Friday, 18 January 2013

Predictions For Premier League Gameweek 23

It's that time of the week again when I attempt to predict the outcomes of the upcoming Premier League games. Last week was a bad one for me with no perfect scorelines, three correct outcomes and eight incorrect. It meant I dropped to fifth in my predictions league despite catching up slightly on some of the managers ahead of me.

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

Pos     Player                         Week     Total
___     _____                        ____       ____
1.        antonius_ronny_s        -50         1405
2.        RSun624                    -80         1190
3.        AblockGooner             35         1180
4.        ahujag                          30         1040
5.        JamrockRover             -25        1040
6.        goonerhdanesh            -55          965
7.        Rutland Gooner            10          960
8.        birchy1962                  -65         960
9.        TheDognash                -25         915
10.      BenAFCBeast             -20         860

Saturday January 19

Liverpool V Norwich City

3pm GMT, Anfield, Liverpool

Liverpool still can't win more than two games in a row and their latest attempt ended in failure away to United last week. They did play quite well though, but the nine point gap to the top four is still a long way off for them. They have struggled in games like this too much in recent seasons and they need to show they can beat struggling teams.

Stephen Gerrard and Luis Suarez remain the best fantasy bets in the Liverpool team and their defenders are performing quite well too.

Norwich managed to stop their run of four successive defeats with a dour draw at home to Newcastle last week. They have only won once in 11 away matches, but they have at least managed to draw five of them. It's a tough task for them away to Liverpool, but they could get something if they discover their form of a few weeks ago.

I think Liverpool will be too strong for Norwich and take all three points.

Prediction: 2-0

Manchester City V Fulham

3pm GMT, Etihad Stadium, Manchester

City had a good win away to Arsenal last week to stay seven points behind leaders United. They have the chance to make up some ground in this game with United facing a tough trip to Spurs the next day. Only United have won more home games than City and they are the only team to have scored more home goals than City too.

With Sergio Aguero injured there's a chance for Carlos Tevez and Eden Dzeko to score a few fantasy points for City. Their defenders are also scoring well at the moment too.

Fulham have managed two wins and 15 goals in their 11 away games so far and that's quite good by their usuak standard. Only three teams have conceded more away goals than them though and their problems lie in their defence. They have only won two of their last 10 league games and need to improve at home if they are to continue to avoid the relegation dog fight.

Dimitar Berbatov remains the best fantasy bet among the Fulham players, as long as he shows up.

I can't see anything other than a City win in this game.

Prediction: 3-0

Newcastle United V Reading

3pm GMT, Sports Direct Arena, Newcastle

Newcastle managed to stop a run of three successive league defeats witha  0-0 draw at Norwich last week. Their recent bad form has seen them slip to within two points of the relegation zone and hey need to string a few good results together very soon. They have struggled to score goals and the sale of Demba Ba won't have helped thei cause.

With Ba gone it's difficult to see what Newcastle players can make an impact for fantasy managers.

Reading had a great comeback at home to West Brom last week and they snatched all three points late on in the game. They're still in the relegation zone, but only three points from safety. They ahve lost nine of their 11 away games though and no other team has taken fewer points on the road.

Pavel Progrebnyak has scored a few goals recently, but it's still risky to pick Reading players for fantasy managers.

I think Newcastle will get the win they need to ease the pressure for the moment at least.

Prediction: 2-1

Swansea City V Stoke City

3pm GMT, Liberty Stadium, Swansea

Swansea have an awful lot of games to play at the moment and it must be tiring their players. The upcoming Capital One Cup semi final second leg against Chelsea is a huge game for them and there's a possibility they will rest players ahead of it. They have drawn a lot of games at home but they have only lost twice at home so far.

Miguel Michu is by far Swansea's best fantasy performer although the points have dried up for him in the last few games.

Stoke were well beaten at home by Chelsea last week and their defence has faltered a lot in recent weeks. They have only won once in 11 away games and only managed seven goals in those games. Despite all the goals they have conceded recently only Chelsea and City have conceded less goals than them.

Stoke's defensive players still look a good bet with Geoff Cameron, Ryan Shawcross, Robert Huth and Asmir Begovic all worth considering for fantasy managers.

I can see this being another close game with a draw being a very likely outcome between two teams of contrasting styles.

Prediction: 1-1

West Ham United V Queens Park Rangers

3pm GMT, Upton Park, London

West Ham play twice this week and this will be the most important of the two games for them as it's their best chance of getting a result. They have only taken eight points in their last 10 games and have struggled to score far too often away from home in particular. A win at home to the bottom club could be just the tonic they need.

With two games this week there is a possibility some of West Ham's defensive players will make an impression if fit.

QPR did well to get a draw at home to Spurs last week, but they are still in deep trouble at the foot of the table. They have only taken six points in 11 away games and have struggled to score away from home too. In fact no other team has scored less Premier League goals than QPR so far this season.

It's still not easy to see any QPR players who will make an impression for fantasy managers.

I think this will be a very close affair and could end in a draw.

Prediction: 1-1

Wigan Athletic V Sunderland

3pm GMT, DW Arena, Wigan

Wigan have only taken five points in their last nine games and they are only outside the bottom three on goal difference. They have only won two of their 11 home games and they need to get some more points at home if they are going to avoid relegation yet again.

It's tough to see any Wigan players who will impress for fantasy managers at the moment.

Sunderland have moved clear of the relegation zone by winning four of their last seven games. Like so many other teams they have struggled to win and score away from home, but they will feel they have a chance at Wigan.

Simon Mignolet is the best fantasy choice among the Sunderland players with Adam Johnson and Stephen Fletcher worth considering too.

I have a feeling Sunderland will manage to win a tight game.

Prediction: 1-2

West Bromwich Albion V Aston Villa

5.30pm GMT, The Hawthorns, Birmingham

West Brom are in a very good position in the league despite their defeat at Reading last week. They have lost their last three league games, but they have a very good record at home. Only the top two have won more home games than West Brom and no team has a better defensive record at home.

I'm still not sure which West Brom players would be best to recommend to fantasy managers.

Villa are in the relegation zone now as they continue to lose games. They may have an upcoming Capital One Cup semi final second leg, but this game will be just as big for their fans. They have taken only one point in their last five games and have the worst defensive record in the league.

Villa players are best avoided for fantasy managers.

This could be a very intense local derby with Villa in such a precarious league position. I can't see things getting any better for them as I think West Brom will win.

Prediction: 2-1

Sunday January 20

Chelsea V Arsenal

1.30pm GMT, Stamford Bridge, London

Chelsea have struggled at home in the last couple of months and the 8-0 win over Villa was their only home win in seven league matches. They missed the opportunity to close the gap on the top two by blowing a two goal lead to draw with Southampton on Wednesday night.They still have a good defensive record though with only City conceding less goals than them.

There are still plenty of Chelsea players to choose from for fantasy managers with Demba Ba, Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Cesar Azpillcueta The best in my opinion. Frank Lampard, David Luiz, Ashley Cole, Peter Cech and Branislav Ivanovic can't be ignored either.

Arsenal have only taken one point from two league games since the turn of the year. They looked good in beating Swansea in the FA Cup on Wednesday night and they will be looking for more of the same against Chelsea. They have only lost twice in 11 away games and no team has conceded less away goals than Arsenal.

With two games this week Arsenal players could be good for fantasy managers with Theo Walcott, Santi Cazorla and Kieran Gibbs possibly the best bets.

I'm a lifelong Arsenal fan and I always predict a win for them. This game is no different as I think they will sneak a narrow victory.

Prediction: 1-2

Tottenham Hotspur V Manchester United

4pm GMT, White Hart Lane, London

Spurs will have been disappointed not to have won at QPR last week and this will be a much tougher test for them. They have scored more goals away from home than they have scored at home and they're only two points behind second placed Chelsea. If results go their way they could be up to third in the table.

Gareth Bale is Spurs outstanding fantasy performer with Aaron Lennon and Jermaine Defoe doing well too.

United are seven points clear at the top of the table and it doesn't look like anyone will catch them. They will be looking to get some revenge after losing at home to Spurs earlier in the season. They have won more away games and scored more away goals than any other team.

It's very hard to leave Robin van Persie out of any fantasy team and both Patrice Evra and Rafael da Silva are doing very well too.

I have a feeling this will be a very close game and could end up all square.

Prediction: 2-2

Monday January 21

Southampton V Everton

8pm GMT, St. Mary's Stadium, Southampton

Southampton got a great result at Villa last week and they followed it up by taking a point from Chelsea on Wednesday night. They have only lost twice in their last 12 games and have moved three points clear of the relegation zone in the process. They have only lost four of their 11 home games and they don't make it easy for any team to play against them.

Rickie Lambert looks to be the best fantasy prospect among the Southampton players with Jason Puncheon doing quite well at the moment too.

Everton have only lost one of their last 10 league games, but they draw too many games for their own good. Only City have lost less away games than them and they're still in the hunt for a top four spot. By the time they play this game they will know if they have a chance of moving back into the top four with a win.

Marouane Fellaini continues to be the best fantasy bet among the Everton players with Stephen Pienaar and Leighton Baines doing well too.

This could be a good game and I think it will end in a draw.

Prediction: 2-2

Wednesday January 23

Arsenal V West Ham United

7.45pm GMT, Emirates Stadium, London

Arsenal get to play their game in hand at home and it's a game they need to win. They have lost three home league games already this season, but they tend to score a lot at home on occasions. With the race for fourth place picking up pace a victory would be a huge boost for Arsenal.

With two games this week fantasy managers will be looking to bring in Arsenal players. Perhaps Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott and Kieran Gibbs might be worth considering.

West Ham don't travel too well and they have only scored five goals in 10 away games. They don't concede too many goals either though and they will make it tough for Arsenal to break them down. Relegation may not be a factor for them, but they need a few more points to make absolutely sure.

Even with two games this week it's hard to see West Ham players worth considering for fantasy managers.

I think Arsenal will continue to pour the misery on a West Ham team that don't travel well.

Prediction: 2-0

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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