Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Predictions for Premier League Gameweek 18

It's that time of the week again when I attempt to predict the outcomes of the upcoming Premier League games. I didn't do too well with the weekend games with one perfect scoreline, three correct outcomes and six incorrect. It means I stay eighth in my predictions league and my chances of catching the leaders seem to decrease with each passing week.  Here's a look at how the top 10 in my predictions league stands.

Pos.    Player.                        Week.    Total

1.         Wayne Hubbard          100       1260

2.         Paul Kingston                10       1195

3.         KildareGunner              125      1110

4.         MickTheGooner             70      1090

5.         Abu K                            10      1010

6.         Karl-Yngve Lund            65        945

7.         Sulabh                           65        910

8.         Michael Sheehy             45        885

9.         Gaurav Ahuja                60        830

10.       goonerdhanesh             55       795

Thursday December 26

Hull City v Manchester United

12.45pm GMT, KC Stadium, Hull

Hull have only lost one of their eight home games and have only conceded three goals in those games. They have the best defensive record at home and have already beaten Liverpool at the KC Stadium. They will make things very hard for United but they don't score too many home goals themselves with only Villa scoring less so far.

Allan McGregor has done very well in goal for Hull in their home games in particular.

United are still only eighth in the table but they have done well away from home with four wins and 17 goals in their eight games. No other team has scored more away goals than United and they are unbeaten in their last five away games since losing consecutive away games to Liverpool and City. They will be expected to win this game and their next few games too and they could get back in the title picture if they can do that.

Wayne Rooney looks to be the best fantasy bet in the United team while Danny Welbeck, Adnan Januzaj and Patrice Evra should all be considered too.

I think United might just edge a very tight game to continue their progress up the table.

Prediction: 1-2

Aston Villa v Crystal Palace

3pm GMT, Villa Park, Birmingham 

Villa have lost their last three games but they're still six points above the relegation zone. They have scored less goals at home than any other team and no other team has won less games at home either. If they're going to keep a safe distance to the bottom three they cannot afford to lose at home to one of those teams. 

It's not easy to pick Villa players at the moment but Brad Guzan hasn't been too bad for fantasy managers this season.

Palace had a good run until two games ago, but they followed up their narrow defeat against Chelsea by being well beaten at home to Newcastle. They have lost seven of their eight away games and have only scored four goals in the process. They're only one point away from safety though and will feel they have a genuine chance of getting something in this game.

Marouane Chamakh has been the Palace player impressing recently and it's hard to see who else to pick this week with him suspended.

This has all the hall marks of a scoreless draw considering the scoring records of these two teams, but I think Villa will win it.

Prediction: 2-0

Cardiff City v Southampton 

3pm GMT, Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff

Cardiff have only won once in their last seven games but they're still four points clear of trouble at the wrong end of the table. They're not an easy team to beat but have had problems scoring goals with only Sunderland and Palace scoring less than them. The behaviour of the owner hasn't made the manager's job any easier and who knows what will happen next or how it will affect the team.

David Marshall, Steven Caulker and Peter Whittingham have been the best fantasy performers in the Cardiff team so far this season.

Southampton haven't won in their last six games and haven't kept a clean sheet in eight. They have only won two of their eight away games and have only scored six goals in the process, but they have the joint best defensive record away from home. They started the season very well but they need to get a win to try to get things back on track. 

Adam Lallana has been the best fantasy performer for Southampton and is well worth having for any fantasy manager.

This is a big game for both teams who need to get a win badly and I have a feeling neither of them will as it will end in a draw.

Prediction: 1-1

Chelsea v Swansea City

3pm GMT, Stamford Bridge, London

Chelsea are two points off the top of the table and have taken 22 points from their eight home games so far. They fought hard to get a point at Arsenal on Monday night and will want to follow that up with a win in this game. They certainly have the squad to win the title but they have to show the same commitment and concentration against the teams in the lower reaches of the league as they did against Arsenal.

Eden Hazard and John Terry are probably the best fantasy choices in the Chelsea team.

Swansea have won more games away from home than at home and no other team has conceded less goals away from home. They have some very tough games coming up and will be greatful for the seven point gap they have from the relegation zone. They play good football and can be a handful for most teams but they have had their fair share of injury problems this season.

Jonjo Shelvey is probably the Swansea player most likely to perform for fantasy managers. 

I think Chelsea should be good enough at home to take all three points.

Prediction: 3-1

Everton v Sunderland

3pm GMT, Goodison Park, Liverpool

Everton have only lost one league game this season and are one of only three teams unbeaten at home. They are only two points behind the leaders and have the best defensive record in the league too. They have a run of games coming up which they have a real chance of taking maximum points from and in a few weeks time they could see themselves on top of the table if they can do so.

Seamus Coleman, Tim Howard, Phil Jagielka, Kevin Mirallas, Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku are all very good fantasy choices and Leighton Baines is due to return soon too.

Sunderland are bottom of the table without an away win and only two goals in their eight away games. They have improved defensively in recent weeks but Wes Brown is suspended and John O'Shea is a doubt with an injury. Lack of goals is a real worry for Sunderland and they will need to take an average of three points from every two games for the rest of the season if they are to avoid relegation.

I can't see any Sunderland players to recommend to fantasy managers at the moment.

I can't see anything other than an Everton win in this game.

Prediction: 2-0

Newcastle United v Stoke City

3pm GMT, St. James' Park, Newcastle

Newcastle have taken 19 points from their last eight games and are only six points off the top of the league. They have kept clean sheets in four of those games including keeping Chelsea, Spurs and United scoreless. They have Arsenal and and City at home in their next four games and those results could have a big bearing on their season.

Yohan Cabaye, Tim Krul, Loric Remy and Mathieu Debuchy are all looking pretty good for fantasy managers at the moment.

Stoke have lost only once in their last eight games and have moved into the top half of the table. They have lost five of their eight away games though and have only won one of them. They will have their work cut out against an in form Newcastle team.

Asmir Begovic and Ryan Shawcross look like the best fantasy options in the Stoke team.

I think Newcastle will continue their good run with a win in this game.

Prediction: 2-0

Norwich City v Fulham

3pm GMT, Carrow Road, Norwich

Norwich have taken 11 points in their last seven games to move six points clear of the relegation zone. They have only lost two of their eight home games and have only conceded eight goals in those games. They have found it a bit difficult to score goals, but will hope to be able to put a few past the team with the worst defensive record in the league.

Leroy Fer and Gary Hooper look like they could be good fantasy buys particularly considering their opponents this week.

Fulham have lost eight of their last nine games despite looking like they have improved under Rene Meulensteen. They have conceded 24 goals in those nine games and have lost six of their eight away games with only Norwich conceding more goals away from home. If they are going to give themselves a chance of staying up this is exactly the type of game they need to take something from.

It's not easy to see any Fulham players to recommend at the moment.

I think Norwich have shown enough in recent weeks to suggest they will win this game.

Prediction: 2-1

Tottenham Hotspur v West Bromwich Albion

3pm GMT, White Hart Lane, London

Spurs have only won three of their eight home games and only Villa have scored less goals at home. They got a very good win at Southampton at the weekend and Tim Sherwood was given the vacant manager's post on the back of that performance. Despite a couple of thrashings by City and Liverpool they're only four points outside the top four and six points behind the league leaders.

Emmanuel Adebayor started his first league game of the season against Southampton and scored twice and he could be worth a fantasy punt if Sherwood gives him a run in the team.

West Brom took their first point in five games at home to Hull last week to move three points clear of the relegation zone. They welcomed Ben Foster back from injury in that game and he might be just the impetus they need to tighten up their defence. They have only won once in eight away games but that was at the champions ground and shows what they are capable of.

It's hard to see any West Brom players who are making an impact for fantasy managers right now.

This is a game Spurs need to and have to win and I think they will do just that,

Prediction: 2-0

West Ham United v Arsenal

3pm GMT, Upton Park, London

West Ham have only won once in their last 10 games and are just a point above the relegation zone. They invested heavily in injury prone Andy Carroll last summer and he hasn't kicked a ball in anger for them since then. They have only won two of their eight home games and have only scored eight goals in those games.

It's hard to see any West Ham players impressing for fantasy managers at the moment.

Arsenal have only taken two points in their last three games and have dropped back to second place on goal difference behind Liverpool. They have won five of their eight away games though and no other team has scored more goals away from home. With the exception of the 6-3 defeat at City in their last away game they have been impressive defensively away from home.

Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott all look good fantasy bets to me while Per Mertesacker and Wojciech Szczesny are both doing well too.

Arsenal need to get back on track and a I think will do just that with a narrow victory.

Prediction: 1-2

Manchester City v Liverpool

5.30pm GMT, Etihad Stadium, Manchester 

City have an incredible home record with eight wins out of eight and 35 goals scored. They let in three in their last home game against Arsenal, but scored six and will be confident of putting a few past Liverpool too. If City win this game they will overtake Liverpool and could even take over at the top of the table.

David Silva and Yaya Toure are the must have City players with Sergio Aguero and Pablo Zabaleta injured while Vincent Kompany and Alvaro Negredo have to be considered too.

Liverpool are top of the table thanks to Luis Suarez scoring 19 goals in 12 games. They have only won three of their eight away games though and have found clean sheets hard to come by. If they are as open as they have been in recent games they could pay a heavy price against the City goal scoring machine.

Suarez is a must have for fantasy managers and both Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling have done really well in recent weeks.

This could be a very open game and if it is I think City's overall quality will see them through against a Suarez inspired Liverpool.

Prediction: 3-2

That's it for this week.

See you next week.

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