Football Fixture Release day Review Part One

“So here we are once again, another June another football fixture release day. The final season before the Winter Break comes in also sees Arsenal entering a new beginning post Arsene Wenger. Tottenham will finally see their new ground whilst Liverpool will look to move forward and head to glory, especially if they add to their current transfer activity. Man Utd will look to close the points gap on Man City and even maybe play some old Man Utd entertaining football.

The newly promoted teams will hope like they did last season, all survive. Wolves, Fulham and Cardiff all return to the Premier League and hope that they are several points away from the bottom.

So how did the fixtures computer treat everyone on this World Cup opening day? Will you be cursing or will you be breathing a sigh of relief. Let’s take a look at what  will unfold.

Arsenal fans, I imagine you might well have been shaking your head and cursing the computer. Their first league game under the stewardship of Unai Emery, open with a home game against reigning champions Manchester City, but it doesn’t get easier either as they travel to Stamford Bridge the following weekend before hosting West Ham at the end of August.

December is far from joyful for the Gunners. They kick off the month with the north London derby at the Emirates on the 1st, and then take a trip to Old Trafford a few days later. A few easier fixtures see visits to Southampton and a visit from Huddersfield, but the year ends with a trip to Anfield. Emery’s men will hope to get a better result than previous.

Should Arsenal be chasing Champions League or even the title, then April and May should give them something to look forward to. April sees visits to Everton, Watford and Leicester City with May seeing a visit from the south coast Brighton and a trip to Burnley, which could be the trickiest game.

Man City defend their crown with the already mentioned Arsenal as well as Huddersfield Town, and newly promoted Wolves. Last season Huddersfield took a point from the Champions as the season wound down and they would hope the same again, but the fixture being early in the season, the current Champions will be looking to maintain a strong defence of the title. The last time these two sides met, was in the 2011/12 season when Man City won both fixtures and of course won the title. Could history repeat once more or will Wolves have something to say.

Christmas for Man City sees a lot of travelling for the City fans. Out of the seven fixtures , four of them see visits to Chelsea, Watford, Leicester and end 2018 with a trip to the coast and Southampton. Games at the Etihad see Bournemouth and then back to back games against Everton and Crystal Palace. Should City still be chasing for back to back titles, then come April, Guardiola’s team can look forward to an easier run. April sees Cardiff, Palace, Burnley and a slightly more trickier visit from Tottenham. Leicester provide Man City’s final home game whilst the season finale involves a visit to Brighton

Man Utd start their challenge for the Premier League title starts quite reasonably  with a home game against Leicester and a trip to Brighton (although hoping to forget last seasons trip south) before their third game hosting title chasing rivals Tottenham. In fact the month of September should give Man Utd a reasonable points return with visits to Watford and a home game against Wolves in amongst the trickier trips to Burnley and West Ham.

The first Manchester derby sees the Reds travel to the Etihad on 10th November. The Old Trafford club has a busy December that includes Arsenal, Fulham and home games to Huddersfield on Boxing Day and Bournemouth in the final game of the season.

Man Utd hope to make more of a challenge for the title this season and in the final run in, if the title is still open, the Reds have what should be a fair run in. April doesn’t appear to be too bad. Trips to Wolves and Everton are mixed with home games against the Hammers and a possible tricky game against Chelsea. Groans of unfair fixtures from Old Trafford will seem more quiet.

Liverpool go into the season with some positivity once more. The Champions League might have been a defeat, but the with all the build up, it would appear that Klopp’s team had identified another player and swiping Fabinho from under the noses of Manchester United and will no doubt add more.

The fixtures machine was relatively good to Liverpool with two out of the three August fixtures at Anfield. With no Champions League qualifiers to play, it’s a longer break between pre season and the Premier League opening fixtures. Making early visits to the north west are West Ham and Brighton. The Reds enjoyed home games against West Ham and Brighton. Liverpool travel to Crystal Palace in the second game of the season. It’s a reverse fixture of the second game from last season.

September provides two top six match ups as at the start of September, Liverpool play the first league game against Tottenham at their new ground, whilst finishing September with another London visit in the shape of Chelsea.

December brings a busy month for Liverpool as they play 7 games throughout the month. Anfield sees visits from Everton, Man Utd, Arsenal and Newcastle Utd who reconvene the inbetween Christmas and New Years fixture. Liverpool’s trips away see visits to Burnley and Bournemouth. Last season December brought 15 points out of 21 and 20 goals scored and five goals conceded. Those December games saw Liverpool in a thrilling 3-3 draw at the Emirates and 4-0 at Bournemouth.

Come April Liverpool hope to be higher than fourth and challenging for their nineteenth title, their road to to glory in April sees a somewhat easier run with Chelsea only being the tougher club. May sees a trip to Newcastle Utd and a home game against Wolves. Klopp’s team will certainly avoid a defeat against the Midlands club and will more than likely will avoid season finale loss.

Tottenham bring part one to an end and in turn they bring their Wembley spell to an  end with their first ‘home’ game of the season.  Their game at the new White Hart Lane is against Liverpool which comes after their  trip to Man Utd. They don’t return to White Hart Lane until October when they host Cardiff and Man City. Their other tie is a short trip to the Olympic Stadium

Tottenham go into the final run in with literally home advantage. Four of the six remaining games are at home which should give them a decent hope if they are still within a chance of glory. Brighton, Huddersfield and West Ham visit in April with Everton rounding off the season at the Lane. Spurs do though have a trip to the Etihad in April which could be a possible decider.

Tottenham’s quest for glory will also depend on summer signings, although in the football cliche, tying down their manager and leading striker could be the best two signings. We shall though just have to wait and see.

 

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Premier League predictions – Week 18

As we hit another round of Premier League fixtures, the festive programme moves ever closer, not that too many managers will be enjoying the possible nightmare that is on the cards. After a poor Week 16, week 17 turned out marginally better with 2 correct scores and 2 correct results. Never know one week I might get a big number of correct scores..anyhow, this weekend should prove more fruitful in the predictions round I would like to think, but here goes.

  1.                                           Arsenal 3-0 Newcastle Utd  No let up for Rafa in London
  2.                                Bournemouth 1-3 Liverpool          No repeat of last time for reds
  3.                                         Brighton  0-2 Burnley             The Burnley dream continues
  4.                                           Chelsea  2-1 Southampton   The Blues win again
  5.                                           Everton 3-0  Swansea City    Swans grounded again
  6.                                 Leicester City 2-1  Crystal Palace  Foxes deny Eagles
  7.                                         Man City 2-2  Tottenham        Spurs halt City win run
  8.                                       Stoke City  1-2  West Ham        Moyes lifting Hammers
  9.                                           Waford  3-1  Huddersfield   Hornets win at home
  10.                                    West Brom   1-2  Man Utd           United win at the Hawthorns

Not predicting good things for the Toon as defeat looms again albeit it down south in London. It’s win time for Liverpool after two draws. Clarets look certain to maintain their rise up the table. Sean Dyche has done well to take the team riding high and who is to say they wont still be up there come the end of the season. That said it may only take a couple of injuries to change things.

Man City host Tottenham in what could be an entertaining draw. Im going for a 2-2 draw as Harry Kane could end their winning run. It seems that West Ham might well be on the road to the Great Escape. Four points off London rivals leaves them not far from climbing out the relegation zone and a win at fellow struggles Stoke should make that happen.

Watford woeful run should end with a home win against Huddersfield whilst Man Utd should maintain the points gap between them and City with a win at West Brom.

Week 4 – Premier League Predictions

It’s that time again, another round of Premier League predictions that see players returning after the international break. It will be interesting to see how I do this week, having forgot about week and leaving it too late, but hey it’s all a bit of fun really isn’t it.

So here goes.

  1. Manchester City 1-2 Liverpool      Liverpool to edge tight game
  2. Arsenal 2-0 Bournemouth             Arsenal back on winning ways
  3. Brighton 1-2 West Brom                 Brighton find it tough again as West Brom surprise
  4. Everton 1-2 Tottenham                  Tottenham win as Kane shines in September
  5. Leicester 1-2 Chelsea                      Burnley defeat seems an age as Chelsea march on
  6. Southampton 1-1 Watford             Both teams remain unbeaten
  7. Stoke City 1-1 Man Utd                   Stoke resistance ends United’s 100% streak
  8. Burnley 2-0 C.Palace                       Burnley pour more misery on struggling Palace
  9. Swansea 1-2 Newcastle                  Magpies overcome Swans to steal the points.
  10. West Ham 0-2 Huddersfield          Huddersfield continue their unbeaten run.

 

No doubt these may upset or be joyful with these predictions.

Not long left – Transfer Deadline Day

So it’s that time again, yes the Transfer window deadline is tomorrow (Thursday) and despite the window open since early July, there is always excitement for some come 31st August or the 1st/2nd September if the last day of August falls on a weekend. There have been a fair few transfers to say the least including the record breaking Neymar deal, which of course set up a transfer fallout. I’m sure there are a few managers though who will be glad to see 23:00 hours tomorrow night.

Some fans will be anxiously checking the BBC or Sky transfer pages as well as keeping an eye on the Sky Sports Deadline day show that will be running throughout the day.

Arsenal fans will be hoping and praying for some transfer movement. So far Alexandre Lacazette appears to be the only incoming player whilst a number of players seem to be departing the Emirates stadium. Given their performance on Sunday, many of the Arsenal fans will be hoping that Wenger is going to be surprising them with some transfer deals that don’t feature players departing. With the likelihood of over £40 million added to the transfer, it cannot be said that there isn’t any money to spend on signings.

Conte will be hoping that he can strengthen the squad further especially with having to find someone to replace Matic, who was sold to Manchester United. One player who could be heading to the Bridge is Danny Drinkwater. The Leicester City player has also asked to leave the club. Leicester wont want to sell and if they do, it will be no doubt have to be the best part of £40 million as reported in the media.

Liverpool will be hoping to complete the Oxlade Chamberlain deal before the deadline and given the player’s preference being towards Anfield. The club had also been linked with Thomas Lemar of Monaco, who is rated at £75 million. It will be interesting to see where that option goes if the Ox moves to Anfield. The Virgil Van Dijk saga could come to ahead come tomorrow. The long running transfer story saw Liverpool chasing then apologising and then the Dutch player wanting to leave by putting in a transfer request. Will he stay or will he go and if he does, will it be Liverpool, given interest from Arsenal and Chelsea.

Another saga at Anfield is the Philipe Coutinho saga. Barcelona have put in several bids only each time to be rebuffed by FSG and the Brazilian had not featured in the season due to a back injury. Whether this was genuine who knows, but on international duty, the youngster was cleared to play.

Divock Origi looks certain to head out on loan looking for first team football in a pre World Cup season. German club Wolfsburg look his likely destination.

Man Utd I imagine will have a quiet deadline day having brought in several players including the return of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Manchester club have started well, although have yet to be really tested and Lindelof has yet to really feature, which would be a concern given the £31 million they spent. Januzaj and Rooney were the notable departures from Old Trafford.

Last seasons runners up Tottenham, have been relatively quiet so far. Only two players in so far by the name of Paulo Gazzaniga and Juan Foyth. Serge Aurier is a player though that could be heading to Tottenham from PSG for £23 million especially with his work permit being approved.

Crystal Palace go into the deadline day looking to strengthen their squad. They have had a nightmare start to the season. The South East London club will be hoping to sign Liverpool defender Mamadou Sahko. They have had a number of bids rejected by the Anfield club who would be prepared it seems to sell for £30 million. The fans hoping for the club to up their bid.

Will Everton make any further changes. They have been busy spending, but have also been spending over £100 million although £75 million would have that covered by the Lukaku transfer. They have spent £20 million plus on a number of players including Michael Keane from Burnley, Gylfi Sigurdsson from Swansea for £45 million whilst Wayne Rooney returned on a free transfer.

The other side is the question of Ross Barkley, will he stay or will he leave. He has been linked with a departure and despite his current injury, it is surely only a matter of time before the midfielder heads out of Goodison, with Chelsea being a favourite.

Whatever happens tomorrow, some fans will be no doubt be gripped and glued to their phones or tablets more happier than others whilst some might see their coming season imploding on the lack of transfer activity.

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.

February -Premier League review

When I left for Australia, the Premier League looked quite reasonable, Chelsea were strolling, the chasing pack were still chasing and the teams at the bottom were still battling although some more than others. During the time away however, it seemed to all go a bit mad.

Chelsea’s charge to the title continued with seven from nine, only a draw at Burnley denied the league leaders a 100% February record, that also included a 3-1 home in against Arsenal. Come the end of the month they were able to maintain a lead at the top of 11 points. It was Burnley’s first dropped points in four games and first goal conceded at home in the same four games as they look to cement their Premier League status.

Manchester City, having put that wobble against Everton in January firmly behind them, were back on the chase in February with three wins from three. The blue half of Manchester will know having over come a similar points difference to steal the title in 2011-12 with six games to go, they can take some comfort that they have a few more to try and pull off another storming late run to victory. They will need a confident looking Chelsea to have a bit of a melt down, but as we all know watching football anything can happen.

Having dropped four points in January, February looked like being much kinder with their three games, although their title aspirations were dented a little further with a 2-0 defeat at Anfield, that said Stoke were made to pay as they were thrashed 4-0. The only thing that can derail their top four place are injuries and the FA Cup run albeit with two games that can affect them given that the FA Cup final is back in its right place as the end of season fixture. Given the FA Cup and international fixtures, the coming month will not make it easier for Tottenham.

Given the spending at Old Trafford, you would think they could be doing a tad better than what they are. This season, whilst on a long unbeaten run, they have failed to kill off games when needed or nabbed a draw to rescue a point. February looked to be a 3 from three, but Hull denied them at the start by holding them to a scoreless draw. They could though get back on the winning run with victories over Leicester and Watford. With games to rearrange and two cup runs, it will be interesting to see if this unbeaten run continues, or whether the wind in the sails changes direction as they chase a top four spot.

Liverpool, oh Liverpool. Having sped a long nicely, 2017 seems to have thrown a curveball. Out of both domestic cups, the league was the main focus although that seemed to be a mare for them. A home game against Spurs finally snapped the winless run. The joy was shortlived, managerless Leicester City seemingly annoyed some of their own fans as they scored a 3-1 win against Liverpool. Liverpool’s top four chase is going to be tricky especially if they drop points, even more with some of the clubs around with games in hand, but of course a game in hand is only worth the final result and if the club doesnt win, that all counts for nothing.

 For Arsenal, well I think they have had enough over the last few weeks but never rule anything out with the Gunners even if they have had a bit of a mare.

Of course it’s not all about the top, there is the crucial battle for survival and in February that realisation of relegation can become all too real.

Crystal Palace fans thought seeing the back of Pardew might bring a better future, then of course that future was with Sam Allardyce. February hasnt been kind to the Eagles. A 4-0 pasting at home to fellow strugglers Sunderland was followed up by a narrow defeat at Stoke. The final game of the month saw them net a 1-0 win over fellow strugglers Middlesbrough. Things can only get better said a certain music group just over 20 years ago…

Sunderland’s hopes for the great escape seem all but dead, having take two points in January with draws against Liverpool and Spurs, February had promise. Well it did on February 4th but that’s where it ended. Having stuffed Crystal Palace 4-0 in London, Southampton did exactly to them as they had given out. A trip to Everton was never going to end well as the home side extended their winning run with a 2-0 victory. They have a testing March, which if they can get a run together they might just have a chance on the final game of the season to survive.