Friday, 14 December 2012

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. There's only nine games this week with Chelsea away at the World Club Championship. Their absence means there is no game for Southampton either, but both teams will have to make that game up at a later stage.

I managed one perfect scoreline last week, six correct outcomes and four incorrect. It leaves me still in third in my predictions league with a bit of ground to make up on the two players ahead of me, but all is not lost yet.

Here's a look at how my predictions league table stands.

Pos     Player                         Week     Total
___     ______                       ____      _____
1.        antonius_ronny_s         90          1075
2.        AblockGooner            110         990
3.        JamrockRover             105         890
4.        RSun624                     110         825
5.        ahujag                           -5          780
6.        TheDognash                 60          765
7.        Rutland Gooner            70          720
8.        Pasticninja                    20          700
9.        Meikku                        -55         700
10.      goonerdhanesh             20          675

Saturday December 15

Newcastle United V Manchester City

12.45pm GMT, Sports Direct Arena, Newcastle

Newcastle aren't in the best form at the moment and they have a fair few injuries too. The return of Hatem Ben Arfa last week was a welcome boost but they still lost at Fulham despite his goal. They have managed to win half of their eight home games so far but this will be a very tough task for them.

Demba Ba is Newcastle's best fantasy performer and Ben Arfa is a good bet too now that he's fit again.

City couldn't afford to lose at home to United last week but they did just that in dramatic circumstances. They're still unbeaten away from home but they have only won three of their seven games and scored only nine goals in the process. After last week's game they no longer have the tightest defence in the league but they still hold that record away from home.

It's not easy to predict which City players will start every week but Carlos Tevez, Joe Hart and Vincent Kompany are good fantasy choices as long as Kompany is fit and Yaya Toure's not a bad option either.

I think City's woes will continue as Newcastle get a draw from this game.

Prediction: 1-1

Liverpool V Aston Villa

3pm GMT, Anfield, Liverpool

Liverpool did very well to turn things around at West Ham last week and win 3-2 without the suspended Luis Suarez. They're back in the top half of the table and only four points off fourth spot too. They have struggled at home with only three wins and nine goals in eight games.

Suarez is still the obvious fantasy choice among the Liverpool players but Steven Gerrard hasn't performed too badly either.

Villa have tightened up in defence in their last few games but they're only outside the relegation zone on goal difference. They have lost five of their eight away games and only scored four goals on the road. Their midweek Capital One Cup victory away to Norwich might be just the boost they need though.

Both Matthew Lowton and Ciaran Clarke are possibilities in the Villa team for fantasy managers if they continue to defend well.

I can see Liverpool continuing their progress with a win.

Prediction: 2-0

Manchester United V Sunderland

3pm GMT, Old Trafford, Manchester

United had a great win at City last week to put them six points clear at the top of the table. They have won six of their seven home games and scored 19 goals in the process. They are favourites for the title despite being far from convincing in defence.

Robin van Persie is United's best fantasy performer but Wayne Rooney has come good in the last few weeks as I predicted and Rafael da Silva is scoring well too.

Sunderland eventually managed their first win over an 11 man team since last March on Tuesday night. It moved them out of the relegation zone, but they will do really well to get anything out of this match. They have only won once in eight away games and that statistic is very unlikely to change.

Stephen Fletcher seems to be on form again so long as he is fit but Sunderland defenders might be better off avoided this week.

I can't see anything other than a comprehensive win for United in this game.

Prediction: 4-1

Norwich City V Wigan Athletic

3pm GMT, Carrow Road, Norwich

Norwich have turned things around over the last couple of months and are currently safely in mid table. They have only lost once at home and only Stoke and West Brom have conceded less home goals. They did let in three goals at Swansea last week but they still managed to win.

Sebastien Bassong and Javier Garrido would seem to be the best fantasy bets in the Norwich team at the moment.

Wigan have dropped into the relegation zone, but that's nothing new to them. They have lost five of their seven away games so far and only four goals in those seven games.

I'm not so sure there are any Wigan players who are worth picking for fantasy managers at the moment.

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

Prediction: 1-0

Queens Park Rangers V Fulham

3pm GMT, Loftus Road, London

QPR have set a Premier League record for the longest start to a season without a win. They're eight points away from safety and have only scored five goals in seven home games. There are signs of improvement under Harry Redknapp, but they need to start winning games.

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

Fulham brought their recent poor run to an end with a win over Fulham on Monday night. They have only won one of their eight away games so far, but they have managed 12 goals in those games. Their problem has been the amount of goals they have being letting in.

Dimitar Berbatov is probably still the best fantasy bet among the Fulham players although Damien Duff continues to impress.

The outcome of this west London derby could be crucial for QPR and I think Fulham will take a point off them.

Prediction: 1-1

Stoke City V Everton

3pm GMT, Britannia Stadium, Stoke

Stoke have only conceded two home goals so far, but they have only scored seven goals in those seven games. They are unbeaten at home and they have the best defensive record in the league too. Only two teams have scored less than them though and their games aren't exactly end to end goalmouth action.

Stoke's defensive players are well worth buying for fantasy managers with Asmir Begovic, Ryan Shawcross and Robert Huth the best among them.

Everton are back in the top four after their very late win at home to Spurs last week. Like quite a few other teams they will feel they have a very real chance of securing Champions League football for next season. They have only won twice away from home but and their only two defeats were on their travels as well.

Marouane Fellaini remains the best fantasy bet among the Everton players with Leighton Baines and Nikica Jelavic worth considering too.

I can see this being a very close game and the spoils being shared.

Prediction: 1-1

Sunday December 16

Tottenham Hotspur V Swansea City

1.30 pm GMT, White Hart Lane, London

Spurs looked all set to win away to Everton last week, but two very late goals saw them take no points. They would top the league this season if all games ended after 80 minutes and they need to shore up their defence late in games. Spurs have won four of their eight home games but they tend to score more on their travels. 

If Gareth Bale is fit to return he's the best fantasy choice in the Spurs team with Aaron Lennon and Jermaine Defoe worth considering too.

Swansea had been on a great run until they lost 4-3 at home to Norwich last week. They play good football and are a very difficult side to beat, but this game will be a real test for them. Swansea have only conceded seven goals in seven away games and they have won three of those games too.

Miguel Michu has been an absolute must for any fantasy manager all season with Wayne Routeledge and Nathan Dyer performing well too.

I think Spurs will narrowly edge a very close game.

Prediction: 2-1

West Bromwich Albion V West Ham United

4pm GMT, The Hawthorns, Birmingham

West Brom have lost their last two league games and they haven't been impressive in either of them. Both of those games were away from home though and it's their home record which has them so far up the table. Six wins in eight home games is very impressive from West Brom and so is the fact they only conceded six goals in those games.

Shane Long continues to impress for West Brom and James Morrison isa  possibility too.

West Ham looked all set for back to back wins over Chelsea and Liverpool until Liverpool's comeback last week. They have proved to be a tough team to best since their return to the Premier League and they are bound to reach their target of survival in the league. Four defeats in seven away games isn't great from West Ham and neither is the fact they have managed only five goals in those games.

Kevin Nolan has been West Ham's best fantasy performer, but the goals have dried up for him recently.

I can see West Brom edging a very close game.

Prediction: 2-1

Monday December 17

Reading V Arsenal

8 pm GMT, Emirates Stadium, London

Reading are still in the relegation zone and defeats to other strugglers Southampton and Sunderland in the last week haven't helped their cause. One win in seven home games just isn't good enough although they have only lost two of those games.

I'm not so sure any of the Reading team are worth buying for fantasy managers.

Arsenal seem to lurch from one crisis to another this season and the latest was the Capital One Cup defeat to League Two Bradford on Tuesday night. Despite all their problems they are only two points off a Champions League spot, but they need to turn some of their draws into wins. Only City have a better defensive record away from home than Arsenal, but they have only won two of eight games and struggled to score too.

It's not easy to know which Arsenal players to opt for, but surely Santi Cazorla has to be the best and possibly Theo Walcott too if he's fit.

I think Arsenal will have enough to get the three points and increase the pressure on Reading.

Prediction: 1-3

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

See you next week.

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