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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Champions League – Last 16

The Champions League draw took place this morning and England’s three remaining representatives were hoping for a easier start to a possible run to the final. For Arsenal and Man City it was familiar ground but for Premier League champions Leicester, this was still new ground. In fact for the Foxes, they were the only debutants in the knock out stages in this rounds competition.

Having snatched the group on the final round of group games, Arsenal found them meeting their Champions League nemesis, Bayern Munich. Having lost to them at the same stage in 2013 and 2014, Arsene Wenger will hope it’s third time lucky for the Gunners. Bayern, who finished second in their group will look to progress to the final having lost to runners up Atletico Madrid.

Leicester City find themselves in at the deep end as they face Spanish club Sevilla, who won last seasons Europa League final against Liverpool. The Spaniards came second to Juventus in their group and in their domestic league are flying in third place. The fortunate thing for Leicester is that they will be at home in the second leg and if they are yet again flying in Champions League form and still within a shout, it could make all the difference.

Man City will hope to make it to the Semi finals again and will see their chance of progression the easiest out of the three home clubs Whilst they face French club Monaco beat Tottenham twice, they wont be easy. City will hope that their form has turned round by the time the two clubs meet.

In the other last sixteen fixtures Real Madrid look favourites against Napoli, despite the defending champions finishing second in their group albeit behind Borussia Dortmund. Benfica face a tricky tie when they face Borussia Dortmund. The Portuguese club will need to be tight at the back against the strong German club. PSG’s failure to top the group with a final round draw sees them face Barcelona. The French club will host Barcelona in the first leg and travel to Spain for the second. It should prove to be a mouthwatering tie with both teams looking to reach the final.

Leicester City have the last laugh

Having spent last Christmas at the bottom of the table and having avoided relegation, the 2015/16 season didnt look fantastically great. Claudio Ranieri took over in the summer much to the puzzlement of many fans. Having been sacked by Greece following a poor qualifying campaign, taking over Leicester City was the last place you would have expected the former Chelsea manager, but that is where he ended up. A stroke of genius it would seem as we enter the Christmas fixtures programme.

With a game against Liverpool on Boxing Day and Manchester City a few days later, Leicester have only lost against Arsenal out of the big guns. They have taken a point against Man Utd and Spurs and have beaten Chelsea. A quite impressive record.

 Leicester City fans will also be feeling quite chirpy as they have almost secured their stay in the Premier League. Ranieri’s target was 40 points, well that’s almost done. They have equalled the total of wins for the whole of last season and are within nine points of last seasons final total. Last season they bagged a total of 46 goals and conceded 55. This season after 17 games they have bagged 37 and conceded 24. With Jamie Vardy on fire at the moment, unless he has an injury or goes on a barren run, Leicester are looking very good and most certain to have their best Premier League finish as well as their best top flight finish since the 1960’s.

Whilst even the most passionate Foxes fan could only dream of seeing their team lift the title, whatever happens this season, they will be very pleased with how the club bounced back.

Judging after 11 – Dan Raywood blog

Steve McLaren started his tenure as Newcastle United manager with a declaration to the toon fans to “judge me after ten games”. Now more than ten games into this season, we have one of the most open and scintilating seasons upon us in years.

Let’s face the truth – I’m a pretty smug Spurs fan with our place in fifth after 11 games and only one defeat (on the opening day, away at Manchester United, courtesy of an own goal) and signs of a pretty good first third of the season attributed to us. The ambition of Pochettino to play a high-line pressing game has paid off so far and with laptop touching wood, this has not seen the team caught out too many times – the Mahrez goal for Leicester the main exception.

The danger with playing a fast-paced pressing game is stamina, and while our team is relatively young there is not a huge amount of strength in depth and Spurs are an injury to Jan Vertonghen, Dele Alli or Christian Eriksen away from a major problem.

The change in management at Liverpool has seen new German boss Jurgen Klopp try a similar tactic and arguably, Liverpool have not adapted to this and this could cause changes to be made at Anfield in the January transfer window. At Spurs, the lack of strength in depth is evident in the centre of defence and in attack, and I would expect to see the end of Federico Fazio’s tenure with Spurs and a new face in attack to aid Harry Kane.

Another reason to love Spurs this season has been in the development and use of young players. Following the addition of Nabil Bentaleb, Ryan Mason, Eric Dier and Kane to the starting 11, along with opportunities for Joshua Onomah, Harry Winks and Tom Carroll, this is something to be excited about. However these mostly fill the already-crowded midfield and many Spurs fans are excited about the introduction of defender Cameron Carter-Vickers in the coming seasons.

For now, this (and a new striker, although I expect the addition of Saido Berahino to be completed in January) remains the biggest concern. Not being at the wrong end of the table, not a bad run of form and not a looming visit to Arsenal. No, the biggest concerns are four days at the end of month, containing a trip to Azerbaijan to play Qarabag in the Europa League, and a game against out of form Chelsea. Let’s hope everyone plays safe.

Premier moments – The Premier League so far

So after six Premier League games, the season has taken an interesting direction. I’m sure you wont be surprised that Manchester City are top of the table, but despite their defeat to West Ham that saw them lose their 100% unbeaten record . Their city rivals, Manchester United, might be second but having spent all that cash, you would expect them to be up there.

What you probably didn’t expect after 6 games is West Ham not only having beaten Liverpool at Anfield and Manchester City at the Etihad, but to be third in the table joint top scorers with Leicester City. When the club appointed Claudio Ranieri, many fans looked bemused, possibly mocked and had a good laugh. Those very fans are probably no longer having a good chuckle as they are the only unbeaten team in the Premier League. Of all the twenty clubs in the top division, I bet no one had thought that the team that escaped relegation last season would be sat fourth in the table.

Newly promoted Watford find themselves currently in tenth place. No mean feat. A total of nine from eighteen is not bad considering they probably weren’t given much hope going into the season. Whilst they have only shipped five goals, their downfall may come in the fact that they have only bagged five in the league. Saying that, the record is the same as Arsenal.

After Mourinho’s gradual rise following his return to Chelsea, he now finds himself in that difficult third season that seems to hamper him wherever he goes. The defending champions have had a start to forget and have a total of seven points from a possible eighteen. Three defeats after six games does not bode well for the Blues. They only lost three times in the league last season. Just to add to Mourinho’s woes is the absence of Courtois in goal and Begovic as his replacement. For those who have enjoyed seeing the London club struggle, there has never been a better time. Even more so when they could be without Costa for a few games following his retrospective charge of violent conduct.

Arsenal fans may have the enjoyment of seeing their team above their London rivals Tottenham and Chelsea, but having not delved deep into the transfer market during the off season. many Gooners may be wondering how their season will pan out. Whilst their defence may be tight, their attack has only produced a total of five goals. I’m sure the fans would have loved to have seen a striker come in to help their goals for column look a bit more healthier.

Liverpool, having made another Summer collection of transfer signings, have started slowly and painfully. A disappointing home draw was not what fans had been wanting after suffering back to back defeats where they conceded three goals in each. The return of Daniel Sturridge has given Rodgers some hope. but it is also the defence that is giving him nightmares. In what should have been at least a 1-0 win, Simon Mignolet seemed to return to the form before he was dropped. A poor punch clearance was gratefully received and converted into an equaliser. What happens to Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers will be interesting. Rodgers must surely be on borrowed time.

It seems some things never change. Newcastle, Sunderland and Villa who survived the relegation battle last season, look like they might very well be contesting it this season. Neither Newcastle or Sunderland have yet to win and find themselves both on two points and separated only by goal difference. Aston Villa fair little better as they have managed four points from their eight games. For fans of the north east clubs, it looks certain to be a long hard season and if things don’t get better, they could very well be finding themselves visiting the likes of Blackburn or Charlton in the Championship

AFC Bournemouth’s Premier League debut season seems to be slowing down. Having made a positive start performance wise, they have notched up seven points from their six games including an unlucky defeat at Anfield. I’m sure most Cherries fans will be glad just to see them survive in the Premier League.

Stoke City, who had made several signings of players from Barcelona had been given the nickname Stokealona. Unfortunately for Stoke fans thats the closest they are going to get. Four points and no win sees the Midlands club completing the relegation zone line up. Having finished high up the table last season anything less come next May and it will be much a disappointment.