Wednesday, 24 December 2014

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 did reasonably well last week with one perfect result, four correct outcomes and five incorrect outcomes. Those results left me still on top of my predictions league as you can see from the table below.

PositionPlayer NamePTSTWBB
NC 1 (1)Michael Sheehy950+4510
NC 2 (2)goonerdhanesh900+555
Up 3 (4)sodobo860+1505
Down 4 (3)Wayne Hubbard845+10010
NC 5 (5)Rutland Gooner650+100

Friday December 26

Chelsea v West Ham United

12.45pm GMT. Stamford Bridge, London

Chelsea have won all eight of their home games and only Southampton have scored more goals at home. This is the fourth time they have been on top of the table at Christmas and they won the title the other three times. They might not have it all their own way against a good West Ham side, but they will be strong favourites to win this game.

Eden Hazard has been in great form for Chelsea at home in particular while Cesc Fabregas, Diego Costa and all of Chelsea's defenders are very good fantasy choices too. 

West Ham have had a very good season so far, but this will be their toughest test to date. They have only lost two of their eight away games and only the top two have scored more goals away from home. They have taken 13 points in their last five games and only conceded three goals in those games.

Stewart Downing has made himself almost a must have for fantasy managers while Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho are pretty good purchases too.

I think West Ham will make a real go of this game, but might just lose by the odd goal.

Prediction: 2-1

Burnley v Liverpool

3pm GMT, Turf Moor, Burnley

Burnley lost away to Spurs last week and slipped back into the relegation zone as a result, but only on goal difference. They have only lost three of their home games and are unbeaten in their last four at home. They have found goals hard to come by though and no other team has scored less goals at home.

Danny Ings and Tom Heaton are the Burnley players most likely to perform for fantasy managers.

Liverpool got a late point at home to Arsenal on Sunday and need to put a good run together before they fall too far off the pace for a top four finish. They have lost five of their eight away games and only QPR have conceded more goals away from home. Liverpool have only won twice in their last nine league games and they have failed to score in four of those games.

There are no Liverpool players impressing for fantasy managers at the moment, but Raheem Sterling and Steven Gerrard are the players most likely to do so. 

Burnley are not an easy team to beat, but I think they will lose this game narrowly.

Prediction: 1-2

Crystal Palace v Southampton 

3pm GMT, Selhurst Park, London

Palace are only outside the relegation zone on goal difference and have only won once in their last 11 games. They have failed to score in three of their last four games and are looking to bring in a striker in the January transfer window. They have only won twice in their eight home games and only three other teams have scored less goals at home.

Mile Jedinak is still the Palace player most likely to succeed for fantasy managers with Yannick Bolasie impressing in recent weeks too.

Southampton got their first win in six games against Everton on Saturday. They had a tough run of fixtures and didn't do too well in them, but that win over Everton might just have helped them to turn the corner. They have lost four of their eight away games and they have the best defence away from home as well as being the lowest scorers on the road in the top half of the table.

Graziano Pelle seems to have found some form again and he's a decent fantasy purchase along with most of the Southampton defenders.

I can see this game being a very close encounter and a draw is probably the most likely outcome.

Prediction: 1-1

Everton v Stoke City

3pm GMT, Goodison Park, Liverpool

Everton have only won once in their last five games and they're 10 points outside the top four with the season nearly halfway completed. They have only won three of their eight home games and no other team has conceded more goals at home than Everton. Only QPR and Leicester have conceded more goals overall than Everton and they're not going to improve until they sort out their defensive problems. 

Usually Leighton Baines, Romelu Lukaku and Seamus Coleman would be good fantasy purchases, but they're just not doing it at the moment.

Stoke were beaten at home by Chelsea on Monday night and they're only four points above the relegation zone despite playing well this season. They have only won once in their last six games and have only won two of their nine away games. They have performed well against the better teams in the league so far and they will certainly think they have a chance against a struggling Everton team.

I can't see any Stoke players who are worth recommending to fantasy managers at the moment.

This is a game Everton need to win and I think they will just about manage to do so.

Prediction: 2-1

Leicester City v Tottenham Hotspur 

3pm GMT, King Power Stadium, Leicester

Leicester haven't won in their last 12 games and they failed to score in eight of those games too. They have only won once at home in their eight games and only Everton have conceded more goals at home. They're five points from safety with the midway point of the season approaching and teams who are at the bottom of the table at Christmas nearly always get relegated.

I can't see any Leicester players who might remotely interest fantasy managers at the moment.

Spurs have taken 16 points from their last eight games and the five games they won in that run were all by the same 2-1 scoreline. Only the top two have won more away games than Spurs and they have taken more points on the road than they have at home. They're only four points outside the top four and a win away to the bottom club would help them to close that gap.

Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane are looking very good for Spurs at the moment while Nacir Chadli is also worth considering now that he's back from injury.

I think Spurs will continue their impressive away form with yet another win on the road.

Prediction: 1-3

Manchester United v Newcastle United

3pm GMT, Old Trafford, Manchester

United were held to a draw at Villa on Saturday to end their run of six league victories in a row. Only Chelsea have won more home games than United and they have only conceded one goal in winning their last four home games. Despite their impressive recent results they're still 10 points behind Chelsea and I can't see them making up that difference.

Robin van Persie has been the best fantasy performer in recent weeks for United, but Wayne Rooney, Radamel Falcao and Juan Mata have to be considered too as does Angel di Maria now that he's back from injury.

Newcastle were beaten at home by Sunderland on Sunday and have lost three games in a row in all competitions since they beat Chelsea. They prefer to play counter attacking football and should get the chance to do so in this game, but they will have to be at their best defensively to have any chance. They have only won two of their nine away games and have only scored eight goals in those nine games.

On his day Papiss Cisse can be an excellent fantasy choice, but he can be inconsistent which makes him difficult to choose. 

I think United should have more than enough to take the three points in this game.

Prediction: 3-1

Sunderland v Hull City

3pm GMT, Stadium of Light, Sunderland 

Sunderland won away to Newcastle last Sunday to move four points clear of the relegation zone. They have only lost once in their last eight games, but they have now drawn 10 of their 17 league games. Sunderland have only won once in their nine home games, but their six home draws show how difficult they are to beat with only Arsenal and City winning away to them so far.

Costel Pantilimon has done very well since making the goalkeeper's shirt his own and is a very good fantasy purchase at the moment. 

Hull have only taken four points in their last 10 games and they failed to score in seven of those games. They haven't won away from home since the opening day of the season and have found goals hard to come by too. Their bad run has seen them drop into the relegation zone and it's a long way from how close they came to winning the FA Cup last May.

I can't see any Hull players who might make a difference for fantasy managers right now.

I think Sunderland will manage a rare win against a team who are only marginally better than Leicester at the moment.

Prediction: 1-0

Swansea City v Aston Villa

3pm GMT, Liberty Stadium, Swansea

Swansea got a much needed win away to Hull in their last game after losing three of their previous five games. They have won five of their nine home games and can be a match for any team on their home patch. They will take the game to Villa which could be just the way Villa want them to play.

If they're fit to play and chosen both Wilfried Bony and Gylfi Sigurdsson are pretty good fantasy choices.

Villa got a good point at home to United on Saturday  especially after getting a red card for the second game in a row. Villa have done very well to take 11 points from their nine away games with only four goals scored in those nine games. After a very bad patch Villa have made themselves difficult to beat and have only lost once in seven games.

Christian Benteke is possibly worth considering for fantasy managers, but it's hard to choose players from a team who score so few goals.

I think this will be a close affair with a draw the most likely outcome.

Prediction: 1-1

West Bromwich Albion v Manchester City

3pm GMT, The Hawthorns, Birmingham 

West Brom have lost five of their last seven games and failed to score in four of them. Their only win in that run was against a Villa team reduced to 10 men for most of the game. They have only won two of their nine home games and are only two points above the bottom three with three tough games to come.

I can't see any West Brom players to interest fantasy managers right now.

City have won their last six league games in a row and kept clean sheets in four of them. They have taken more points away from home than any other team and scored more away goals too. They have coped with the absence of Sergio Aguero very well so far with their defensive improvement being a key factor.

David Silva is back with with a bang for City while Yaya Toure has found some form recently too.

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

Prediction: 0-2

Arsenal v Queens Park Rangers

5.30pm GMT, Emirates Stadium, London

Arsenal just can't find any consistency, but they have won three of their last four home games. They're four points outside the top four with trips to West Ham and Southampton to come after this game. Their injury problems have hindered them badly so far and their squad could be pushed to the limit in the next week.

Alexis Sanchez is the must have Arsenal player for fantasy managers with Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla looking good in recent weeks too.

QPR have lost all eight of their away games so far and they're the lowest scorers away from home too. Not only that but they have conceded more goals away from home than any other team. They will do well to stay up based on their home form only, but their defensive record suggests that will be the only way they stay up.

Charlie Austin is a must have for fantasy managers when QPR are at home in particular, but he won't find it so easy in these games.

I think Arsenal should be more than good enough to win this game by at least a couple of goals.

Prediction: 3-1

That's it for this week.

See you next week.

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