Thursday, 19 September 2019

Predictions For Premier League Gameweek Six

It’s that time of the week again when I attempt to predict the outcomes of the upcoming Premier League games. I didn’t do well last week with one perfect prediction, two correct outcomes and seven incorrect outcomes. Thankfully most others didn’t do too well either which meant I didn’t really lose too much ground on those ahead of me in my predictions league. Here’s a look at how the top five in that league stands.

 1 (1) sidcupgooner

 2 (3) Mystical 

 3 (3) Ali Bergkamp

 4 (2) Feel

 5 (15) AFCDAVE


Friday September 20

Southampton v Bournemouth 

8pm BST, St. Mary’s Stadium, Southampton 

Southampton won 1-0 away to Sheffield United last week and they have taken seven points from their last three games. Only Huddersfield won less games at home last season, but they drew more home games than any other team. Only three teams have conceded less goals so far and a home game against Bournemouth gives them a real chance to move up the table.

Jannie Vestergaard is looking very good for fantasy managers at the moment while Angus Gunn isn’t doing too badly either.

Bournemouth won 3-1 at home to Everton last week to move into the top half of the table. Only two teams lost more games away from home last season and no other team conceded more away goals. They have scored in each of their five games so far, but they have conceded in each of them too.

Callum Wilson has returned in every game so far for fantasy managers and he has to be seriously worth considering.

I think this will be a close game, but Southampton might just manage a narrow victory.

Prediction: 2-1

Saturday September 21

Leicester City v Tottenham Hotspur 

12.30pm BST, King Power Stadium, Leicester 

Leicester lost 1-0 away to United last week to put an end to their unbeaten start to the season. They lost as many home games as they won last season and their chances of finishing higher will depend on improving that form. They play two of last season’s top four in their next three games and we might have a better idea of how good they are after those games.

Jamie Vardy seems to be the Leicester player to have for fantasy managers.

Spurs strolled to a 4-0 win at home to Palace last week to move up to third in the table. Only the top two took more points and scored more goals away from home last season. Only the two teams ahead of them have scored more goals and they only play one of the rest of the big six teams in their next nine games.

As usual Harry Kane is the Spurs player to have for fantasy managers while Erik Lamela hasn’t done too badly either.

I think this will be a very close game and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it end in a draw.

Prediction: 1-1

Burnley v Norwich City

3pm BST, Turf Moor, Burnley 

Burnley grabbed a late goal to draw 1-1 away to Brighton last week, but they haven’t won since their opening game. They lost 10 of their home games last season, but it’s their home form which has kept them in the Premier League for the last few seasons. A home game against a newly promoted team looks an ideal chance for them to take three points, but Norwich are no pushover.

Ashley Barnes is still the Burnley player to have for fantasy managers even if he has drawn a blank in the last two weeks.

Norwich had a fantastic 3-2 win at home to City last week to move clear of the bottom three. They have lost their two away games so far and they conceded six goals in those two games. They haven’t kept a clean sheet so far and no other team has conceded more goals.

Teemu Pukki, Todd Cantwell and Emiliano Buendia are all doing really well for fantasy managers and available at very good prices too.

I think this will be a close game with the spoils probably shared.

Prediction: 1-1

Everton v Sheffield United 

3pm BST, Goodison Park, Liverpool 

Everton lost 3-1 away to Bournemouth last week as their away form continued to harm their chances of keeping pace with the top six. Only the top six took more points at home last season and they have won their first two home games this season. With three of last season’s top six to play in their next six games they could be in for a tough run of results.

Richarlison has looked good in the last few weeks and he could be worth considering for fantasy managers.

United lost 1-0 at home to Southampton last week and they’re only one point above the bottom three. They have drawn both of their away games so far and a trip to Everton is a very tough task for them. They’re struggling to score goals with only four other teams scoring less in the first five games.

I can’t see any United players to recommend to fantasy managers at the moment.

I think Everton’s home form should be good enough to see them take the three points in this game.

Prediction: 2-0

Manchester City v Watford 

3pm BST, Etihad Stadium, Manchester 

City lost 3-2 away to Norwich last week and they’re already five points behind Liverpool after only five games. They took more points and scored more goals at home than any other team last season. They are the leading scorers already this season, but the five points they have already dropped could cost them dearly.

Sergio Aguero, Kevin de Bruyne and Raheem Sterling are the City players who will probably return the most points for fantasy managers.

Watford came from 2-0 down to get a 2-2 draw at home to Arsenal last week, but they’re still at the bottom of the table. They took 23 points away from home last season, but a trip to City will be a daunting task for them. Only Palace have scored less goals so far with only Norwich and Chelsea conceding more.

When he’s playing well Gerard Deulofeu is certainly worth considering for fantasy managers.

I can’t see anything other than a comprehensive City victory in this game.

Prediction: 4-1

Newcastle United v Brighton And Hove Albion 

5.30pm BST, St. James’s Park, Newcastle 

Newcastle lost 3-1 away to Liverpool last week and that defeat saw them drop back into the relegation zone. Only two teams lost more home games last season, but they only drew one of their home games. Only Palace have scored less goals so far and only four teams scored less goals last season. 

If he’s fit to play Fabian Schar is the Newcastle player most likely to make an impression for fantasy managers.

Brighton drew 1-1 at home to Burnley last week, but they haven’t won in their last four games. Only two teams took less points away from home last season, but their only win so far this season came away from home. They have only scored twice in their last four games and they face two of last season’s top four in their next three games.

I can’t see any Brighton players to recommend to fantasy managers at the moment, but Neal Maupay could possibly change that opinion.

I think this will be a close game with Newcastle probably just about taking the three points.

Prediction: 2-1

Sunday September 22

Crystal Palace v Wolverhampton Wanderers 

2pm BST, Selhurst Park, London 

Palace lost 4-0 away to Spurs last week and they have failed to score in three of their first five games. Only Huddersfield took less points and scored less goals at home last season, but they have taken four points from their first two home games this season. They’re the lowest scorers so far, but only three teams have conceded less goals too.

Patrick van Aanholt was the Palace player to have for fantasy managers before his own goal last week and there’s no reason to believe he won’t come good again.

Wolves lost 5-2 at home to Chelsea last week and they’re still waiting for their first win of the season. No other team has conceded more goals at home so far. It looks like their Europa League exploits could be affecting their Premier League form and they lost at home in that competition on Thursday night too.

Raul Jiminez is still the Wolves player most likely to perform for fantasy managers.

This is a tough game to predict, but I have a feeling it might end in a draw.

Prediction: 1-1

West Ham United v Manchester United 

2pm BST, London Stadium, London 

West Ham drew 0-0 away to Villa last week as they continued to climb the table. They did quite well at home last season, but they’re still a fair bit away from making their relatively new stadium a fortress. They have only conceded two goals in their last four games and they have s good run of games after this one.

Sebastien Haller is the best of the bunch in the West Ham team for fantasy managers with Lukasz Fabianski doing well too as always.

United won 1-0 at home to Leicester last week to move into the top four. Only three teams took more away points last season, but they have drawn their first two away games this season. No other team has conceded less goals so far, but they face both Arsenal and Liverpool in their next four games.

Marcus Rashford and Daniel James (if he’s fit to play) are the United players looking the best for fantasy managers at the moment.

This is another game that’s not easy to call, but I think United might just win narrowly.

Prediction: 1-2

Arsenal v Aston Villa

4.30pm BST, Emirates Stadium, London 

Arsenal let a two goal lead slip away to Watford last week and they were lucky to take a point from the game. Only the top two took more points and scored more goals at home last season. They have scored in every game so far, but they haven’t kept a clean sheet since their first game.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the Arsenal player to have for fantasy managers.

Villa drew 0-0 at home to West Ham last week and that point was enough to move them out of the bottom three on goal difference. They have lost both of their away games and a trip to Arsenal won’t be an easy task for them. Only Palace have scored less goals, but only three other teams have conceded less.

John McGinn has done quite well for fantasy managers so far while Tyrone Mings has done well in three of the five weeks so far. 

Arsenal’s strength at home should be enough to see them win this game with a couple of goals to spare.

Prediction: 3-1

Chelsea v Liverpool 

4.30pm BST, Stamford Bridge, London 

Chelsea won 5-2 away to Wolves last week, but they lost at home to Valencia in the Champions League in midweek. They only lost one home game last season, but they have drawn both of their home games so far this season. Only the top two have scored more goals so far, but only Norwich have conceded more.

Tammy Abraham is on fire for fantasy managers at the moment while Mason Mount (if he’s fit) has done very well too.

Liverpool won 3-1 at home to Newcastle last week to maintain their 100% record and move five points clear at the top of the table. No other team took more points away from home last season and only City scored more goals. They might have lost in Europe in midweek, but three points in this game will definitely help to ease that pain.

It’s impossible for fantasy managers to ignore both Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane while all of the Liverpool defenders are worth considering too.

I think Liverpool’s attack will be too good for Chelsea and they should take the three points.

Prediction: 1-3

That’s it for this week.

See you next week.

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Arsenal’s Trip to Eintracht Frankfurt Previewed

After a performance to forget at Watford on Sunday Arsenal get their Europa League campaign up and running away to Eintracht Frankfurt tomorrow night. Last season we lost the final against Chelsea in June and we were knocked out in the semi finals by Atletico Madrid the previous season. It’s a competition we will automatically be one of the favourites to win and so we should be.

Of course we’re only playing in the Europa League because of our failure to qualify for the Champions League for the third season in a row. Our goal for this season has to be a top four finish and the Champions League football it brings with the Europa League only an after thought. The Europa League winners do qualify for the Champions League, but we saw what happened last season when that became our only route to the Champions League.

Unai Emery might well be tempted to play a fairly strong team in Frankfurt to get our campaign off to a good start in what will probably be our hardest game in the group. It would be a huge shock if Arsenal didn’t qualify from the group, but they won’t want to start the group off with a defeat. As a result I think we won’t see as many youngsters and fringe players as we might have expected.

The players who didn’t start on Sunday will probably expect to play and I imagine Callum Chambers, Lucas Torreira, Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson and Emiliano Martinez will all be in the team. We could also see the return of Rob Holding from his long term injury, but I think he might get a late run from the bench which might see Shkodran Mustafi on from the start. We already know both Mesut Ozil and Sokratis Papastathopoulos have been rested which surely means they will both play at home to Villa on Sunday.

I can’t see what options the manager has on the left and right sides of the defence with Sead Kolasinac and Ainsley Maitland-Niles more or less having to play. If we do have Torreira and Willock in midfield it’s a matter of who plays with them and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Dani Ceballos get the nod. Hopefully the weather in Frankfurt will be more to his liking than the tropical climate in Watford on Sunday.

With Nelson probably playing on the left of the attack we might possibly see Nicolas Pepe or Gabriel Martinelli through the middle with whoever doesn’t play centrally then playing on the right. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the only striker available at the moment, but surely he can’t be risked from the start against Frankfurt. If he’s needed he might make an appearance off the bench, but hopefully that won’t be the case.

Frankfurt have won two and lost two of their league games so far this season and they will be no pushover. They are our toughest opponent in the group and they will have been given massive encouragement by our performance on Sunday. Watford showed them how to play against us and I will be surprised if they don’t try to put us under the same sort of pressure.

Huge questions were asked of the players and the manager after that performance and this is their first chance to answer the criticism. We are giving our opponents far too many chances to shoot against us and the manager has to find a way to stop it. Playing against Arsenal is far too easy far too often for opponents and that’s something which simply has to change.

I’m not so sure we will beat Frankfurt, but I do think we will make the knockout stages with relative ease. Neither Standard Liege or Vitoria should cause us too much trouble and our biggest issue could be the problems we cause for ourselves. Hopefully we can get a good result and put in a performance which can help to build some confidence after Sunday’s abysmal display.

That’s it for today.

See you tomorrow.

Monday, 16 September 2019

Shambolic Defending Sees Arsenal Draw 2-2 At Watford

Arsenal went to Watford yesterday knowing a win would put them third in the table before they started their Europa League campaign in midweek. Unai Emery brought Mesut Ozil and Dani Ceballos in for the injured Alexandre Lacazette and Lucas Torreira who wasn’t injured, but they were the only changes from the 2-2 draw with Spurs. A trip to the team holding up the rest of the table offered us the perfect opportunity to get our second away win of the season.

While we didn’t exactly play well in the first half two goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had given us a seemingly comfortable lead. What occurred in the second half was shambolic at best and we were incredibly lucky to come away with a point in the end. The fact that we handed Watford their two goals on a plate made it even worse.

When you look at the stats for the game they make for very uncomfortable reading from an Arsenal perspective. Watford had 31 shots against us which is the most by any team ever against Arsenal in the Premier League era. Two thirds of those shots came in that second half which saw Watford have a shot almost every two minutes.

In five games this season we have handed the opposition five of the eight goals we have conceded on a plate. No other team conceded more goals from errors last season and we’re already well on our way to obliterating that total this season. We signed David Luiz to solve our central defensive issues and he has already gifted the opposition three goals in his four games and probably cost us three points in the process.

Anyone who couldn’t see the possibility of Luiz’s propensity for errors making out defence even worse than it was last season was looking at his arrival through rose tinted glasses. I said when we signed him that I honestly didn’t think he was a good fit, but we needed a central defender and we probably didn’t have very much to spend. You have to feel for Callum Chambers who played well in our first game against Newcastle, but has had to watch from the sidelines ever since.

You can’t completely blame the defence though as they didn’t get any protection from the players in front of them. Watford were given free reign to run at our defenders and they didn’t have a clue how to cope with it. Despite all of that Watford couldn’t find the back of the net until they capitalised on two ridiculous errors from us.

As bad as Luiz’s penalty they gave away was it had nothing to compare to the goal Sokratis Papastathopoulos gave away. The insistence on playing the ball out from the back is admirable, but there is no point in doing it if you haven’t got a clue how to do it. The casualness of his pass to Matteo Guendouzi was unbelievable and it made it far too easy for Watford to score.

The admission by Granit Xhaka afterwards that we were scared in the second half was almost unbelievable. These are supposed to be professional footballers and to think they were scared by the teamat the  foot of the table attacking them is quite incredible. Not only that, but it also gives every other team in the Premier League a template for how to play against us and how to get at us.

If it wasn’t for Aubameyang who knows where we would be and there were fans saying it made sense to sell him during the summer because of his age. He now has as many goals as we have gifted the opposition (5) in our first five games and the rest of the team have three between them. He’s going to have to score a lot more goals than he did last season if we’re going to have any chance of a top four finish.

For me it’s up to the manager to get the message across to the players as to how he wants the team to play and then to get them to put that plan into operation. I wish I knew how he wanted to play though because we don’t have a style of play and we’re dependent on players making something out of nothing rather than imposing ourselves on the game and the opposition. There’s a long way to go this season, but performances like the one against Watford fill me with fear rather than the optimism I want to feel.

The games are coming thick and fast now with a trip to Frankfurt on Thursday night followed by a home game against newly promoted Aston Villa. It’s a Carabao Cup game at home to Forest then and that’s followed by a League game away to United. It will be very interesting to see how all of those teams approach their games with us and whether we will be capable of dealing with any pressure they put on us.

That’s it for today.

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Arsenal’s Trip To Watford Previewed

With the first of far too many pesky international breaks out of the way it’s back to Premier League football for Arsenal as they travel to Watford this afternoon. After yesterday’s results a win today would move us up to third place behind second placed City on goal difference and possibly level on points with Everton depending on how they do against Bournemouth in the early game. The table is already starting to take shape and it looks like Everton and Leicester will be the two teams looking to break into the top six from last season.

Arsenal came from 2-0 down at home to Spurs in their last game to take a point and that was a very important result for them. After losing 3-1 at Anfield the previous week they couldn’t afford to lose to another team chasing a top four place. A draw might not have been what we wanted prior to the game, but at 2-0 down I was more than happy not to lose.

Unai Emery will be without the services of Alexandre Lacazette who is out for approximately a month with an ankle injury. Lacazette‘s absence leaves the squad a little light of strikers with a lot of games coming up in the next month. It does mean that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will play in his favourite position in all of our league games, but we will most certainly miss Lacazette.

The manager has a few decisions to make ahead of the game with Lacazette’s place to be filled as well as what midfield lineup to choose. With Aubameyang through the middle of the attack we might see Reiss Nelson play on the right while Nicolas Pepe will be on the right. Pepe is slowly settling into the team and I think we’re going to see the best of him very soon.

After his performance against Spurs Matteo Guendouzi has to be nailed on to play in the midfield while Granit Xhaka will more than likely start too despite the ridiculous penalty he gave away in that game. I know he is extremely error prone and those errors are very often costly, but he appears to be one of the first names on the team sheet once he’s fit. If those two are nailed on it leaves one of Dani Ceballos, Joe Willock and Lucas Torreira to choose from which isn’t easy on the other two. 

The boss could always opt for a different formation I suppose, but I doubt it. He could even decide to bring in a fit again Mesut Ozil to the team, but I would be very surprised if he gets any further than the bench at the start of the game at least. We have an abundance of options in midfield at the moment and our defence could be following quite soon.

I imagine we will see the same back four as we did against Spurs, but we have a trio of players on the way back from injuries who will be looking to get into the team. Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding and Kieran Tierney are all part of the long term plans for our defence and the sooner we have them available the better. There are plenty of games coming up for those returning players to blood themselves in between the Europa League and the Carabao Cup. 

Watford are stuck on the bottom of the table with only one point from their first four games and that came in their last game away to Newcastle. Their poor start cost Javi Gracia his job and Quique Sanchez Flores has taken over the reins again. Hopefully they won’t get the traditional new manager “boost” and we can add to their woes by taking the three points.

I have no doubt they will try to get about us and put the boot in where they can in an attempt to unsettle us. We had an awful record away from home last season and we let in far too many goals for our own good. They will look to play on that defensive vulnerability if they can and we need to stay strong and repel them.

It’s all about taking the three points today and while it would be great to put in a performance to remember too it’s the points that matter. We won our first away game at Newcastle despite a pretty poor display and we were well beaten at Liverpool in our last away game. If this season is going to be any better than last season then we have to improve our away performances and results too.

That’s it for today.

See you tomorrow.