Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Predictions For Premier League Gameweek Nine

It's that time of the week again when I attempt to predict the outcomes of the upcoming Premier League games. I did reasonably well last week despite only getting one perfect outcome, three corrrect outcomes and six incorrect and I moved four places off the bottom of my predictions League. Here's a look at how the top five of that league stands with me nowhere in sight.

 1 (1) Brisbane City FC
4
595
 2 (6) betojohn
ioannis papanikos
3
570
 2 (2) JediKnut
2
570
 4 (3) Wild Things
3
555
 5 (6) lukaszbee
1
535
 5 (5) immycader
Imran Cader
1
535

Friday October 20

West Ham United v Brighton And Hove Albion

8pm GMT, London Stadium, London

West Ham nearly held on for a 1-0 win at Burnley last week after going down to 10 men, but they had to settle for a point in the end. They have won two of their three home games and they kept clean sheets in those two games. They have only lost once in their last five games and they kept clean sheets in three of those games, but only Palace and Stoke have conceded more goals 

None of the West Ham players are really doing enough to recommend to fantasy managers, but a fit again Michail Antonio might just be able to do so.

Brighton must have thought they had taken the three points at home to Everton last week, but a last minute penalty cost them two points. They have lost three of their four away games with only Palace scoring less goals away from home. They have failed to score in half of their league games so far, but they're two points above the relegation zone and that's their goal for the season.

Pascal Gross has been the best fantasy option in the Brighton team and he's still available at a good price.

I think this will be a close game, but West Ham should have just enough to take the three points.

Prediction: 2-1

Saturday October 21

Chelsea v Watford

12.30pm BST, Stamford Bridge, London

Chelsea lost away to Palace last week and they're already nine points behind the league leaders after only eight games. They have only won once in their four home games and have only scored four goals in those games despite being the top scorers at home last season. They have only won once in their last four games, but only the top three have scored more goals.

If Alvaro Morata is fit to return he's the best fantasy choice in the Chelsea team while Eden Hazard's return should increase as he plays more games.

Watford came from behind to win 2-1 at home to Arsenal last week and those three points moved them into the top four. They have won three of their four away games with only Spurs and City taking more points on the road and only three teams scoring more away goals. They have only lost one of their eight games with only the top three scoring more goals, but only three other teams have conceded more goals.

Richarlison is the Watford player to have for fantasy managers while Abdoulaye Doucoure isn't too far behind him.

As good as Watford have been up to now I don't think Chelsea will be as easy to turn over as Arsenal and they should win by a couple of goals.

Prediction: 3-1

Huddersfield Town v Manchester United

3pm BST, John Smith's Stadium, Huddersfield 

Huddersfield lost 2-0 away to Swansea last week, but they're still three points above the relegation zone thanks to their good start to the season. They have only lost one of their four home games, but no other team has scored less goals at home. They haven't won in six games and they failed to score in five of those games with only the bottom two teams scoring less goals.

I can't see any Huddersfield players who might make a difference for fantasy managers.

United went to Liverpool looking for a point last week and came away with a drab 0-0 draw. They're unbeaten away from home with only City and Swansea conceding less away goals. They are still unbeaten with seven clean sheets in their eight games and only City have scored more goals with no other team conceding less.

Despite failing to score last week Romelu Lukaku is still a very good choice for fantasy managers while all of United's defenders and goalkeeper are very good choices too.

I can't see anything other than a comfortable United win in this game.

Prediction: 0-3

Manchester City v Burnley

3pm BST, Etihad Stadium, Manchester 

City put seven goals past Stoke last week to go two points clear at the top of the table. Only United and Arsenal have taken more points at home and they're the top scorers at home with 18 goals in four games. They have won their last six games and scored 26 goals in the process with no other team scoring more goals and only United conceding less.

With Sergio Aguero available again it's hard to know which City striker fantasy managers should choose, but David Silva, Kevin de Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane all offer loads of points from midfield.

Burnley left it late against 10 man West Ham last week, but they just about managed to take a point. They're still unbeaten away from home despite four tough away fixtures to start the season and it doesn't get any easier in this game. They have only lost one game and are unbeaten in six with clean sheets in three of those games.

Stephen Ward has done very well for fantasy managers at a good price with Chris Wood worth considering too.

With the form City are in I think they should win this game and win it with ease too.

Prediction: 4-0

Newcastle United v Crystal Palace

3pm BST, St. James' Park, Newcastle 

Newcastle led twice at Southampton last week, but they had to settle for a draw in the end. Only four teams have taken more points at home despite losing their first home game to Spurs. They have taken 11 points from their last six games and will be happy if they finish the season in their current position in the top half of the table.

None of the Newcastle players have done too much for fantasy managers so far, but Jamaal Lascelles and Matt Richie haven't done too badly.

Palace got their first goal and first points of the season last week when they won 2-1 at home to the champions. They have lost all of their away games and they're the only team not to score away from home with no other team conceding more goals on their travels. They have lost seven of their eight games and they're the lowest scorers with no other team conceding more goals.

Wilfried Zaha could be the man to save Palace now that he's back from injury and if he is he could do quite well for fantasy managers.

I think this will be a very close game and the chances are it will end in a draw.

Prediction: 1-1

Stoke City v Bournemouth 

3pm BST, bet365 Stadium, Stoke

Stoke managed to score twice at City last week, but they ended up conceding seven goals with a makeshift defence. They have only lost one of their home games despite playing three of the big six teams, but only Watford have conceded more goals at home. They have lost three of their last four games and conceded 14 goals in those games and they're only one place and two points above the bottom three.

I don't see any Stoke players making an impact for fantasy managers at the moment.

Bournemouth put up a good fight at Spurs last week, but they lost 1-0 and that leaves them in the bottom three four points from safety. They have lost all of their away games with only Palace scoring less goals away from home. They have lost six of their eight games and failed to score in five of them with only Palace scoring less goals.

Like Stoke none of the Bournemouth players are doing too much to impress fantasy managers right now.

This has the makings of a very close game with both teams badly in need of points and I think Stoke will just about win.

Prediction: 2-1

Swansea City v Leicester City

3pm BST, Liberty Stadium, Swansea

Swansea won 2-0 at home to Huddersfield last week to move out of the bottom three. They have lost three of their four home games with only three teams scoring less goals at home and only Watford conceding more. Their win last week was their first in five games and they have failed to score in five of their eight games with only the bottom two scoring less goals.

Tammy Abraham would seem to be the Swansea player to have for fantasy managers and he's available at a good price too while their defenders and goalkeeper have fared well recently too.

Leicester took a point at home to West Brom on Monday night thanks to a late goal from Riyad Mahrez, but it wasn't enough to keep Craig Shakespeare in his job. They haven't won away from home yet, but they have at least drawn their last two on the road. They haven't won in their last six games and only five teams have conceded more goals.

Jamie Vardy and Harry Maguire are the Leicester players most likely to get something for fantasy managers and maybe the change of manager will improve their form.

It's not easy to know what way this game will go, but I think it might just end with the spoils shared.

Prediction: 1-1

Southampton v West Bromwich Albion

5.30pm BST, St. Mary's Stadium, Southampton 

Southampton came from behind twice last week to get a 2-2 draw at home to Newcastle. They have only won once in five home games and they failed to score in three of those games. They have failed to score in four of their eight games and have kept clean sheets in three of them.

Fraser Forster and Maya Yoshida are the Southampton players doing the best for fantasy managers, but they're doing their best work away from home.

West Brom led at Leicester on Monday night, but a late Riyad Mahrez goal meant they had to settle for a point. They have won once in their four away games, but they have only managed two goals in those four games. They haven't won in their last six games, but they did draw four of those games and no other team has drawn more games.

I can't see any West Brom players to recommend to fantasy managers and they have some tough games coming up.

Both of these teams are having problems winning games and scoring goals which leads me to believe it could end in a goalless draw.

Prediction: 0-0

Sunday October 22

Everton v Arsenal

1.30pm BST, Goodison Park, Liverpool

Everton left it late last week, but a last minute Wayne Rooney penalty saw them take a point at Brighton. They have won two and lost two of their four home games, but they have only scored three goals in those four games. They have only won once in their last seven games and they didn't keep a clean sheet in any of those games with only Palace and Stoke conceding more goals.

I can't see any Everton players who might make a difference for fantasy managers at the moment.

Arsenal led 1-0 away to Watford last week, but ended up losing 2-1 thanks to some poor finishing and bad refereeing as well as their own weaknesses. They have only managed one goal and one point in their four away games with only Palace scoring less goals on the road. They had taken 10 points from their four games before last week's defeat and kept clean sheets in those four games, but three of those games were at home.

Arsenal players have not done well away from home and it's hard to recommend any of them in this game, but Alexander Lacazette, Alexis Sanchez, Sead Kolasinac and their other defenders all seem to be good bets at home.

This is a game which could go either way and I think Arsenal should just about get the better of proceedings.

Prediction: 1-2

Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool

4pm BST, Wembley Stadium, London

Spurs finally put their Wembley league hoodoo behind them last week when they just about managed to beat Bournemouth 1-0. They have only won once in their four home games with only three teams scoring less goals at home. They have taken 13 points from their last five games and kept clean sheets in four of them with only the top two scoring more and conceding less goals.

Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen are the best of the bunch in the Spurs team for fantasy managers with their defenders, keeper and Dele Alli all doing very well too.

Liverpool couldn't find enough to break down a resolute United defence last week and they had to settle for a 0-0 draw. They have only won once in four away games and no other team has conceded more goals away from home. They have drawn three of their last four games and only five teams have conceded more goals even if only the top three have scored more.

Phillippe Coutinho is the Liverpool player to have for fantasy managers while Mohamed Salah and maybe Roberto Firmino are worth considering too.

This is a big game for two teams trying to keep pace with the two Manchester teams at the top of the table and the chances are they will share the points.

Prediction: 2-2

That's it for this week.

See you next week.




Saturday, 14 October 2017

Arsenal's Trip To Watford Previewed

The second international break is finally over and when the third one finishes next month we can actually have uninterrupted real football until next March. It wasn't without it's problems for Arsenal though as Shkodran Mustafi picked up an injury and it looks like he'll be out until December. Despite the club's apparent desire to sell him in the summer he is still an intrical part of our defence and I can only assume we attempted to offload him as we had a replacement lined up.

It's a trip to Watford for Arsenal today in the evening kick off which will of course be live on BT Sports. Live TV games are a part of life for football fans and the switching of kick off times to suit the TV stations. On that point the prospect of Arsenal's home game against Liverpool on December 23rd looks almost certain to be switched to the next day.

It's a decision that takes no account of the wishes of the fans if it goes ahead and it just shows those TV companies care not a jot about about the match going fans. Besides those possibly attending the game I would be surprised if they get a good TV audience on a day when most people in this part of the world already have too much to do. 

Back to Watford and it looks like the bad news about Mustafi will at least be countered by the return of Mesut Ozil, Danny Welbeck and Francis Coquelin. None of them play in the center of defence, but at least our options in other positions will be increased. The manager has a few decisions to make ahead of a game which is a very important one for me. We have recovered somewhat from our poor start to the season and we now need to push on to try to keep pace with the top four.

United and City have started really well and will be hard to catch, but United's season gets underway today when they start to play some of the other contenders. City are a different matter and we need to have as many points as possible on the board before we play them in a few weeks. We need to target three points from today and follow it up with a maximum haul against Everton and Swansea before that trip to City on November 5th.

Watford have started the season very well under Marco Silva and their only defeat came at home to City a few weeks ago when they were thumped 6-0. They haven't won at home yet though and they have conceded more goals at home than any other team too. That statistic is somewhat skewed by the loss to City and as I said already that's their only defeat.

On the other hand Arsenal's turnaround has been fairly impressive and we have managed four clean sheets in a row in the league. It's been a long time since I can remember four clean sheets in a row for Arsenal. That run included an impressive 0-0 draw at Chelsea, but the three wins in it were all at home to teams we would be expected to beat.

Our only away point so far came in that game at Chelsea and we are one of only two teams who have failed to score away from home with the other one propping up the table without a point to their game. Our away form in the second half of last season was just not good enough and if we can't get it right this season we will not finish in the top four again. Only the top two took more points at home than Arsenal last season and we have started this season with four wins out of four on our own patch.

It looks like Laurent Koscielny will be fit to play and if he is the only change from the 2-0 win over Brighton might be a replacement for Mustafi which would be one of Per Mertesacker or Rob Holding. Ozil might come back in too of course which would probably see Alex Iwobi miss out unless Alexis Sanchez isn't up to the task after his late return and World Cup qualification disappointment. I suspect we will see both Holding and Ozil in from the start and we should have a bench with some real quality options. It's going to be a busy few weeks with with Premier League, Europa League and League Cup games to come and the strength of that bench will be tested in those games. 

As good as Watford might have been so far we still have the quality to dominate them and take the three points. I think the first goal will be crucial and I hope we can get it because I'm not sure how we will react to going behind. Besides the defeat to Liverpool we also lost at Stoke and I thought we did well in trying to get back into the game after they scored.

For me the equalising goal was coming until the manager made some quite bizarre substitutions and he should have kept faith in the players he had out there. There's no point in making changes just for the sake of it in a case like that and I hope he remembers that if today's game follows a similar pattern. If we score first and keep up our momentum I think we will win and anything other than three points would be a real blow for the team's confidence and the morale of the fans which is slowly improving. It's never easy to lose, but losing to teams you are better than is very hard to take and I think that's something that has happened too often in this calendar year.

That's it for today.

See you tomorrow.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Predictions For Premier League Gameweek Eight

It's that time of the week again when I attempt to predict the outcomes of the upcoming Premier League games. I didn't do so well yet again last time out with only four correct outcomes and six incorrect which still leaves me firmly rooted to the foot of my predictions league. It's been a tough season for me so far, but I'm hoping I can turn it around soon. Meanwhile here's a look at how the top five of that predictions league stands.

NAMETHIS WEEKPOINTS
 1 (1) Brisbane City FC
4
655
 2 (4) JediKnut
2
590
 3 (5) Wild Things
3
565
 4 (2) Dr_AFHMK
2

+65
500
 5 (3) immycader 
Imran Cader
1

+80
495





Saturday October 14

Liverpool v Manchester United

12.30pm BST, Anfield, Liverpool

Liverpool were pegged back in their last game after leading 1-0 at Newcastle and had to settle for a point which saw them drop back to seventh in the league. They are unbeaten at home so far with only United conceding less goals at home. They have only won once in their last four games though and they conceded nine goals in those games with only Palace and West Ham conceding more goals.

Phillippe Coutinho looks like the Liverpool player most likely to do it for fantasy managers at the moment with Sadio Mane injured while Mohamed Salah is well worth considering too.

United brushed Palace aside in their last game to move only one goal behind City on goal difference at the top of the table. They are unbeaten away from home with only City and Swansea conceding less goals on their travels. They're still unbeaten with only City scoring more goals and no other team conceding less.

Romelu Lukaku still looks like the most likely candidate for fantasy managers in the United team with all of their defenders and keeper doing very well too as well as Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

I think this is going to be a very close game and the most likely outcome is a draw.

Prediction: 1-1

Burnley v West Ham United

3pm BST, Turf Moor, Burnley

Burnley won 1-0 away to Everton in their last game and that win moved them into the top six. They have only won once at home so far with only Palace scoring less goals at home and only United conceding less. They have only lost once in their opening seven games with only the top two conceding less goals and they have kept clean sheets in three of their last four games.

Stephen Ward has been the outstanding player in the Burnley team for fantasy managers while Nick Pope is a good option in goal at a good price as long as Tom Heaton remains injured.

West Ham got a very important 1-0 win at home to Swansea last time out to move themselves out of the bottom three. They have lost three of their four away games with only Liverpool and Palace conceding more goals on their travels. After losing their first three games they have taken seven points from their last four and kept clean sheets in three of them.

Chicarito has been the best of the West Ham players so far for fantasy managers, but his overall return has been a little disappointing while their defenders have done well in their last few games.

I don't think there will be too much in this game and Burnley might just win by the only goal of the game.

Prediction: 1-0

Crystal Palace v Chelsea

3pm BST, Selhurst Park, London

Palace lost their last game 4-0 away to United and they're firmly rooted to the foot of the table without a point from their seven games. They have lost all of their home games and they're the only team not to have scored at home so far. They have scored less goals and conceded more goals than any other team so far and unless their form changes quickly they will continue to break all the wrong Premier League records.

I can't see any Palace players to recommend to fantasy managers, but that could change over the next few weeks as Wilfried Zaha looks set to return from injury.

Chelsea lost at home to City in their last game and they're already six points behind the two Manchester clubs. They are one of the three teams with a 100% record on the road with only City and Spurs scoring more away goals. Despite losing two of their first seven games they are still in the top four and they will be expected to win their next three games.

If Alvaro Morata isn't fit to play the best fantasy choices in the Chelsea team are probably Eden Hazard, Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso.

I can't see anything other than more pain for Palace in this game with Chelsea winning with a few goals to spare.

Prediction: 0-3

Manchester City v Stoke City

3pm BST, Etihad Stadium, Manchester 

City won their last game away to Chelsea to stay just above United at the top of the table on goal difference. They have taken seven points from their three home games with only United scoring more and conceding less goals at home. They are the top scorers with no other team conceding less goals so far and they have scored 17 goals in their last four games without conceding any.

With Sergio Aguero injured Gabrille de Jesus looks like he could be a very good choice for fantasy managers with David Silva, Kevin de Bruyne, Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling and City's defenders and keeper all very good options too.

Stoke got a late winner in their last game at home to Southampton for their first win in five games. They haven't won away from home yet and their chances of changing that in this game aren't great. They have only one clean sheet so far and their defensive injuries could make this a long game for them.

I don't see any Stoke players who might make a difference for fantasy managers at the moment.

This could be a tough game for Stoke and I think City should be far too good for them.

Prediction: 3-0

Tottenham Hotspur v Bournemouth 

3pm BST, Wembley, London

Spurs won easily away to Huddersfield in their last game to move up to third in the table. They still haven't won a league game at home and they have already dropped more points at home this season than they did in all of last season. They have taken 10 points and scored 10 goals in their last four games with only the top two scoring more and conceding less goals so far.

Harry Kane is on fire for fantasy managers at the moment with six goals in his last three games with Christian Eriksen, Ben Davies, Kieran Trippier and Dele Alli all very good choices too.

Bournemouth got a good point at home to Leicester in their last game, but only Palace are below them in the table. They have lost all of their away games so far with only Palace and Arsenal scoring less goals on their travels. They have lost five of their seven games with only Swansea and Palace scoring less goals.

Charlie Daniels hasn't done too badly for fantasy managers, but it's a risk to pick a Bournemouth defender.

Spurs might not have won a home game yet, but I think that will change in this game.

Prediction: 3-0

Swansea City v Huddersfield Town

3pm BST, Liberty Stadium, Swansea

Swansea lost 1-0 away to West Ham last time out and they're in the bottom three even if it is only on goal difference. They have lost all of their home games with only Palace scoring less goals at home and only Watford conceding more. They have only won once so far with only Palace scoring less goals and they have failed to score in five of their seven games.

Lukasz Fabianski has done quite well for fantasy managers considering where Swansea are in the table while their defenders haven't done too badly and Tammy Abraham has done reasonably well at a good price.

Huddersfield lost 4-0 at home to Spurs in their last game and their good start to the season seems like a long time ago now. They have only lost one of their away games so far with only City and Swansea conceding less goals away from home. They haven't won in their last five games and they only scored one goal in those games.

None of the Huddersfield players have done much for fantasy managers in recent weeks and they have some tough fixtures coming up.

I think this will be a close game and it could well end in a scoreless draw.

Prediction: 0-0

Watford v Arsenal 

5.30pm BST, Vicarage Road, Watford

Watford got a very late point away to West Brom in their last game and they are in eighth place level on points with Liverpool. They haven't won at home yet and have conceded more goals at home than any other team. They have only lost one game so far even if that was by six goals against City with only Palace and West Ham conceding more goals.

Richarlison de Andrade and Abdoulaye Doucoure have both done very well so far for fantasy managers with Kiko Femenia worth a shout too.

Arsenal won 2-0 at home to Brighton in their last game to move up to fifth and they're only outside the top four on goal difference. They haven't won away from home yet and they're one of only two teams who haven't scored away from home. They have taken 10 points from their last four games though and they didn't concede any goals in those games.

Alexander Lacazette, Sead Kolasinac and Nacho Monreal are the best fantasy performers in the Arsenal team so far with the rest of their defenders and Aaron Ramsey worth considering too.

I think this will be a very close game and Arsenal might just sneak it by the odd goal.

Prediction: 1-2

Sunday October 15

Brighton And Hove Albion v Everton

1.30pm BST, AMEX Stadium, Brighton

Brighton lost 2-0 away to Arsenal in their last game, but they're still two points clear of the relegation zone. They have won two of their three home games and the points they take at home could be the difference between staying up and going down. They have lost four of their first seven games and failed to score in four of them too, but they will still be happy with their start to life in the top flight.

Pascal Gross has been the best fantasy performer in the Brighton team, but most of his points came in just two games.

Everton lost 1-0 at home to  Burnley in their last game and they find themselves level on points with Brighton after seven games. They have only one point and one goal from their three away games so far and only three other teams have conceded more goals on the road. They have lost four of their last five games and failed to score in those four games with only Palace and West Ham conceding more goals.

I can't see any Everton players to recommend to fantasy managers at the moment.

I think this will be another very close game and a draw is probably the most likely outcome.

Prediction: 1-1

Southampton v Newcastle United

4pm BST, ST. Mary's Stadium, Southampton 

Southampton lost away to Stoke in their last game thanks to a late goal from Peter Crouch. They have only won once in their four home games and they failed to score in three of those games. They have only won once in their last five games and they failed to score in three of those games with only four teams scoring less goals.

Both Fraser Forster and Maya Yoshida have been by far the best fantasy performers in the Southampton team so far.

Newcastle came from behind to get a good point at home to Liverpool in their last game and they're sitting safely in the middle of the table. They have lost two of their three away games with only Palace and Arsenal scoring less away goals, but only City and Swansea have conceded less away goals. They have taken 10 points from their last five games and only conceded three goals in those games.

If he's fit to play Matt Richie is worth considering for fantasy managers while Jamaal Lascelles has done quite well too.

I can't see too many goals in this game and I think Southampton might just manage a narrow victory.

Prediction: 1-0

Monday October 16

Leicester City v West Bromwich Albion

8pm BST, King Power Stadium, Leicester

Leicester drew 0-0 away to Leicester last time out and they're only outside the bottom three on goal difference. They have lost two of their three home games and only four teams have conceded more goals at home. They haven't won in their last five games and they conceded eight goals in those games.

Jamie Vardy is the best fantasy choice in the Leicester team while Harry Maguire isn't the worst choice either.

West Brom looked to have taken all three points in their last game, but Watford grabbed a point with a late equaliser. They have lost two of their three away games and have conceded five goals in their last two games on the road. They haven't won in five games either, but they have kept clean sheets in three of their seven games.

I'm not too sure that West Brom players are the best fantasy choices at the moment with some tough games coming up.

I think Leicester should be good enough at home to take all three points.

Prediction: 2-1

That's it for this week.

See you next week.