Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Predictions For Premier League Gameweek 22.

It's that time of the week again when I attempt to make my Premier League predictions for the midweek games. These games bring to an end a very busy Christmas Premier League schedule, and it's FA Cup action for all of the teams next week.

I've being running a predictions league all season, and I managed to get five correct outcomes, and five incorrect outcomes in the last set of games. Crucially I didn't get any scorelines exactly right, and it meant that I lost even more ground to the league leader despite the fact that he got seven wrong outcomes. My hopes of catching him are all but over at this stage. Here's a look at how my predictions league table stands.

NC 1
_Bradley08 1005 +45 5
NC 2
essexgooner1965 805 +75 0
NC 3
preetgreet 730 +45 0
NC 4
aranmichael 640 +25 0  
Up 5
COSGOONER 635 +85 0
Up 6
Nickmc1980 625 +90 0
Down 7
billygooner_29 590 +30 0
Up 8
Sinesladael 505 +60 0
Up 9
oakhamgooner 480 +50 0
Down 10
senarmy 460 0 0
Blackpool v Birmingham.
Blackpool have played 18 league games so far this season, but only six of them have been at home. They have only won two of those home games, and if they can win a few more home games they will be almost safe for the season. They play very attractive football, and I think it would be a shame if they didn't manage to stay in the Premier League.

Birmingham are the only team in the Premier League without an away win so far this season, and their lack of goals is costing them dearly. Their home defeat against Arsenal on Saturday has left them second last in the table, and their lack of goals could well keep them there. They will think that is game is one they can win, but so many teams have thought that against Blackpool already this season and been proven wrong.

I think that Birmingham will add to their 10 draws in 19 games with another draw in this game.

Prediction 1-1
Fulham v West Brom.
Fulham have slipped into the relegation zone recently, but things are so tight at the bottom that a win will move them ahead of their opponents who are 14th in the table. I think Fulham have being playing well, but they haven't converted that play into enough points, and like so many other teams they are drawing far too often for their own good.

West Brom put up a very good performance at home to "Manure" on Saturday, but poor defending and finishing cost them dearly in the end. They are on a very poor run at the moment, and they are in danger of getting relegated back to the Championship if they don't turn things around. Like Blackpool they attempt to play good football, and it would be a shame to see them drop out of the league, but they must sort out their defence or things don't look good.

I think that Fulham will get the win that they need to move out of the bottom three.

Prediction 2-0 
Man Utd v Stoke
"Manure" are playing on Tuesday night, and all of their title rivals don't play until the following night. It gives them the opportunity to go five points clear of both Arsenal and Man City who play each other, and a win will shorten their title odds even more. In their 10 home games they have had nine wins and a draw and they have scored 27 goals with only six conceded. It's a record that is keeping them on top of the table, as their away win against West Brom was only their second win away from home this season.

Stoke RFC are up to eighth in the table despite the fact that they have lost nine of their 19 games so far. The reason is that they are drawing so few games, and they have managed three away wins so far, which is more than they usually manage in a whole season. They are big strong team who like to put their opponents under an aerial assault whenever they can, but they will do well to get anything out of this game.

I can't see anything other than a "Manure" win in this game, no matter how much I want them to drop points.

Prediction 2-0 
Arsenal v Man City.
Arsenal sit third in the table, two points behind City with a game in hand. Their last home league game was against Chelsea, and they deservedly beat them 3-1. After winning away to Birmingham on Wednesday night their confidence should be very high, and as long as Arsene Wenger sticks with the same team they should be favourites to win this game. Crucially for me I think that Arsenal will have the upper hand if Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Robin Van Persie all play from the start.

City have been very good away from home so far, and only Arsenal have collected more points on their travels than them. They have a very strong squad, and they are looking to strengthen it in the transfer window as well. Even if they lose this game I think they will still manage to keep pace with the other title challengers. To me it looks like they are less inhibited away from home which should make for a very good game.

As an Arsenal fan I have belief in my team, and if Arsene Wenger puts out the team that beat Chelsea and Birmingham I think that Arsenal will just about get the win.

Prediction 2-1
Aston Villa v Sunderland.
Aston Villa were doing very well at home this season until Arsenal and The Spuds came calling recently, and those slips have moved them dangerously towards the relegation zone. They did manage a very good draw away to Chelsea on Sunday, and in that game they had a few of their more senior players back from injury. They have conceded more goals than any other team in the league, and that's a statistic that they have to change if they are to climb away from the relegation battle that they find themselves in.

Sunderland find themselves in sixth place in the league, but it's mainly due to their excellent home form. They have only won one of their 10 away games so far, and if they can improve on that form they could be planning a few trips to the continent next season.

I think that Villa will take some encouragement from their performance against Chelsea, and win this game.

Prediction 2-1
Newcastle v West Ham.
Newcastle had a good win away to Wigan on Sunday which moved them back into the top half of the table. Their home form hasn't been great with only three wins in 10 games, and Andy Carroll's absence through injury on Sunday must be a cause for concern too. A win in this game will give them a bit of breathing space, and we will think that's something that they should get.

West Ham have had a very good Christmas programme so far, as they have climbed off the foot of the table and they find themselves in a lofty place in the table. Their away form has been poor, but they did finally manage an away win in their last away outing. I still think their defence is very poor, and they could well slip back into the relegation zone very soon.

I think Newcastle will just about squeeze through in a tight game.

Prediction 2-1 
Wolves v Chelsea.
Wolves find themselves back on the bottom of a very tight Premier League table, but their home form has still been pretty good so far. They have won four and drawn two of their 10 home games, and they will think that they will never have a better chance of beating Chelsea.

Chelsea are still in the middle of a very poor run, but they thought that it had ended with their late goal against Aston Villa on Sunday. That looked like it would give them their second rather fortunate win in a row, but Villa had other ideas and scored even later to win a point. They will see a trip to the bottom club as an opportunity to put some of their problems behind them, and it should do unless they don't win. If that happens it could make things even worse for a team that seem devoid of confidence, and have slipped to fifth in the table.

I think Chelsea will get back on track with a hard fought win.

Prediction 1-2
Blackburn v Liverpool.

Blackburn have a fairly good home record so far this season, but at the moment they have big problems with injuries and suspensions. They are level on points with Liverpool, and a win would surely move them into the top half of the table.

Liverpool just about managed to beat Bolton on Saturday, but they were again far from impressive. Their season is on the brink of being a total disaster, but a couple of wins in a row could well change that. Steven Gerrard is their key man, as Fernando Torres still looks disinterested to me, and the outcome of this game could well depend on his performance.

I think that this could well be another snooze fest. as so many of Liverpool's games have been recently, with both teams cancelling each other out, and ending in a draw.

Prediction 1-1
Bolton v Wigan.
Bolton have dropped to seventh in the table after consecutive away defeats to Chelsea and Liverpool. They were unlucky to lose both of those games, and their home form has been very good this season with only one defeat in 10 games. Only "Manure", Arsenal and Chelsea have scored more home games than Bolton this season, and they have to be strong favourites to win this game.

Wigan undid the good work of their home draw against Arsenal by losing at home to Newcastle on Sunday. Their away form is reasonable, but they are only one point above the relegation zone, and they don't score many goals. The absence of Charles N'Zogbia through suspension is a big blow for them, and it will make their task a very difficult one.

I think Bolton will get back to winning ways in this game.

Prediction 2-0.
Everton v Tottenham.
Everton have played very well this season but they are not turning those performances into victories. They have drawn 10 games so far, and they are a lot closer to the relegation battle than the battle for a European place. They need to find a striker who will score goals for them, and they have to stop conceding poor goals as well. This will be a tough game for them, but they are capable of getting a result.

The Spuds are on a very good run at the moment. They are unbeaten in nine games, and they have won their last three games in a row. Their away form is reasonable with four wins in nine games, and they will think that they can win this game too. Their biggest problem has been a lack of clean sheets, but they managed to keep the opposition out in their last two games.

I think that Everton will manage to halt The Spuds run of victories, but only by taking one point off them.

Prediction 1-1
Blackpool v Liverpool.
Blackpool have had a few home games postponed due to the bad weather, and they get to play the first of them in the midweek gap after the FA Cup third round. They won away to Liverpool already this season, and a double over them would be a fantastic achievement for them. As always they will look to attack the opposition from the first minute to the last one, but it will give Liverpool opportunities to attack them.

Liverpool will be coming into this game after they have played away to "Manure" in the FA Cup, and the result of that game might well have an effect on their performance. It's a game that they just have to win, and the players they have in their squad are more than capable of doing that.

Anybody looking to make changes to their fantasy team this week would do well to remember that both of these teams have two games in this gameweek, and that can make a big difference to a player's points total for the week.

I think Liverpool will gain some revenge for their home defeat against Blackpool.

Prediction 1-3

That's it for this week's predictions, and there will be none next week as the Fa cUp is on the agenda for all of the Premier League teams. I will be back the following week to offer my opinions on how all the games will go. Meanwhile I will be previewing Arsenal's game against Man City tomorrow, so feel free to tune in then. As always feel free to comment on my predictions, and tell me where I have gone wrong.

See You Tomorrow.

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