR, Man City and Stoke.
A three-man panel unanimously agreed that Jedinak was guilty of violent conduct, and the midfielder received a four-match ban instead of the normal three-match ban because he has already been red-carded this season.
Last Week’s Predictions
|West Ham v Crystal Palace||1-3||2-0||2-0||2-1||2-1||2-0|
|Burnley v Swansea||0-1||2-1||0-2||3-2||2-2||2-1|
|Man Utd v Sunderland||2-0||2-0||2-1||2-0||3-1||2-1|
|Newcastle v Aston Villa||1-0||1-1||2-0||0-0||1-2||1-0|
|Stoke v Hull||1-0||2-0||2-1||2-2||1-1||1-0|
|West Brom v Southampton||1-0||1-1||0-1||1-2||1-3||1-1|
|Chelsea v Tottenham (Capital One Cup final)||2-0||2-1||2-0||1-1||2-1||3-2|
|Liverpool v Man City||2-1||2-2||1-3||1-3||2-2||1-2|
|Arsenal v Everton||2-0||3-1||1-1||2-1||2-1||3-1|
A correct result (picking a win, draw or defeat) is worth ONE point. Getting the exact score correct earns THREE points.
Last week, I got FOUR correct results, including ONE perfect score to give me a combined total of SIX-points. However, it was not enough to beat challenger SAM who FIVE correct result, including TWO perfect scores to give him a total of NINE-points.
This Week’s Predictions
|Aston Villa v West Brom||1-1|
|Hull v Sunderland||1-0|
|Southampton v Crystal Palace||2-0|
|Man City v Leicester||3-0|
|Newcastle v Man Utd||1-2|
|QPR v Arsenal||1-2|
|Stoke v Everton||1-0|
|Tottenham v Swansea||1-0|
|West Ham v Chelsea||0-2|
|Liverpool v Burnley||2-0|
Man City v Leicester
City’s hopes of retaining their EPL title suffered a blow at the weekend with their defeat away to Liverpool.
The Champions lost 2-1 away to the Reds and now sit five points behind EPL leaders Chelsea, who have a game in hand. Pellegrini says his side needs to find their ‘style’ again, but City need first to find how to defend again, because they are giving too many easy goals away.
Leicester didn’t have a game at the weekend, as their would be opponents Chelsea had cup final engagements with Tottenham. Nevertheless, the weekend was good to them, as all their rivals in the relegation battle lost.
Man City has a full squad to choose from and could name the same side that lined-up against Liverpool at the weekend.
Leicester has no fresh injury worries and hope to welcome back keeper Kasper Schmeichel at sometime this month.
EPL champions Manchester City have experienced two defeats in a week and now face a side who they do not have a particularly good record against—City has lost their last four top flight home meetings with Leicester and have won only once in their last 10 meetings with the Foxes in all competitions.
However, a lot has changed since Leicester last faced City at their home turf in the EPL. For one, City has moved to a new Stadium, and two, they have had hundreds of millions of dollars invested into them by their new owners.
Manchester City may not be in the best of form, but I think they should comfortably beat Leicester, especially as the Foxes have only earned one point from their five most recent games, and won just two of their last 21 league fixtures (W2, D4, 15).
Newcastle v Man Utd
Newcastle got a good 1-0 win against Villa at the weekend to give them their first back-to-back victories since November. Striker Papa Cisse was once again the goal scorer and now has 11 goals in the EPL this season—the Senegal international striker has averaged a Premier League goal every 84 minutes this season, which is the best record in the top flight among players with at least four goals.
Manchester United bounced back from their defeat away to Swansea with a 2-0 win at home to Sunderland. However, the Red Devils were once again far from convincing and needed a penalty to break the deadlock. Wayne Rooney returned to his favored striking position and scored both goals, and I imagine he will remain there, though Louis van Gaal does appear to enjoy defying wisdom.
Newcastle remain without Jack Colback, who completes a two-game ban, and Remy Cabella, who remains out with a knee problem. But could start full-back Massadio Haidara, who was forced off at the weekend.
Manchester United have Phil Jones available again after he recovered from illness, but Robin van Persie remains out with an ankle problem, while Michael Carrick lacks fitness.
Manchester United have enjoyed their trips to Newcastle in the EPL down the years—the Red Devils have suffered just one defeat in their last 11 trips to St James’ Park (W8, D2). However, they are not currently playing well and will face a tough game on Wednesday night.
Nevertheless, with Rooney returning upfront I expect United to have a bit more cutting edge about them and I think they will just about squeeze a win.
QPR v Arsenal
QPR did not have a game at the weekend, so should be well rested for the visit of London neighbors Arsenal. The Hoops sit just above the relegation zone ahead of Burnley on goal difference, though they do have a game in hand.
The west Londoners have been abysmal away from home this season, picking up just three-points on their travels, but they have been strong at home, which is the only reason they are still within a chance of survival in the EPL.
Arsenal bounced back from defeat in Europe with a good 2-0 win over Everton at the weekend. The Gunners did not play particularly well, but did enough to beat a poor Everton team and now sit just four-points behind second placed Man City.
QPR are without captain Joey Barton, who is suspended, but could play Brazilian midfielder Sandro who has recovered from a knee operation.
Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey is fit again after a hamstring problem, while fellow midfielder Francis Coquelin could play despite fracturing his nose on Sunday.
QPR have fared pretty well at home this season, but are without a win in their last nine EPL London derbies (D3, L6). In fact, QPR has lost their last three EPL games against the Gunners and won just one of the last seven (W1, D1, L5). However, I do not expect this to be an easy game for Arsenal and I think QPR may even give them a scare of two.
West Ham v Chelsea
West Ham lost 3-1 at home to Crystal Palace at the weekend to continue their miserable run of form. The Hammers have won only once in 10 league games since Christmas, falling from fourth to ninth (D5, L4).
Injuries to key plays have not helped their cause, but their defending recently has been the main problem and if they do not tighten things up soon they will continue to lose.
Jose Mourinho won his first piece of silverware since taking over as Chelsea manager for the second time by winning the League Cup at the weekend—the Portuguese coach also managed the Blues between 2004 and 2007, has now won seven trophies with the London club.
Chelsea will not doubt be buoyed by the success of winning but also by the loss of Manchester City, which means they now have the opportunity to stretch their lead at the top of the EPL to eight-points.
West Ham could hand new signing Nene his first start, but fellow strikers Carlton Cole and Andy Carroll remain out injured, while midfielder Morgan Amalfitano is still serving a suspension.
Chelsea has almost a full squad to choose from with Nemanja Matic (suspension) and Obi Mikel (Knee problem) their only absentees.
West Ham has won just one of the last 17 league meetings (D3, L13) and based on their current form I expect their poor run against the Blues to continue.
Liverpool v Burnley
A few months ago Liverpool’s season seemed in disarray, they were knocked out of the Champions League and already looked out of contention for a place in next season’s competition. However, Brendon Rogers then decided to change the Red’s system and since then they have gone from strength to strength.
On Sunday they beat EPL champions Man City 2-1 at home to move to within two-points of a Champions League spot and remain the only side in the EPL yet to lose a league game in 2015. Daniel Sturridge has regained his fitness and gives Liverpool more options and confidence upfront, but Phillipe Coutinho has been their real stand out player of late and will be integral to their hopes of finishing in the top four.
Burnely lost 1-0 at home to Swansea to remain in the relegation zone just behind QPR on goal difference. The Clarets are an honest side that play some neat stuff at times. However, they give away chances far too easily and in the EPL mistakes rarely go unpunished—Burnley has conceded 45 league goals, the division’s joint-worst tally with QPR.
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has overcome a hamstring problem, but is unlikely to be risked, while Glen Johnson may feature after overcoming illness. However, Wednesday’s game has come a bit too early for Mamadou Sakho, while Jordon Ibe looks set to be out for a few weeks with a knee injury.
Liverpool are the EPL’s in-form team with 20-points from their eight games in 2015. They remain the only EPL side yet to lose a league game this year, while their opponenets Burnley have won just one of their last 11 league matches (D4, L6).
I expect Burnley to sit deep and try to frustrate Liverpool, but I do not think they have the quality or discipline to keep the Reds at bay for 90-minutes and I think it will be comfortable for Liverpool in the end.