Premier League Preview 04-02-17

Saturday

Chelsea vs Arsenal ǀ 12:30 ǀ Stamford Bridge (Sky Sports)

In a London derby, Chelsea host Arsenal in order to extend their lead at the top by a possible 12 points.

Chelsea were held to a draw on Tuesday against Liverpool at Anfield, though they should have won as Simon Mignolet saved Diego Costa’s penalty. Arsenal, meanwhile, suffered an unlikely set-back in their bid to win the Premier League after losing 2-1 at home to Walter Mazzarri’s Watford.

The reverse fixture of this game was played earlier this season, with Arsenal winning 3-0 over Chelsea with goals coming from Mesut Özil, Alexis Sánchez and Theo Walcott. The defeat catalysed Conte’s Chelsea rebirth, as following that game Liverpool beat Chelsea 2-1 at Stamford Bridge forcing Conte to change to his 3-4-3 formation that saw Chelsea go on a 14 game win streak, making them title favourites.

Looking at form, both teams have taken 10 points from their past 5 league games. Upon looking at the respective home and away form, Chelsea have won all of their last 5 league games at home – and have won 9 in-a-row at home, only having dropped points at Stamford Bridge against Liverpool. Arsenal have only claimed 7 points away in their past 5 league games.

In terms of January signings, Arsenal signed former Nantwich Town player Cohen Bramall whereas Chelsea made no new signings however recalled promising centre-back Nathan Ake. Both teams were active in distributing youngsters on loan with Chelsea sending 9 youngsters out on loan compared to Arsenal’s 10.

PREDICTION: Chelsea 3 – 1 Arsenal

Crystal Palace vs Sunderland ǀ 15:00 ǀ Selhurst Park

Crystal Palace are hosting Sunderland this Saturday, as both teams search for a win that will help them survive in a fight against relegation.

With Sam Allardyce gaining his first win with Crystal Palace, it seems only one team is going into this game with some form of momentum. Sunderland haven’t won away since November, suggesting frailties on the road. Sunderland have failed to score in their last three games and pressure is building on David Moyes’ shoulders.

When these two relegation candidates last met it was The Eagles who won the match. Christian Benteke scored in the 93rd minute after a stellar Jermain Defoe bagged a brace. Previous history shows that statistically there isn’t a way to determine the result, as in the past 6 games there have been 2 draws, Sunderland victories and Sunderland defeats – however 15 goals from the past 4 games promises goals in what should be an entertaining encounter.

With Wilfried Zaha back from AFCON, Palace look much more of a threatening side than Sunderland, who are reliant upon Jermain Defoe as he scored 40% of Sunderland’s goals in the Premier League. 15% of Sunderland’s goals this season in the Premier League actually belong to a new Palace recruit. Patrick van Aanholt joined Palace from Sunderland in a move reported to be around £14m. van Aanholt worked with Allardyce last year during Sunderland’s superb fightback into the Premier League.

PREDICTION: Crystal Palace 3 – 0 Sunderland

Everton vs Bournemouth ǀ 15:00 ǀ Goodison Park

Ronald Koeman’s Everton side welcomes Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth to Goodison Park on Saturday – full of energy after a successful transfer window.

Everton, as a club, have been in great form recently. 10 points out of a possible 12 in the Premier League new year and they have signed brilliantly in the transfer window, signing Ademola Lookman for £10m and Morgan Schneiderlin for around £20m. These signings along with the rise in profile with youngster Tom Davies suggests that Everton have a good long-term future, and may even be considered outsiders to claim continental qualification.

Bournemouth on the other hand have had a somewhat disappointing start to 2017 in the Premier League, losing statistically (whoscored.com) their best player in Akéand only reaping 2 points from 4 games. Howe also has no new recruits in his aging team, with 2 of his top 3 players over 30. Their silver lining is Simon Francis returning to the frame after a 3-match suspension following his red-card in the enthralling 3-3 draw against Arsenal, although Callum Wilson being out for the rest of the season will certainly hit the team’s morale.

Previous history shows Everton should win this game, with the Toffee’s winning 50% of the time and Bournemouth winning a solitary once. Everton have not lost against Bournemouth in their last three meetings, winning twice and drawing away. With history and ability against them, The Cherries will have to work hard to fight for points against Koeman’s men.

PREDICTION: Everton 2 – 0 Bournemouth

Hull vs Liverpool ǀ 15:00 ǀ KCOM Stadium

Liverpool have started 2017 awfully and will look to make amends by beating Marco Silva’s new look Hull City.

Marco Silva has done savvy business in the January transfer window. Silva has signed two quick wingers in Kamil Grosicki and Lazar Marković to accompany Abel Hernandez going forward. Inserting pace on the wings will allow Hull to play counter-attacking football that has been so successful with Leicester last season and Liverpool in the 13/14 season. This has come at a cost though, as Robert Snodgrass moved to West Ham – a Premier League rival – for a fee believed to be around £10.2m. It will be interesting to see how they fare without their star Scotsman.

Liverpool fans have been far from pleased with what they have seen this January. Jürgen Klopp has made no new signings and Liverpool have been dumped out of the EFL and FA Cup, all whilst losing three home games in a row. Liverpool collected 3 points in 4 games in January, three draws against Sunderland, Manchester United and Chelsea. A silver lining for The Reds is that club legend Steven Gerrard has returned to Liverpool to coach the academy at Melwood.

History suggests Hull will be the victors due to the fact Hull have beaten Liverpool at home in their past three meetings; although Liverpool won the reverse fixture of this leg 5-1 in September with Hull only having two shots. With Hull 19th and struggling to find momentum, this game could go either way.

PREDICTION: Hull 1 – 2 Liverpool

Southampton vs West Ham ǀ 15:00 ǀ St Mary’s Stadium

Slaven Bilić is under pressure after West Ham lost 0-4 at the Olympic Stadium on Wednesday night whilst Southampton are on a run of form that is only better than bottom-of-the-table Sunderland.

Southampton have lost 5 of their last 6 games, but with fresh Italian signing Manolo Gabbiadini, they can expect a lot more than the 6 goals in their past 6 games. Gabbiadini is a £14m January transfer signing from Napoli who can play on his own at the top of the pitch, or he can slot just behind the main man and act as a trequartista. The Saints can only hope he can revive their slumbering team to stop their miserable form.

West Ham may mince the troubles the Olympic Stadium’s giving them, but their away form has been no better this season taking 11 points out of a possible 36 season.  This suggests away from home they are poor but at the moment that is actually on the contrary – 8 of these have come from the past 4 games. Signings José Fonte and Robert Snodgrass didn’t impress against Manchester City on Wednesday night, meaning they will have to work harder to get the fans on their side.

Southampton have won their past two fixtures against West Ham, with the most recent result going 0-3 to the Saints at the Olympic Stadium but with their recent form, the result could go either way. If Southampton win they will leapfrog West Ham in the table, but if The Hammers take the victory back to London, they could go back into the top half of the table where they spent most of last season.

PREDICTION: Southampton 2-1 West Ham

Watford vs Burnley ǀ 15:00 ǀ Vicarage Road

Watford could rise 5 places in the Premier League table with a win against Burnley – who are without a win all season away.

Walter Mazzarri’s men shocked the Emirates on Tuesday night after two goals in 15 minutes killed The Gunners. Watford are also undefeated in their last 3 Premier League games, which can be seen as a successful January for The Hornets as they also signed M’baye Niang from AC Milan, Mauro Zárate from Fiorentina and Tom Cleverley from Everton. These additions mean that Watford can go into the tail half of the season with a new energy and vigour about them.

Burnley have made a fortress of Turf Moor, winning 28 of their 29 Premier League points there. This means that their away form has been poor this season, conceding 22 goals and scoring just 4 in the 10 away games they’ve played this season. Sean Dyche needs to find a way out of this rut, as they can’t rely on their home form to carry them up the table and they are to play 3 of the top 6 teams in their remaining 6 games this season, however Robbie Brady (signed from Norwich) give them a new dimension on the left-hand side, with Premier League experience.

These sides have only met once in the Premier League, with Burnley winning 2-0 earlier this season. Before that the games was subject to 4 draws in a row and with three of those being scoring draws. Should this fixture follow the same trend it will be an entertaining game.

PREDICTION: Watford 2 – 0 Burnley

West Brom vs Stoke ǀ 15:00 ǀ The Hawthorns

Stoke are unbeaten in January and West Brom’s form isn’t half bad either for a mid-table club, losing just once in 5 games.

West Brom are having a solid season under Tony Pulis, with the versatile Matt Phillips being the shining light for the Baggies. An unsung hero for West Brom is their argentine midfielder Claudio Yacob, with the loyal servant making 3 tackles per game as well as 2 interceptions and clearances, as he blankets great but aging defender Gareth McAuley. With Jake Livermore also entering in frame to take over Darren Fletcher and add creativity, West Brom may have a solid end to the season.

Stoke are a side performing well and without the injuries of some of their star players, they could may be doing better than they are now. With Xherdan Shaqiri, Jack Butland and Glen Johnson out they are performing well, however a few eyebrows were raised when they let Bojan leave for Mainz on a loan. Stoke have signed troubled Saido Berahino for £12m to act as an alternative with Wilfried Bony, who has struggled this season.

Previous form suggests West Brom will win this relatively uninspiring game, as they have taken 10 points from the past 4 games. The game – of history is anything to go by – could be a feisty affair as there have been three red cards in the past three fixtures. One thing that should be guaranteed is a goal, as there hasn’t been a goalless draw in over 4 years.

PREDICTION: West Brom 2 – 2 Stoke

Tottenham vs Middlesbrough ǀ 17:30 ǀ White Hart Lane (BT Sport)

The expectation is for Tottenham to comfortably handle this game, but that only gives Middlesbrough less pressure and could therefore they could act as an underdog to help them win the game.

Tottenham are unbeaten in the league since early December (1-0 to Manchester United) and Pochettino’s men are looking like a very strong side that could be title winners in a few years to come. Tottenham ended Chelsea’s 14 game winning streak in January and have since potentially underperformed, even though they have won 3 out of 5 games. This is because they had to come from 2 goals down twice against Manchester City and at home to Wycombe (a team in the fourth tier of English football) and because they drew with Sunderland on Tuesday.

Middlesbrough have reinforced their striking options over January, signing former player Patrick Bamford from Chelsea and Rudy Gestede from championship Villa; this is because summer-signing Álvaro Negredo has somewhat underperformed since his arrival Tyneside, scoring 6 goals in 22 appearances. Middlesbrough are 3 places but 2 points clear of the relegation zone, meaning that they will still need to fight for the points in what will be an up-hill battle.

Tottenham have not lost in the league to Middlesbrough in nearly 9 years, and they won the reverse fixture of this leg 2-1. As Tottenham are 2nd in the league they will expect to win and they haven’t lost all season to a team outside of the top 6. Middlesbrough are capable of a comeback though, and they have the experience and ability to do it, but it’s unlikely.

PREDICTION: Tottenham 3 – 0 Middlesbrough

PREDICTION BETVICTOR BETTING ODDS (RESULTS) – 121.45/1 (£1 gets you £122.46)

PREDICTION BETVICTOR BETTING ODDS (SCORES) – 183815423/1 (£1 gets you £183,815,424… good luck)

 

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