Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Predictions For Premier League Gameweek 17

It's that time of the week again when I attempt to predict the outcomes of the upcoming Premier League games. The games have come around very quickly with midweek fixtures rearing their heads for the first time this season. I'm thankful for a chance to make up for my very poor performance in my weekend predictions.

I didn't manage any correct scorelines at all, and I only had three correct outcomes with seven incorrect. It meant I had an overall score of -25, and I plummeted from sixth to tenth in my predictions league. Thankfully the leaders didn't do too well either, and my goal of winning the league is still just about alive.
Here's a look at how my predictions league stands.

 Pos  Player  Week  Total
 1  ahujag  -5  935
 2 nitin004
 30  930
 3  b_red_devils  -10  895
 4  GGooner  20  890
 5  gooner2194  60  860
 6  sanziano  170  835
 7  Rutland Gooner
 105  780
 8  Smashit_Tuckit  0  765
 9  lubu722  10  750
 10  JamrockRover  -25  745

Wolverhampton Wanderers Vs.Norwich City

Tuesday December 20, 7.45p.m., BST

Wolves looked like they might ease their relegation worries by beating Stoke on Saturday, but they ended up losing yet again. Since they took seven points from their first three games they have been on a downward spiral, and they need to stop it very soon. They're still not easy to beat at home though, and they are favourites to win this game in my opinion.

Wolves bad run has seen their players perform badly for fantasy managers, but Wayne Hennessey is probably the best bet among them.

Norwich have failed to keep a clean sheet so far this season, but they have also scored in all but two of their Premier League games. They have done really well since their promotion, but if they have suffered it has been away from home. They will set out to win this game, as they always do and that might just be to their advantage.

Grant Holt is on a very good goalscoring run for Norwich at the moment, and he's worth considering for any fantasy manager.

I think Wolves will just about scrape the win they so desperately need.

Prediction 2-1

Blackburn Rovers Vs. Bolton Wanderers

Tuesday December 20, 8p.m., BST

Blackburn are only one point ahead of Bolton at the bottom of the table, and this is a real "relegation six-pointer". The pressure on Steve Kean is really building at the moment, and I would be surprised to see him keep his job if Blackburn lose.

Yakubu has nine goals in 11 starts for Blackburn, but he has failed to score in seven of those games which makes it tough to sign him.

Bolton have taken more points away from home than they have at home so far this season. Their away record is almost identical to Blackburn's home one, and that will give them some hope. They need to start winning games very soon too, but that's not easy with their defence.

Ivan Klasnic and Chris Eagles remain Bolton's best fantasy bets, and their defenders should be avoided at all costs.

I can't see any clean sheets in a game between the two worst defences in the league, and I think Blackburn will win a close game.

Prediction 3-2

Aston Villa Vs. Arsenal 

Wednesday December 21, 7.45p.m., BST

Villa were very poor in their defeat to Liverpool on Sunday, and I think they could really struggle in the second half of the season. They weren't helped by the suspension to Gabriel Agbonlahor and the injury to Darren Bent for that game, but they have been far from impressive with those two in the team. If things don't improve very soon the pressure is bound to build on Alec McLeish.

Agbonlahor will be back for this game, and he's by far the best Villa player in fantasy terms so far this season.

Arsenal played well away to City on Sunday, but they came up just a little short and lost 1-0 in the end. They will be looking to bounce right back in this game, and Villa could be in for a tough time. Their defensive injury woes continue though with Johan Djourou the latest player to pick up a knock.

Robin van Persie missed a couple of good chances against City, and he will be looking to put that right against Villa. He's in such great goalscoring form that he's an absolute must for any fantasy team at the moment.

I think Arsenal will have far too much for a poor Villa team, as long as they can break down their packed defence.

Prediction 1-3

Manchester City Vs. Stoke City 

Wednesday December 21, 7.45p.m., BST

City are top of the table, and they bounced back from their first defeat of the season by beating Arsenal on Sunday. They have won all eight of their home games so far, and they are huge favourites to continue that run.

Take your pick from City's defensive players with Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany and Micah Richards all scoring really well. When it comes to their attacking players David Silva is an absolute must, and Sergio Aguero is performing very well too.

Stoke have won their last four Premier League games in a row, and they are never an easy team to beat. They will look to pack their defence, and put City under pressure from set pieces. If they can get a few lucky breaks they might just make life hard for City.

Jonathan Walters is Stoke's best fantasy performer so far, but Robert Huth has being doing well in recent weeks too.

I think City should win as long as they don't treat their opponents too lightly.

Prediction 3-1

Newcastle United Vs. West Bromwich Albion 

Wednesday December 21, 7.45p.m., BST

Newcastle's great start to the season has well and truly ended, and they haven't won any of their last five games. They have only lost once at home though, and they have a chance to get back on the rails against West Brom.

Demba Ba is Newcastle's best performing fantasy player so far, and their defenders are not doing too well now after a good start.

West Brom have taken more points away from home than they have at home. They are still finding it hard to score goals, but they aren't letting in too many goals either. They will see this as a game where they can move well clear of the relegation zone, and maybe even push towards the top half of the table.

Chris Brunt and Shane Long are probably the best of the West Brom players at the moment, but they aren't scoring particularly well.

I think this game has the makings of a draw.

Prediction 1-1

Everton Vs. Swansea City 

Wednesday December 21, 8p.m., BST

Everton have only won twice at home in eight attempts so far this season, and they are having real problems scoring goals. Until they can start scoring goals on a consistent basis they are going to find themselves struggling. They are playing at home to the team with the worst away record in the league though, and it's a game they simply have to win.

It's very difficult to pick any Everton players for a fantasy team, but if Royston Drenthe can sort out his attitude he can do very well for them.

Swansea have done really well since their promotion, but their league position is based on their home record. They have struggled away from home, and they have yet to win a game. They managed a good scoreless draw with Newcastle at the weekend and they will be hoping for more of the same in this game.

Swansea's defenders are doing very well so far with Michel Vorm, Ashley Williams and Neil Taylor all available at a good price and scoring plenty of points. Scott Sinclair is their outstanding points scorer among their attacking players so far.

I think Everton might just have enough to win the game if Drenthe gets a chance to show what he can do.

Prediction 2-0

Fulham Vs. Manchester United 

Wednesday December 21, 8p.m., BST

Fulham have been up and down so far this season, but they are starting to get the results at home that have been a feature of their recent seasons in the Premier League. They won't have it easy against an in-form United, but they will certainly make life tough for them.

Clint Dempsey is yet again Fulham's stand out fantasy player this season.

United are unbeaten away from home, and normally their points tally would have them on top of the league. However, City are still above them and they will have to win this game to keep pace with them. Despite United's recent great run I'm still not convinced by them at all, and I think Fulham could have  chance in this game.

Both Wayne Rooney and Nani have rediscovered some form in the last two games, and are getting plenty of points. Phil Jones is also a very good bet, as he is playing in midfield for United and scoring as a defender in fantasy football.

I have a feeling Fulham will manage to take a point off United.

Prediction 1-1

Queens Park Rangers Vs. Sunderland 

Wednesday December 21, 8p.m., BST

QPR have only taken one point in their last four games, and they are sliding towards the wrong end of the table. They are the lowest scorers in the league, and they need to start finding the net more often. They have only won one home game so far this season, but they will see this as a real opportunity to improve on that.

Heidar Helguson has been in good goalscoring form for QPR recently, but overall he hasn't scored an awful lot of fantasy points.

Sunderland have a new manager and Martin O'Neill will have a few weeks grace before he starts to feel any real pressure. They have really struggled to score away from home, but they haven't let in too many goals either. If they are going to move away from the drop zone they need to get some return from Arsenal loanee Nicklas Bendtner.

Seb Larsson remains by far Sunderland's outstanding fantasy player, and he's well worth having in any fantasy team.

I can see this game ending in a draw.

Prediction 1-1

Wigan Athletic Vs. Liverpool

Wednesday December 21, 8p.m., BST

Wigan did really well to take a point off Chelsea last weekend, and now they have another really tough game against Liverpool. They try to play football the right way, but their lack of goals is a real hindrance to them. They will have to ride their luck if they are going to get anything from Liverpool though.

Ali Al-Habsi is still the best bet among the Wigan players for any fantasy manager.

Liverpool are looking very tight at the back, and the have the best defensive record in the Premier League so far. If they can start adding a few more goals at the other end they might still have a chance of finishing in the top four.

Jose Reins, Jose Enrique, Martin Skrtel and Glen Johnson are all scoring well defensively for Liverpool at the moment with Charlie Adam and Luis Suarez the best of their attacking players.

Despite Wigan's recent revival I think Liverpool will have too much for them.

Prediction 0-2
Tottenham Hotspur Vs. Chelsea

Thursday December 22, 8p.m., BST

Spurs just about managed to beat Sunderland at the weekend, and it was an important win for them after their unbeaten run finished the week before. Gareth Bale missed the game through injury, and Spurs missed him quite a lot. If he can return they have a real chance of winning, and putting some space between themselves and Chelsea in the table.

If Bale is fit he's in great form at the moment, and so are Rafael van der Vaart and Emmanuel Adebayor. Brad Friedel and Kyle Walker are also scoring well defensively for Spurs as they look tighter at the back this season.

Chelsea should have beaten Wigan last week, but they dropped two points after conceding a late equaliser. Their troubles look like they might not have gone away yet, and this game will be a real test for them. If they can emerge with anything from the game they will have done very well.

Chelsea's best fantasy players are John Terry, Juan Mata, Frank Lampard and Daniel Sturridge, and they're all worth considering.

I think this game has a draw written all over it.

Prediction 1-1

That's it for today, but feel free to tell me where I might have gone wrong or right as the case may be.

It's not too late to join the over 1,000 other teams in my fantasy league, and there are prizes for the top three teams at the end of the season. Just go to the site and use the code 125540-42785 to join my league when your team is set up.

To join the predictions league, just go to the site and set up your predictions. Then use the code F688F-JCO to join my league. I'll update the league table in my predictions every week.

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See you tomorrow.

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