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 19 is on us with Arsenal hosting Liverpool in the game of the weekend, as the festive schedule arrives in the English top-flight. As usual our writers have had their say on what will happen.
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Arsenal vs Liverpool (Saturday, 12:30)
Niall: The festive fixtures begin in style as Arsenal host Liverpool in what promises to be an entertaining affair. It is also a big game in the race for the top four as Liverpool currently occupy fourth with Arsenal just one place behind. This match promises goals with both sides offering better attack than defence, but choosing a winner is difficult. I believe we will get an entertaining score draw.
Prediction: Arsenal 2-2 Liverpool
Neil: This game has all the hallmarks of a goal-fest in North London. Both sides lack defensive consistency whilst having the propensity for cavalier football. As it is, with the Gunners lacking somewhat of a cutting edge in recent weeks, I can just see the visitors’ ‘fab four’ coming out on top, but in truth the result could go either way.
Prediction: Arsenal 2-3 Liverpool
Everton vs Chelsea (Saturday, 12:30)
Niall: Rejuvenated Everton face arguably their biggest test under Sam Allardyce when they welcome Chelsea to Goodison Park. The Toffees are unbeaten since the former England boss took over and have risen to ninth as a result. Chelsea have won four of their last five and have a good record against their opponents in recent seasons. It will be a tight affair I feel, but Chelsea may prove too strong in the end.
Prediction: Everton 1-2 Chelsea
Neil: The Toffees will be fancying their chances here, and I currently see Chelsea having a certain fragility to their game. Allardyce has his new side purring like a kitten and is getting the best out of both Wayne Rooney and Gylfi Sigurdsson, however I just have a feeling Chelsea will get the better of hosts – albeit a much-improved one – at Goodison.
Prediction: Everton 1-3 Chelsea
Brighton vs. Watford (Saturday, 15:00)
Niall: This is an interesting match as both sides’ form has fallen in recent weeks. Brighton have made the AMEX a difficult place to travel, but conversely their opponents are one of the best teams on the road this season. The Hornets have struggled with discipline and will be without their captain Troy Deeney for this match. I am not overly convinced with either sides’ current form at the moment, and when you have two sides in poor form going against each other, it often ends as a draw.
Prediction: Brighton 1-1 Watford
Neil: The hosts are in desperate need of a boost before Christmas, having taken just three points from the last seven games. Happily, the Hornets early-season form has dissipated somewhat, with a the opportunity to record three points very much up for grabs for the Seagulls. Chris Hughton’s men are still creating plenty and I am – perhaps surprisingly tipping Brighton for the spoils.
Prediction: Brighton 2-1 Watford
Manchester City vs Bournemouth (Saturday, 15:00)
Niall: 17 straight wins, many would say that is impossible, but City are very much favourites to accomplish this on Saturday. The Citizens welcome an out of form Bournemouth side to the Etihad. The Cherries have not won in their last five and are dangerously close to the relegation zone. It looks like a no brainer right? We know anything can happen in football, but it would be foolish to go against anything but another Manchester City win.
Prediction: Man City 3-0 Bournemouth
Neil: City are refusing to lie down after what grinding out wins in dropped-point scenarios. Scraping through the League Cup semi-finals also, Pep Guardiola’s men are bouncing. With the such dominance over almost all they face, the only thing that could yet derail them is injury to talisman Kevin De Bruyne. Without that this should be another easy home win, however I do think the visitors will nick a few goals.
Prediction: Man City 4-2 Bournemouth
Southampton vs Huddersfield (Saturday, 15:00)
Niall: Back to back defeats has left Southampton only three points clear of the relegation zone. The Saints will look to respond against one of the poorest away sides in the league, but Huddersfield may be buoyant after thrashing Watford 4-1 last weekend. It will likely be a low scoring affair and it may end up being scoreless altogether.
Prediction: Southampton 0-0 Huddersfield
Neil: The Terriers’ stunning win at Vicarage Road last weekend was a huge fillip to David Wagner’s men going into the Christmas period. With a second away game on the bounce, Huddersfield arrive at St. Marys’ in confident mood. The Saints were unfortunate not to take anything away from Chelsea last time out but are now seemingly relying on the form of Charlie Austin. Both sides will be keen not to lose – for differing reason and I believe the score result will reflect that.
Prediction: Southampton 1-1 Huddersfield
Stoke vs. West Brom (Saturday, 15:00)
Niall: Both of these sides are desperate for a win as they battle against relegation. West Brom sit in 19th with Stoke only two places above them. This is a difficult one to predict as neither are convincing at all. However, West Brom looked improved against Man United and could have nicked a point, so I am backing the Baggies to grab a narrow win
Prediction: Stoke 0-1 West Brom
Neil: It has been a few weeks since a relegation six-pointer in the Premier League, but this match-up is now very much coming under the category. The Potters are not playing badly, but whilst luck continues to desert them losses are indeed losses. West Brom have found it difficult to start game on the front foot, but having scored their first goal of the Alan Pardew era points are now on the agenda. I am tipping the Baggies to nick a typically close affair, plunging Stoke boss Mark Hughes into further trouble.
Prediction: Stoke 0-1 West Brom
Swansea vs Crystal Palace (Saturday, 15:00)
Niall: Swansea begin life without Paul Clement against a Crystal Palace side who have been turned around by Roy Hodgson. You could say Swansea will want to replicate the rise of their opponents from the bottom of the table when they appoint a new manager. In the meantime though, they are manageress and I think their poor form couple with Palace’s good run will result in a third straight win for the Eagles
Prediction: Swansea 0-2 Crystal Palace
Neil: Earlier this season, the Swans inflicted what looked to have a decisive blow at the foot of the table, despite only being weeks into the campaign. Fast-forward to December and the Eagles are soaring up the table, whilst the hosts are now manager-less. Having lost their main source of goals in recent weeks also in Wilfried Bony, I fully expected Palace to exact their revenge by the same scoreline they fell to previously this term.
Prediction: Swansea 0-2 Crystal Palace
West Ham vs. Newcastle (Saturday, 15:00)
Niall: West Ham have also undergone changes in recent weeks. Since the appointment of David Moyes, the Hammers have risen out of the relegation zone after going three unbeaten. Newcastle are one of the most out-of-form teams in the league at the moment, and I do not see that changing here.
Prediction: West Ham 3-1 Newcastle
Neil: Moyes is continuing to confound his doubters in East London, who look set to steer themselves clear of trouble after taking seven points from their last three games. Conversely, the Magpies are deep in trouble with just a single point from a possible twenty-seven on offer and have now slid back into the bottom three. A trip to the rejuvenated Hammers will not be one to relish for Rafa Benitez. The Toon are due a reversal in fortunes at some point, but with Marko Arnautovic spear-heading their resurgence I can only see a home win.
Prediction: West Ham 2-1 Newcastle
Burnley vs Tottenham (Saturday, 17:30)
Niall: Nobody could have guessed that this match would be one that has implications on a top four finish for both sides, but at present Burnley are very much in the mix. The Clarets have been one of the surprise packages of the season and we know how difficult they are to beat at home. Something also seems a little off with Tottenham at the moment. Their form is not disastrous by any means, but they do not look like the same side that finished second last season. I think I might back the upset here.
Prediction: Burnley 2-1 Tottenham
Neil: The Clarets bubble shows no signs of bursting right now, with a shot a European berth come the end of the campaign now looking more than just a pipe dream. Spurs’ form is unpredictable right now, but as a general rule their away form is impressive. Burnley will be a tough chestnut to crack, but I am expecting the visitors to hit form this festive period – starting here – but it will not be a easy afternoon in Lancashire.
Prediction: Burnley 1-2 Tottenham
Leicester vs Manchester United (Saturday, 19:45)
Niall: A rare Saturday night contest will finish a festive feast of football as Leicester host Manchester United. The Reds are looking to do what seems like the impossible and catch their neighbours, but this should be a tough contest. The Foxes did lose against Palace in shocking fashion a week ago, but overall they look dangerous again under Claude Puel. I can see them getting a draw out of this one.
Prediction: Leicester 1-1 Man United
Neil: A madcap Saturday of football is capped off at the King Power. Having suffered his first loss as Foxes’ boss, Puel now faces a test of his bouncebackability against a United side likely to be with the returning Paul Pogba pulling the strings after suspension. Leicester are lacking the firepower of Jamie Vardy right now, but Riyad Mahrez is beginning to recapture his best form. I do see United inflicting a second-straight loss on the former league champions, but expect both sides to find the target.
Prediction: Leicester 1-2 Man United
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