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.

 

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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.

Championship review -Boro’s title?

The Championship takes another step closer to the end of season and it appears that Middlesbrough have a good chance of taking the Championship after taking all three points with an injury time winner. The league leaders had travelled to Bolton Wanderers and it would have looked like an easy win for the visitors. The already relegated Bolton had taken a surprise lead around the hour but the lead would just over twelve minutes when Jordan Rhodes levelled with the first of two. The league leaders seemed to not be able to find away through as they failed to convert many of their chances, but in added on time Rhodes headed home the winner to keep a little space between them and Burnley, who had beaten Birmingham to claim second spot ahead of Brighton.

The Clarets had found it hard work against the home side as they looked to keep their title chances alive. Having taken the lead in the first half Burnley looked like they could get a narrow 1-0 win but Birmingham levelled when Heaton could only parry a shot which enabled Maghoma to put the ball in the back of the net. There was relieve for the visitors when Andre Gray scored his sixth in nine games.

Brighton who had scored a 5-0 win on the Friday night against Fulham, saw their brief gap of one point increased to four following Boro’s win. The hammering they gave to Fulham, boosted their goal difference to plus 24. This though still not enough with Middlesbrough and Burnley having plus 32. The victory though gives them opportunity to close the gap depending on midweek results.

Midweek sees Burnley and Middlesbrough face off at Turf Moor. Middlesbrough won the previous tie 1-0 and a repeat of that will ultimately see Boro in the driving seat and a points gap. Should Burnley win then they will have a point advantage with a chance to increase it should they later beat Preston. Brighton will host QPR hoping to avoid a repeat of the the 2-2 draw where Seagulls had lost a 2-0 lead. A defeat could certainly hinder their chances but then so could a draw depending on the result between the top two. On Saturday though Brighton travel to Charlton. With the southeast London club all but relegated a victory should be Brighton’s, but seeing that Charlton scored a 2-0 win at home to Middlesbrough the visitors will certainly not take anything for granted.

Notably if we fastfoward to the final game of the season, Charlton, depending on previous results, could once again have a say on the promotion and title direction. They host Burnley. They will be only be playing for pride and to give the fans a good send off, but even a 1-0 victory for them could see Burnley’s title hopes or automatic promotion chances blown away. Unfortunately for the hosts, those chances of causing an upset may very well be nil. The result at Turf Moor saw the Clarets post a 4-0 win.

Middlesbrough host Brighton in what could be a tasty match. Brighton will hope to avenge their 3-0 defeat in the previous tie, they know that it could mean the difference between automatic promotion or playoff. It will certainly be an interesting end to the season. Two automatically go up so someone will be disappointed.

Chasing the Championship – Road to the Premier League

As close as the chase for the Premier League title is, the chase for the Championship and promotion to the top flight is also very close. With four points separating the top four and seven between second placed Middlesbrough and sixth place, things are looking very interesting. Out of the top six, only third placed Brighton have yet to take their chance of Premier League football. Their closest opportunity to Premier League participation has been two play off place defeats. Will the play off runs put them in good stead for a Wembley visit or can they nail the automatic promotion that has eluded them for some time. Here’s how the weekend (26-28 Feb)

Hull opened the Championship’s latest round of fixtures against Sheffield Wednesday, who were looking to further secure their play off spot and brief hopes of automatic promotion. It ended goalless despite the possession and number of shots on goal. Naturally of course the stats count for nothing if you cant convert and so Hull’s chance to increase the gap between them and second place was missed.

Whilst Hull were blowing their opportunity, Burnley doing hard to overcome theirs. After 45 minutes the game was goalless but three second half goals in the space of 16 minutes saw Bolton’s hopes of victory dashed. Having gone 1-0 up in the 69th minute, the lead wasnt to last.  Two goals from Andre Gray (74,85) helped  see his tally rise to 18 and the visitors to the top of the table. The Clarets though will need to make sure they that they keep matters in their own hands having played additional games compared to rivals Hull and Middlesbrough.

Middlesbrough kept the pressure on as they increased their unbeaten run to 4 games with a win over struggling Fulham. An early goal from the promotion chasers together with a second first half goal secured the points and moved Boro level on points with Hull. With two games in hand to all but one of the other promotion chasers around them, it is surely advantage to the North Eastern club if they can take maximum points from those respective games.

As if that wasnt enough for Hull, south coast side Brighton are hanging on in the title race.As they go into their Monday night game against Leeds Utd, the Seagulls have a chance to close the gap on Burnley to 2 points as they hope to make their first visit to the Premier League and the return to the top flight for the first time since 1983.

With ten games to go the chase for the championship looks certain to be another close on.