Friday, 30 November 2012

Predictions For Premier League Gameweek 15

It's that time of the week again when I attempt to predict the outcomes of the upcoming Premier League games.

Saturday December 1

West Ham United V Chelsea

12.45pm GMT, Upton Park, London

West Ham have hit their first blip of the season after successive defeats away to Spurs and United. It doesn't get much easier for them with a home game against Chelsea, but they might just feel they have a chance of getting something from this game. They will try their best to test Chelsea's new found defensive strength.

Kevin Nolan is still the West Ham player of choice for fantasy managers.

Chelsea have started life under Rafa Benitez with successive 0-0 draws at home. They might look better defensively but they have definitely sacrificed something offensively to do so. They are now seven points off the top of the table and they need to start winning games again.

Chelsea's defensive players might be a good bet under their new manager and Juan Mata and Eden Hazard are still a good bet too.

I think West Ham will be able to get something out of this game and it could well end in a draw.

Prediction: 1-1

Arsenal V Swansea City

3pm GMT, Emirates Stadium, London

Arsenal can't string a decent run of results together and find themselves seventh in the league. Third place is not beyond them but they will have to turn some of their draws into victories to do so. Consecutive home lesgue games against Swansea and West Brom are must win games for them.

Theo Walcott, Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud are probably the Arsenal players most likely to perform for fantasy managers.

Swansea are only a point behind Arsenal and they are playing very well at the moment. At their best they are a match for most teams and they will feel they have a chance against an Arsenal team that are misfiring at the moment.

Miguel Michu is still the outstanding Swansea player but Wayne Routeledge can't be ignored either.

I think Arsenal will have just about enough to take all three points but it won't be easy.

Prediction: 2-1

Fulham V Tottenham Hotspur

3pm GMT, Craven Cottage, London

Fulham have lost their way a little in their last few games but they did well to get a 0-0 draw at Chelsea on Wednesday night. Their rate of goalscoring has slowed down a little too, but the top two are still the only teams to have scored more than them. Their problems remain in defence where only three teams have conceded more goals than them.

Dimitar Berbatov must be due a few goals and his ex club could be the ones to suffer.

Spurs have bounced back from their defeat to Arsenal with two wins in a row. They have been very good going forward in those games, but they have looked very shaky at the back. They can score against any team but they can concede at any time too.

Gareth Bale is on fire at the moment and Jermaine Defoe is knocking in a few goals too.

I can see this being a high scoring game and probably ending in a draw.

Prediction: 3-3

Liverpool V Southampton

3pm GMT, Anfield, Liverpool

Liverpool are still in the bottom half of the table with only three wins in 14 league games. They're creating plenty of chances but they're not putting them away at the moment. They will hope to get a win under their belts with a home game against the leakiest defence in the league.

Luis Suarez is Liverpool's outstanding fantasy performer, but I think Jose Enrique could get himself a few points too.

Southampton are back in the relegation zone, but at least they're picking up points at the moment. They have taken eight points in their last four games and they have even tightened up a little at the back too. This will be a really tough test for them but they are sure to create chances as they do in every game.

Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana look to be the best fantasy choices in the Southampton team.

I think Liverpool will have a little too much for Southampton and get a much needed home win.

Prediction: 3-1

Manchester City V Everton

3pm GMT, Etihad Stadium, Manchester

City are only a point behind arch rivals United at the top of the table and they seem to be coming into form now. They are at their best at home and only Arsenal have managed to take a point from them at home this season. They have also found their defensive strength again and have conceded less goals than any other team.

City defenders are the ones to have at the moment along with Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez and maybe David Silva too.

Everton have dropped a lot of points in the last few weeks and they face their toughest test yet away to City. Their defence has been found wanting and it cost them dearly in this game. They will do well to get anything out of it.

Marouane Fellaini is by far Everton's best fantasy performer at the moment.

I think City will be too strong for Everton and take all three points.

Prediction: 3-1

Queens Park Rangers V Aston Villa

3pm GMT, Loftus Road, London

QPR may have a new manager but they are still bottom of the league. They are the lowest scorers in the league and only Southampton have conceded more goals than them. A home game against Villa is the ideal opportunity for QPR to finally kick start their season.

I can't see any QPR players worth considering for fantasy managers at the moment.

Villa managed to climb out of the drop zone with a 1-0 victory over Reading on Tuesday night. They're still struggling to score and only QPR have scored less league goals than them. They have kept two clean sheets in a row though and that should give them some hope.

I'm not sure if Villa defenders are worth risking but if they have sorted their defence out Kieran Clarke isn't a bad option.

I have a feeling this game will finish all square which will suit Villa more than QPR.

Prediction: 1-1

West Bromwich Albion V Stoke City

3pm GMT, The Hawthorns, Birmingham

West Brom had won four league games in a row before Swansea brought them crashing back to earth on Wednesday night. They're still in the top four though and they will want to stay there for as long as possible. They have been very good at home this season and will be expected to take all three points.

Stoke haven't won away from home yet this season and they rarely do. There have been less goals in games they have played this season than any other team. They have got the second best defensive record in the league though and they gave drawn half of their games so far too.

I think West Brom will get over their defeat at Swansea and take all three points.

Prediction: 2-0

Reading V Manchester United

5.30pm GMT, Madjeski Stadium, Reading

Reading have only lost one of their six home games, but they have only won one too. They're second last in the table and four points away from safety. The last team they would want to face at this stage are the current league leaders.

There aren't any Reading players who look like doing too much for fantasy managers at the moment.

United got a rare clean sheet at home to West Ham on Wednesday night and kept their place at the top of the table. They're only a point ahead of City and will want to get another win to keep it that way. They have won 11 of their 14 games so far and that's a record no other team can match.

Robin van Persie is still United's outstanding fantasy performer.

I think United will be too strong for Reading and get their 12th win of the season.

Prediction: 1-3

Sunday December 2

Norwich City V Sunderland

4pm GMT, Carrow Road, Norwich

Norwich have put a very good run together and it has seen them rise to the relative safety of mid table. Their run had been built on a very tight defence and they have beaten both Arsenal and United at home. They aren't scoring much and only QPR have scored less goals than them so far.

With Norwich's recent defensive stability Javier Garrido is not a bad fantasy choice and so is John Ruddy as long as he recovers from his injury.

Sunderland have only won three games since last March as far as I know and in each of them they have been up against 10 men. They're still struggling to score goals but their defensive strength is the only thing keeping them out of the relegation zone. If they don't turn things around soon Martin O'Neill will find himself under an awful lot of pressure.

Simon Mignolet and Stephen Fletcher are the two Sunderland players most likely to make an impression for fantasy managers.

I think Norwich will continue their good run with a narrow victory.

Prediction: 1-0

Monday December 3

Newcastle United V Wigan Athletic

8pm GMT, Sports Direct Arena, Newcastle

Newcastle have lost their last four Premier League games and are only two points above the relegation zone. They have struggled with injuries and playing Europa League football too and have found it difficult to score goals. They need to turn things around quickly and they will feel they can do so against Wigan.

Demba Ba is still managing to score a few fantasy points despite Newcastle's poor form.

Wigan are level on points with Newcastle and it tends to be all or nothing for them away from home with two wins and four defeats. They have only scored four goals in those six games and it's not easy to take points when you don't score. They will see a struggling Newcastle as an ideal opportunity to get their third away win though.

Arouna Kone and Ali Al-Habsi are probably the two Wigan players most likely to perform.

Prediction: 1-1

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

See you next week.

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