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 – Not had enough Premier League action? Lucky for you we have a bumper festive double-header over four days to mark New Years celebrations. As usual our writers have had their say on what will happen.
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AFC Bournemouth vs Everton (Saturday, 15:00)
Niall: The New Year’s weekend action begins with an interesting match at the Vitality between Bournemouth and Everton. The Toffees are unbeaten in their last five and look like a top 10 team again under Sam Allardyce. Bournemouth are in a struggle and sit in the relegation zone, but in front of their home fans they might grab a draw here.
Prediction: Bournemouth 1-1 Everton
Neil: The Cherries are the latest side to have a crack at the resurgent Toffees on Saturday, having gained a draw against West Ham courtesy a late controversial leveler on the South coast. Nathan Ake’s first league goal this season could be an important factor come the end of the season, and the Dutchman will be looking to hit form 12 months on from being recalled from his loan spell at the Vitality – returning to Chelsea. Everton have conceded just twice in their last seven games, but I do feel that tally will add another to the blue abacus with the hosts dragging a point off the visitors.
Prediction: Bournemouth 1-1 Everton
Chelsea vs Stoke City (Saturday, 15:00)
Niall: Chelsea have found their groove at home after a troubled start to the season at Stamford Bridge. The Blues could go second over the weekend, but they would have to beat Stoke in order to do so. The Potters are one of the worst teams away from home, so I do not expect them to trouble Chelsea here.
Prediction: Chelsea 3-0 Stoke
Neil: The Blues laboured against a well-organised Brighton on Boxing Day, and again their two talismanic defenders made the difference with a goal and assist respectively. Eden Hazard is struggling to hit top gear thus far and could be rested for the visit of the Potters, who continue to look more like relegation fodder by the game. Goals are beginning to trickle in for the visitors but that will doubtful be enough and I see Chelsea easing to what should be an easy enough win.
Prediction: Chelsea 3-1 Stoke
Huddersfield Town vs Burnley (Saturday, 15:00)
Niall: Yorkshire meets Lancashire in the match of the two overachievers in the Premier League. Their last meeting finished 0-0 so we hope for a better contest here. We know both Huddersfield and Burnley are good at home, but away the Clarets have been even better away this season and that may end up being the difference in this match.
Prediction: Huddersfield 0-1 Burnley
Neil: Two of the oldest clubs in the football league meet at the John Smiths’ Stadium, with the Terriers having taken four points from six in their last two games. Tom Ince bagged his first goal for the club against Stoke, who will now look to push on in the final days of 2017 and indeed beyond. The Clarets were desperately unlucky not to have taken all three points at Old Trafford last Tuesday, but nevertheless another point on the road against a top-six side was a welcome Christmas present. A tough one to predict here with both sides in very decent form, so I shall back the draw.
Prediction: Huddersfield Town 2-2 Burnley
Liverpool vs Leicester (Saturday, 15:00)
Niall: This could be a cracking contest. Liverpool are one of the best offensive sides in the league whilst Leicester are known for their devastating counter attacks. This game promises goals, but form suggests a Liverpool win. The Foxes have not won in their last four and Liverpool got the better of them in the reverse fixture. I think we will see something similar here.
Prediction: Liverpool 4-2 Leicester
Neil: Every time I watch Liverpool I rub my hands with glee with what the Reds might come up with next. The hosts are a real joy to watch currently and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Leicester’s loss at Watford may have come as a surprise, but the Hornets were due an upturn in form at some stage. As the Foxes travel to Anfield this weekend, there could be more woe in store. The reverse fixture ended 3-2 to Liverpool earlier this season and I would not be surprised to see a repeat here.
Prediction: Liverpool 3-2 Leicester
Newcastle United vs Brighton & Hove Albion (Saturday, 15:00)
Niall: Two of the Premier League’s promoted sides meet at St James’ Park in a match where both sides could do with a win. Neither are in good form and are too close to the relegation zone than is comfortable. The Magpies have picked up in their last two games though, and being at home should work to their advantage given Brighton’s poor away record.
Prediction: Newcastle 2-1 Brighton
The Magpies’ backs-to-the-wall tactics against Manchester City were not without success despite Pep Guardiola’s protestations. Conceding just once against the champions elect could be seen as a decent result, but a loss in still a loss. Brighton are not traveling well right now and a trip to fellow promotees from last season will not be an easy afternoon’s work.
The Seagulls still hover around the drop zone – as they may for the remainder of the season. I fancy Newcastle to claim a win here, but with the visitors finding the target also, it will be a close affair.
Prediction: Newcastle 2-1 Brighton
Watford vs Swansea City (Saturday, 15:00)
Niall: Swansea made a bizarre appointment during the week by making recently sacked Sheffield Wednesday boss Carlos Carvalhal their new manager. It will be interesting to see how he gets on against Marco Silva’s Watford who returned to form with a win over Leicester. A new manager can often rejuvenate a side, but in this case I believe Watford will have too much quality.
Prediction: Watford 3-0 Swansea
The Hornets’ win against Leicester put an end to the hosts’ winless streak – and not before time. That win could go a long way to eventually firing Watford away from the drop zone once more, and as troubled Swansea visit Vicarage Road, Silva’s men will be confident of recording successive Premier League wins. The Swans look doomed, but the arrival of Carvalhal could yet inject life into their flagging season however this meeting is unlikely to garner any immediate rewards.
Prediction: Watford 2-0 Swansea
Manchester United vs Southampton (Saturday, 17:30)
Niall: It has been a rough couple of weeks for Jose Mourinho. His side lost to Bristol City in the Carabao Cup and then proceeded to lose more ground on Manchester City. Against an out of form Southampton side though, I expect the Red Devils to get back on the win sheet.
Prediction: Man United 2-0 Southampton
Neil: Manchester United again found themselves dropping points at home and needed a Jesse Lingard brace to rescue themselves against the Clarets. The Saints may have approached this game in relatively bullish mood a few weeks back but having not kept a clean sheet either now since mid-October – fresh from a Wembley pummeling – Southampton could have a tough evening in store without two of their first choice defenders and now with Virgil van Dijk set to depart the club. A lot will depend on whether Antonio Valencia is fit for the Red Devils, but even without the Ecuadorian, the hosts should have enough to take three points.
Prediction: Man United 3-0 Southampton
Crystal Palace vs Manchester City (New Years Eve, 12:00)
Niall: Crystal Palace are the next team to try take on the best team in the league and end their 18 match winning streak. It would be quite the feat for Roy Hodgson to end this winning run, and I feel Palace will be a tough test for City in many ways. However, going against the Citizens at this point is not a safe bet. I think it will be win number 19 in a row for Guardiola.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-3 Man City
Neil: New Year’s Eve sees the first of two clashes to round of both the matchweek and the calendar year. Before having seen Crystal Palace struggle to hit their recent heights against Arsenal on Thursday evening, I was tipping the Eagles to take a point off the Citizens here. There may be a fair few rotated players for Manchester City here, but in truth who ever plays for City these days looks capable of getting the job done. I am going to revert to an away win, but on the tight Selhurst Park pitch I do think it will be a close game.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 2-3 Man City
West Bromwich Albion vs Arsenal (New Years Eve, 16:30)
Niall: Arsenal make another tough away trip when they visit the Hawthorns to face West Brom. The Baggies still have not won since early in the season and need a big result to kick start their battle to stay in the Premier League. Arsenal will be confident however after fending off Palace with an Alexis Sanchez-inspired performance, and I think they will get the job done here.
Prediction: West Brom 0-2 Arsenal
Having almost managed to throw away a win in South London, Arsenal now make the trip to goal-shy West Bromwich Albion. It is still hard to tell who Arsene Wenger believes is his strongest lineup, having reverted to a back three against Palace, but that will likely not affect the result at the Hawthorns. The transfer window cannot come soon enough for Baggies boss Alan Pardew who is woefully short of goals in attack. The Gunners are always likely to offer up chances, but on the back of Sanchez’s brace the visitors will surely have too much for their hosts.
Prediction: West Brom 1-3 Arsenal
Brighton vs Bournemouth (New Years Day, 12:30)
Niall: New Year’s Day fixtures begin with Brighton hosting Bournemouth at the AMEX Stadium. Home record has been key to Brighton’s success and with Bournemouth struggling I think the Seagulls will edge this one by a single goal
Prediction: Brighton 2-1 Bournemouth
Neil: No sooner have the champagne and fireworks fizzled out on New Year’s Eve, the beginning of another matchweek on New Year’s Day is upon us. Brighton host the Cherries first up to clear the cobwebs, with both sides known for their attack rather defence. I believe the scoreline will reflect this here, with an entertaining score draw.
Prediction: Brighton 2-2 Bournemouth
Burnley vs Liverpool (New Years Day, 15:00)
Niall: Liverpool and Burnley are both firmly locked in the battle for European qualification, so this match at Turf Moor is an important one for both sides. Burnley have been a bit of a thorn in Liverpool’s side in recent season, defeating them here last year and earning a draw at Anfield earlier in the year and I expect them to cause problems here too.
Prediction: Burnley 1-1 Liverpool
Neil: Next up Burnley hosts the Reds. The hosts continue to have the more favourable record on the road and with the visitors in stellar goal-scoring fettle, I can only see Liverpool coming out on top here to make it a profitable New Year period, even if van Dijk is not registered to make his first appearance. I do expect the Clarets to find the net also however.
Prediction: Burnley 1-3 Liverpool
Leicester vs Huddersfield (New Years Day, 15:00)
Niall: Leicester will look return to form when they host Huddersfield on New Years Day. The Terriers have overall struggled away from home despite some good results recently, and with Leicester being a strong home side I think they will have too much quality going forward for Huddersfield.
Prediction: Leicester 2-0 Huddersfield
Neil: The Terriers could come into the new year unbeaten in three games, but alas I believe that run will come to an end here. The Foxes have been yo-yoing in recent weeks but I expect the hosts to start 2018 in winning fashion, with Jamie Vardy desperate to end his goal drought.
Prediction: Leicester 2-1 Huddersfield
Stoke vs Newcastle (New Years Day, 15:00)
Niall: Two struggling clubs will meet at the Bet365 stadium on Monday in hope of getting a valuable three points in their attempts to stave off relegation. If my previous prediction comes true, then Newcastle will be fairly confident after defeating Brighton, but Stoke will see this as a big opportunity to get three points, and I think they will do it.
Predicton: Stoke 2-1 Newcastle
Neil: If the Potters lose at Stamford Bridge as expected, there will likely be huge pressure on Mark Hughes here once more. Stoke are one of the more unpredictable sides, but at home losses are starting to pile up. The Magpies are playing with the handbrake off somewhat on the road and I am tipping them to nick this one. It could be the last we see of Hughes.
Prediction: Stoke 1-2 Newcastle
Everton vs Man United (New Years Day, 17:30)
Niall: New Year’s evening offering has Manchester United travelling to Everton as they attempt to stave off the chasing pack. The Toffees have looked much improved under Allardyce and are unbeaten since he took over. They frustrated Chelsea to a 0-0 draw and I expect similar tactics here, but I feel United may find a way through and give Big Sam his first defeat as Everton manager.
Prediction: Everton 0-1 Man United
The first evening of the new year sees a fascinating clash at Goodison Park, as Romelu Lukaku returns to Merseyside. With Wayne Rooney hosting his old club of over a decade also, there are many a narrative on show here. As it is I just have a sneaky suspicion that the Toffees will take the three points here, but I expect both sides to score.
Prediction: Everton 2-1 Man United
Southampton vs Crystal Palace (Tuesday, 19:45)
Niall: This is a tough match to call as it could go either way. Southampton are in poor form but they have enough quality to get by Palace. Conversely, Palace are in better form and also have the quality to win this game. I think it will be closely contested and might end as a draw.
Prediction: Southampton 1-1 Crystal Palace
Neil: Tuesday evening sees another four games to get the teeth into and first up the Saints hosts Palace. If Southampton do fall to Man United this past weekend, Mauricio Pellegrino is another man under growing pressure in the top-flight. The visitors could be coming into this on the back of two losses, but this sees the perfect chance to bounce back. The Eagles now have goals in them – a problem the hosts continue to have – and I believe that will be the difference here.
Prediction: Southampton 1-2 Crystal Palace
Swansea vs Tottenham (Tuesday, 19:45)
Niall: Tottenham Hotspur kick start the New year with a trip to Wales to face bottom side Swansea City. With Harry Kane in form and Spurs returning to their form of last season, I feel there is only one result coming out of this game and it will not look good for Swansea supporters.
Prediction: Swansea 0-4 Tottenham
The first of a double-header in the space of two days for Spurs and West Ham is up next, and first Spurs travel to beleaguered Swansea. The Lilywhites are once again flowing with goals on the road, and Swansea are not likely to be able to prevent a repeat showing in the valleys. It could get ugly in South Wales here, with a rout on the cards.
Prediction: Swansea 0-4 Tottenham
West Ham vs West Brom (Tuesday, 19:45)
Niall: West Ham’s revitalisation under David Moyes has taken a hit with only one point taken from their last two games. Can the Hammers get back to winning ways against struggling West Brom? This feels like a game in which the Baggies can get something out of and I feel they could possibly nick a point in a rather dull game.
Prediction: West Ham 0-0 West Brom
Neil: The Hammers meanwhile host the Baggies in dire need of points and quickly. Moyes is beginning to have a real impact in East London – to his credit – and will be looking to make the London Stadium something of a fortress. I cannot see any other result that a home win here, as the Irons continue to climb away from danger.
Prediction: West Ham 2-0 West Brom
Man City vs Watford (Tuesday, 20:00)
Niall: Remember the last two times these teams met? If not, then you should know City battered Watford 6-0 and 5-0 at Vicarage Road. The Hornets have a habit of conceding and against the league leaders that is not a good thing. It may not be as bad as the 6-0 of earlier on in the season, but the Citizens may grab a big win here.
Prediction: Man City 4-1 Watford
Neil: Rounding off Tuesday’s action is Watford’s trip to the champions elect Man City. The Hornets were hammered 6-0 in Hertfordshire earlier this campaign, but I can’t see a repeat scoreline this time around. There is the chance that the festive period will catch up to the Citizens, but frankly to bet against the hosts would be a gamble I am not prepared to foresee. Comfortable home win and a 20th-straight victory.
Prediction: Man City 3-1 Watford
Arsenal vs Chelsea (Wednesday, 19:45)
Niall: This is arguably the main event of the New Year fixtures and it promises to be a cracker. These two sides have had a storied rivalry over the past 15 or so years and this chapter promises to be another great one. The Gunners once struggled against Chelsea, but in recent seasons their record against the Blues has improved. Arsenal will be in good form going into this, but Chelsea will be tough to beat as always. I think we will get an entertaining draw.
Prediction: Arsenal 2-2 Chelsea
If Christmas and New Year had not brought enough for football fans, the period is brought to a close with two very tasty looking London derbies. First up Arsenal host Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium with this the game 14 months ago that transformed the visitors’ season who went on to lift the Premier League trophy. This will again be a case of which attack has the biggest bite, but I am sitting on my perch on the fence here with a draw.
Prediction: Arsenal 2-2 Chelsea
West Ham vs Tottenham (Thursday, 20:00)
Niall: With neither of these sides playing over the weekend, they have to catch up and play two matches during the week. Tottenham at this point will be buoyant after a good run of results and West Ham will be down after three straight matches without a win. Therefore I back Spurs to win this one.
Prediction: Tottenham 3-1 West Ham
Finally, to round off an exhaustive festive schedule of football, Spurs and West Ham play their re-arranged game at Wembley. It could be a familiar tale to events of 24 hours ago across North London, with a another high-scoring draw on the cards. Neither defence has particularly impressed over the holiday period and I fully expect the ball to be flying into the net for both sides. I would tip Spurs for the win, but I just have an inkling they will settle for a point here.
Prediction: Tottenham 2-2 West Ham
Premier League Matchweeks 21 and 22 take place between December 30 and January 2
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