Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Predictions For Premier League Gameweek 20

It's that time of the week again when I attempt to predict the outcomes of the upcoming Premier League games. I did quite well last week with two perfect scorelines, three correct outcomes and five incorrect. It means I increased my lead at the top of my predictions league as you can see from the table below.

NC 1 (1)Michael Sheehy1075+750
NC 2 (2)goonerdhanesh1015+305
NC 3 (3)Wayne Hubbard960+250
Down 4 (3)sodobo880-550
NC 5 (5)Rutland Gooner77500

Thursday January 1

Stoke City v Manchester United

12.45pm GMT, Britannia Stadium, Stoke

Stoke beat West Brom on Sunday and it was the first time this season that they managed two league wins in a row. They have saved their best performances for games against the better clubs and were a little unlucky to lose to United a few weeks ago. Their home form wasn't good at the start of the season, but they have won four of their last seven home games.

Despite recent good performances it's still not easy to see any Stoke players making a real difference for fantasy managers.

United are unbeaten in nine league games and they have won seven of those. Despite being third in the table United have only won two of their nine away games and have conceded more than they have scored on the road. They're 10 points behind the leaders at the halfway point and it looks like their current position is the best they can hope for.

Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and David de Gea are the United players most likely to bring in fantasy points at the moment.

I think Stoke have a real chance of getting something from this game and the chances are it will end in a draw.

Prediction: 1-1

Aston Villa v Crystal Palace

3pm GMT, Villa Park, Birmingham 

Villa have had a spate of red cards in recent games and have had to work very hard to get the results they got. They have no wins and only one goal in their last four games and they've the lowest scorers in the league with only 11 goals. They have only won two of their nine home games and are the lowest scorers at home too.

Brad Guzan is the Villa player most likely to do well for fantasy managers right now.

Palace got a good point away to QPR on Sunday, but they're still in the bottom three on goal difference. Palace have only won once in their last 13 games and have only won once away from home. It looks like Alan Pardew could be set to become their new manager and he will have his work cut out to keep them up.

With Mile Jedinak on international duty for the next few weeks at least I can't see any Palace players to recommend to fantasy managers.

I think this will be a very close game and a draw is the most likely outcome.

Prediction: 1-1

Hull City v Everton

3pm GMT, KC Stadium, Hull

Hull got their first win in 11 games last week and then followed it up with a defeat at home to the bottom club Leicester on Sunday. They are only outside the relegation zone on goal difference and they have failed to score in four of their last five games. They have only won once in their nine home games with only Villa and Burnley scoring less goals at home.

I don't see any Hull players making an impression for fantasy managers right now.

Everton have lost their last three games and have only taken four points in their last seven games. They have only won two of their 10 away games with only three teams conceding more away goals than Everton. They're a lot closer to the relegation zone than the top four and need to turn things around very quickly.

It's not easy for fantasy managers to pick Everton players at the moment, but Kevin Mirallas still looks like a reasonable choice to me.

This is a game both teams need to get a result from and I think it could end in a draw.

Prediction: 1-1

Liverpool v Leicester City

3pm GMT, Anfield, Liverpool

Liverpool won their last two games to move within five points of the top four and they seem to have found their goalscoring touch again too. They have only won four of their 10 home games though and Spurs are the only team in the top 10 to have scored less goals at home. They have taken to playing without a striker and I can only imagine a signing in that position is imminent even if Daniel Sturridge is due back from injury soon.

Raheem Sterling has been the best fantasy performer for Liverpool so far although Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana have done well recently.

Leicester finally won a game away to Hull on Sunday after a run of 13 games without a victory. Despite that run they're only three points from safety and their goal difference is no worse than the teams above them. They have lost eight of their 10 away games though with only Villa and QPR scoring less goals away from home.

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

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

Prediction: 3-0

Manchester City v Sunderland 

3pm GMT, Etihad Stadium, Manchester 

City were 2-0 up at home to Burnley on Sunday and looked set for their eighth league win in a row, but they were pegged back to draw 2-2. They missed the chance to close the gap to Chelsea to only one point and will have to cope without Yaya Toure shortly when he goes to the African Cup of Nations. City have only lost one of their nine home games, but the Etihad isn't quite the fortress it has been for the last few seasons.

David Silva looks like the City player to have at the moment and a must for fantasy managers.

Sunderland have only won once in their last nine games, but they're not an easy team to beat. They have drawn 11 of their 19 league games and are unbeaten in their last five away games with clean sheets in four of them. Their biggest problem is their lack of goals with only Villa and Burnley scoring less than them.

Costel Pantilimon has done really well since getting into the Sunderland team and is a very good fantasy option.

Despite their slip against Burnley I still expect City to win this game by a couple of goals at least.

Prediction: 2-0

Newcastle United v Burnley

3pm GMT, St. James's Park, Newcastle 

Newcastle beat Everton on Sunday to end a run of three defeats in a row and stay in the top half of the table. They have won five of their last six home games and they were the only team to beat Chelsea in the first half of the season. Alan Pardew will probably be gone before this game is played as he has been given permission to talk to Crystal Palace.

With Papiss Cisse suspended it's not easy to see what Newcastle players might do well for fantasy managers.

Burnley got a very good point away to City on Sunday and they're only in the relegation zone on goal difference. They have only won once in their last seven games, but they have made themselves very hard to beat against any team. They have only won once in their nine away games and only QPR have conceded more goals away from home.

Danny Ings and Tom Heaton have been the best fantasy performers for Burnley with George Boyd doing well in recent weeks too.

I think this will be another close game, but Newcastle should be good enough to win it.

Prediction: 2-1

Queens Park Rangers v Swansea City

3pm GMT, Loftus Road, London 

QPR are out of the relegation zone thanks to their home form and they have to keep picking up victories at home with their awful away record. They were held to a scoreless draw at home to Palace on Sunday and they need to win games against the teams below them. They might be only four points above the relegation zone, but only six teams have taken more points at home.

Charlie Austin has been the QPR player to have for fantasy managers at home in particular and there's no reason to expect that will change.

Swansea were well beaten at Liverpool on Monday night and they're down to ninth in the table. They have only won two of their nine away games and only managed nine goals in those games. Their home form is good, but they will have to improve away from home if they are to improve on their current position.

Gylfi Sigurdsson has been the best fantasy performer for Swansea this season while Wilfried Bony and their defenders haven't done too badly either.

I think this game could go either way and I have a feeling it will end all square.

Prediction: 2-2

Southampton v Arsenal

3pm GMT, St. Mary's Stadium, Southampton 

Southampton got a very good draw at home to Chelsea on Sunday and they're still in the top four after a tough run of games recently. They have some more tough games coming up and will hang on to fourth place if they don't lose this game. They have won six of their 10 home games and no other team has scored more goals at home.

Southampton's defenders have been very good for fantasy managers this season while Graziano Pelle has performed consistently and Sadio Mane has looked good in recent weeks.

Arsenal have taken six points out of six from their festive programme so far, but this will be the toughest of their three games. They have found some consistency recently with 16 points from their last seven games and a win in this game will move them into fourth place at worst. Only three teams have taken more away points than Arsenal and only the top two have scored more away goals.

Alexis Sanchez is the must have Arsenal player for fantasy managers while Santi Cazorla has been very good in recent weeks.

This looks like it will be yet another very close encounter and I think Arsenal might just have enough to win by the odd goal.

Prediction: 1-2

West Ham United v West Bromwich Albion

3pm GMT, Upton Park, London

West Ham have lost their last two games against Chelsea and Arsenal to drop to sixth place in the table. Before Arsenal beat them they had taken 19 points from their previous seven home games and they are a tough proposition on their own patch. Only Chelsea and United have won more home games than West Ham and a win could see them move up to fifth place again.

Stewart Downing has been the best fantasy performer in the West Ham team while players such as Andy Carroll, Aaron Cresswell and Carl Jenkinson should be considered too. 

West Brom have parted ways with Alan Irvine as they sit just one point above the relegation zone. They have lost their last three games and have taken only four points from their last nine games. They have only won two of their nine away games with only QPR and Villa scoring less goals away from home.

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

I think West Ham should be good enough at home to win this game by a couple of goals.

Prediction: 2-0

Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea

5.30pm GMT, White Hart Lane, London

Spurs got a good draw at home to United on Sunday, but Chelsea will be an even tougher proposition for them. They have taken 20 points in their last 10 games and all six of their wins in those games were by the same 2-1 scoreline. They have lost four of their 10 home games and have only scored 11 goals in those 10 games.

Christian Eriksen, Harry Kane and Nacer Chadli all look like pretty good fantasy options and Hugo Lloris isn't doing too badly either but they might not be the best choices in this game.

Chelsea were held to a draw at Southampton on Sunday, but they kept their three point lead at the top of the table when City drew too. Only City have won more away games and scored more away goals than Chelsea. Winning the league won't be easy for them though with a campaign against them if Jose Mourinho is to be believed.

Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa are all very good fantasy choices as are the Chelsea defenders.

Spurs very rarely get anything out of a game with Chelsea and I think they will lose this one too.

Prediction: 1-3

That's it for today.

See you tomorrow.

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