After a decent start last weekend, it slowly went down hill, and I ended with a pitiful 4 from 8, which simply is not good enough. Once again there are some very hard fixtures to assess this coming weekend, but hopefully I can do much better than my attempt last weekend. My syndicate offers the chance to join in the fun with low stakes, which hopefully means that if it all goes wrong, it hasn’t cost any of us a lot of money. So here goes with this weekend’s preview.
Unfortunately this game has been postponed amid fears of more violent protests across France.
The Championship kicks-off with a cracking game on Friday night as Villa take their unbeaten 5 game run to the Hawthorns. Dean Smith’s team have scored 17 goals during this unbeaten run, but they have also conceded 13 times, and as neither side have been involved in a goalless game so far this season, it is very likely that there will be plenty of goals in this one. West Brom are the top scorers in the Championship and are currently unbeaten in their last 4 games, and have a pretty decent home record against their near neighbours having not lost in the 5 previous games. As is the case with most derbies, form tends to disappear and with both teams in good form, I would lean towards the points being shared. However, with both teams more than capable of winning this game, I will have to cover all outcomes.
Selection: Home / Draw / Away
The early game in the Premier League will give visitors Liverpool the chance to go to the top of the league should they claim the win and continue on their unbeaten league run. The corresponding fixture saw Liverpool secure a comfortable 4-0 win last season, and on current form it is hard to see anything other than a Liverpool win in this game. Bournemouth’s midweek win over Huddersfield ended a run of 4 straight league defeats and lifted them up to 6th place. Having kept 3 out of 4 clean sheets during October, they have conceded in every game since and it is difficult to see them preventing Liverpool from adding to that statistic. These teams have only ever met on 13 occasions with Bournemouth’s only win coming in the season before last when they were 2-0, and then 3-1 down before turning the game on it’s head to win 4-3 in one of the most memorable games of the 2016/17 season. This looks to be a banker away win for the Reds.
There were mixed fortunes for these teams in midweek as second bottom Burnley slipped to a third successive league defeat and they have now gone 8 Premier League games without a win. It was much better for Brighton who won for the second game in a row, and have now taken 16 points from the last 24 available. Times are hard for Burnley at present, and they will be looking to avoid a 4th successive home defeat, and record what would be just a 2nd Premier Lleague win at Turf Moor this season. Only bottom side Fulham have conceded more goals in the league this season, and Burnley have only managed to keep one clean sheet in their last 8 games. Both league games between the teams ended scoreless last season, and 4 out of the last 5 games have all been drawn. It is difficult to see Burnley taking anything from the game, and I will take Brighton to avoid defeat.
Selection: Draw / Away
Visitors Southampton will be hoping to get the ‘new manager bounce’ effect when Ralph Hasenhuttl takes charge for the first time at the Cardiff City Stadium, and although I expect that the Austrian will eventually turn things around, I think that this game will come too soon for him, and I expect the home side to claim a 3rd win in 5 games. Cardiff have won 3 out of their last 4 home games, and have showed some really good character as they have battled back to win after failing to score first in any of their games so far this season. Southampton’s goal against Spurs in midweek was only their 7th away from St.Mary’s this season and they are without a league win since they won 2-0 at Crystal Palace back in early September, 11 games ago, and that is a statistic I expect to continue.
There is no doubt that the Hammers have shown some improvement over the last few months, and since losing narrowly to Spurs on October 20, they have collected 11 points from the last 6 games and a win in this game would see them win 3 consecutive league games for the first time since December 2016. They have scored 3 goals in both of their last 2 games, against a Palace team who conceded 3 themselves at Brighton in midweek, they will be very confident of claiming a 6th Premier League win of the campaign. This will be a 5th London derby for Palace this season, their record so far is one win, one draw, and two defeats, and both games against West Ham last season were drawn. However Palace are on a really poor run and since the start of October, they have won just once in 9 games a run that also includes 6 defeats. I think West Ham will be good enough to take the points.
The game of the weekend in the Premier League sees leaders Man City visit Stamford Bridge as they try to increase their unbeaten start to a very impressive 16 games. So far away from the Etihad, City have only dropped 4 points out of a possible 21, and have only failed to score at Anfield. Having started the season with an unbeaten run of 13 games,hosts Chelsea have now lost 2 out of their last 3 games including a very surprising loss at Wolves in midweek, and look to have a hard task to become the first team to claim a league win against City this season. City won both games by the same 1-0 scoreline last season, and as they are arguably playing better football this time around, it will come as no surprise as I predict another City win. A win for the visitors would see them extend the gap between the teams to 13 points, and I fully expect City to continue to confirm their current dominance of the Premier League.
The final game is the late kick off on Saturday evening where 3rd placed Spurs will attempt to make it 3 wins on the spin as they visit the King Power. Currently Spurs have the best away record in the league, 7 wins, 2 defeats, and only Arsenal with 18 goals away from home have scored more than their North London rivals. As yet Spurs have not drawn a Premier League game this season, winning 11 and losing 4, and they have scored in all but one of their 22 games across all competitions so far. Last season goals from Vardy and Mahrez gave Leicester a 2-1 home win against Spurs, whilst Spurs eventually won a pulsating game by 5 goals to 4 at Wembley on the final day of last season. The hosts are currently on a run of 6 games unbeaten, and midfielder James Maddison will be looking to score for the third game in a row, after responding well to his sending off in the draw at Brighton. Although Spurs have not drawn yet, that stat will eventually change, and it could well be that this game ends up all square. My preference would be for Spurs not to lose, but Leicester at home can cause problems and so I will cover all options for this game.
Selection: Home / Draw / Away