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 – Premier League Matchweek 20 is here literally hours after the weekend action concluded, with Manchester City continuing to race away with the Premier League jewels. As usual our writers have had their say on what will happen.
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Tottenham Hotspur vs Southampton (Boxing Day, 12:30)
Niall: Tottenham were impressive in beating Burnley on Saturday and they look like a top four side once again. Harry Kane bagged a hat trick that signals a return to form for the English striker, and you would bet he would find the back of the net here too. Southampton are not convincing, and although they will make it tough, I foresee a Tottenham win
Prediction: Tottenham 2-0 Southampton
Neil: Matchweek 20 action kicks off in the Premier League off Wembley, with Tottenham Hotspur having returned to winning ways on the road away to Burnley on Saturday. Kane is now just one goal from breaking Alan Shearer’s Premier League scoring record for most goals in a calendar year and as the Saints make the trip to London, Kane will fancy his chances of setting the golden standard. The visitors are still scratching around for any semblance of consistency and with Charlie Austin now injured and/or set for a ban, Southampton are bang in trouble right now. Tuesday will not likely many more festive crumbs of comfort.
Prediction: Spurs 2-0 Southampton
AFC Bournemouth vs West Ham United (Boxing Day, 15:00)
Niall: Two sides battling relegation here and both could do with a win. Bournemouth especially given their recent form could do with three points and I think they might get it in front of their home fans. The Hammers lost at home to Newcastle on Saturday which could have drained their confidence somewhat and may affect them in this game.
Prediction: Bournemouth 2-1 West Ham
Neil: Both sides come into this game having lost over the weekend. Having experienced his first loss in four, Hammers boss David Moyes is now tasked with bouncing back – the toughest feat of any steward fresh into the dugout. The Cherries are still loitering in the danger zone juts a week before the turn of the year, and this sort of clash may well be a barometer of whether the hosts will become embroiled in a relegation fight in the new year. Both sides have goals in them and with the Irons having surrendered their recently-found record without conceding, that will surely be the order of the day. As it is, I am plumping for Christmas cracker at the Vitality.
Prediction: Bournemouth 2-2 West Ham
Chelsea vs Brighton & Hove Albion (Boxing Day, 15:00)
Niall: Chelsea will admit they are probably out of the title race by now, but there is still plenty to fight for with their top four status not confirmed. Brighton struggle away from home and I doubt they will make a dent in the Chelsea defence. The Blues will probably run away with a comfortable win on Boxing day.
Prediction: Chelsea 4-0 Brighton
Neil: Having met a Blue wall at Goodison Park, Chelsea return home to London to face Brighton. The Blues’ lack of a target man should be remedied this time out, with Alvaro Morata expected to start after serving a suspension. The Seagulls earned a much-needed home win against Watford over the weekend, but a trip to West London is unlikely to add to their points tally this term. Pascal Gross will be central to the visitor’s hopes, but with Morata returning I am expecting the hosts to find their goal-scoring touch again in a comfortable win.
Prediction: Chelsea 3-1 Brighton
Huddersfield Town vs Stoke City (Boxing Day, 15:00)
Niall: Huddersfield have a chance to move into the top half of the table when they host Stoke. The Terriers continue to impress in their debut season in the Premier League with their home form being a big part of it. Stoke won over the weekend to get back into the win column, but I think Huddersfield will have enough to get the win here.
Prediction: Huddersfield 2-1 Stoke
Neil: It’s now four points from six for the Terriers, as they face a Stoke side whose win against fellow strugglers West Brom probably saved Mark Hughes from the chopping block. Laurent Depoitre has three goals in two outings for the hosts, and is becoming a tricky customers for opposing defences to handle. The Potters have become spoilers on the road occasionally this term, but having failed to win back-to-back games this season I am tipping Huddersfield to take three vital points at the John Smiths’ Stadium.
Prediction: Huddersfield 2-1 Stoke
Manchester United vs Burnley (Boxing Day, 15:00)
Niall: Two games in the space of a week escaped Man United in the last minute. It will be interesting to see if they can respond against a Burnley side coming in off a disappointing performance against Spurs. The Clarets have improved their away form this season, but I still do not think that will be enough to topple Manchester United.
Prediction: Man United 2-0 Burnley
Neil: Manchester United were stung by Harry Maguire’s last-gasp goal at the King Power on Saturday night, and with a number of key players in their back line likely to miss out for the visit of Burnley will be sitting rather nervously ahead of this. The Clarets themselves missed the presence of both Stephen Ward and James Tarkowski against Spurs, but as the latter returns after a ban Sean Dyche’s men may prove a more formidable chestnut to crack. Juan Mata scored a rare brace against the Foxes and with Zlatan Ibrahimovic on standby to find his first league goals of the campaign, the Red Devils should just about sneak the win.
Prediction: Man United 2-1 Burnley
Watford vs Leicester City (Boxing Day, 15:00)
Niall: This is an interesting mid-table clash that could provide some goals. Watford have dropped off after a good start to the season whilst Leicester have picked up form in that time. I think that could be the deciding factor for the Foxes here with their counter attack being on point.
Prediction: Watford 1-2 Leicester
Neil: The Hornets are in dire need to arrest a run of form that has seen the hosts lose five of their last six games, with Watford now sliding rapidly down the table after such a bright start to the season. Leicester snatched a point against United with ten men proving their pluck in the face of adversity and will be confident in their chances against the hosts. It is surely a matter of time before Marco Silva’s men end their horrific streak of bad form in the league, and whilst I can’t see that coming in the shape of a win on Boxing Day, I do believe they will take a point.
Prediction: Watford 1-1 Leicester
West Bromwich Albion vs Everton (Boxing Day, 15:00)
Niall: West Brom’s 18 games without a win is a club record, and things do not seem to be getting any better. Everton are a rejuvenated side under Sam Allardyce and will be aiming to keep up their recent form. It is hard to see anything but a win for the Toffees here, and the Baggies will remain in the bottom three.
Prediction: West Brom 0-2 Everton
Neil: I fully expected West Brom to take three points from the Bet365 Stadium over the weekend, but having lost to basement-dwellers Stoke, the Baggies’ plight is real indeed. Against an in-form Everton – who may have the ailing Wayne Rooney back in the fold – the Toffees may not offer much festive cheer at the Hawthorns. Whilst Alan Pardew’s men are creating more openings, the defensive issues remain. The visitors have more than enough threat to further trouble them also and I can only see The Merseysiders coming out on top in this one.
Prediction: West Brom 1-2 Everton
Liverpool vs Swansea City (Boxing Day, 17:30)
Niall: Liverpool will look to keep up their top four pursuit when they host Swansea in Tuesday’s evening offering. The Swans sit bottom and are managerless at the moment, so the chances of them overcoming Liverpool are slim to none. I think the Reds will put on a show here, and bag a big win.
Prediction: Liverpool 5-0 Swansea
As predicted, Liverpool‘s trip to Arsenal provided a Premier League classic in North London, but it still showed the Reds’ soft under-belly at the back, regardless of their nightmare-inducing front line. Swansea nabbed a point against Palace last time out, but taking anything away from Anfield on this occasion will be a tall task. The Swans may be afforded a handful of chances here, but surely their defence will be unable to hang on the coat-tails of their opponents – even with the distinct possibility of Christmas rotation.
Prediction: Liverpool 3-1 Swansea
Newcastle United vs Manchester City (Wednesday, 19:45)
Niall: Manchester City aim to make it 19 wins in a row when they travel to St James’ Park face Newcastle. The Magpies were impressive in beating West Ham, but to defeat City is a mammoth task only one team has managed to do this season. It will probably be 19 straight wins for the league leaders and they should not have much trouble in doing so.
Prediction: Newcastle 0-3 Man City
Neil: With fans across the land tucking into cold turkey, Newcastle, after taking a surprise three points from West Ham return to St. James’ Park to the rather daunting visit of the Manchester City. Pep Guardiola’s men are refusing to drop the goal-scoring baton on the league circuit having netted another four without reply to reach 100-plus top-flight goals this year. The Magpies will be buoyed by their win in East London, but will find this particular outing rather taller to conquer. Newcastle might nick the odd goal, but City will once more fill their boots in front of goal.
Prediction: Newcastle 1-3 Man City
Crystal Palace vs Arsenal (Thursday, 20:00)
Niall: The festive fixtures finish with an interesting London derby between Crystal Palace and Arsenal. The Eagles have picked up form since the appointment of Roy Hodgson and have risen out of the bottom three. They are now a difficult team to beat and work hard every game. Arsenal are in a top four battle and can ill afford dropped points, but I think Palace could grab something from this like they did against Chelsea.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 2-2 Arsenal
Neil: The Match-week concludes with an intriguing clash at Selhurst Park. Palace beat Arsenal in the same fixture this season, but lost earlier this term at the Emirates. The Eagles are unbeaten in eight games now and face a Gunners still horribly fragile in all areas of the pitch. The visitors seems woefully short on confidence also and have lost their way in front of goal for the most – save for pockets of chaotic play as witnessed on Friday night. I can’t see Arsenal doing enough to come out on top here, with the objective for the hosts to remain unbeaten over Christmas, which here at least I believe they will do.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-1 Arsenal
Premier League Matchweek 20 takes place between Boxing Day and Thursday 28th December
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