By Neil Leverett
- The Britwatch Football Team give their preview and predictions for the eleventh weekend of the season
- Follow their progress throughout the season and see which writer takes up the Premier League Prediction cup
- Correct result gets one point, correct result and score gets three points.
PREMIER LEAGUE, UK – It is the North London Derby this weekend as Match-Week 12 of the Premier League season approaches, and as usual our writers have had their say on what will happen.
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Arsenal vs Tottenham Hotspur (Saturday, 12:30)
Tottenham have been one of the best away sides in the league this year, in fact their away form is why they are currently occupying a top four spot. But the interesting thing is that Arsenal have been excellent at home, and are looking to win their 11th game on the spin at the Emirates.
Toby Alderweireld will be a big miss for Spurs, but how much of a miss he will be depends on how Arsenal are going forward. The Gunners have not beaten Spurs in seven league games, and with Tottenham looking the strong of the two clubs at present, I think that will be extended to eight.
Prediction: Arsenal 1-2 Tottenham
Neil: After the final international break of the year, the Premier League swings back into action and first up is a mouth-watering North London Derby at the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal sit four points behind their fierce rivals coming into this clash as they look to bounce back from defeat to Manchester City last time out, against a Spurs side they have not beaten at home in the league since 2013.
The visitors are once more threatening to further swing the pendulum of power in the direction of the Seven Sisters road this weekend, with the Gunners having relinquished their monopoly on the top four. Harry Kane is once more set to torment the hosts, having scored in the last four games against his former boyhood club and whilst is it always difficult to call a post-hiatus meeting with goals on the menu, I am plumping for a draw.
Prediction: Arsenal 2-2 Tottenham
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Bournemouth vs Huddersfield Town (Saturday, 15:00)
Niall: Bournemouth will look to move themselves clear of the relegation zone when they welcome Huddersfield Town to the Vitality Stadium.
The Cherries have not enjoyed a good start to the season and currently sit 17th after 11 games. Huddersfield on the other-hand have exceeded many expectations with the start they have made.
I expect a tight contest with not many chances for both sides. They have only scored 15 goals combined this season, so I think the one who can take their golden chance will be the winner, and with the home advantage, I am going with Bournemouth.
Prediction: Bournemouth 1-0 Huddersfield
Neil: The Cherries last-gasp win at Newcastle before the international break was a huge boost to boss Eddie Howe, as his side vie to climb the table and avoid what is set to be a relegation dogfight come the end of the season. With a trip to Old Trafford in mid-December on the horizon, the next six games however, all present opportunities to pick up a decent points haul. That begins versus the Terriers.
David Wagner has seen his side win their last two league games at the John Smith’s Stadium, but form on the road has been decidedly rocky. Huddersfield have taken just one point away from home since their opening day win at Palace and the priority for the visitors here will likely be not to lose on the south coast, a feat I believe they will achieve.
Prediction: Bournemouth 1-1 Huddersfield
Burnley vs Swansea City (Saturday, 15:00)
Niall: Burnley will look to continue their good start to the season by piling more misery on the struggling Swansea at Turf Moor.
The Clarets have made a very good start to the campaign, winning five games thus far to see them seventh in the table, level on points with Arsenal and Liverpool. Swansea on the other-hand sit 19th and are on a three match losing streak.
With Burnley being so solid at home and the Swans struggling with form and confidence, I can only foresee a rather comfortable Clarets victory.
Prediction: Burnley 2-0 Swansea
Neil: Burnley continue their sterling form this campaign, having won back-to-back games after losing their unbeaten home run at the Etihad almost a month ago. Single-goal wins have seen Sean Dyche’s men take maximum points, despite continued speculation over the Clarets’ boss’ own future.
The Swans remain mired in the drop zone, two points from safety. In some ways, it is hard to predict what side of Swansea will turn up on any given weekend and like Huddersfield, will likely set up to take a point away from Turf Moor. In this instance however, with or without their Kiwi striker Chris Wood, Burnley will just edge a tight affair.
Prediction: Burnley 2-1 Swansea
Crystal Palace vs Everton (Saturday, 15:00)
Niall: Everton are still managerless and rather directionless, but has their confidence risen after their come from behind win at Watford? A trip to bottom club Crystal Palace will answer that question.
Both teams have only won one of their last five, but Palace have been a little more encouraging despite recent results. Their performance against Spurs warranted a little more than a 1-0 defeat, and they are slowly growing in confidence.
Everton are a bit more of an unknown factor at the moment, and until they get some stability, it is hard seeing them turning their fortunes around completely.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-1 Everton
Neil: Relegation six-pointer is becoming a by-word for this season’s top-flight campaign and the meeting at Selhurst Park could well turn out to be no exception. Pre-season however, the involvement of Everton in the matter would have been unthinkable and for both sides this game signifies huge importance.
Whilst Palace have taken four points from their last five games – a marked improvement – the Eagles put in a plucky display at Wembley versus Spurs and were unlucky to walk away empty-handed. The Toffees’ win at home to Watford felt like a corner was turned after their fightback from 2-0 down, but with David Unsworth still in caretaker charge of the club, the need to back up a win here is imperative. This is probably the toughest game to call this weekend, so I am perching at the top of my fence once more.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-1 Everton
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Leicester City vs Manchester City (Saturday, 15:00)
Niall: This could have easily been a televised game, but as it is we are set for a 3PM kick off between Leicester City and leaders Manchester City at the King Power.
The Foxes produced one of their finer performances in this fixture last season, and have generally been a thorn in City’s side in recent years with their quick counter attacks. However City look a far more complete side this year and look rather unstoppable at the moment.
Leicester will cause a lot of a problems with their style of play, but backing anything but a win for the Citizens at the moment feels rather foolish.
Prediction: Leicester 2-4 Man City
Neil: The Foxes are unbeaten in almost two months having won two of the last three games, with Claude Puel slotting in seamlessly into his new post in the East Midlands. This weekend presents his sternest test yet – perhaps of the campaign as a whole – and will need to balance attack and defence for the visit of Manchester City.
The Citizens are yet to taste defeat across all competitions this season, but a trip to the former champions presents a tricky test for Pep Guardiola’s men to overcome. Goals are flowing in the blue half of Manchester, but defence remains their slight chink in the armour. I fancy this clash will be a closely-fought affair, but it really is hard to see City not winning every single game right now.
Prediction: Leicester 1-3 Man City
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Liverpool vs Southampton (Saturday, 15:00)
Niall: Many have joked that this fixture is pretty much Liverpool vs future Liverpool given how many times the Reds have bought from the Saints.
But this match could be a interesting one given Liverpool’s inconsistency. On their day they can be great, but when they are off they can lose to anyone. Southampton are quite solid defensively and have taken their position as a solid mid-table side already.
That said, Liverpool will be favourites and I think their firepower will be just enough to get a win here.
Prediction: Liverpool 3-1 Southampton
Neil: Liverpool continue to score goals in their droves this season, with their lightning-fast attacking trio up front. Mohamed Salah continues his electric form since returning to England, with the Egyptian now having scored 12 goals this campaign, with seven of them in the league after his second brace of the term at West Ham.
Whilst goals are not an issue for the hosts, the Saints are still entrenched in their shot-shy ways. It back-fired spectacularly a fortnight ago after failing to create meaningful openings and were punished by a ruthless Burnley at St. Marys’. As Virgil van Dijk lines up against the team he was refused a move to in the summer, the Dutchman will have a point to prove. In-spite of that however, I can only see a home win here.
Prediction: Liverpool 2-0 Southampton
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West Brom vs Chelsea (Saturday, 15:00)
Niall: If there was a time to face West Brom, it would be now as they are struggling with form. Chelsea travel the Hawthorns on Saturday looking for their fourth straight win.
The Blues did not have a good start to the campaign, but in recent weeks it seems like they have settled. Their most recent outing was the 1-0 win against Manchester United, a solid win for the Blues. West Brom have struggled recently and have lost their last three matches, can they stop that skid against Chelsea?
I will predict not. I think Chelsea are growing into the season and believe that their quality will shine through and get them the win against a frustrating West Brom side.
Prediction: West Brom 0-1 Chelsea
Neil: West Brom boss Tony Pulis is under huge pressure right now, and in the past whenever the Welshman has garnered the intense scrutiny of the both the fans and board, there has only been one outcome. Goals have dried up again and in the absence of clean sheets, the Baggies are stuck with a rather large elephant in the room. With owner Guochuan Lai flying for the visit of Chelsea, the knives could be out for Pulis at full-time.
The Blues continues to show bouncebackability, as Antonio Conte again comes out fighting when against the ropes. Chelsea’s narrow win against Manchester United was as huge as their 2-1 win at Wembley against Spurs was, as the fight is still there amongst the squad to play for their Italian steward. Whilst a trip to the Hawthorns could have be a tricky one in the past – with their hosts in disarray – Conte’s men should have little problem in picking their opponents off. If Chelsea inflict a heavy defeat on Pulis, it could be his last game in charge.
Prediction: West Brom 0-3 Chelsea
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Manchester United vs Newcastle United (Saturday, 17:30)
Niall: Manchester United will look to close the gap between themselves and Manchester City when they welcome Newcastle to Old Trafford.
The Red Devils’ form has taken a hit over the past few weeks after a really good start to the season. Injuries have plagued them, and as a result form has dipped and they now find themselves eight points behind their neighbours.
Newcastle have made a solid start to the season themselves and currently occupy a mid-table position. But they are not in good form after losing their last two matches. Therefore I do not see them getting anything at Old Trafford
Prediction: Man United 2-0 Newcastle
Neil: Saturday evening’s offering sees Manchester United host Newcastle at Old Trafford. Former Real Madrid stewards go head-to-head with both sides smarting from losses last time out. With the Red Devils lacking a creative spark, the return of Paul Pogba cannot come too soon. United will have to make do without his services for one more game at least though, with Romelu Lukaku now seven league games without a goal.
On paper, Newcastle could hold out little hope of taking anything back to Tyneside. Without skipper Jamaal Lascelles at the back, Newcastle struggled against The Cherries in what was their second loss on the bounce. The last time the Magpies went to Old Trafford however, they took away a point. With United still stuck in third gear somewhat also, I am sticking my neck out and going for a repeat performance.
Prediction: Man United 1-1 Newcastle
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Watford vs West Ham (Sunday, 16:00)
Niall: West Ham begin life under David Moyes with an away trip to an out of form Watford side looking to get back to winning ways.
After the departure of Slaven Bilic, the Hammers have turned to Moyes to save their season. The Scotsman will not make West Ham the most exciting side, but they will be more solid under his management.
Watford have been one of the more exciting teams to watch this season, but their own lack of solidness has been their undoing. They are now on a three match losing streak after a great start to the campaign.
It will take time for the team to settle under Moyes, and whilst Watford have been in bad form as of late, they are still a good side who are capable of scoring plenty of goals.
Prediction: Watford 2-1 West Ham
Neil: Sunday afternoon’s sole offering sees Moyes take charge of his first games for West Ham, following the dismissal of predecessor Bilic. Watford host the Hammers, with boss Marco Silva the continued source of Evertonian admiration after the Hornets rejected a second approach for the Portuguese. As Silva switches his attentions to matters on the field, Watford will look to respond after their loss last time out.
It will be interesting to see how Moyes sets up at Vicarage Road this weekend, as the Scot looks to create a greater driving force in midfield. If the visitors are without Javier Hernandez as expected, Andy Carroll could be afforded a big chance to stake his claim as the lone striker against a Watford side, who lost their last home game, and for a side who have faired better on the road this term. Moyes has been the subject of vitriol even before he has begun and with a chance to make a statement, I am tipping West Ham to take a point here.
Prediction Watford 1-1 West Ham
Brighton vs. Stoke City (Monday, 20:00)
Niall: Brighton look to extend their impressive home form as they welcome Stoke to the AMEX in Monday Night’s Premier League offering.
The Seagulls have settled to life in the Premier League well, and currently sit 8th in the table. Stoke’s lack of overall consistency sees them sat in the bottom half of the table.
Brighton are slowly making the AMEX into a fortress, and given that will be key to their season I think they will get a narrow win here.
Prediction: Brighton 1-0 Stoke
Neil: The final game of the weekend sees Brighton host Stoke on Monday night at the AMEX Stadium, with Chris Hughton’s side now unbeaten in four league games. Glenn Murray has proved he can still cut it with his goal at Swansea his fourth in three Premier League outings. The striker is set to lead the line once more, and could be in for more spoils against a Stoke side that whilst having won their last meeting on the road at Watford, nevertheless have a rather poor record away from home this term.
The Potters are showing steady signs of improvement but are still wracked by inconsistency. A once solid defensive line can no longer be relied upon leaving the the onus at the opposite end of the field. Whilst Xherdan Shaqiri can perform in his own back yard, the Swiss is yet to light up the league outside of the Potteries. He has the chance to remedy that here, but with the run the hosts are currently on, I can see another three points for the East Sussex side.
Prediction: Brighton 1-0 Stoke
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