FA Premier League Predictions – Week 7

Week six saw more positive outcomes as the Premier League hit week six. I managed six correct results and one perfect result as Man City roared on ( I was a bit optimistic in that Palace might score against City) Tottenham nearly letting the Hammers ruin that six correct results. It was those Hornets at Swansea that nailed the perfect result. Im sure my Watford supporting friend Simon Nobbs was glad to see that after the battering by Man City previously. My team Liverpool, giving me another 90 minute roller coaster ride as they held on to beat Leicester City.

So to week seven and the final round of September matches including the first October games. It’s also the an International break after this round, so Premier League predictions gets a week off.

  1. Arsenal             2-0 Brighton
  2. Bournemouth 1-1 Leicester City
  3. Chelsea             2-2 Man City
  4. Everton             2-0 Burnley
  5. Huddersfield   0-2 Tottenham
  6. Man Utd           4-0  C.Palace
  7. Newcastle Utd 0-2 Liverpool
  8. Stoke City         1-2 Southampton
  9. West Brom       0-2 Watford
  10. West Ham        2-1 Swansea

 

An interesting weekend ahead, post midweek European football for our British representatives.With Chelsea and Man City facing off against each other, will either suffer post Champions League hangover. Im going for a draw as they will no doubt cancel each other out. Man Utd will add to the Palace misery with a hammering at Old Trafford. Roy Hodgson is having a behind closed doors friendly against Bromley as a way of team building, well it couldn’t happen surely? Well at the weekend it will.

Liverpool will roll on post Russia trip with a win at St James. Whilst the reds defence is a bit shakey, don’t expect another classic goal fest. Tottenham will also be victorious on the road as their charge for Premier League glory starts to take shape.

Europa League representatives Arsenal and Everton will be bagging wins again, good news for Everton as they look to get their season going. For Arsenal they look to be uniting at last.

Bournemouth and Leicester who are both at the wrong end of the table will end up taking a point each on the South coast. The visitors who nearly took a point off Liverpool last week, will be disappointed not to get nothing more.

Saints overcome their disappointment from losing last weekend as they beat Swansea, whilst Watford win and West Ham take three points at home.

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Transfer Crazy

With the fallout from the Neymar transfer still happening, it comes as no surprise to see that some of the recent transfers have seen silly money bandied about either directly or indirectly from the Brazilian’s move to Paris Saint Germain.

High price transfers are of course nothing new, but it is when you start seeing clubs throw money about, just because they can you begin to think what the hell? August has certainly been one of those months.

The same day as the Neymar transfer was agreed, Leicester City paid £25 million for a 20 year old, yes 20 year old Kelechi Iheanacho. Yes he may share the same birthday as me, but was he really worth £25 million? He had netted 12 goals in 46 games for Manchester City but maybe Leicester were banking on his international record of 6 goals in 10 for Nigeria. It will be interesting to see how he does at City and how he plays alongside Jamie Vardy. If he can bag the goals and push Leicester City forward again then maybe he might just be worth that £25 million, but I somehow doubt it.

Shortly after that, Southampton signed central midfield Mario Lemina, a young player with some prospect. The midfielder left Juventus after 29 games over two seasons with Southampton paying just over £15.4 million, which could rise to £18 million. He had initially spent time at Juve on loan before the deal was made permanent in 2016 that would keep him at the Serie A champions until 2020.  Yet a year later he is off to ply his trade on the south coast in the Premier League.

The notion that British players are overpriced seemed to come into play when Watford signed Andre Gray from Burnley. Whilst his early career in the lower leagues and upto the Championship was fruitful, nine goals in thirty two Premier League games certainly wasnt something to justify a fee of £18 million or so.

Compare this to Blaise Matuidi a proven international and multi title winner who moves from Paris Saint Germain to Juve for £27 million.

Chris Wood moved from Leeds to Burnley for around £15 million. Apart from a brief spell with Leicester in the Premier League he had previously had a disappointing spell with West Brom he had spent more time in the Championship which had hardly been fruitfull. His spell at Leeds Utd had proved to be more productive with 41 goals in 83 games. Still not sure he’s worth £15 million.

There are still days to go until the transfer window closes which means that there is plenty of time for transfers to be made and plenty of time for over the top transfers.

FA Premier League Predictions

So the Premier League kick is getting closer and this season I will be providing weekly predictions for the 2017/18. The new season is certainly going to be an interesting one especially with the transfer window still open until the end of August. With players being bought and sold during the summer, it will be interesting to see how things move along the coming weeks.

It will be entertaining to see how my predictions turn out each week, but you can only predict what’s ahead. The Premier League season kicks off on Friday night at the Emirates where Arsenal entertain Leicester City, Watford host Liverpool on Saturday lunchtime, whilst newly promoted Brighton host Manchester City on the Saturday tea time. The Sunday fixtures see a visit to Newcastle United who host a  Tottenham side not only looking to go one step further this season by winning the league. The only down side is playing away from the Lane. The opening weekend is completed when West Ham travel to Manchester United. West Ham travel to Old Trafford with the likes of Joe Hart and former Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez.

Week One

  1. Arsenal      3-1 Leicester City
  2. Watford     0-3 Liverpool
  3. Chelsea      2-1 Burnley
  4. C.Palace     1-1 Huddersfield Town
  5. Everton      2-2 Stoke City
  6. Soton          3-1 Swansea City
  7. WBA           1-1 AFC Bournemouth
  8. Brighton    0-4 Manchester City
  9. Newcastle 1-2 Tottenham
  10. Man Utd    2-2 West Ham United.

Im sure there will be differing opinions and thoughts on the opening weekend but be free to share your predictions. Come Tuesday will I be wishing I had put money on or be looking like the least likeliest person to do your lottery numbers.

 

Football Fixtures release review

It doesn’t seem so long ago that the domestic football season came to an end, but here we are yet again with the release of the Premier League fixtures. No doubt some will be happy with the opening few games whilst others will be looking towards the run ins their respective clubs will have to get through to either stay in the league, qualify for Champions League/Europa League and the grand prize of the Premier League title.

The opening set of fixtures sees Premier League Champions Chelsea kick off their defence with a home game against Burnley. It’s a repeat of last seasons opener and the blues will be hoping to have a repeat the same which saw a 3-0 win. The Blues find themselves though with a mix of the top six thrown in. Following Burnley it’s a trip to Wembley in the London derby at Spurs. By the end of September, they would have hosted four of last seasons top seven. Chelsea have a relatively good Christmas period as they have back to back home games where they face Brighton & Stoke City with the return trip to Everton just before Christmas. If Chelsea are in the hunt for the title come April, it will be a good run seeing how tricky March is. Trips to the Etihad and Turf Moor are mixed in with games at home against Palace and Tottenham. April brings West Ham and Huddersfield to the Bridge alongside trips to Southampton and Swansea. The final two games see a visit from Liverpool and a trip to Newcastle Utd.  Liverpool have started are currently unbeaten in the league against Chelsea since 2014. Results between Conte’s men and Newcastle have been even with a mix of wins and losses although United fans will be keen to forget their last visit to the Bridge.

Staying with Newcastle Utd, their return to Premier League football sees them host runners up Tottenham. It will be interesting to see how Spurs line up in the coming season, will players join or even leave, one thing is for sure is that the Magpies wont be fussed and will be looking to open their return with three points and Premier League security under the managerial guidance of Rafa Bentez. they follow that up with a trip to fellow promoted club Huddersfield Town. The Magpies will be looking to repeat the victory that they managed in the Championship last season. Newcastle Utd see a mixed bag affair for the Christmas fixtures. Pre Christmas Eve fixture sees a trip to West Ham, where the visitors will be hoping that they grab three points at the London stadium. Boxing Day and the final fixture of the year sees two home games in the shape of Manchester City and last seasons Championship runners up Brighton. A couple of juicy fixtures no doubt as many enjoy the festive period. Their  New Years Day fixture sees a trip to Stoke, possibly not the best journey for anyone with sore heads.

New boys Brighton kick off their top flight return with the hosting of Manchester City, not the easiest start for the club but as the old addage goes, everyone has to play each other at some point in the season. It’s a double dose on the road as they travel to Leicester City and Watford. These are certainly winnable games in the league. Christmas and New Year looks challenging as the Seagulls have the return  fixtures against Watford pre Christmas Eve, a trip to defending Champions Chelsea and a return against Newcastle Utd.

Their run in mind you is a bit trickier, they host Tottenham and Man Utd, before going to Anfield on the final game of the season. Certainly not the best run in if looking for Premier League survival.

Manchester City have a mixed start in terms of opponents. Having faced Brighton on the opening day, they find themselves facing Everton and Liverpool at home with Bournemouth sandwiched inbetween. Finishing wise Man City have a reasonable run in. Only Tottenham from the top five are in City’s possible title push. Finishing with newly promoted Huddersfield, who could be battling relegation or even securing mid table safety.

Liverpool kick off their campaign with a trip to Watford. Bogey team Crystal Palace are at Anfield next in back to back home games which sees Arsenal heading up next. It’s first of two games running which see top team clashes. Last season Liverpool came out top and unbeaten against Utd Chelsea Arsenal Spurs and City. This season they will look to repeat it once again. Pre Christmas sees a trip to Arsenal following home games against Swansea and Leicester City. Liverpool, hoping to be challengers once again for the title will see visits to Chelsea with home games against Stoke and a final game at home to Brighton. It will be interesting to see if  any summer signings make a huge impact during the season.

Manchester United will be hoping to go better than last season, where draws proved the end to United’s title and top four challenge. This season West Ham, Swansea, Leicester and Stoke are the opening opponents for the Europa League champions. Christmas looks certain to bring festive cheer, although a new look Everton might be a bit more tricky for United, who could be seeing the return of Ronaldo, if reports are to be believed. Whilst May might be easy, April could be tricky. Man City and Arsenal stand in the way together with Bournemouth and West Brom.

Tottenham will find themselves having to deal with a different stadium for their home games. With the renovation of White Hart Lane,  last seasons runners up will be hosting their games at Wembley.  Champions League is one thing, but 19 games might have an effect on their title aspirations. Chelsea, Burnley and Swansea are the first three visitors to Spurs temporary home. It’s natural to think that Spurs might struggle, but there is no guarantee that their opposition will necessarily have any advantage. Christmas for Spurs is Burnley, Southampton and West Ham. It will be interesting to see what presents they get.  Tottenham’s run in sees Watford, West Brom and Leicester in the run in.

Finally its Arsenal, who this season will be having Thursday night football. Having played Leicester and Stoke, it’s the tricky visit to Liverpool followed by a visit from Bournemouth and a trip to defending champions Chelsea. West Brom and Brighton are next. Christmas sees more return trips for the Gunners who will be hoping to have a happy Christmas. Arsenal’s run in, which could see them either challenging for the title or a top four place looks fairly easy as Man Utd look the strongest of the opponents Huddersfield and Stoke.

It is looking very interesting in the coming season, especially with the chase for Champions League football. There will be no worries about top four spots as they will all be automatically qualifying for the group stages.

Two into one – Chase for the Champions League

With both Arsenal and Manchester City both winning their games in hand, the chase for the final two Champions League spots looks like going from three into two to two into one. As it currently stands, Manchester City have all but  sealed their Champions League in third with on 78 points and a goal difference of plus 36, fourth place sees Liverpool on 73 and plus 33 together with Arsenal on 72 points and plus 31 goal difference.

After a roller coaster season for the three sides, City look odds on to finish third. Only Liverpool can overtake the Manchester club should City lose to away to Watford. Say a 1-0 defeat for Man City and a Liverpool win of 3-0 and its City drop down into fourth. It wouldn’t matter on the Arsenal result unless the Gunners give the home fans some joy and spank the toffees 4-0, which would then Arsenal would go into the Champions League and Man City finish fifth. How interesting would that be to see.

Realistically Manchester City should finish the game Sunday knowing that they can put their feet up with regards to Champions League football. The only thing they need to worry about is if they say for example 4-4 and Liverpool win 4-1. In these set of circumstances you would see a playoff match at a neutral ground.  The likelihood of that though is very slim. I imagine though should that happen, come Sunday evening there would be a large number of nervous Liverpool and City fans.

For Liverpool, it is Champions League playoff if they win. Should they draw or lose to Middlesbrough, not only will it be typical of the season, but all eyes will be on the Emirates hoping that their neighbours Everton can do them a favour. Should Liverpool lose and Arsenal draw, then that is when it becomes interesting. Should Liverpool lose 2-1 and Arsenal win 2-1 then both teams would have a record of 76-44 and plus 32. Under the Premier League rules, this would require a play off to distinguish who would finish in 4th and 5th place. Im sure neither team would want to go through a play off given their post season activities. As a Liverpool fan like others, I doubt there will be much hunger for 90 minutes at a neutral ground. I guess the same for Arsenal fans.

Not since 1989 when Arsenal won at Anfield to take the title, have either Liverpool or Arsenal gone to the wire in deciding league placings. Personally I dont want to relive that moment any time soon.