20 Nov, 15:18
The English Premier League resumes this week for the 13th week of action after the international break as we embark on the final part of the first half of the season. I take this opportunity to look through my crystal ball and predict the outcome of this weekend’s fixtures.
Watford Vs Man United
The Hornets welcome Manchester United at Vicarage Road on the back of a 2-1 defeat to Leicester. The Red Devils who have lost Michael Carrick and Antony Martial during the international break, have struggled to score this season, something Louis van Gaal is hoping to address.
Quique Sánchez will be hoping that his marksman, Odion Ighalo who has bagged seven goals in the league will cause havoc in Man United’s backline. The Dutch tactician on the other hand will rely on Wayne Rooney who scored against France to get the goals that will earn them the three precious points. Although United’s away form has been far from excellent, I think they will huff and puff their way into a 2-1 victory.
Chelsea Vs Norwich City
Seven defeats out of the first 12 matches isn’t the best way to start a title defence. The Blues have been playing better recently, even though results have not been going their way. In the defeat against Stoke City, you could see their fighting spirit, a trademark of the Chelsea of old.
The canaries bagged three points against Swansea last time out and will be fancying their chances of going back home with at least a point. Despite their poor run of form, José Mourinho’s men will win this one 2-1. Light at the end of the tunnel at Stamford Bridge at last!
Everton Vs Aston Villa
The Toffees fought back to earn a draw against West Ham. Roberto Martínez’s men look sharper and fitter than they were last season, with no Europa League. The Villans put in a spirited performance at Etihad to share the spoils with league leaders Man City.
Rémi Garde will be hoping his team will build on that draw as they travel to Goodison Park. It is very difficult to beat Everton on their own tough. The Clarets and Blue will defend with 10 men behind the ball and look to hit Everton on the break.1-1 draw.
Newcastle United Vs Leicester City
Leicester City have been the surprise package this season. The Foxes sit third on the table and Claudio Ranieri has made them hard to beat. Their never-say-die attitude has seen them claw their way back into matches when they fall behind, and win them.
Jamie Vardy’s scintillating form has seen him score 12 goals this season. The Toon Army have had a slow start to the season with only two wins. Steve McClaren’s men will be hoping to take advantage of Vardy’s absence to bag three points at St. James’ Park. I’m going for a Newcastle United 2-1 win.
Southampton vs Stoke City
Ronald Koeman’s men have been far from consistent. This week they can put in decent performance only to disappoint in the next one. Defensive solidity, a Launchpad for Southampton’s success in recent years is simply not there. The church club concede sloppy goals which has seen them drop points from winning positions.
The Potters travel to St. Marys Stadium with confidence sky-high after a 1-0 win against Chelsea. Mark Hughes has managed to combine the intelligence of Bojan and the technical ability of Shaqiri to greater effect. Nevertheless, I think this match will end up in a 1-1 draw.
Garry Monk’s men have only had one win in their last eight league games despite starting the season decently. Eddie Howe’s men have failed to replicate last season’s form in Championship in the top-flight, failing to get results. The Stadium of Light faithful will be hoping that a win against Bournemouth would kick start a run of good results.
The south coast outfit will need the three vital points to keep their dreams of staying in the premier league alive. Swansea City will win this one by 1-0.
West Brom Vs Arsenal
The Baggies come into this match on the heels of a 2-0 defeat against Manchester United while Arsenal drew 1-1 against Tottenham. Olivier Giroud wasted a flurry of chances as the league leaders fought to score the winner at Emirates Stadium. While Tony Pulis has set up his team to defend with their lives, West Brom struggle to score goals.
Arsenal would wear the West Midlands club down with some slick passing, even though it will be hard to break them. Eventually, the Gunners will emerge 3-1 winners.
Manchester City Vs Liverpool
Even though this match coincides with El Clásico, its significance can’t be underestimated. Manuel Pellegrini’s men realize that losing points will put them in a precarious situation in this tight league. Jürgen Klopp will be keen to get back to winning ways after losing to Crystal Palace just before the international break.
With two attack-minded managers, this promises to be a mouthwatering clash. Kevin De Bruyne and Philippe Coutinho, will be on the spotlight as each manager will be looking up to them to produce the moment of magic. This will be a goals galore, although it will end up 2-2.
Tottenham Vs West Ham
Slaven Bili?’s men are very unpredictable. The Hammers win against the so-called big teams but struggle against small teams. Tottenham have proven themselves against Manchester City and Arsenal and it will be interesting to see how they do against the East London outfit.
This is a derby which means bragging rights are up for grabs. However, on current form, Spurs are going to win this one. It will be as feisty as it can ever get but in the end Mauricio Pochettino’s men will come out on top. 2-1.
Crystal Palace Vs Sunderland
The Eagles finally arrested their slide down the table with a confidence-lifting 2-1 victory at Anfield. Alan Pardew’s men will be fancying their chances against embattled Black Cats who are rooted in the relegation zone. Big Sam urged his team to stop making sloppy mistakes in order to keep their hopes of staying in the league alive.
However, I think the pace and trickery of Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha down the flanks, coupled with the vicious Selhurst Park atmosphere will make it very hard for Sunderland. 2-0 win Crystal Palace.
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