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 a quick turnaround for Matchweek 14 with midweek Premier League games to come , and as usual our writers have had their say on what will happen.
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Brighton vs Crystal Palace (Tuesday, 19:45)
Neil: The Seagulls can consider themselves unfortunate in the extreme, to have left Old Trafford with nothing to show from a plucky showing versus Manchester United. Pascal Gross was menace for the visitors and after finding the net versus Stoke at home the last time out, the German will be eyeing further spoils against Palace.
The Eagles’ stoppage-time winner versus the Potters on Saturday could be a significant moment come the end of the campaign for Roy Hodgson’s men. What at one point could have seen an eight-point gap open up at the foot of the table – with them losing and West Brom beating Spurs – just three now separate Palace from 17th spot. This will be the first time these two unlikely rivals have met, but with the hosts in good form despite their weekend loss I can see Chris Hughton’s men taking maximum points.
Prediction: Brighton 2-1 Crystal Palace
Niall: Crystal Palace look to build off their weekend win against Stoke as they travel to the AMEX stadium to face Brighton.
The Eagles have looked a much better side under Hodgson but wins have still been hard to come by. They finally managed a three point haul on Saturday, a victory that could kick start their revival.
Brighton are very solid at home however, and have been the best of the promoted bunch thus far. The Seagulls are sitting pretty in the top half of the table and look like they could avoid relegation.
It is a pretty hard match to call, but the home form of Brighton has been good and may end up being the difference. The Eagles will give their best, but in the end the Seagulls will fly the highest.
Prediction: Brighton 2-1 Crystal Palace
Leicester vs Tottenham (Tuesday, 19:45)
Niall: Tottenham will look to gain ground on the leaders when they head to Leicester on Tuesday.
Spurs’ league form has taken a slight dip in recent weeks. They drew at home with West Brom on Saturday which was a disappointing result considering Albion had lost their last four. However, it is away from Wembley where Spurs have been playing their best Football.
The King Power is not the easiest place to go, but Leicester have seemingly settled into a mid-table side who on their day are capable of troubling the big clubs. The issue is, ‘their day’ relies heavily on the form of Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, both have not been at their best in recent outings.
Prediction: Leicester 0-2 Tottenham
Neil: The Foxes are building steadily under Claude Puel, having taken five points from a possible 12 on offer. A point at the London Stadium was a welcome one, given the backs-to-the-wall job Leicester displayed last Friday night.
Spurs are now in the midst of what some may call a relative ‘crisis’ having just one win in their last four outings. Whilst that may be short of the mark in suggesting so, the dropping of points versus their top six rivals – and at Wembley versus West Brom – has seen Mauricio Pochettino’s men slip down the table below Arsenal. Leicester are not a team to shy away from offense however and should this play right into the visitors’ hands on Tueday.
Prediction: Leicester 1-3 Tottenham
Watford vs Man United (Tuesday, 20:00)
Niall: This looks like a tasty one. Watford have been one of the surprise packages under Marco Silva, whilst Manchester United are currently the best of the rest behind Manchester City.
Watford have got their form back after a slight dip in form where they lost three in row. Silva has not only got his side comfortably into the top eight, he has made Watford into one of the more entertaining sides in the division.
Man United were rather lucky to beat Brighton at the weekend, but a win is a win and every point matters in the Premier League title race. Watford will be more adventurous and take the game to the Red Devils more than Brighton, but Jose Mourinho is known for getting results in these matches, and I expect him to figure this one out too.
Prediction: Watford 0-1 Man United
Neil: As I predicted, the Hornets returned to winning ways at Newcastle this past weekend thanks to a porous display from the Magpies’ defence. Nevertheless, the drive of their attacking line now including the elusive Will Hughes and the addition of Marvin Zeegelaar from defence in recent weeks has seen Silva’s side in even more cavalier form.
United hobbled across the line versus Brighton and were fortunate to take all three points on Saturday versus a plucky Seagulls’ showing. Despite the return of Paul Pogba, the Frenchman was unable to stamp his mark on the game, which will be a cause for concern for Mourinho. The visitors have been notoriously miserly in conceding goals this term and whilst but I can’t see that occurring here however, I do see the Red Devils sneaking home in the face of a game showing from Watford.
Prediction: Watford 1-2 Man United
West Brom vs Newcastle (Tuesday, 20:00)
Niall: Two sides completely out of form, and both need a win here. West Brom welcome Newcastle to the Hawthorns, looking to distance themselves from the bottom three.
The Baggies began life after Tony Pulis with a credible draw at Spurs, showing more of that old form that made them one of the more difficult teams to beat in the league.
Newcastle are on a four match skid and are moving down the table quickly after a decent start to the season. It may be early to call for a crisis, but five defeats in a row will ring the alarm bells.
Prediction: West Brom 1-1 Newcastle
Neil: West Brom stunned many with their obdurate performance versus Spurs, although after scoring in the second minute – perhaps understandably – retreated into their shells. Former full-time boss Gary Megson took away a creditable point from North London on Saturday and that will again be the task before Alan Pardew is named new Baggies’ boss in the next week.
Four successive losses for Rafa Benitez‘s men is not looking at all clever and with a trip to Chelsea this weekend to come also, the Magpies will be desperate not the make it number five. I rarely predict goalless draws but with both sides hovering around the drop zone, this could well deliver a stalemate.
Prediction: West Brom 0-0 Newcastle
Arsenal vs Huddersfield (Wednesday, 19:45)
Niall: Arsenal’s recent form has seen them overtake Spurs into the top four, but they welcome a stubborn Huddersfield to the Emirates on Wednesday, a side that gave Manchester City a run for their money on Sunday.
The Gunners were fortunate to beat Burnley, but their recent form has been pleasing to Arsenal fans. Four wins in their least five has seen Arsene Wenger’s side leap into the top four.
Huddersfield are 11th and have had a very respectable start to the season. They have given the Manchester clubs a hard time at home, but away they have struggled to get points.
Arsenal’s form combined with the Terriers’ struggles away means that the Gunners are my pick for a comfortable win on Wendesday.
Prediction: Arsenal 3-0 Huddersfield
Neil: The Gunners are on the rise this season, after Alexis Sanchez’s second in two games for Arsenal gave Wenger his second-consecutive stoppage-time win at Burnley on Sunday. With the visit of Manchester United this weekend, Wenger will be keen for his men to make it nine from a possible nine on Wednesday night.
Despite the Terriers taking the lead at home to leader Manchester City on Sunday, Huddersfield could not put a dent in the title aspirations of the Citizens. The visitors have taken just a single point from their last five games on the road, and a trip to the Emirates is unlikely to improve their tally away from home. Arsenal could opt to rotate their pack, but should still have enough to take all three points.
Prediction: Arsenal 2-0 Huddersfield
Bournemouth vs Burnley (Wednesday, 19:45)
Niall: This could be a interesting one. Burnley, sitting pretty in seventh, have been one of the most solid sides of the season whilst after a bad start, Bournemouth have picked up their form to move clear of the relegation.
The Clarets have had surprisingly good away form this season. They have taken their Turf Moor form on the road with them this season, the reason why they are seventh in the league after 13 games.
Bournemouth have a better away record than home, but they have recently picked their form up. A draw at Swansea may feel disappointing, but a response here will get the Cherries up the table. However, I think Burnley will be solid enough to frustrate them and earn a point.
Prediction: Bournemouth 1-1 Burnley
Neil: I agree this could be fascinating. The Cherries have now kept three successive clean sheets, with the hosts having returned to last season’s stubborn selves at the back. Bournemouth trounced Huddersfield 4-0 in their last home game, but there will be no repeat here.
The Clarets’ last-gasp sucker-punch penalty versus Arsenal put an end to their run of three wins on the bounce, but as Sean Dyche takes his side the south coast this week, Burnley will be eyeing an immediate riposte. Striker Chris Wood is nearing a return to full fitness and will be key, but I am tipping a draw also.
Prediction: Bournemouth 1-1 Burnley
Chelsea vs Swansea (Wednesday, 19:45)
Niall: Most of the matches in match-week 14 look fairly close on paper, but this one may be the exception.
Swansea are struggling badly in 19th at the moment, so badly, that Palace are now hot on their heels. The Swans could end up being bottom before long, unless they can find a result here.
Chelsea have surprisingly struggled at home this season, but after a poor start they have picked up form in recent weeks. The Blues should be too much for Swansea here, and I expect a rather one sided victory.
Prediction: Chelsea 4-0 Swansea
Neil: Chelsea snatched a deserved point at Anfield on Saturday evening and as the Blues return home to host beleaguered Swansea, the hosts will be licking their lips in prospect of a potential rout here.
The Swans’ ship is sailing increasingly against a rising tide and for now there is no sign of any change in fortunes. With the signing of both Wilfried Bony and Renato Sanches failing to spark the visitors so far this season, the pressure in on for Paul Clement. Whilst Swansea earned a point two season ago here, there is little chance of the Swans taking anything home with them. It could be a painful 90 minutes for Clement.
Prediction: Chelsea 3-0 Swansea
Everton vs West Ham (Saturday, 20:00)
Niall: David Moyes returns to his former hunting ground, this time in the opposite dugout as he looks for his first win as West Ham manager against struggling Everton.
The Hammers failed to beat Leicester on Friday, but their improved performance may give fans encouragement that Moyes could steer them away from the bottom three.
Everton, if anything, are staring at a head on collision with the bottom three. Their poor form can be summed up with a 4-1 loss to Southampton on Sunday, surely it can not get much worse?
The fact is, West Ham are not looking so good themselves. Both sides need a win and fast, so we could end up with neither getting the elusive three points.
Prediction: Everton 1-1 West Ham
Neil: Everton‘s plight is looking murkier by the game, as the Toffees dither with appointing a replacement for Ronald Koeman. David Unsworth has so far been unable to harness his side positively and with goals coming from midfield only – if at all – the need for a forward man is now critical after Oumar Niasse was banned.
The Hammers put in a decent showing in their first home game under Moyes, but this could be a very different one, as the Scot travels to his old stomping ground of over a decade. Moyes will receive a warm reception from the Gwladys Street end, but with both sides scrapping for points as December approaches, the home side will seek to make Goodison Park as hostile as possible this Wednesday evening. With so much at stake once more, I foresee a score draw.
Prediction: Everton 1-1 West Ham
Man City vs Southampton (Wednesday, 20:00)
Niall: After escaping Huddersfield with three points thanks to a late Raheem Sterling goal, Manchester City will look to continue their unbeaten start to the season when they welcome Southampton to the Etihad stadium.
Sunday taught us that we can not expect Pep Guardiola’s side to blow every one away, but they have enough fight to get the win despite not performing at their best. Nobody has been able to topple the Citizens, and it does not look like anyone will be able to soon.
Southampton will be riding high after battering Everton 4-1 on Sunday, but City are a much different prospect. It is hard backing anyone to beat Man City at present, and I do not think Southampton are the team to do that.
Prediction: Man City 3-0 Southampton
Neil: After surviving a tough examination at Huddersfield, City return home to face a Saints side who found their scoring touch also on Sunday – albeit versus a hapless Everton defence. The hosts looked a tad out-of-sorts put still ground out the win that is the hallmark of champions.
Charlie Austin’s return to the goals was a welcome boost for Southampton on Sunday but in spite of this, the Englishman will need to be at his best to trouble the Citizen back line. I do however think Mauricio Pellegrino will see his side score, but it will not be enough.
Prediction: Man City 3-1 Southampton
Stoke City vs Liverpool (Wednesday, 20:00)
Niall: Liverpool look to keep pace with the leaders as they make the trip to Stoke on Wednesday.
The Potters may still be reeling after losing in this last minute to bottom club Crystal Palace on Saturday, but they can take solace in the fact their best performances have come against top six sides at home.
Liverpool blew two leads last week, but that sort of yo-yo affect has become common place for Jurgen Klopp’s side. The key for them is to find the right balance, because we often see the best and worst of Liverpool in matches. Unfortunately for them I think we will see more of that here, and Stoke will do enough to get a point.
Prediction: Stoke 2-2 Liverpool
Neil: Stoke managed to manufacture defeat from the jaws of victory at Palace on Saturday, with the pressure dial being taken up a notch on boss Mark Hughes’ side in the face of mounting inconsistency. There are issues at both ends of the field for the Potters.
Mo Salah is approaching legendary status for his new club after less than four months an Anfield. His goal versus Chelsea was the Egyptian’s 15th this term in all competitions and against a troubled Stoke back line, Salah will again cause huge problems for the hosts – should he not be rested. Sadio Mane is likely to return to the Reds’ increasing firepower this term and I cannot see how the visitors will not take full points back to Merseyside, despite their own defensive problems.
Prediction: Stoke 1-3 Liverpool
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