EPL Week 31 – Top Picks and Predictions
EPL Week 31 – Top Picks and Predictions avatar

NEWS

Sterling going nowhere insists Rogers

Liverpool player Raheem Sterling will not be leaving the club in the summer, according to manager Brendan Rogers.

Talks about a new deal between Sterling and Liverpool broke down recently, with the 20-year-old rejecting a $150,000-a-week contract with the Reds.

“Liverpool are one of the superpowers of football and if the owners don’t want to sell, they don’t have to,” said Rodgers.

Sterling, who currently has two-years to run on a $52,000-a-week contract, recently gave an interview with the BBC insisting he was motivated by winning trophies and not money.

Raheem Sterling's contract has been under much speculation. (Getty Images)

Raheem Sterling’s contract has been under much speculation. (Getty Images)

Rodgers added: “Concentration should be on his football. If his ambition is to win trophies that’s aligned with what we do here.”

However, the Reds’ manager claimed the club had not given Sterling permission to speak to the BBC and believed it was a “mistake” to carry out the interview.

“There was no permission from us,” he said. “He will learn. We all make mistakes in life, especially when we are young.

Sterling, who joined Liverpool from QPR in 2010, insists he wants to concentrate on his soccer and will not engage in contract talks until the summer.

“I just want to take the time to think about what I’ve achieved in my career so far, where I need to go and what I need to do to get better as a player,” he said.

Sterling has been linked with big money moves to Arsenal, Manchester City, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. However, despite his rapid progress former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson believes he still has a long way to go before he can play for a top club.

“He’s 20 and not going to Real Madrid or Barcelona or Paris St-Germain,” said Lawrenson.  “He’s not at that level and he has a lot of work to do.”

Arsenal scoop month awards

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and striker Oliver Giroud have been rewarded for their displays in the month of March.

French international Oliver Giroud was named the EPL player of the month after scoring five goals in March, including two against Newcastle United in the 2-1 win at St James’ Park as well as strikes against Everton, Queens Park Rangers and West Ham United that meant he scored in all his EPL games in March.

Wenger's

Wenger (R ) also knocked out Van Gaal’s Manchester Utd of the FA Cup. (Getty Images)

“I’m really pleased with it,” says Giroud. “I would like to thank my team-mates and of course the fans, because it’s a collective sport and I couldn’t do it on my own.

“It’s a great honour to have been selected as Player of the Month, especially because we wanted to bounce back from the Champions League disappointment.”

Meanwhile, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger picked up the Manager of the Month award after guiding the Gunners to four straight victories in the month March, which saw them move up to third in the EPL just a point behind second placed Man City and seven behind leaders Chelsea.

The 65-year-old is currently the longest serving manager in the EPL with 706 appearances in the Arsenal dugout and collects the award for the 14th time in 19 seasons with the Gunners.

 Predictions

Last Week’s Prediction

Week 30

SATURDAY

Results

My Pred

Mabs

Luke

Man City v West Brom

3-0

2-0

2-1

3-0

Aston Villa v Swansea

0-1

2-1

2-1

2-1

Newcastle v Arsenal

1-2

0-2

0-4

1-2

Southampton v Burnley

2-0

1-0

2-2

1-0

Stoke v Crystal Palace

1-2

2-1

1-1

3-1

Tottenham v Leicester

4-3

2-0

2-0

1-0

West Ham v Sunderland

1-0

1-0

2-1

0-1

SUNDAY

Liverpool v Man Utd

1-2

2-2

1-2

2-0

Hull v Chelsea

2-3

0-2

0-3

0-4

QPR v Everton

1-2

2-2

1-0

1-2

Total Score:

8-points

8-points

9-points

A correct result (picking a win, draw or defeat) is worth ONE point. Getting the exact score earns THREE points.

Last week I got SIX correct results, including ONE perfect score to give me a TOTAL of 8-points. However, it was not enough to beat challenger LUKE who got FIVE correct results, including TWO perfect scores, to earn a TOTAL of 9-points.

This Week’s Predictions

Week 31

SATURDAY

My Predictions

Arsenal v Liverpool

2-0

Everton v Southampton

1-1

Leicester v West Ham

2-1

Man Utd v Aston Villa

3-0

Swansea v Hull

1-1

West Brom v QPR

2-0

Chelsea v Stoke

2-0

SUNDAY

Burnley v Tottenham

1-2

Sunderland v Newcastle

2-1

MONDAY

Crystal Palace v Man City

1-2

Previews

SATURDAY

Arsenal v Liverpool

Arsenal continued their terrific form in 2015 with a good 2-1 away win at Newcastle. The Gunners thoroughly dominated the first-half and went in at the break two goals up, thanks to a brace by Oliver Giroud. The Gunners were made to sweat in the second-half though, as Newcastle threw everything and the kitchen sink at them, but managed to hold on for all three points in the end.

Liverpool’s unbeaten EPL run in the 2015 finally came to an end with a 2-1 loss to Manchester United at Anfield. The Reds were played off the park in the first-half by their rivals, but improved in the second-half though it wasn’t even enough.

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere could return after a few months out. But forward Danny Welbeck is a slight doubt with a knee problem, while the game has come too early for Mikel Arteta, Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain, Mathieu Debuchy and Abou Diaby who have all returned to training.

Skirtel and Giroud were both on the scoresheet last time around. (Getty Images)

Skirtel and Giroud were both on the scoresheet last time around. (Getty Images)

Liverpool duo Steven Gerrard and Martin Skrtel begin three-game suspensions. But Brazilian midfielder Lucas returns from a thigh injury, while Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling should both play despite knocks, though Adam Lallana is a doubt with a groin injury.

Arsenal and Liverpool have been the form sides of 2015, so we could be in for a good game this weekend. Arsenal has won 14 of their last 16 games in all competitions since New Years day, including nine of ten in the EPL. Meanwhile, Liverpool’s defeat last week was their first in 14 EPL games.

Arsenal has a terrific record against Liverpool at home losing just once in their last 18 games they have hosted the Reds in all competitions. Liverpool has been in terrific form recently, but the suspension of Martin Skrtel is a big loss for the Reds and with the Gunners high in confidence I think Liverpool will be lucky to get a draw.

Prediction: 2-0

Man Utd v Aston Villa

Manchester United’s impressive form continued with a terrific 2-1 win away to Liverpool. The Red Devils produced perhaps their best 45-minutes of the season with a first-half possession master class against Liverpool. Marouane Felliani was once again impressive, but Juan Mata was the star of the show scoring twice, with the second a contender for goal of the season.

Mata should have earned himself a place in the starting 11 for Man Utd. (Getty Images)

Mata should have earned himself a place in the starting 11 for Man Utd. (Getty Images)

Aston Villa’s good recent run under Tim Sherwood came to an end with a 1-0 loss at home to Swansea. However, the Villains seem to have a different mentality under their new coach and look much more adventurous and likely to score.

Manchester United remain without striker Robin van Persie who remains out with an ankle injury. Luke Shaw has recovered from a hamstring, but Chris Smalling is a doubt with an illness.

Aston Villa captain Ron Vlaar has returned from a hamstring injury, while Jores Okore and Joe Cole have also overcome injuries.

However, the game seems to have come too soon for Aly Cissokho and Nathan Baker, while United loanee Tom Cleverley is ineligible.

Manchester United has a terrific record against Aston Villa – The Red Devils have beaten Aston Villa 31 times in the Premier League, the joint-most of any team against any one opponent, along with United vs. Everton.

Villa may have improved slightly under Sherwood, but I can’t see anything other than a comfortably United win here.

Prediction: 3-0

Chelsea v Stoke

EPL leaders Chelsea survived a Hull revival in their last game edging the Tiger 3-2. The Blues took a 2-0 lead in the first half, but then conceded two goals inside 87-seconds, before a goal 13-minutes from time by substitute Loic Remy spared their blushes.

Stoke lost 2-1 at home to Crystal Palace in their last EPL game. The Potters actually took the lead through Mame Biram Diouf, but conceded twice just before the break to lose for the second successive game – they have only lost three successive matches on one occasion this season.

Costa once again is a doubt for Chelsea. (Getty Images)

Costa once again is a doubt for Chelsea. (Getty Images)

Chelsea top scorer Diego Costa is a doubt with a hamstring injury picked up while on international duty with Spain.

Stoke’s Jonathan Walters is expected to be fit despite sustaining a calf injury in training. Marc Muniesa returns after a hamstring problem, but loanee Victor Moses is unavailable against his parent club.

Chelsea has not been playing well recently, but has been grinding out results and still remain six points clear at the top of the EPL. Stoke has lost their last two games, but are a much improved side under Mark Hughes. Nevertheless, the Potters have a miserable record against the Blues – Stoke only earned five points out of a possible 39 in 13 Premier League games between the sides (W1, D2, L10) – and I can’t see them improving it.

Prediction: 2-0

SUNDAY

Burnley v Tottenham

Burnley lost 2-0 away to Southampton in their last EPL outing and remain in the relegation zone, one point from safety behind 18th placed Sunderland. The Clarets played well and missed two glorious chances, however, they were once again let down by poor defending – Burnley’s defensive record is the second worst in the division heading into the weekend’s fixtures, with only QPR conceding more goals – and if they do not tighten things up soon they may fall beyond the point of no return.

Harry Kane scored a goal last week for England on his international debut..(Getty Images)

Harry Kane scored a goal last week for England on his international debut..(Getty Images)

Tottenham kept their dreams of qualifying for the Champions League alive with a thrilling 4-3 win over Leicester City. Harry Kane was once again the star of the show, scoring his first EPL hat-trick to take him to 29 goals in all competitions this season. However, Spurs’ defence looked way too open and the north Londoners have now gone seven league games without a clean sheet,  conceding 15 goals in that time.

Burnley has no fresh injury concerns and could name the same side that lost to Southampton two weeks ago.

Tottenham could be without keeper Hugo Lloris, who suffered a gashed knee against Leicester. Danny Rose is nursing a hamstring and hip injury, though should play. But Roberto Soldado is a doubt with a knee injury.

Both these side like to play attacking soccer, but neither are defending well so we could be in for goals on Sunday. Tottenham will start as the favorites, but they have only won once in their seven most recent trips to Burnley came in the League Cup in 2004. Their last league triumph was 39 years ago. Nevertheless, I think the north Londoners will just edge this game.

Prediction: 1-2

MONDAY

Crystal v Man City

Crystal Palace won 2-1 away to Stoke in their last outing to continue their impressive form under new manager Alan Pardew – the Eagles have won six of their 10 EPL games since Pardew took over in January. Striker Glenn Murray scored to bag his 12th goal of the season, while Wiflred Zaha netted for the second successive game.

Company and Co have struggled at the back this season for City.(Getty Images)

Company and Co have struggled at the back this season for City.(Getty Images)

Champions Man City bounced back from defeats to Burnley and Barcelona with a comfortable home win over West Brom. City’s cause was helped when Albion were reduced to ten-men inside 89 seconds, but they thoroughly dominated the game after that registering a staggering 43 shots at goal and scoring three goals.

Palace are playing well and will be full of confidence ahead of the visit of the EPL champions. However, City cannot afford to fall any further behind Chelsea and anything less than a win will not be good enough.

I expect the game to be close and Palace to give City a scare or two, nevertheless, I think City know they need to win this game and will just edge it.

Prediction: 1-2

 

 

About Anthony Ta

Anthony Ta is a writer for the GotSoccer Magazine, specializing in Premier League, Champions League and the Euros.
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One Response to EPL Week 31 – Top Picks and Predictions
EPL Week 31 – Top Picks and Predictions avatar

  1. Neil says:

    Saturday
    Arsenal v Liverpool 2-2
    Everton v Southampton 2-1
    Leicester v West Ham 2-1
    Man Utd v Aston Villa 4-1
    Swansea v Hull 2-0
    West Brom v QPR 2-0
    Chelsea v Stoke 3-0

    SUNDAY
    Burnley v Tottenham 1-3
    Sunderland v Newcastle 1-2

    MONDAY
    Crystal Palace v Man City 1-3

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