Thursday, 12 January 2012

Predictions For Premier League Gameweek 21

It's that time of the week again when I attempt to predict the outcomes of the upcoming Premier League games. Usually at this time of the season some teams have games in hand on others, but after Spurs played Everton on Wednesday night that is no longer the case.

My predictions didn't go too well last week, and I didn't manage to get any perfect scores at all. I did manage to get four correct outcomes, but I got all the others wrong in yet another week full of surprises.

I slipped back to eleventh place in my predictions league and it looks like the title is now beyond me this season. Here's a look at how my predictions league stands.

 Pos Player Week Total
 1 b_red_devils 35 1140
 2 ahujag 60 1050
 3 gooner2194 0 875
 4 GGooner -45 860
 5 DK1247 120 815
 6 nitin004 -60 800
 7 sanziano -50 800
 8 Rutland Gooner 5 760
 9 lubu722 -50 710
 10 ReApEr666 5 705

Aston Villa Vs. Everton

Saturday January 14, 3p.m., BST
Villa have lost their last four home games in a row, and they're now thirteenth in the table despite improving their away form. Gabriel Agbonlahor's goals have dried up and without them Villa are struggling to score. They have only managed one goal in those four home defeats.

At the moment it's very hard to recommend any Villa players for fantasy managers.

Everton are in a similar situation to Villain the table, and they're finding it even harder to score goals. They have only managed to score more than once in a game on five occasions in the league this season. Without someone to put the ball in the net for them they will do well to maintain their mid-table position.

Everton players are much like Villa ones at the moment and it's hard to recommend any of them.

I think Villa might just edge what could be quite a drab affair.

Prediction 2-1

Blackburn Rovers Vs. Fulham

Saturday January 14, 3p.m., BST

Blackburn are rooted to the bottom of the table with eight defeats in 10 home games so far. Every time they show signs of a revival they seem to blow it in the next game and they need a run of good results very soon. At this stage avoiding relegation will be a good season for them, but it's looks like being a tough struggle right until the end.

Yakubu is Blackburn's outstanding fantasy player so far and looks to be a good bargain still.

Fulham had a great result in their last game when they came from behind to beat Arsenal 2-1. That gave them a little breathing space above the drop zone, but they traditionally don't travel well. They have only one way win and six goals in their 10 away matches so far.

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

I think Blackburn might just get the win they need to climb off the bottom of the table.

Prediction 3-2

Chelsea Vs. Sunderland

Saturday January 14, 3p.m., BST

Chelsea ended a run of four league without a win games by getting a last minute win away to Wolves in their last outing. Their defence still looks very suspect, and their goals against column is a lot higher than it has been in many years. They have lost three home games already this season and Sunderland will put up a good fight against them.

Chelsea's best performing fantasy players are still Frank Lampard, Juan Mata and Daniel Sturridge.

Sunderland have been reborn since Martin O'Neill took the reins at the club. They took10 points from their four games over the festive period and that included a victory over league leaders Manchester City. The players are playing with belief and they will fancy their chances against Chelsea.

Stephane Sessegnon is scoring really well at the moment with 31 points in his last four games and is well worth buying along with Seb Larsson.

Chelsea have struggled at home at times this season and I think Sunderland might just take a point off them.

Prediction 1-1

Liverpool Vs. Stoke City

Saturday January 14, 3p.m., BST

Liverpool have only won one of their last four league games, and Luis Suarez is suspended for them too. However, the return of Steven Gerrard is a huge boost for a team that has been struggling to score goals and he could make a real difference for them. They are progressing very well in both domestic cups thanks to Gerrard, and they will be clear favourites to beat Stoke.

Jose Reina, Luis Enrique, Martin Skrtel and Glen Johnson are all good fantasy bets for Liverpool, but the best one might be the fit again Steven Gerrard.

Stoke are sitting comfortably in eighth place in the league and they have won four of their 10 away games so far. That's pretty good considering they have only managed eight goals on their travels, but when they lose they tend to lose by  few. They will look to impose their physical game on Liverpool, but they could be in for a tough afternoon.

Jonathan Walters, Matthew Etherington and maybe even Peter Crouch are all worth considering for fantasy managers at the moment.

I think Liverpool should be more than capable of getting all three points in this game.

Prediction 2-0

Manchester United Vs. Bolton Wanderers

Saturday January 14, 3p.m., BST

United have lost their last two Premier League games and they very rarely lose three in a row. They need to win to keep the pressure on City and to stay ahead of Spurs on goal difference too. Their defence has been very suspect in recent weeks, but they should surely have too much for Bolton.

Wayne Rooney and Nani would seem to be the best fantasy bets for United at the moment.

Bolton have won four games away from home in the league already this season, but their home form is abysmal. A win in this game would be a huge boost for their survival chances, but surely they can't do what Blackburn did a couple of weeks ago. No team has let in more goals than Bolton this season and I think their defence could be their downfall.

Bolton are a hard team to fathom at the moment and none of their players are setting the world alight for fantasy managers.

United should have more than enough to get all three points in this game.

Prediction 3-1

Tottenham Hotspur Vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers

Saturday January 14, 3p.m., BST

Spurs beat Everton on Wednesday night to move within three points of the league leaders. They have to be considered as title contenders at the moment, but the big question is whether they can stay with the pace. Since losing their first two games of the season they have only lost once in their next 18 games and they have eight wins in 10 home games.

Spurs have quite a few players looking good for fantasy managers at the moment. Gareth Bale, Rafael van der Vaart, Emmanuel Adebayor, Brad Friedel, Kyle Walker and Benoit Essou-Ekotto are all doing really well and some of them are available at a good price too.

Wolves haven't won any of their last six games and they have only won two of their last eighteen. They are sitting one point above the relegation zone, and they have only one win in 10 away games. Only Fulham have scored less away goals than Wolves, and they look destined for a tough day's work.

Wayne Hennessey remains the best fantasy bet among the Wolves players with Steven Fletcher not too far behind him.

Spurs should have far too much for Wolves and they should win this game comfortably.

Prediction 3-0

West Bromwich Albion Vs. Norwich City

Saturday January 14, 3p.m., BST

West Brom are only three places above the drop zone, but they have six points to spare. Their recent good run has come to an end and they have failed to score in their last three games. They have only seven goals in 10 home games and they are actually performing better away from home.

There are no outstanding West Brom players to recommend to fantasy managers at the moment.

Norwich have failed to keep a clean sheet so far this season, but they have also scored in all but three of their games. They approach each game in a positive way and they will be looking for a win here as always. Their away record is better than West Brom's home one which will give them real hope.

Like West Brom there are no outstanding Norwich players to recommend either.

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

Prediction 1-1

Newcastle United Vs. Queens Park Rangers

Sunday January 15, 1.30p.m., BST

Newcastle had a great 3-0 win over Manchester United in their last game, but since then they have lost star player Demba Ba to African Cup of nations duty. He will be a huge loss for them, but if they approach this game with the same attitude they will still be clear favourites. Their biggest problem will be finding someone to put the ball in the net while Ba is away, and holding on to him when he returns.

Tim Krul and Ryan Taylor are the best fantasy bets for Newcastle at the moment with Demba Ba away on international duty for the next few weeks.

QPR have taken only two points in their last eight games and that run cost Neil Warnock his job. They are only one point above the relegation zone, but new manager Mark Hughes has money to spend this month. Only Wigan have scored less goals than them and Hughes needs to find a way to cure that problem if they are to stay up.

As it stands it's not easy to recommend any QPR players for fantasy managers.

Despite the absence of Ba and QPR's new manager I still think Newcastle will get a win.

Prediction 2-1

Swansea City Vs. Arsenal 

Sunday January 15, 4p.m., BST

Swansea have only lost once in 10 homes games this season and no team has a better defensive record at home than them. They play a very good possession game and they certainly make life hard for Arsenal. Their biggest problem is their lack of goals though and they will probably need a clean sheet to get anything out of this game.

Michel Vorm has scored loads of fantasy points at home for Swansea and so has Ashley Williams. Scott Sinclair is not a bad bet either.

Arsenal's festive programme looked like it caught up with them when they lost to Fulham in their last game after leading at half time. They need to get back to winning ways in this game, but it won't be easy for them against a good Swansea side. No team has conceded more away goals than Arsenal so far, but only Manchester City have scored more.

Robin van Persie is a must for any fantasy manager, but I'm not sure whether Thierry Henry is worth buying or not.

I think Arsenal might just edge a low-scoring and very tight game.

Prediction 0-1

Wigan Athletic Vs. Manchester City

Monday January 16, 8p.m., BST

Wigan have only taken three points in their last five games and they're still right in the middle of the relegation zone. They've only won once at home in 10 attempts and they will have their work cut out to get anything from this game. Their biggest hope may lie in City's unavailability of some of their best players.

Ali Al-Habsi remains by far the best fantasy bet among Wigan's players.

City will be without some of their better players and it remains to be seen how their replacements will do. They were knocked out of the FA Cup too and they trail Liverpool after the first leg of their Carling Cup semi-final. They have failed to win any of their last four away games, but this should be an ideal opportunity to end that run.

Joe Hart and Sergio Aguero are probably City's best fantasy bets at the moment with Vincent Kompany suspended and David Silva doubtful with an injury.

Despite their recent defeats and the players they have missing I still think City will have too much for Wigan.

Prediction 1-3

That's it for today, but feel free to tell me where I might have gone right or wrong as the case might be. Just a quick reminder too that the second wildcard of the season is now available for all fantasy managers.

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.

Don't forget you can follow me on Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook too.

I'm also a member of a very good and very active Arsenal group on Facebook, which you can join here.

See you tomorrow.

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