Another round of Premier League fixtures are upon us this weekend with two major blockbuster fixtures in the form of Chelsea vs Everton and Arsenal vs Tottenham. Below, you can find my predictions for the Saturday matches with Sunday’s predictions to be published tomorrow.
Bournemouth vs Sunderland
Both sides come into this game off the back of defeats against Middlesbrough and Arsenal last weekend. The Cherries have really stepped up their performance in recent weeks and if they are able to repeat the quality on show against Spurs a fortnight ago, they will surely be favourites to take victory here. If they’re to do that, they will need to be more clinical at home than they were against Tottenham and Middlesbrough.
Considering that Sunderland are in worse form than Hull City were a few weeks ago during that 6-1 thrashing, the three points are there for the taking if get everything right on the pitch.
Sunderland are without manager David Moyes, who will be in the stands after being handed a one match touchline ban. The Black Cats are wobbly in defence and without Moyes in the dugout to bolster their confidence, they are sitting ducks if Junior Stanislas or Callum Wilson are able to get shots on target. They need to get the ball to Defoe whenever they get chances to because he will score goals, if given the right support behind him.
Prediction: Bournemouth 4-1 Sunderland
Result: Bournemouth 1-2 Sunderland
Burnley vs Crystal Palace
For Burnley, this is a must win home game if they are to avoid relegation. Bringing a point home from Old Trafford against Manchester United will help the Clarets mentally heading into this game. Burnley are surely favourites heading into this critical home fixture with Tom Heaton in fine form.
Crystal Palace however are in awful form having not won since late September at Sunderland and have conceded in every match across all competitions since April. The Eagles may of have shown improvement on the scoring front having netted two against Liverpool last weekend but need to stop letting goals in or will be in this season’s relegation battle with an awful goal difference which could prove decisive come May. Christian Benteke needs to rediscover his Aston Villa form after a nightmare stint at Anfield.
This game is going to be tight because Alan Pardew won’t want his side to leak in anymore goals but Sean Dyche will fancy nicking a win so I expect the Clarets to just sneak it.
Prediction: Burnley 1-0 Crystal Palace
Result: Burnley 3-2 Crystal Palace
Manchester City vs Middlesbrough
Aitor Karanka and his Boro side will be relishing this match as underdogs. The 2-0 win over Bournemouth will certainly help with their confidence heading into this tricky tie. They can however take heart from the FA Cup 4th round victory at the Etihad in January 2015, but can’t be complacent.
Álvaro Negredo used to be a Citizen, so expect him to have a major role during the game and knows how most of the Sky Blue players play. This knowledge could well swing the game in Boro’s favour on top of the experience that most players would of earned during the clash nearly 22 months ago. On top of that, Victor Valdes used to play for Pep Guardiola so will be able to add further insight alongside Negredo.
Guardiola has revitalised City and their 3-1 victory over Barcelona in mid week demonstrates why they are the favourites heading into this match. Iikay Gundogan is currently in fine form and will be looking to score again alongside Sergio Aguero, who has a point to prove ahead of the January transfer window.
This game on paper looks like a Man City walkover but are playing one of England’s best defences so I am expecting a much tighter match and if Middlesbrough can replicate the quality against Arsenal, then could see at least three goals between both sides. Add in Valdes and Negredo’s knowledge of the oppositon then get a much meatier clash than we realise.
Prediction: Manchester City 2-1 Middlesbrough
Result: Manchester City 1-1 Middlesbrough
West Ham vs Stoke City
Both teams had different fortunes last week but expect this match to be a goal fest given that they are both poor at back, yet can get goals.
West Ham are currently well below expectations and with most players back from injury, will surely look to kick on and get away from the danger zone to a comfortable mid table finish. They must however cope without Winston Reid, Diafra Sakho and Andy Carroll for this weekend ahead of a brutal post international break, which sees them face Spurs, Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool.
Stoke however are on fire at the minute and will be looking to keep up their run with another victory. They too will be without key players in Marko Arnautovic and Geoff Cameron.
The match should be tight but the London Stadium hasn’t been a happy hunting ground when it comes to keeping goals out and both teams got scorers across the pitch so expect plenty of goals if both teams are clinical.
Prediction: West Ham 2-2 Stoke City
Result: West Ham 1-1 Stoke City
Chelsea vs Everton
Ronald Koeman will be looking to build on last week’s home victory against West Ham by repeating his win at Stamford Bridge from last season albeit this time with Everton.
Chelsea are back where they belong now that Antonio Conte has sorted out his formation but a 3-5-2 could be the wrong decision against this Toffee side who are currently playing some impressive football going forward. Conte will be pleased to have Diego Costa and Eden Hazard back to their very best after laboured performances last season, so expect them to be dangerous when in the final third.
Everton are currently on a poor run at Stamford Bridge but with Romelu Lukaku back on form, they will be looking to end their away form against Chelsea nightmare. Enner Valencia is available for this trip so expect him and Lukaku to cause problems for the Blues if the opportunities arise with their pace.
If Gareth Barry plays then expect drama between him and Costa following their melee in the FA Cup quarter final clash in March.
The Toffees came close to ending their Stamford Bridge nightmare in January only to be denied by a John Terry equaliser in January. Throw in the fact that their two meetings this calendar year has seen no goals till after half time, I wouldn’t be surprised if Everton finally get that longed for win in West London.
Prediction: Chelsea 1-2 Everton
Result: Chelsea 5-0 Everton
Remember to check back after the Chelsea vs Everton game for my predictions in regards to Sunday’s fixtures.