BPL Predictions, Week 4
Champ Warren ’17
This past game week in Barclays Premier League was a fairly mixed bag with a couple of upsets, a few big wins (Spurs did it once again), and the most boring game I’ve seen in a while in the form of the Manchester derby. Either way, there are some good fixtures to watch this weekend and feel free as always to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any feedback you might have.
Manchester City vs Norwich- Saturday, 10 a.m.
PREDICTION: City 4-0 Norwich
First off Manchester City started arguably their most defensive lineup possible (subbing on Demichelis of all people to play midfield) and essentially put 11 men behind the ball for almost the entire game on Sunday, resulting in one of the most boring matches I’ve seen in awhile. The game didn’t really tell us much about either team considering the first shot on target came in the 81st minute from the middle of nowhere, but at the very least City seemed to be more solid defensively. The lack of creativity and motivation was pretty appalling though. Norwich continued their poor run losing 1-0 to West Brom at home, this time off of a header from Salomon Rondon. The Canaries played well overall, but once again their defense continues to be lacking with the Martin – Bassong not looking convincing. Norwich has lost 3 times consecutively, and I don’t see it ending here as City have been pretty consistent against lower opposition.
Swansea vs Arsenal- Saturday, 10 a.m.
PREDICTION: Swansea 0-2 Arsenal
Swansea finally managed to secure 3 points, beating Villa 2-1 in a desperately-needed win. They still struggled in some aspects of their game, especially in the first half, but after going 1-0 down rallied to steal a 2-1 win with a poke in from Andre Ayew. Swansea is a good team and play a great style of passing play when they’re confident, so I’m sure they will only do better in the coming weeks, but Arsenal will be a challenge. The Gunners managed to hold a well deserved 2-1 win and played well throughout, making it 5 wins in a row in all competitions. In the league Arsenal is one of the best teams for form and continue to win games convincingly, so despite Swansea’s quality I don’t see Arsenal getting anything but a win in this one.
Newcastle vs Stoke- Saturday, 10 a.m.
PREDICTION: Newcastle 2-1 Stoke
This one was hard to predict, as seemingly all Stoke games are, for a variety of reasons, but I think Newcastle will come out on top. Despite the scoreline they dominated the first half, and were it not for a the ref’s dubiously awarding both a penalty and a red card for Coloccini’s shoulder barge on Fletcher, I think they would have won and arguably should have had a penalty right before that play. Even a man down they looked the better team and created chances, but they have to bounce back and not let the defeat hamper their performances. Stoke had a mixed performance against Watford, creating chances but failing to come up with an end product and consequently paying for it by losing 2-0. Their defense did not play well and need to improve, especially playing against player like Mitrovic and Wijnaldum.
Watford vs West Ham- Saturday, 10 a.m.
PREDICTION: Watford 1-1 West Ham
I really don’t know what’s going to happen for this game. Watford won 2-0 away to Stoke and worked hard throughout. Deeney finally got his first goal of the campaign and could have scored more, with the whole team playing well and hitting the post twice. Their defense also had yet another good game and kept yet another clean sheet. West Ham played incredibly well against Chelsea and rightfully won 2-1, with Payet pulling the strings and Andy Carroll coming on as an impact sub. However, West Ham has lacked consistency over the course of the season and tends to struggle after winning big games, so I’ve decided to go with a 1-1 draw. The game could end up going either way though so this one is a bit of a tossup.
West Brom vs Leicester- Saturday, 10 a.m.
PREDICTION: West Brom 1-3 Leicester
West Brom just managed to get a win over Norwich this past weekend in a typical Tony Pulis-esque fashion. They were second best in just about every position and didn’t play particularly well but still managed to steal a goal against the run of play. These are the games that West Brom need to be challenging in, so from their perspective it’s a great win, but they will need to play better than that if they’re going to have a chance against Leicester, who managed a 1-0 win vs Palace. They weren’t at their best and arguably should have had a penalty against them in the dying embers of the game, but they played well and generally. They say good teams win close games, and Leicester did just that, so I think they will continue their unbeaten run against West Brom.
Everton vs Sunderland- Sunday, 7:30 a.m.
PREDICTION: Everton 1-0 Sunderland
Although you probably wouldn’t expect it, this fixture has historically been pretty close. The past three meetings have been a draw, a win for Sunderland, and a win for Everton, which makes this game yet another difficult call. Everton has not played particularly well their past few games and seem to have lost a bit of confidence. The focus they had earlier in the season has not seemed to be there as much in recent games and the form of Arouna Kone has dropped, which in my opinion was a big reason for Everton’s good start to the season. They also haven’t defended as well as they had previously in the campaign, and key defender Jagielka is out for 2 months, further complicating Everton’s situation. Sunderland managed a 3-0 win against Newcastle but having watched the game, I think the ref had a large part in the game and the scoreline was quite flattering for them, especially considering Newcastle still looked the better team a man down. Overall, despite their big win I don’t think Sunderland has the consistency in their squad to be able to churn out a result, so I think Everton will just barely come out on top.
Southampton vs Bournemouth- Sunday, 10 a.m.
PREDICTION: Southampton 0-3 Bournemouth
This should be a pretty straightforward win for Southampton despite their average form lately. Their performance against Liverpool was nothing spectacular, but they did well to score an equalizer later on to take a point; however Sadio Mane, one of their best players, made a stupid tackle late on and got a second yellow, meaning he will be unavailable to play during this match. I doubt he will be missed much though, as Bournemouth continue to struggle, having lost 5-1 to Spurs on Sunday. They did well to score an early goal and put the pressure on Spurs but their defense played extremely poorly. Artur Boruc has one of the worst goalkeeping performances I’ve ever seen in a BPL game, gifting Spurs multiple goals with his inability to catch even a shot directly at him. There are too many flaws in this Bournemouth team to see them get anything from this game so unless something drastically changes over the week I can’t see anything but a win for Southampton.
MUST WATCH GAMES:
Chelsea vs Liverpool- Saturday, 7:45 a.m.
PREDICTION: Chelsea 1-2 Liverpool
Where to start with Chelsea? The team is in complete shambles and nothing seems to be getting better. They were average against West Ham, with Willian being the only decent attacking player for Chelsea, and deserved to lose in my opinion. The defense did not look confident as a unit, and John Terry’s inability to sprint was appalling at times. Ramires looked extremely poor both going forward and defensively Hazard once again played little part in the game. Matic clearly did not have confidence in his defense, getting booked once for taking down a man on a 3 on 4 West Ham counter attack and a second for holding back a West Ham player on the wing. Along with his dismissal manager Jose Mourinho was sent to the stands along with another Chelsea staff member, which in my opinion shows how much of a toxic atmosphere there is in all levels of Chelsea’s management. I personally think that Chelsea should play Loftus-Cheek, who has had solid performances each time he has been given a chance this season, at defensive mid ideally paired with Matic and bring Oscar back into the side, while moving Azpilicueta to right back and bringing Baba, who also has looked good when he has played, back into the lineup at left back. Liverpool, also struggling, drew their 5th consecutive game in all competitions on Sunday against Southampton. Although they have looked good at times, I still don’t think Klopp has the wingers he needs to play his preferred style of play, hence why they are still struggling in my opinion. Benteke did well off the bench to find the back of the net off of a James Milner cross, but the defense showed its fragility again, conceding a late equalizer off of a set piece situation. I have no doubt Klopp will stick to his 4231, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Sturridge play out wide as he used to during his time at Chelsea to bring more pace to Liverpool’s wings. As far as this game goes, I don’t see anything that would suggest that Chelsea is going to win this game despite a slightly better performance against Stoke in the Cup. Despite the squad’s flaws Liverpool is still in better form and seems to be in a better mindset, so I think they will just edge this one, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see this one end in a draw if Liverpool continue to struggle in front of goal.
Crystal Palace vs Manchester United- Saturday, 10 a.m.
PREDICTION: Palace 1-2 United
Manchester United had a relatively poor showing against City, creating a few chances here and there but not testing Joe Hart besides their solitary shot on goal in the last 10 minutes of the game. I don’t understand why Rooney, who has struggled this season, gets the starting striker spot instead of Martial, who has proved multiple times this season that he is a vary capable goal scorer. Although he can play out wide left I don’t think he is nearly as effective there. In my opinion a better option would be either to give Memphis another chance or to start Jesse Lindgard, who struck the post and had a decent impact as a sub last weekend. Although I didn’t think much of him the previous few times I’ve seen him play, the United academy graduate looked lively and motivated. Although his finishing could have been better on a few occasions, I think Lindgard could become a decent option for United if he is given some consistent game time and gains more confidence. Palace lost a hard-fought match 1-0 to Leicester. Palace did well to keep Vardy quiet and in my opinion were unlucky to concede. They arguably should have been given a penalty towards the end of the match, but either way they did not play at their best. As far as this game goes, I think Palace will be a lot more motivated and play better, but I think the center back partnership of Dann and Hangeland could struggle against Martial’s pace if he were to play at the number 9. Manchester United could easily struggle in this game, especially having to play in Selhurst Park where Palace has such great support, but I think they will just edge it here and claim all 3 points.