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 – Matchweek 15 is on us quick as a flash after midweek Premier League action as Arsenal host Manchester United in the game of the weekend. As usual our writers have had their say on what will happen.
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Chelsea vs Newcastle (Saturday, 12:30)
Neil: The Blues made heavy weather of Swansea in midweek, where, despite having over 20 shots, Antonio Rudiger’s goal was the only difference between the sides statistically. Antonio Conte was sent to the stands during the game but is unlikely to be banned for the weekend visit of Newcastle.
The Magpies scrapped a point at The Hawthorns on Tuesday night and will need all that and more on Saturday lunchtime at Stamford Bridge. Rafa Benitez has a habit of making the Blues sweat in the league, but I cannot see that eventuality again here with the hosts comfortable winners.
Prediction: Chelsea 3-1 Newcastle
Niall: Chelsea look to keep the pressure on the Manchester clubs as they welcome an out-of-form Newcastle side to Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
The Blues did not look great in their 1-0 win against Swansea on Wednesday, but hey should have enough quality to beat an out of form Newcastle side. The Magpies stopped their losing streak mid-week against West Brom, but they are still winless in their last five.
Newcastle are in a bit of a slump, and whilst Chelsea are not playing their best, they are in much better stead than their opponents and should win comfortably.
Prediction: Chelsea 3-0 Newcastle
Brighton vs Liverpool (Saturday, 15:00)
Neil: The Seagulls’ only loss since October to Manchester United have firmly established Chris Hughton’s men in the top flight since a rocky start the first Premier League campaign. A point at home to Crystal Palace was scant reward for their efforts, but nevertheless keeps the tally ticking over.
Despite resting the prolific Mohamed Salah on Wednesday night, the Egyptian came off the bench to score his eleventh and twelfth league goals of a remarkable start to life on Merseyside. With Sadio Mane now firing also, the Reds are – if that is possible – an ever-growing threat. I can see both teams scoring here, in what could be game of the weekend. I am just about tipping a draw.
Prediction Brighton 2-2 Liverpool
Niall: Liverpool will look to continue their unbeaten run in the league when they go south to face a Brighton side who are very difficult to beat at home.
Liverpool’s success has been largely down to Salah. The Egyptian is the league’s top scorer with 12 goals, and he has dragged the Reds to many victories. Brighton are very well organised and will set up to frustrate Liverpool, they will not give the Reds much space.
However, Liverpool do not lose often. They have only lost twice so far this season, the second least amount of losses behind Manchester City. Brighton may drag a poor performance out of them, but I think the spoils will be shared.
Prediction: Brighton 1-1 Liverpool
Everton vs Huddersfield (Saturday, 15:00)
Neil: It is too soon to tell if Everton’s hammer job on West Ham has seen the Toffees turn a corner at the foot of the football. What it did do however, was confirm Wayne Rooney’s class and ability to still find the net.
The Terriers were unfortunate not to take a point versus the leaders Manchester City last weekend, but after a 5-0 thumping to Arsenal on Wednesday, Huddersfield are beginning to slip down the table. With Sam Allardyce set to take charge for the first time, it could be a tight affair, but with the visitors’ horrific away form I am going for the hosts to record their second win on the bounce.
Prediction: Everton 2-1 Huddersfield
Niall: The Sam Allardyce reign will begin at Goodison Park when they entertain newly promoted Huddersfield on Saturday.
The former England boss comes into a club that feels a little rejuvenated after a 4-0 mid-week win. Rooney bagged a hat trick that game and showed he is a goal threat, and on the whole Everton looked like the side they should be against West Ham.
Huddersfield have not travelled well, and with the Toffees having renewed confidence and a new manager they will be keen to impress, I see Everton grabbing back to back wins here.
Prediction: Everton 2-0 Huddersfield
Leicester vs Burnley (Saturday, 15:00)
Neil: The Foxes took advantage of Spurs’ current blip in form on the road, with their second win under Claude Puel sending Leicester up the table into the top ten.
Burnley’s form to date continues to dazzle. Their 2-1 win at Bournemouth solidifies the Clarets top six position after a loss to Arsenal last Sunday, with the visitors now being mentioned as candidates for a hugely unlikely European place next season. Sean Dyche’s men are perhaps more impressive away from home than in Lancashire, but this clash will be tough for them to win. As such I am tipping a share of the spoils.
Prediction: Leicester 1-1 Burnley
Niall: Burnley look to continue their European charge when they travel to the King Power to face a rising Leicester side.
The Foxes have picked up form since Puel took over as manager, and they earned their best win of the season with their 2-1 victory over Spurs in mid-week. Burnley have started to travel well this season though, and have become one of the most consistent sides in the division.
It is a hard match to call, but given the way Burnley play, I think they will not allow Leicester to play their counter attacking game. That said, I think the Foxes still have enough firepower to get goals against a stubborn defence. I foresee a draw here.
Prediction; Leicester 1-1 Burnley
Stoke vs Swansea (Saturday, 15:00)
Neil: The Potters have lost their last two league outings which has again piled the pressure back onto the shoulder of boss Mark Hughes. After a convincing loss to Liverpool however, there is perhaps no better opposition to face than the Swans who have taken just a point since mid-October.
Paul Clement is another to be feeling the heat and need a turn in form and quick. The visitors lack anything close to an attacking threat without Tammy Abraham, and with the England man still nursing a niggling injury, his inclusion will be key to their hopes this weekend. The visitors might surprise a few here, but I am still going for a Stoke win.
Prediction: Stoke 2-0 Swansea
Niall: Two sides that are struggling for form, and two sides that are in desperate need of a win. Stoke face Swansea at the Britannia in a relegation six pointer as things stand.
The Swans are very close to going bottom as Palace matched their points total in mid-week. Pressure is mounting on Clement and he needs a win or he could be next in the firing line.
Stoke are surprisingly struggling just outside the relegation zone, but at home against Swansea they should have enough to pick up the three points.
Prediction: Stoke 2-0 Swansea
Watford vs Tottenham (Saturday, 15:00)
Neil: The Hornets’ humbling defeat to Manchester United on Tuesday came as a surprise to many after the progress made by Marco Silva’s men this campaign. The hosts however still managed to notch two goals however and proving still to be difficult to hold down.
Spurs are approaching something of a watershed moment in their season. Having lost three of their last five games – drawing one also – Mauricio Pochettino’s men are sliding down the league table like a greasy pole. Four points off the top four now as they are, the Lilywhites need a win to get back on track. That won’t happen here however, and the visitors will have to settle for a point in an open affair.
Prediction: Watford 2-2 Tottenham
Niall: It is a shame this is a 3 pm kick off, because this could be a great match. Watford are one of the league’s best entertainers, and Spurs are in a mini slump and need a win. There could be fireworks.
Watford have issues defensively, and that was exposed when United put four past them. Better clubs will find a way to score, and it is evident given the results against the Big Three. Spurs are also a big side and may find success against the Watford defence.
Going forward however, Silva’s side has plenty of goals in them. Tottenham look rather vulnerable at the moment and I can see Watford getting a few goals. Will their defence hold up though? That is the question that decides the match.
Prediction: Watford 2-2 Tottenham
West Brom vs Crystal Palace (Saturday, 15:00)
Neil: Hardly do narratives in the top-flight go better than a potential relegation clash as Alan Pardew takes charge of the Baggies for the first time against his former employers who are also floundering at the foot of the table. Losing a 2-0 advantage to Newcastle in midweek was a blow in Gary Megson’s final game as caretaker, but the hosts at least have been able to cast off their shackles of defence.
The Eagles are now unbeaten in three, taking five out a possible nine points at stake. Roy Hodgson has transformed the South Londoners into an outfit that look capable of staving off relegation. Pardew will be keen to record a win on in his West Midlands inauguration and I believe his will get his wish.
Prediction: West Brom 2-1 Crystal Palace
Niall: West Brom begin life under Pardew against one of his former clubs. Palace look to lift themselves off the bottom when they travel to the Hawthorns.
Pardew has the task of making West Brom a feared side again. They lost their aura of a team difficult to beat under Tony Pulis and against a side rising in confidence, that could be a dangerous thing.
The Eagles still sit bottom though and there is a reason for that. I do not see this being a pretty match and would not be shocked if it ends goalless.
Prediction: West Brom 0-0 Crystal Palace
Arsenal vs Man United (Saturday, 17:30)
Neil: The game of the weekend sees a clash of former league title heavyweights at the Emirates. The Gunners have scored eight goals without conceding in their last three games, and the visit of a wounded Red Devils represents the perfect opportunity for Arsene Wenger to record a second-successive win over Jose Mourinho.
United could be without a host of first-team regulars with Phil Jones, Eric Bailly and Nemanja Matic all set to miss the trip to North London. Keeping out the hosts out on Saturday will be a tall task and whilst United have returned their goal threat with the return of Paul Pogba, I can see an Alexandre Lacazette-lite Arsenal having just enough to nick a result.
Prediction: Arsenal 2-1 Man United
Niall: The match of the weekend comes at the Emirates as Arsenal welcome their old rivals Manchester United.
The Gunners have hit a good run of form lately with their three big players all in good form. Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Lacazette all scored in midweek and have found form at exactly the same time – despite the Frenchman being ruled out.
United seem to be a Jekyll and Hyde team. One minute they look great going forward and an attacking side, the next they set up not to lose and their matches end up being boring. How will they set up against the Gunners?
Mourinho knows a draw at the Emirates is not a bad result, but he also knows he needs to win to keep up with Manchester City. They can not afford to fall further behind as eight points is already a big enough gap.
I think United err on the side of caution, but their superior defence will lead them to a narrow victory against one of their biggest rivals.
Prediction: Arsenal 1-2 Man United
Bournemouth vs Southampton (Sunday, 13:30)
Neil: Sunday sees the resumption of hostilities in the south coast derby at the Vitality Stadium. The Cherries loss to Burnley was the hosts’ first loss in a month, as Eddie Howe has seen his side regroup and climb the league table. Callum Wilson has been unable to add to his triple a fortnight ago, but with the visit of the Saints, the striker has the perfect platform to notch here.
The Saints – like Huddersfield – were seconds away from being only the second team to take points off the Citizens this campaign, but were stunned by Raheem Sterling’s 95th-minute winner on Wednesday night. Fraser Forster was to thank for keeping City from totting up a cricket score on that occasion and while he may not be nearly as severely tested this weekend, the stopper will need to be on his game. This is hard to call, with the visitors attempting to become more an attacking force in the last two games and whilst I see both sides scoring, another weekend draw is on the cards.
Prediction: Bournemouth 1-1 Southampton
Niall: It is the battle of the mid-table elects as Bournemouth look to recover from a bad few days at home to a Southampton side who performed well in their last two matches.
The Saints were unlucky to lose against Manchester City in mid-week, and that comes after a 4-1 thrashing against Everton. Southampton sit in mid-table without looking great, which shows how close the league is below the top eight.
Bournemouth are still trying to find their feet, but I feel home advantage ay lead them across the line against Southampton.
Prediction: Bournemouth 2-1 Southampton
Man City vs West Ham (Sunday, 16:00)
Neil: The Citizens lacked a clinical edge versus Southampton, with the absence of Leroy Sane keenly felt as the German was ruled out through illness. Sane may return to action here, but his need is perhaps less versus a woeful West Ham, after their thrashing by Everton.
The Hammers are missing Javier Hernandez in the penalty area and with the Mexican again set to miss out, David Moyes could be in for a long afternoon versus his former Manchester rivals as United boss. City are showing signs of coming un-glued with the festive schedule on the horizon however this game should present few obstacles to Pep Guardiola’s men, with the potential of West Ham in for a hiding a very real possibility.
Prediction: Man City 4-0 West Ham
It is hard to expect anything different than a Manchester City win and a big one at that, but it has to be noted that the Citizens have dropped off in terms of goalscoring form, and have been relying on late Sterling goals to win their last three matches.
The issue is, West Ham pose little going forward. If Andy Carroll was fit, then an upset would be more likely, but I can only see one result the way things stand.
Prediction: Man City 4-0 West Ham
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