Friday, 17 December 2010

Predictions For Premier League Gameweek 18.

It's that time of the week again when I attempt to make my predictions for this weekend's Premier League games.I had another poor week last week with only one correct result, three correct outcomes, and six wrong outcomes. It means that I lost even more ground to Stephen Bradley in my predictions league. I've now dropped down to fourth place, and to be honest it's looking difficult for me to catch the second and third teams, never mind make up the 285 points to the leader. Here's a look at how the top ten in the table stand.

NC 1
_Bradley08 905 +45 0
NC 2
preetgreet 755 +100 0
Up 3
essexgooner1965 720 +145 10
Down 4
aranmichael 620 +25 0  
NC 5
COSGOONER 615 +50 5
NC 6
billygooner_29 595 +50 0
NC 7
Nickmc1980 540 +10 0
Up 8
senarmy 475 +30 0
Down 9
oakhamgooner 470 -20 0
Down 10
Imjola 425 -25 0
Sunderland v Bolton
Sunderland v Bolton
Sunderland are one of only two teams unbeaten at home in the Premier League this season. They have won four games and drawn the other four, and only conceded five goals in the process. They sit in seventh place in the table, and a victory in this game would put them up to sixth ahead of Bolton, or possibly even fifth ahead of The Spuds. Their defenders are performing very well in fantasy football, but with the goals spread between three strikers it's hard to know which one to pick. 

Bolton did very well to beat Blackburn 2-1 last week after having a player sent off, and they sit proudly in sixth place in the league. They will want to avoid defeat in this game to stay ahead of Sunderland, and they could also move ahead of The Spuds into fifth place. Bolton have only one clean sheet all season, and they have failed to score on only three occasions. Both Johan Elmander and Kevin Davies are scoring loads of fantasy points, and I have to say I like the look of Stuart Holden in midfield, although he's not a great fantasy buy.
Prediction: 2-1

Arsenal v Stoke
Arsenal v Stoke
Arsenal went into their game away to "Manure" last Monday night on top of the league, but after losing they now find themselves in second place with Man City breathing down their necks. A win in this game would put them back on top of the table for at least 24 hours, and they have to be firm favourites to get that win despite their poor home form. Samir Nasri, Andrey Arshavin and Marouane Chamakh are all performing very well for their fantasy teams, and of them Nasri would seem to be the best buy.

Stoke RFC have had a pretty poor away record since their return to the Premier League, but they have managed two wins in eight away games so far. Their style is very different to that of Arsenal, but it is effective at times. They will look to put Arsenal under pressure from high balls and set pieces, and it's a tactic that has worked for them in the past. Both Robert Huth and Matthew Etherington are scoring plenty of points, and they're well worth having in a fantasy team.

There will be an intense atmosphere at this game when Ryan Shawcross appears at The Emirates for the first time since he broke Aaron Ramsey's leg so horribly last season. He's bound to get an awful lot of abuse from the Arsenal fans, and it will be interesting to see how if affects the game. I think that Arsenal will get their title challenge back on track with a win.

Prediction: 3-1

Birmingham v Newcastle
Birmingham v Newcastle
Birmingham are sitting just above the relegation zone despite the fact that they haven lost only one home game in the last year. Their biggest problem is that they are drawing too many games, and they need to start turning some of those draws into wins. The best Birmingham players to buy for any fantasy team are Ben Foster, Liam Ridgewell, Roger Turner and Scott Dann, as their defensive players are much better point winners that their attacking ones.

Newcastle had a very good win last week over Liverpool, and their new manager will be delighted with that result. A lot of it was down to both Joey Barton and Kevin Nolan returning from suspension and injury respectively. With Andy Carroll continuing to score most of their goals they are a threat to any team. They have managed three wins in eight games on their travels including a win at Arsenal, and they will feel that they have a chance in this game.

I think this game could go either way, which means that I can only predict a draw.

Prediction: 1-1

Blackburn v West Ham
Blackburn v West Ham
Blackburn's new owners decided that Sam Allardyce wasn't the man for them any more last week, and they now face this game with no manager in place. Their home form has been very good with only Arsenal and Chelsea getting wins on their ground, and they will be expected to get a win over bottom of the table West Ham. Amazingly Paul Robinson in goal for Blackburn has scored plenty of fantasy points, as has Morten Gamst Pedersen in midfield for them.

West Ham are rooted to the bottom of the table, and haven't won away from home yet this season. Their manager has been given a three game ultimatum to turn things around, and he has a very difficult job on his hands. They let in too many goals, and they aren't scoring enough goals which all point to one thing only. Previous West Ham teams were relegated when they were thought to be too good to go down, but this team are certainly not too good to go down. For me the only West Ham player worth considering in a fantasy team is Scott Parker.

Blackburn know how to put teams under pressure, and West Ham tend to crumble under pressure which points to a Blackburn win for me.

Prediction: 2-0

Wigan v Aston Villa
Wigan v Aston Villa
Wigan are only in the relegation zone on goal difference despite being written off by all the experts. Their home form has picked up after a very poor start, and if they could just start scoring a few more goals they might well stay up. Their only real fantasy performer is Charles N'Zogbia, but Ali Al-Habsi is a good choice as a cheap goalkeeper.

Aston Villa beat West Brom last week to climb away from the relegation zone, but their away form is very poor. They have lost six of their eight away games so far, and they conceded 18 goals in those games. A win in this game would see them in a much healthier league position, but it won't be easy for them. Stuart Downing and Ashley Young are performing very well so far for Villa, and they are worth considering for any fantasy team.

I have a funny feeling that Wigan will manage to climb out of the relegation zone by winning this game by the odd goal.

Prediction: 2-1

Liverpool v Fulham 
Liverpool v Fulham
Liverpool's home form has been very good with the exception of their defeat against Blackpool. They are ninth in the table, and they need to improve on that if they are to put in a serious challenge for a Champions League spot. Martin Skrtel is their best performing player at the moment, but Glen Johnson is back from injury and he should clock up some points too. Both Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres are usually great point scorers, but I don't think they should be risked due to their constant injury problems.

Fulham don't win games away from home, and they're only outside the relegation zone on goal difference. It doesn't add up to a very promising time ahead for them, and they need to start winning some home games very soon. They only hope in this game is that they are the Premier League draw specialists with 10 draws in 17 games. They will look to keep things tight, and hope to take a point in this game. Both Brede Hangeland and Clint Dempsey are worth having in a fantasy team, but besides them there aren't too many Fulham players performing well.

I can't see anything other than a Liverpool win in this game. If they fail to win the pressure will be on Roy Hodgson, and I don't think he's going to last too long either way.

Prediction: 2-0
West Brom v Wolves 
West Brom v Wolves
West Brom have a good home record with four wins and two draws in eight games. They have performed much better than was expected of them since getting promoted. They are currently in a strong position in the middle of the table, and a win in this game will get them even nearer to the magical figure of 40 points that should see them safe. Their stand out fantasy player has to be Chris Brunt with two goals, 10 assists, and 12 bonus points so far.

Wolves are only one point away from escaping from the relegation zone, and their win last week over Birmingham went a long way towards improving their chances of staying up. They have being playing well this season, but not getting the results to go with the performances at times. Their away form is the worst in the league with only one point in eight games, and they will need to improve on that to stay up. Matthew Jarvis is their stand out fantasy performer so far, but I think that Steven Hunt will do well now that he has returned from injury.

With this game being a local derby it's hard to predict the outcome, and I have a feeling that it will end up as a draw. However, looking at Wolves away form I just have to predict a home win.

Prediction: 3-2

Blackpool v Tottenham 
Blackpool v Tottenham
Blackpool continue to surprise everybody week after week. Their latest conquest WAS an away win at Stoke RFC last week, and they just cannot be written off in any game. They play the game like it should be played, and they are looking less and less likely to be relegated as the weeks pass. Their stand out fantasy player is Charlie Adam, and Luke Varney has done pretty well too.

The Spuds have only one clean sheet all season in the league, and that came on the opening day at home to Man City. I'm not sure how a team with a goal difference of plus three can be in fifth place in the league, and considered title challengers, but that's the current situation with The Spuds. The only Spud players worth having in a fantasy team at the moment are Gareth Bale and Rafael Van Der Vaart, but Van Der Vaart is injured at the moment.

If The Spuds approach this game properly they have to be favourites to win. Blackpool will sorely miss the suspended Adam, but they will make a game of it without a shadow of a doubt.

Prediction: 2-3

Chelsea v Man Utd 
Chelsea v Man Utd
Chelsea have the second best home record in the Premier League with six wins in eight games, and they need a result in this game. Their overall form is very poor at the moment though with only six points in their last seven league games. They have only managed four goals in those games, and they will be very glad that Frank Lampard is eventually on the road to recovery. A win for Chelsea will put them ahead of "Manure" in the table although they will have played a game more, and it could be just what they need with a trip to Arsenal next week. It's hard to say what Chelsea players to pick at the moment, but when their form returns there are a host of them that regularly score loads of fantasy points.

"Manure" went back to the summit of the league with a deserved win over Arsenal on Monday night in a fairly poor game. They got the result that they played for, and I expect them to try for more of the same in this game. A draw would be enough for them to stay on top of the table with a game in hand, but a loss could possibly see them slip to fourth in a very tight title race. I don't think "Manure" have a particularly strong team, or that they have played too well so far this season, but it is ominous that they are on top of the table. However they have won only one of seven away league games so far, and they will need to change that if they are to win the league. Their outstanding fantasy players for me are Nemanja Vidic and Nani, and they are must have players at the moment.

I think this is going to be a very tight and tactical game, and it could well be decided by a moment of brilliance or a mistake. I think it will end as a draw, but a win for either team could be bad for Arsenal which is my main concern.

Prediction: 1-1

Man City v Everton 
Man City v Everton
Man City have done very well recently, and they could actually finish the weekend on top of the table if other results go their way. It's not an ideal time for their best player to decide he wants to leave, but Carlos Tevez has handed in a transfer request. Apparently he wants Champions League football, but he won't get that anywhere before next season, and it sounds like there is more to it than just that in my opinion. I would normally say that Tevez is the best fantasy football option in the City team, but who knows whether he will play or not this week. Joe Hart is a pretty good buy too as is David Silva, but if Tevez doesn't play it's hard to know who will get the goals for City. They have only eight goals in eight home league games, and they are more effective away from home.

Everton are struggling at the wrong end of the table, but they have only lost two of their eight away games so far in the league. Their problems are that they are drawing too many games, and that they don't have a striker who can score goals consistently this season. They will look to hit City with headed goals by Tim Cahill from Leighton Baines crosses, as that is by far their most effective route this season. Both of those players are worth looking at in any fantasy team, as is Seamus Coleman who is a defender playing in midfield which can be very good at times.

Man City need a win to show that they are genuine title contenders, but I think that they will find it very difficult against an Everton team that are far too good to be so near the relegation zone. I can see the game ending in a draw.

Prediction: 1-1
  That's it for this week, but as usual feel free to tell me where you think I have gone wrong or right as the case may be. Next week's predictions will probably be on Friday as usual as Saturday is Christmas day, and the games won't be played until Sunday and Monday.

See You Tomorrow.


  1. I reckon I cant disagree with your picks BUT... If ever there was a time to end a streak and drive a nail into a managers coffin it would be Fulham winning away to the 'Pool! Combine that with the other 'Pool turning over Spurs and Arsenal winning at home and you got yourself a nice little treble. Regards @iamozgooner

  2. All of that sounds absolutely fantastic, but I need to get some points on the board so I have to let my head rule my heart.