Friday, 21 March 2014

Predictions For Premier League Gameweek 31

It's that time of the week again when I attempt to predict the outcomes of the upcoming Premier League games. It's a double week for 10 teams with 15 games altogether and fantasy managers will be trying to get as many players as possible playing twice. With the right line up and captain this week there's a chance for plenty of points to be won.

I didn't fare too well yet again last week with one perfect scoreline, three correct outcomes and six incorrect outcomes. It means I'm still seventh in my predictions league with only eight weeks to go and it looks like the prize money won't be going my way. Here's a look at how my predictions league stands.

PositionPlayer NamePTSTWBB
NC 1 (1)  Wayne Hubbard1905+8020
NC 2 (2)  MickTheGooner1855+4520
NC 3 (3)  Karl-Yngve Lund1790+7020
NC 4 (4)  Abu K1680+2515
Up 5 (6)  Paul Kingston1615+4015
Down 6 (5)  KildareGunner1605-100
NC 7 (7)  Michael Sheehy1495+4015
NC 8 (8)  goonerdhanesh1355+655
NC 9 (9)  Sulabh121000
NC 10 (10)  Gaurav Ahuja88500

Saturday March 22

Chelsea v Arsenal

12.45pm GMT, Stamford Bridge, London

Chelsea are top of the table with eight games to go and the only unbeaten team at home. They were beaten at Villa last week though and all of the teams chasing them won. This is a game they have to win to try to keep the chasing pack at bay.

Eden Hazard and John Terry remain the best fantasy choices in the Chelsea team with all of their other defenders worth considering too. They have only one game this week though while the other contenders all play twice.

Arsenal have won nine of their 15 away games and kept in touch at the top with a hard fought win at Spurs last week. This is a game they cannot afford to lose and probably need to win to further their title ambitions. They haven't performed well away to the top clubs this season and need to change that in this game, but it won't be easy with so many of their best players injured.

Arsenal play twice this week and both Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Olivier Giroud could possibly do well for fantasy managers along with Santi Cazorla.

Chelsea have never lost a home game under Jose Mourinho and they shouldn't lose this one either, but as always I will opt for an Arsenal win.

Prediction: 1-2

Cardiff City v Liverpool

3pm GMT, Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff

Cardiff were denied a point very late on at Everton last week and are still in the relegation zone. They have taken seven points in their last four home games and will need to take plenty of points in their remaining four home games if they're going to stay up. It won't be easy against the most in form team in the league.

I still can't see any Cardiff players to make an impression between now and the end of the season.

Liverpool are in great form at the moment and could well end up with over 100 league goals this season. They have taken 13 points in their last five away games and scored 15 goals in the process. They have a real chance of winning the league and their fate could be decided by their home games with City and Chelsea if they keep winning their other games.

Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Steven Gerrard are must have players for fantasy managers with Liverpool playing twice this week.

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

Prediction: 1-3

Everton v Swansea City

3pm GMT, Goodison Park, Liverpool 

Everton left it late to beat Cardiff last week, but the win keeps their hopes of finishing fifth very much alive. They have only lost once in their 14 home games and will want to keep the pressure on Spurs by winning this game. With two games in hand and only two points to make up they are looking good to grab that fifth spot.

Seamus Coleman continues to rack up the fantasy points and Romelu Lukaku is a good buy this week too with Everton playing twice.

Swansea are slipping dangerously close to the drop zone and the home defeat to West Brom last week was a real blow. They are only four points above the bottom three after taking only 11 points in their last 15 games. They have only won three of their 14 away games and will find it hard to take anything from this game.

Swansea players are looking less likely by the week to perform for fantasy managers.

I think Everton will have too much for Swansea and continue their pursuit of fifth place with a win.

Prediction: 2-0

Hull City v West Bromwich Albion

3pm GMT, KC Stadium, Hull

Hull are only five points clear of the relegation zone after taking only seven points in their last 10 games. Their good home form has deserted them and they have only taken one point and scored two goals in their last five home games. With an FA Cup semi final coming up they need to put relegation fears behind them so they can concentrate on getting to the final.

Hull players haven't exactly impressed for fantasy managers recently even if they do have two games this week.

West Brom eventually managed their first win under Pepe Mel last week to give themselves a little breathing space in the relegation fight. Their win was their first one in nine league games and it moved them three points above the bottom three. They have only won two of their 14 away games but will feel they have a chance against a team who have struggled at home recently. 

I can't see any West Brom players for fantasy managers to consider either.

This is a huge game for both teams and the winner will take a giant step towards safety. I think it will end in a draw though which is far from perfect but acceptable for both teams.

Prediction: 1-1

Manchester City v Fulham 

3pm GMT, Etihad Stadium, Manchester 

City are six points behind Chelsea with three games in hand and couldn't ask for a better home game. They have won 12 of their 13 home games and are the highest scorers at home with only Arsenal conceding less goals on their own ground. With Chelsea losing last week City have to be favourites again and they have their fate in their own hands too.

With two games this week there are loads of City players to choose from with Yaya Toure and David Silva the best of them in my opinion.

Fulham got a great win at home to Newcastle last week to keep their hopes of survival alive. It was their first win in 10 games and they're still four points away from safety, but a defeat would surely have spelt the end for them. Their biggest problem has been the amount of goals they concede with only Norwich conceding more away from home and no other team conceding more at home or overall.

I still can't see any Fulham players to recommend to fantasy managers.

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

Prediction: 3-0

Newcastle United v Crystal Palace

3pm GMT, St. James Park, Newcastle 

Newcastle are very difficult to figure out but it seems they can't win without Loric Remy in the team. He's still injured but surely they can find someone to get the goals against a Palace side who don't travel well. Newcastle have lost seven of their last 11 games and failed to score in eight of them.

With Remy out injured I can't see any Newcastle players making an impression. 

Palace scrapped for a 0-0 draw at Sunderland last week and it was a huge result for them. They have lost 10 of their 14 away games and only scored six goals in those 14 games. They're only three points above the relegation zone and have only taken two points and scored one goal in their last four games.

I can't see any Palace players to choose for fantasy managers this week.

I think Newcastle might just be able to muster enough to take the three points in this game.

Prediction: 1-0

Norwich City v Sunderland 

3pm GMT, Carrow Road, Norwich

Norwich will be glad they're playing at home as they have taken nine points and only conceded one goal in their last five home games. Only four teams have a better defensive record at home than Norwich, but no other team has scored less home goals than them. They're still four points clear of the relegation zone, but a defeat in this game would be a big blow for them.

With Norwich at home their defenders might be worth considering, but realistically their players are better off avoided for fantasy managers.

Sunderland had a great chance to move out of the bottom three last week, but they couldn't win at home to Palace. They have some very tough games left to play, but they have got games in hand on the teams above them. With their cup distractions out of the way they need league points and they need them now.

With two games this week I think Vito Mannone looks like a very good fantasy choice and Adam Johnson is a possibility too.

I think this will be a very close game and I have a feeling Sunderland might just sneak a victory.

Prediction: 1-2

West Ham United v Manchester United

5.30pm GMT, Upton Park, London

West Ham lost their last two games to slip back a little, but they're still six points above the bottom three. They have only won five of their 14 home games, but they did win their last three at home. They will be sure to give a struggling United team a very tough test as they usually do at home.

With two games this week Kevin Nolan, Andy Carroll and maybe some West Ham defenders should be considered by fantasy managers.

United were well beaten at home by Liverpool last week but they managed to progress to the last eight of the Champions League on Wednesday night. They have taken more points away from home than at home and only Liverpool have scored more away goals than United. The only way they will qualify for the Champions League is if they win it and even Europa League qualification will be a tough task.

With Robin van Persie possibly injured again the best United players to have for fantasy managers in a double week would seem to be Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Patrice Evra.

I think West Ham will give United a real run for their money, but the game might end in a draw.

Prediction: 1-1

Sunday March 23

Tottenham Hotspur v Southampton 

1.30pm GMT, White Hart Lane, London

Spurs have lost three of their last four league games and only scored one goal in those games. They have only won seven of their 15 home games and only scored 16 goals in those 15 games. They're still fifth in the table with eight games to go though and they will hope to keep that place with little chance of improving on it after losing to Arsenal last week.

It's not easy to see any Spurs players impressing the way they're playing at the moment.

Southampton still have a chance to overtake United and finish seventh if they can do well in their last eight games. They have only lost five of their 15 away games and only Chelsea have a better defensive record away from home. They will fancy their chances against a Spurs team with a lot of injuries and a lot of games played recently.

Southampton only play once this week, but players such as Jay Rodriguez and Adam Lallana are consistent performers for fantasy managers.

I think Southampton have a good chance of getting something from this game and might just snatch a draw.

Prediction: 1-1

Aston Villa v Stoke City

4pm GMT, Villa Park, Birmingham 

Villa had a great result at home to Chelsea last week and they need to build on that. They are up to tenth in the table and nine points clear of the relegation zone with nine games left to play. They have lost eight of their 15 home games though and have taken as many points away from home as at home.

Christian Benteke still looks like the best fantasy choice in the Villa team to me.

Stoke don't travel too well but their home form has put them in a relatively safe position alongside Villa on 34 points with eight games to go. They have only won once in their 15 away games with only Norwich and Fulham conceding more goals away from home. 

Like Villa there aren't too many Stoke players setting the fantasy world alight and they're probably best avoided.

I think Villa can pull off a remarkable feat for them by winning three home games in a row and more or less guaranteeing Premier League survival for another year.

Prediction: 2-1

Tuesday March 25

Arsenal v Swansea City

7.45pm GMT, Emirates Stadium, London

Arsenal will know coming into this game whether their title chances are still alive or not. With City up next they have to win this game and will be clear favourites to do just that. They have the best defensive record at home in the league with just seven goals conceded in 14 games.

Swansea have a tough week with trips to both Everton and Arsenal and will do well to get anything from either game. They could find themselves in a lot of trouble if they lose both games and will need to win three of their last seven games to stay up if they lose them both. 

I think Arsenal should be strong enough at home to take the three points.

Prediction: 2-0

Manchester United v Manchester City

7.45pm GMT, Old Trafford, Manchester 

United have struggled at home by their standards this season with five defeats in 14 league games and only 18 goals scored in those games. They have their pride to play for though and their fans will want them to do all they can to prevent City winning the title. It won't be an easy task for a team struggling for form and confidence.

City are a goal scoring machine at home and only Liverpool have scored more goals away from home than they have. They have actually taken more points away from home than United have at home. Despite not having the best away record this season they are unbeaten in their last eight away games and have taken 20 points in those games.

I think City will go to United, dominate the game and win by a couple of goals.

Prediction: 1-3

Newcastle United v Everton

7.45pm GMT, St. James Park, Newcastle 

Newcastle play their second home game in a week, but Everton will be a much tougher proposition than Palace. They have only won six of their 14 home games and only scored 18 goals in those games. They won their last home game 1-0 against Villa, but they had lost their previous four home games without scoring a goal. 

Everton haven't done so well away from home recently and have only won four of their 14 away games so far. They have only scored 14 goals in those games too and that away form has prevented them challenging for a top four spot. They need to improve their away form in their last five away games if they are to keep their hopes of finishing fifth alive.

I think Everton will be too good for Neecastle despite their recent poor record on the road.

Prediction: 1-2

Wednesday March 26

West Ham United v Hull City

7.45pm GMT, Upton Park, London 

West Ham play their second home game in a week and Hull should be an easier opponent than United. If they can win both games they should be safe in the Premier League for another season and in the top half of the table too. 

Hull have lost nine of their 14 away games but they have managed to win their last two. It's just as well for them that they have won those two away games as they're still only five points above the relegation zone. They won't find it easy to take anything from this game though and it looks like their fight to stay in the Premier League could go to the wire.

I think West Ham will win this game by a couple of goals.

Prediction: 2-0

Liverpool v Sunderland

8pm GMT, Anfield, Liverpool

 Liverpool just can't stop scoring goals and they will relish the chance to put pressure on the rest of the top four who have tougher games on paper this week. They're the highest scorers overall and only City have scored more home goals than them. They have won 12 of their 14 home games and will surely make it 13 out of 15.

Sunderland play their second away game of the week and they need points badly to get out of the bottom three. They lost their last away game to Arsenal but it was their first away defeat in six games. Their defence has been solid recently, but it will have to be even better to withstand Liverpool.

I think Liverpool's goal scoring ability will be too much for Sunderland and they will win by a couple of goals at least.

Prediction: 3-1

That's it for this week.

See you next week.

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