EPL Week 14: Previews and Predictions
Week 13 just finished and straight away we are propelled back into the thick of the action with a series of mouth water midweek matches in week 14.
There are some tantalizing games to look forward to this Tuesday and Wednesday. Chelsea host neighbors Fulham in the west London derby, Arsenal travel to Everton, while Everton’s neighbors Liverpool travel in the opposite direction to face Arsenal’s neighbors Tottenham.
As always I’ll be playing the part of soccer clairvoyant and predicting scores with astrological like accuracy.
|Week 13||Score||My Predictions|
|Sunderland v West Brom||2-4||2-2|
|Everton v Norwich||1-1||3-1|
|Man Utd v QPR||3-1||4-0|
|Stoke v Fulham||1-0||1-1|
|Wigan v Reading||3-2||2-1|
|Aston Villa v Arsenal||0-0||0-2|
|Swansea v Liverpool||0-0||2-1|
|Southampton v Newcastle||2-0||1-2|
|Chelsea v Man City||0-0||1-0|
|Tottenham v West Ham||3-1||2-0|
A correct result is worth ONE point, while a correct score earns THREE points.
Last week I got 3 correct results without any perfect scores, equaling week 12’s record breaking low score of 3 points.
Lets hope I can do better this week. The record high score so far is 12 points from week 8.
Sunderland Vs QPR
This Tuesday sees Harry Redknapp return to the EPL just six months after he was shown the door at Tottenham.
Redknapp has built somewhat of a reputation as a miracle worker over the years, helping team’s escape from predicaments even Houdini would have struggle with. However, this is bar far his biggest challenge to date, as QPR sit bottom with no wins after 13 games.
But QPR are not the only team with troubles, Sunderland too are languishing close to the relegation zone and need to pick up some points quick or they could soon see themselves becoming involved in the relegation dogfight.
Sunderland looked like they had turned the corner after beating Fulham a week ago, but then were comfortably beaten by West Brom at home. The Black Cats are a decent side with a good honest work ethic, but their problem is they lack an attacking threat.
If this game were a week ago I’d go for a home win for Sunderland, but how many times have we seen a new manager come in and inspire their team. Though saying that, I can’t really see QPR winning this game.
Chelsea Vs Fulham
This week’s London derby sees Chelsea host their west London neighbors Fulham.
New Chelsea coach Rafa Benitez did not receive the warmest of receptions in Sunday’s home draw with Manchester City, but the Spaniard probably didn’t expect the Chelsea fans to welcome him with open arms, and I doubt he will let the boo boys get to him.
Chelsea looked a lot more like the Chelsea of old and were a lot more disciplined against Man City than they have been recently. It was interesting to see Mata, Oscar, Hazard and Torres in the side – Benitez obviously thinks he can tighten up Chelsea without sacrificing one of those attacking players.
However, it is no coincidence that Chelsea’s poor run has coincided with the absence of the old guard of Terry, Lampard and Cole, and without those three in the team the Blues look like a boat lost at sea without a skipper.
Fulham have started the season well, and Martin Jol’s team still look like a good side despite selling key players Dempsey and Demebele to Tottenham.
But the Cottagers don’t seem to travel well, and at the weekend they were easily brushed aside by Stoke. Though in their last three away games before that defeat, they earned draws after falling behind.
Against Chelsea they may not suffer from homesickness so much as they only have to travel a few minutes down the road, but then again Chelsea are not just any old team, they are the European Champions.
Everton Vs Arsenal
Everton started the season brilliantly, which is amazing given they usually begin the season horribly and then end the season on fire. However, after flying out from the traps they have stated to stutter a bit and have only won one of their last seven EPL games.
The problem for the Toffees is they just can’t finish teams off at the moment. In most of their recent games they have had the opposition on the ropes, but without landing the decisive second goal – if they had delivered that knock out blow in a few of those drawn games, they might be sitting up in third, second, or even first place in the EPL.
But Everton won’t be too worried, because they are playing well, though if they continue to let teams off the hook that may change.
Arsenal have bigger problems though, because they are not playing well at the moment. It looked like they may have got past their rough spell after they won consecutive games, but they then put in a very flat performance away at Villa and couldn’t have had too many complaints had they lost.
Arsenal need to put a run of wins together quickly otherwise they will fall further behind the leading pack. But Everton is not the easiest places to go when you are playing well, never mind when you are not, and the Toffees always seem to raise their game against the top teams.
Everton will be buoyed by the return of top scorer Marouane Fellaini who missed the game at the weekend through suspension, while Theo Walcott should return for the Gunners after recovery from a shoulder injury.
I think Everton will dominate, but if they fail to take their chances they could be on receiving end of counter knock-out punch.
Tottenham Vs Liverpool
Tottenham finally ended a run of three consecutive EPL defeats with a 5-2 win over West Ham at the weekend.
They seem to go through hot and cold streaks, playing well and winning a few in a row before suddenly dipping their performance and losing a few, and after Saturday’s win I wouldn’t be surprised if they push on to win another three or four of their next games.
Liverpool have slowly improved and are unbeaten in their last eight EPL games, but their problem remains their lack of a goal threat. Apart from Suarez and youngster Raheem Sterling it is hard to see who in their team will trouble the opposition’s backline.
Spurs on the other hand have an array of options, they have Bale, Lennon, Dempsey and of course Defoe who is in sensational form.
I think Liverpool will probably approach this game the same way they did against Chelsea, and thus try to contain Spurs and hit them on the counter. But I think Spurs will over power them in the end.
Manchester United Vs West Ham
Manchester United bounced back from a surprising defeat away to Norwich with a good 3-1 win against QPR at the weekend.
The Red Devils had to come from behind once again, but that seems to have been part of the script for United’s games this season. They have so much belief in their powers of recovery that they don’t seem to be effected by going behind.
That of course comes from the fact they have so many players in their side who can score goals – if Van Persie or Rooney don’t score, then they have Hernandez ready to come in and save the day.
West Ham were comfortably pushed aside by Tottenham at the weekend and don’t seem to do so well on their travels. They struggled away to Swansea and Wigan earlier in the season, and I can’t see them doing any better at the ‘Theater of Dreams’.
Paul Scholes will miss Wednesday game as he is suspended, so Anderson may get a rare start. Antonio Valencia may also miss out after picking up a hip injury.
West Ham’s Mark Noble will also miss the tie through suspension, while left-back George McCartney is a doubt after suffering an ankle injury against Tottenham.
I think the Hammers will try to be physical and upset United’s rhythm of play, but in the end I think the best they can hope for is taking an early lead before ultimately losing the game.
Wigan Vs Manchester City
The Wigan rollercoaster ride continued at the weekend, as the Latics followed up a loss to Liverpool with an enthralling 3-2 win over Reading at home.
The latics are probably the most unpredictable team in the EPL, but what separates them from the teams around them near the bottom of the table is their ability to create and score goals, and that is why they always have a chance of springing an upset against the big boys.
Manchester City followed the disappointment of elimination from the Champions League with a drab 0-0 draw away to Chelsea, though they were perhaps the better team.
City slowly seem to be improving and are now finding it easier to create and score goals now that playmaker David Silva has returned from injury.
City will have to do without full backs Micah Richards and Gael Clichy who are both injured, though captain Vicent Kompany looks like he will play despite nursing a knee injury.
Injury-hit Wigan will give late fitness tests to forward Shaun Maloney and Gary Caldwell.
I think Wigan will give City a good game, but I expect the champions’ extra class and guile to see them through this one.
|Week 14||My Predictions|
|Sunderland v QPR||0-0|
|Aston Villa v Reading||2-1|
|Chelsea v Fulham||3-1|
|Everton v Arsenal||2-1|
|Southampton v Norwich||1-1|
|Stoke v Newcastle||1-0|
|Swansea v West Brom||2-2|
|Tottenham v Liverpool||2-1|
|Man Utd v West Ham||3-1|
|Wigan v Man City||1-2|