EPL Week 13 – Happy Birthday Giggs, Preview and Predictions
EPL Week 13 – Happy Birthday Giggs, Preview and Predictions avatar

NEWS

Giggs has no plans to retire yet

Manchester United midfielder Ryan Giggs gas revealed he has no plans to retire despite celebrating his 40th birthday on Friday.

Giggs made his professional debut as a spritely 17 year-old, coming on for the injured full-back Dennis Irwin in a 2-0 defeat against Everton way back in 1991. The Welshman has since gone on to make 953 official appearances for the club and scoring 168 goals.

“I’m lucky that I have been at one club, where I am surrounded by good players and a good manager,” he said.

“It can be hard sometimes but I am still enjoying it. As long as that is the case I will carry on.”

He added: “I still want to do well in every game, want to win trophies and my focus needs to be on that.”

Giggs, who is out of contract at the end of the year, believe his longevity is due to him spending his entire career at United.

If I’d moved from club to club I’d be finished by now,” he added, as is the case with fellow ‘Class of 92’ members David Beckham, Phil Neville and Nicky Butt—though he has lasted Gary Neville and Paul Scholes who also never left United.

The Welsh Wizard is English soccer’s most decorated player—Only Liverpool (18) has won more League Tittles than Giggs (13)—with 13 Premier League titles, four FA Cups, four League Cups, two Champions League trophies, one Uefa Super Cup, one Intercontinental Cup and one Fifa Club World Cup, as well as nine Community Shields.

“I don’t know what the younger lads think of me,” added Giggs.

“When I was 17 and 18 I thought 31 was ancient. And here I am at 40!”

 

Predictions

Predictions

Score

Lawro

SATURDAY
Everton v Liverpool 3-3 2-3
Arsenal v Southampton 2-0 2-1
Fulham v Swansea 1-2 1-1
Hull v Crystal Palace 0-1 1-0
Newcastle v Norwich 2-1 2-0
Stoke v Sunderland 2-0 2-1
West Ham v Chelsea 0-3 0-1
SUNDAY
Man City v Tottenham 6-0 3-1
Cardiff v Man Utd 2-2 1-2
MONDAY
West Brom v Aston Villa 2-2 2-1

A correct result is worth ONE point. A correct score earns THREE points.

Last week I got FIVE correct results, including ZERO perfect scores, to give a grand total of FIVE points.

 

Week 13

My Predictions

SATURDAY
Aston Villa v Sunderland 2-1
Cardiff v Arsenal 1-2
Everton v Stoke 2-0
Norwich v Crystal Palace 1-0
West Ham v Fulham 0-0
Newcastle v West Brom 3-2
SUNDAY
Tottenham v Man Utd 1-1
Hull v Liverpool 0-2
Chelsea v Southampton 2-0
Man City v Swansea 4-0

SATURDAY

Cardiff vs Arsenal

Cardiff got a terrific result at home last week, coming from behind twice to earn a 2-2 draw at home to champions Manchester United.

The Bluebirds have adapted well to life in the EPL and have only lost three of their seven games against teams in the top half of the table (W2, D2). They have been especially impressive at home—beating Manchester City and Swansea—so won’t be too worried about the visit of Arsenal on Saturday, though the Gunners could prove to be their biggest test yet this season.

Arsenal have the best away record in the EPL (W4, D1, L1) and currently lead the league by four-points. They comfortably beat Southampton 2-0 at home last week and then beat Marseille by the same score line in the Champions League midweek.

Jack WIlshere has scored some wonderful goals and is leasing the way on the  EPL goal of the year thus far(Getty Images)

Jack WIlshere has scored some wonderful goals and is leasing the way on the EPL goal of the year thus far(Getty Images)

Jack Wilshere is the latest Arsenal midfielder to hit form and now has four goals in his last eight games. The gunners do not have many options up top, but they have so many players in other positions that can score goals and that is why they are top of the league at the moment.

Cardiff have no fresh injury problems and could field the same side that faced Manchester United last Sunday.

Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs has returned from illness and could replace Nacho Monreal, who featured midweek in Europe. While Theo Walcott is pushing for a starting berth after coming on twice as a substitute in Arsenal’s last two games.

The last league meeting between these two sides ended in a 1-1 draw way back in 1961, though Arsenal did beat Cardiff more recently, winning 4-0 in the FA Cup in 2009.

Cardiff have played well at home this season and will give most visiting teams a stern test. However, I think Arsenal have so many players in good form at the moment and that’s why I’ll back them to just edge this game.

Prediction: 1-2

 

Everton vs Stoke

Everton were involved in probably the best game of the season so far, drawing 3-3 with Liverpool.

The Toffees created a bundle of fantastic opportunities and could have won the game if not for poor finishing. Striker Romelu Lukaku had been on a small barren spell and didn’t play well last week, yet he managed to score twice and now has seven goals in eight games for Everton.

Lukaku ® will definitely be one of the players to watch. (Getty Images)

Lukaku ® will definitely be one of the players to watch. (Getty Images)

Stoke won 2-0 against Sunderland last week to give them their third win of the season. The Potters were a tad fortunate as Sunderland played most of the game with ten men after defender Wes Brown was controversially sent-off. But Stoke still had managed to score twice against the Black Cats and have now score eight goals in their last four games—though they have also conceded seven in that period.

Everton will be without left-back Leighton Baines who injured his toe against Liverpool last week. Darron Gibson and Arouna Kone also remain long-term absentees.

Stoke defender Robert Huth is out with a knee injury that is likely to require surgery, while Marko Arnautovic is sidelined by a hamstring strain. However, Marc Wilson, Stephen Ireland and Kenwyne Jones could all see action after recovering from respective injuries.

The last seven meetings have produced just nine goals, so this game could be tight. However, Everton have been excellent at home and are unbeaten at Goodison park in 2013 (W10, D5). Combine that statistic with the fact that Stoke have won only two of their 10 EPL games against Everton and it suggests the Toffees should not have too many problems.

Prediction: 2-0

 

SUNDAY

Tottenham vs Manchester United

Tottenham were hammered 6-0 away to Manchester City last week and will be looking for a positive response when champions Manchester United visit on Sunday.

Spurs had the meanest defense in the EPL up until last week, but they conceded after only 14 seconds against City and could have lost by even more than six in the end. They did bounce back midweek with a 2-0 win in Europe midweek and have been fairly solid at home so far this season, so they won’t be daunted by the visit of United.

Townsend ® could cause Man Utd trouble . (Getty images)

Townsend ® could cause Man Utd trouble . (Getty images)

Manchester United conceded a last-gasp equalizer away to Cardiff to draw 2-2. The Red Devils did not show enough endeavor when they were ahead and a draw was perhaps a fair result, though they could have still won the game at the death with Wanye Rooney wasting a glorious opportunity.

Tottenham are likely to recall several first-team regulars, having made nine changes for Thursday’s win in Tromso.

Manchester United pair Robin van Persie and Nemanja Vidic could return after respective groin and head injuries. While Ryan Giggs is likely to be involved two days after turning 40.

Spurs are winless in this fixture at White Hart Lane since May 2001, though they did win their first game in 28 league and cup meetings with United last season with a 2-3 win at Old Trafford.

Tottenham have really struggled for goals this season, only the bottom two sides – Sunderland and Crystal Palace – had scored fewer than Tottenham’s nine league goals. But they have kept the most clean sheets (7) in the EPL this season and are tough to breakdown. United still look uncertain, especially in midfield, but they have arguably the best two strikers in the EPL who are always likely to get them out of jail.

Both these sides are in a period of transition and have still to hit their best form, they both played well in Europe midweek, but I expect this game could be a low scoring draw.

Prediction: 1-1

 

Hull vs Liverpool

Hull lost 0-1 at home to Crystal Palace last week and will want to try and bounce back with a good performance against Liverpool.

However, Hull are really struggling for goals at the moment—only Sunderland and Crystal Palace have score fewer goals than Hull’s tally of nine this season. The Tigers are a solid functioning team though, and have kept four clean sheets on their home patch.

Liverpool have played some exciting soccer this season. (Getty Images)

Liverpool have played some exciting soccer this season. (Getty Images)

Liverpool on the other hand seem to keep conceding goals at the moment—the Reds have let in 10 goals in their last seven games—but they also seem to keep scoring, with 20 goals in their last seven games.

Luis Suarez is in scintillating form with nine goals in only seven games for Liverpool this season, while Daniel Sturridge also has nine goal but from 12 games.

Hull have never beaten Liverpool in 16 attempts (D4, L12), and with them struggling to score goals I cannot see them changing that record on Sunday.

Prediction: 0-2

 

Chelsea vs Southampton

Chelsea convincingly won 0-3 away to West Ham last week and currently sit third in the EPL joint on 24 points with second place Liverpool.

The Blues are still struggling for consistency, a fact that was illustrated by their poor performance and defeat in Europe midweek. But they remain one of the strongest teams in the EPL and still have yet to lose a game at home in the league with Jose Mourinho.

Southampton's keeper Artur Boruc made a terrible blunder last week for Arsenal's opening. (Getty Images)

Southampton’s keeper Artur Boruc made a terrible blunder last week for Arsenal’s opening. (Getty Images)

Southampton suffered only their second defeat of the season with a 2-0 loss away to Arsenal last week. However, the Saints played rather well and only conceded through a terrible error and a penalty.

Samuel Eto’o is ruled out for Chelsea after suffering a hamstring injury in the Champions League defeat in midweek.

Southampton welcome back Jack Cork and Gaston Ramirez, who both missed the Arsenal game.

Southampton have won just once in their last 11 league visits to Stamford Bridge (W1, D3, L7), but the Saints have improved immensely since Mauricio Pochettino took over earlier this year . They have made their best ever start to the EPL and currently boast the meanest defense in the league with only seven goals conceded.

However, Chelsea have been formidable at home this season and only West Brom have stopped the Blues from taking all three points at the Bridge this season.

Prediction: 2-0

Man City vs Swansea

Manchester City pulverized Tottenhman last week winning 6-0 to continue their 100% record at the Etihad Stadium.

City are the only team in any of the four English leagues to have a 100% home record and have scored in 56 consecutive Premier League home games, 10 short of the record of 66 held by Manchester United. Sergio Aguero is on fire at the moment with nine goals in his last eight games, but the problem for opposing sides is that City have players all over the field who are scoring goals—City have scored an incredible 26 goals in their six home games, 13 of which have come in their last two games.

Aguero and Co are a formidable force at home.(Getty Images)

Aguero and Co are a formidable force at home.(Getty Images)

Swansea won 1-2 away to Fulham last week. Many thought the Swans might struggle to juggle playing domestic and European soccer, but they haven’t and remain a solid EPL team that plays neat and tidy stuff.

Manchester City defender Matija Nastasic is likely to miss the next three weeks with a calf injury, while the game has come too early for fit again captain Vincent Kompany.

Swansea forward Wilfried Bony is out after suffering a hamstring problem in Thursday’s defeat by Valencia. Angel Rangel misses out with a calf injury but winger Wayne Routledge is fit.

City have been tremendous at home this season and I can see them winning every home game this season, which would be an incredible achievement. Swansea have lost on their last seven visits to Manchester City—their last win there was a 2-1 victory in an old Second Division match in March 1951—so this game can really only go one way.

Prediction: 4-0

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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