Premier League Predictions
The countdown to the end of the 2018/19 Premier League season begins this weekend after the final international break of the season.
With the clock ticking for several sides attempting to save their skins at the bottom of the table, could we see some unexpected results this weekend as nerves start to creep in?
Here are our Premier League predictions for a busy round of weekend fixtures…
PREMIER LEAGUE PREDICTIONS
Saturday’s games, 15:00 unless stated
FULHAM vs MAN CITY, 12:30
Case for the home side: We’re officially into that odd stage of the season where unexpected results suddenly throw a curveball into the races at either end of the table. With Scott Parker’s side looking not long for this world in Premier League terms, they have nothing to lose by taking the game to City.
Case for the away side: Fulham’s defence finds it hard to cope against middling Premier League opposition, never mind the Premier League champions. Expect City to be ruthless if Fulham gift-wrap them opportunities in the final third.
Verdict: Defensive indiscipline to cost the Cottagers dear again. 0-3
BRIGHTON vs SOUTHAMPTON
Case for the home side: The Seagulls have halted their slide at just the right moment with two crucial wins over Huddersfield and Crystal Palace and a miraculous comeback at Millwall which will see them head to Wembley for an FA Cup semi-final for only the second time in their history. They will also know a scrappy win here would move them within touching distance of survival – allowing them to enjoy their day out in the capital.
Case for the away side: A gritty fightback to claim all three points against Spurs last time out gives Southampton plenty of confidence coming into this one – and psychologically an early goal for the Saints here could suddenly ramp up the fear factor at the Amex against a Brighton side that finds it hard to carve out decent chances.
Verdict: A must-not-lose game for both sides ends in a stalemate. 1-1
BURNLEY vs WOLVES
Case for the home side: The international break came at the best possible time for Sean Dyche, with the Burnley boss desperately needing some time for his struggling side to re-group and get back to what they do best – keeping games tight and nicking the win. With Wolves often unconvincing against teams towards the bottom of the table, this looks to be one of Burnley’s few remaining winnable home games. Can they grind out a boring win?
Case for the away side: A European place looks tantalisingly close for Wolves with Nuno’s side currently occupying the ‘Best of the Rest’ slot in the Premier League and an FA Cup final appearance potentially in the reckoning. With players out to impress and seal their starting spot at Wembley next week, Nuno won’t be impressed if his players slack off from the immediate task at hand.
Verdict: Wolves to exploit a wobbling Burnley. 1-2
CRYSTAL PALACE vs HUDDERSFIELD
Case for the home side: If you’re desperately struggling for home form, this would be the fixture you’d handpick to get back on the right track. Palace still look like a side that is far too good to go down despite recent defeats, and if the fine margins finally go their way this weekend, they can probably stop looking over their shoulders.
Case for the away side: The league’s whipping boys showed signs of life last week at the London Stadium, scoring an unprecedented three goals before West Ham finally woke up to snatch a 4-3 win at the death. If Jan Siewert’s side can revive that attacking formula, an early goal for the Terriers could make the natives restless at an angst-ridden Selhurst Park.
Verdict: Home discomforts to continue for Hodgson. 1-2
LEICESTER CITY vs BOURNEMOUTH
Case for the home side: It’s been an encouraging start for Brendan Rodgers in the King Power hotseat, and he already looks as if he could be the right man to start pushing the Foxes’ talented young players forward. Add that to the Cherries’ continuing travel sickness, and another three points for the Northern Irishman looks likely here.
Case for the away side: One win will do it for Eddie Howe’s side as they look to completely extinguish any relegation worries. A victory here would take them over the magic 40-point mark and all but confirm another season at this level for one of the division’s continuing success stories.
Verdict: The Rodgers’ Revolution continues to build a head of steam. 2-0
MAN UTD vs WATFORD
Case for the home side: The feelgood factor. With Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s appointment rubber-stamped this week, expect Old Trafford to be bouncing. Plus, Javi Gracia’s side may just have other priorities in mind this weekend with a date at Wembley in the diary.
Case for the away side: The football Gods often move in mysterious ways. An unfancied away side popping up to spoil the party atmosphere? We’ve seen that script before – and Watford are one of the Premier League candidates most capable of springing a surprise sucker-punch.
Verdict: Ole to get the party started as his permanent reign begins at Old Trafford. 3-0
WEST HAM vs EVERTON, 17:30
Case for the home side: West Ham continue to veer between the sublime and the ridiculous but showed tremendous character in fighting back to beat Huddersfield 4-3 last time around. That late win made it six unbeaten at the London Stadium, and that strong home form should help them secure a Top 10 finish.
Case for the away side: Marco Silva will be a relieved man after finally securing a showpiece win against Chelsea that might finally go some way to winning agnostic Toffees fans over to his cause after a frustrating campaign. Everton continue to blow hot and cold, but there are finally signs Silva’s ideas are starting to bear fruit.
Verdict: An entertaining mid-table meeting of minds. 2-2
CARDIFF CITY vs CHELSEA, 14:05
Case for the home side: They’ve been written off time and again, but Neil Warnock’s side is proving to be the itch that can’t be scratched for the other sides towards the bottom of the table. A ‘Big Six’ scalp this Sunday would be a shot across the bows of their immediate rivals, and against Maurizio Sarri’s misfiring Blues side, all three points isn’t beyond the realms of possibility.
Case for the away side: After a mini-revival in recent weeks, Chelsea looked below par again in their 2-0 defeat to Everton last time around. If Sarri still has the players on his side, they will surely need to serve up a reaction against one of the division’s strugglers.
Verdict: Bluebirds to battle, but Chelsea’s quality to shine through. 1-2
LIVERPOOL vs SPURS, 16:30
Case for the home side: Week after week, Jürgen Klopp’s side is showing they can cope with every challenge thrown at them as the possibility of a first ever Premier League title starts to creep ever closer on the horizon. Win this one and the remaining fixture list looks particularly kind on Klopp – with a less congested schedule to contend with than Man City to boot.
Case for the away side: Could this be an example of the ‘Spursy’ syndrome happening in reverse? After a disappointing couple of weeks, the season looks to be fizzling out for Spurs fans all too used to disappointment. However, with their stadium saga settled and no skin left in the title race, it wouldn’t be at all surprising if Spurs suddenly showcase a new lease of life at Anfield.
Verdict: The Reds to pass one of their big remaining tests. 2-1
ARSENAL vs NEWCASTLE, 20:00
Case for the home side: Whatever happens from here until the end of the season, it’s been an impressive opening salvo from Unai Emery given the unique circumstances behind his appointment last summer. He’s also probably just enjoyed his best few weeks in the job with a clinical win over Man Utd and a impressive turnaround victory against Rennes in the Europa League. Momentum is with them in the shootout for the final Champions League slot.
Case for the away side: Defence could be the best form of defence for Rafa Benítez’s well-drilled Magpies side. If any manager can successfully engineer a shut-out at the Emirates and frustrate Unai Emery, it’s the wily Spaniard.
Verdict: A comfortable evening’s work for Arsenal. 2-0
All image sources from PA Images
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