Friday, 30 August 2013

Predictions For Premier League Gameweek Three

It's that time of the week again when I attempt to predict the outcomes of the upcoming Premier League games. After playing twice in week one both Chelsea and Villa have no league fixture this week with Chelsea playing in the European super cup. Fantasy managers have to make sure they can put out a full team and a few of them will no doubt be using their wild card or taking a points hit by bringing in more than one player.

Last week wasn't a great one for me with no perfect scorelines, five correct outcomes and five incorrect on my blog. Unfortunately I filled in one of the scores wrongly in the competition and ended the week with -5 points. It means I'm not even in the top ten of my league and I need to start making ground up quickly. 

My fantasy team didn't have a great week either with only 37 points between 11 players. I wasn't too happy when all my first choice players played too with Robbie Brady on my bench and 11 points to his name. Hopefully I can turn it around this week and move back in the right direction agin.

Pos.   Player.                     Week.    Total

1.       Wayne Hubbard      45          130

2.       JustinLO1                 5           125

3.       kieranscully              40          120

4.       Goonerdhanesh       20          110

5.       TheDognash           -20          100

6.       Abu K                      10            95

7.       Paul Kingston          30            80

8.       Hitmans                   -5            75

9.       KildareGooner        -30           75

10.     Karl-Yngve Lund     10           70

Saturday August 31

Manchester City v Hull City

12.45pm BST, Etihad Stadium, Manchester

City won their first game comfortably at home to Newcastle, but got a rude awakening last week when they lost at Cardiff. Injuries have deprived them of some key defenders and Cardiff made them pay the price from corners. They will expect to bounce back at home to a newly promoted side and win by a few goals at least.

David Silva, Eden Dzeko and Sergio Aguero are the City players impressing for fantasy managers at the moment. 

Hull have looked solid in defence in their opening two games and won't be easy to break down for most teams. They don't have an awful lot going forward though and will need to improve on that front if they're going to stay up. They did very well to take all three points at home to Norwich last week after going down to 10 men in the first half.

Alan McGregor looks a good bargain bet for Hull and their other defenders have to be considered too. Brady isn't a bad bet either as he takes their penalties and is available at a good price.

I think City will bounce back and take all three points comfortably enough.

Prediction: 3-0

Cardiff City v Everton

3pm BST, Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff

Cardiff didn't show an awful lot in their opening week defeat, but were a different animal at home to City last week. They will need to do well at home if they are to stay up and last week was very encouraging from that perspective. They might have a better idea of their chances after the result of this game.

It's still not easy to know which Cardiff players to pick but Peter Whittingham and Aron Gunnarsson might not be a bad choice at home in particular.

Everton won't be happy with their inability to beat West Brom at home last week and it seems they could be the draw specialists again this season. They will need to be strong to cope with the threat Cardiff posed to City last week, but they have the players to do it. They need to start winning games against perceived weaker teams if they are going to keep pace at the right end of the table.

Seamus Coleman looks to be the real fantasy bargain in the Everton team with Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines worth considering too.

I think Everton might make it three out of three draws with Cardiff managing to hold them. 

Prediction: 1-1

Newcastle United v Fulham

3pm BST, St James' Park, Newcastle 

Newcastle have had a poor start to their season with no goals and only one point to show for their first two games. Yohan Cabaye has refused to play for them since Arsenal showed an interest in him and who knows what will happen if he doesn't leave. They need to start scoring goals and will see a home game against a Fulham team who usually don't travel well as an ideal chance to get their first win of the season.

With Cabaye on strike Hatem Ben Arfa is the player most likely to perform for Newcastle and fantasy managers too.

Fulham were well beaten at home by Arsenal last week but they got a win away to Sunderland in their first game. I'm not sure how they managed that considering the fact they only touched the ball once in their opponent's  area in the whole game. They showed enough going forward against Arsenal to suggest they will be alright this season but they need to sort the balance between defence and attack out.

Dimitar Berbatov is always a good fantasy bet but it's impossible to tell when he's going to go on a scoring streak. Darren Bent did his usual trick of scoring and doing little else last week but could be worth considering if he can get a regular place in the team. 

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

Prediction: 1-1

Norwich City v Southampton 

3pm BST, Carrow Road, Norwich

Norwich got a good draw at home to Everton in their first game and are never an easy proposition at home. Their away form is their problem though and the defeat to Hull last week showed it hasn't improved since last season. They need to make the most of their home games, but will find Southampton are no pushover.

When fit Robert Snodgrass is a good fantasy option and both Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Johan Elmander are worth considering too. 

Southampton are unbeaten so far and got a good win away to West Brom in their first game. They played well at home to Sunderland last week and never gave up after they went behind. They have bought well this summer and look more than capable of a top half finish.

Arthur Boruc, Luke Shaw and Jay Rodriguez aren't bad fantasy choices, but Rickie Lambert is by far the best option in the Southampton team. 

I think Southampton will make things very hard for Norwich and will get a point at least. 

Prediction: 1-1

West Ham United v Stoke City

3pm BST, Upton Park, London

West Ham have taken four points from their first two game and kept two clean sheets in the process. They are never an easy team to beat at home and will see this as an ideal chance to make it two wins out of two at home. They look like they might have a few more options oing forward this season and their defence has been very good so far.

Kevin Nolan has started very well again for West Ham and James Collins is looking good at a very reasonable price. 

Stoke almost sneaked a point away to Liverpool in their first game and came from behind to win against new boys Crystal Palace last week. They don't usually travel well and haven't really added to their squad from last season. Mark Hughes might be trying to change the way they play but he will need to bring in a few new players if heis going to do so.

Asmir Begovic is performing well in the Stoke goal and always worth picking for fantasy managers.

I think West Ham will get a narrow win in what could be a game of few chances.

Prediction: 1-0

Crystal Palace v Sunderland 

5.30pm BST, Selhurst Park, London

Palace have lost their first two games and will need to strengthen a fair deal before the window closes if they're going to have a chance of staying up. It looked good for them last week when they went ahead at Stoke, but they couldn't hold on and ended up losing. 

A brave fantasy manager might opt for Marouane Chamakh but Palace players are probably better off avoided.

Sunderland played very well when they lost at home to Fulham in their first game and then got a point at Southampton last week after being outplayed. They have a lot of new players to bed in yet and the return of Steven Fletcher from injury will be a boost. When Paolo di Canio eventually gets the tem playing the way he wants they will surely start to climb the table.

When Fletcher is fully fit he could be the best fantasy choice in the Sunderland team.

Sunderland might have a lot of settling in to do yet, but they should still have enough to win this game.

Prediction: 1-2

Sunday September 1

Liverpool v Manchester United

1.30pm BST, Anfield, Liverpool

Liverpool have won their first two games and kept two clean sheets in the process. Daniel Sturridge has scored the only goal in each game to beat both Stoke and Villa, but United will be a much tougher test. If Liverpool can get a win it could be just the boost they need to get them back among the top teams in the Premier League.

Sturridge is the stand out player for Liverpool so far with Simon Mignolet performing well too. If Luis Suarez stays he could be a very good buy once his ban is over. Besides them all of the Liverpool defenders need to be considered too if they are going to continue to keep clean sheets.

United had a very good opening win away to Swansea, but their draw at home to Chelsea was a bit of a damp squib. Games between Liverpool and United are usually feisty affairs and hopefully this will be a much better game. If United are going to retain their title these are the type of games they need to be getting something from.

Robin van Persie remains the best fantasy choice in the United team, but Wayne Rooney could be worth a punt now that he has decided to stay.

I think this will be a very close and hard fought game which will probably end in a draw.

Prediction: 1-1

West Bromwich Albion v Swansea City

1.30pm BST, The Hawthorns, Birmingham 

West Brom haven't scored a league goal yet but their draw away to Everton was a lot better than their opening day defeat at home to Southampton. They are missing Romelu Lukaku and it's hard to see where the goals might come from at the moment. Their home form saw them finish in the top half last season and they will need to rediscover it to avoid a scrape at the wrong end of the table.

I thought Ben Foster was going to be a good fantasy performer this season, but with him injured I'm not sure which West Brom players to recommend.

Swansea have lost their first two games although they were both against very good opponents and are bottom of the table. They have European football to play this season too and old find themselves stretched to the limit. They need to get a few points on the board and I'm sure they will move up the table before too long.

At the moment Wilfred Bony and Pablo Hernandez look like they could be good fantasy choices and Miguel Michu cannot be discounted of course.

Prediction 1-1

Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur

4pm BST, Emirates Stadium, London

Arsenal have come through very well since their opening day defeat against Villa and looked good going forward against Fulham last week. They still have a very thin squad and their defence hasn't exactly filled anyone with confidence so far. They will really want to beat their local rivals and it promises to be a tense and exciting game.

Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud are all well worth considering for fantasy managers.

Spurs are one of only two teams with a 100% record in the league after winning their first two games by the same 1-0 scoreline. They haven't scored a goal from open play yet with their two goals coming from the penalty spot and they haven't conceded any goals. I haven't been overly impressed with them so far and Arsenal will offer them a much tougher test than Palace or Swansea did.

Roberto Soldado is the stand out player for Spurs so far but a few others might step up too with Gareth Bale on his way out. The Spurs defenders have all started very well too and Jan Vertonghen might be the best bet among them.

Arsenal have won this fixture 5-2 for the last two seasons but they will be happy to get any victory in this game and I think they will win narrowly. 

Prediction: 3-2

That's it for this week.

See you next week.

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