Manchester City (H) vs. Everton (A)
Well last week sure was a miss on the Manchester City prediction, huh? I figured the hot team would handle the cold team easily, but Chelsea decided they were going to screw all of that up and go win 2-0. This week shouldn’t be a problem for City though, as Everton are not Chelsea. Along with that fact, they got to rest Kyle Walker, Sergio Aguero, David Silva, and Fabian Delph midweek in the Champions League. Meanwhile, Everton have been pretty stale lately, needing a fantastic free kick from Lucas Digne last week to scrape a draw out of Watford. I don’t really think this one needs too much explanation.
Score Prediction: 3-1 Manchester City
Crystal Palace (H) vs. Leicester City (A)
At this point, it might behoove Leicester to hire me as an assistant manager or something, because it seems as though I know their team better then they do. In the two articles I’ve written, I’ve nailed the Leicester game both times, which is frankly just odd. But if I’ve gotten it right two weeks in a row, I may as well keep thinking the same things about this Leicester side, as apparently I’m doing something right. So I’ll say it again: Leicester’s attack is pretty stale right now. And until they inevitably prove me wrong, I’ll keep on saying it. Meanwhile, Palace’s attack has somehow been worse, boasting a miniscule .81 goals scored/game. And the only reason it’s that high is because they scored two against West Ham over the weekend. Needless to say, I will probably not be watching this one, as it has 0-0 written all over it. It doesn’t help that the game is at Selhurst Park, where Palace have scored a whopping four goals all season.
Score Prediction: 0-0
Huddersfield Town (H) vs. Newcastle United (A)
Attention all neutral fans! Do not, under any circumstances, approach this game or the last, as they could be extremely harmful to any and all sensory receptors! You have been warned.
Or alternatively: Welcome one and all to the extraordinary show of Huddersfield and Newcastle! Today’s show features no goals, stale play, probably an injury or two, and if we’re lucky, there might be a good save!
Anyways, if it wasn’t obvious enough, I’ll take another 0-0 draw here. Throw the defensive numbers out the window, Newcastle’s attack is right on par with Palace’s at a measly .81 goals scored/game, while Huddersfield’s is absolutely shocking, scoring .63 goals/game. I don’t know if you could pay me to watch this game.
Score Prediction: 0-0
Tottenham Hotspur (H) vs. Burnley (A)
If you’re looking for a good old-fashioned shellacking, you’ve come to the right place! Spurs are coming off a midweek result in the Champions League (albeit against a heavily rotated Barcelona) that saw them through to the knockout round of the competition, so they are on a massie high right now. Normally in a situation like this, I might give a warning for a trap game scenario, but when the opponent is Burnley I feel like that would be blatant deception from me. So I’m gonna shoot you straight: I’m not watching this one either. I want to watch a good, close game, not Spurs keeping possession and scoring when they feel it’s a good time for them. Of course, I’m exaggerating this quite a bit, as Spurs will probably have to actually try a little bit at least, but they should easily dispose of Burnley regardless.
Score Prediction: 2-0 Spurs
Watford (H) vs. Cardiff City (A)
Had this fixture been earlier in the season, my analysis for this matchup would have probably looked similar to the last matchup. As it is though, this is probably one of the two best matches of Saturday’s fixtures. And, as much as it might surprise some, Cardiff are in much better form than Watford. The Hornets have been in free fall since the beginning of the season, while Cardiff have actually been trending upwards. They have won three of their last five, including a 1-0 win in their last game against Southampton (my prediction was so close!). I’m not going to be one to sell Watford off, because Cardiff could end up regressing in this match and looking like the Championship team they probably should be looking like. However, this game could end as it probably should based on recent form, with Cardiff on top. So, as per the usual when I’m torn on what to predict, it’s a draw for me.
Score Prediction: 1-1
Wolverhampton Wanderers (H) vs. AFC Bournemouth (A)
Fresh off of a 4-0 embarrassment at the hands of Mo Salah and Steve Cook (who incidentally had a lovely back heel finish for his own goal), Bournemouth will be looking to bounce back in this match against a team that is of a very similar quality to them. This would certainly be a quality win for Bournemouth should they find a way to win. However, the stats don’t seem to suggest they will win. While they score 1.56 goals/game, they concede 1.63 (though that is boosted by the aforementioned 4-0 result). One can understand Bournemouth’s “regression to the mean” when one sees the teams they’ve been facing. In their last five games, they’ve lost four. Of those four losses, three were to the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City, and Arsenal (the other was to Newcastle, but we’ll forget that for now). If anyone expected them to win all/any of those games, I would be surprised. So, all things considered, Bournemouth are still alright. They do come up against the surging Wolves though, who get to play at home on the back of two consecutive wins, one being an impressive one over Chelsea (the other was a late winner against Newcastle, but we’ll forget that for now). Wolves still haven’t been prolific in front of goal this season though, scoring only 1.06 goals/game. For some reason though, this game seems to me as a redemption game for Bournemouth, where they come into the Molineaux and stomp on Wolves’ throats. This one is bold (and I’ll probably be completely wrong), but here goes nothing.
Score Prediction: 3-1 Bournemouth
Fulham (H) vs. West Ham (A)
This one isn’t going to have much analysis, and you’ll see why. Claudio Ranieri hasn’t had that much of an impact since being appointed as Fulham manager, and he certainly hasn’t fixed the defense yet. When you’re giving up four goals to this season’s Manchester United, that’s when you know it’s bad. Meanwhile, West Ham have played three bottom half teams in a row and scored three goals against all of them. There’s no reason for me to think it will be any different Saturday. Fulham give up 2.5 goals/game as well, so this lays perfectly for West Ham to continue their streak. It’s four for four.
Score Prediction: 3-1 West Ham
Brighton and Hove Albion (H) vs. Chelsea (A)
Chelsea have to be on a massive high right now after beating Manchester City 2-0 last weekend. However, I wouldn’t pick them for only that reason, as their recent form has been inconsistent at the least. Before the big win on the weekend, they had lost to Wolves 2-1 and Spurs 3-1 (with a 2-0 cakewalk against Fulham between those results). Those sorts of circumstances lead my mind directly to “trap game!”. However, as much as I would like this to be a trap game (I support Brighton, whoops), I don’t think it’s going to happen. Those two losses were the only two Chelsea have had all season and Brighton just lost to Burnley. If Chelsea are playing a game that resembles Sarriball at all, Brighton are done for. However, as it is at the Amex, I’m not predicting a blowout, as Brighton for some reason are normally much better at home than away.
Score Prediction: 2-1 Chelsea
Southampton (H) vs. Arsenal (A)
Score Prediction: 3-1 Arsenal
Liverpool (H) vs. Manchester United (A)
By far this is the best matchup of the entire weekend, and it should be a good one. Despite the fact that Liverpool have been miles better than United this season, rivalry games such as this seem to always be close. Liverpool are certainly on a high this week after beating Napoli 1-0 in the Champions League to make the knockout round, while United suffered a disappointing 2-1 defeat to Valencia in the same competition which was highlighted by a Phil Jones own goal (classic). However, United did get a big win in the Premier League last weekend, though it was against Fulham. I’m not sure why I’m talking about recent form though, because in these rivalry games, recent form doesn’t seem to matter all that much. This game feels like one with a dramatic ending, so I think Liverpool scores first, United equalizes in the second half, then in classic Liverpool fashion, a substitute scores the late game winner.
Score Prediction: 2-1 Liverpool
Bournemouth (H) vs. Liverpool (A)
I’ll start by saying that the 3-1 win for Liverpool over Burnley on Wednesday was fairly unconvincing, and to be honest, many of their wins this campaign have been. It took a late rally by Liverpool to get this result, and they had to sub on Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino to do it. If they can’t get production out of their second-string players, December could be a tough month for them, as there are so many games in the month. However, in their last two meetings with Bournemouth, they have won them by a combined score of 7-0, so recent history would tell us that Liverpool should handle this fixture easily.
That being said, Bournemouth look very different this season than they did last season. They currently sit at 7th in the table and appear at the moment to be a legitimate top-10 team. They score 1.67 goals/game, but they still give up 1.47, which is their main problem. Despite the defense being viable this season, it’s still not that great, and I think that will end up costing them against Liverpool. It doesn’t help that they have lost 4 out of their last 5 games and seem to be regressing to the mean slightly. They’ll keep it within reach but won’t be able to handle the Liverpool attack for 90 minutes.
Score Prediction: 2-1 Liverpool
Arsenal (H) vs. Huddersfield Town (A)
For Arsenal, this fixture comes at a great time for them, as they just got done with facing Spurs and Manchester United within 4 days of one another. This fixture seems like it should serve as an opportunity for Unai Emery to rotate his squad a bit and keep his stars healthy while cruising to a comfortable victory. And, in all likelihood, it will be. Arsenal are scoring 2.27 goals/game while Huddersfield allow 1.73, so one would think this could be a long day at the office for Huddersfield. And while Arsenal’s defense isn’t great, Huddersfield’s strikers still have not scored a goal among them this season. I don’t think this one needs much more explanation.
Score Prediction: 2-0 Arsenal
Burnley (H) vs. Brighton and Hove Albion (A)
For all the trash I talked about Burnley in my last article, they weren’t half bad against Liverpool on Wednesday. They were very defensively disciplined and looked very much more like the Burnley we saw last season that made it to the Europa League. However, they just couldn’t handle Liverpool’s better attackers once they were subbed on. They didn’t really stand much of a chance with a tired defense against a fresh Mo Salah and Bobby Firmino. Despite this, though, they did show signs of improvement. They had a couple of great chances for goals, one of which they capitalized on. Most of those, though, they were offside (which isn’t surprising seeing how many times they get to try at goals in an average game). Anyway, this week they go up against Brighton, a much more physical, gritty side than Liverpool, and I don’t think they’ll fare that well.
Despite the fact that Shane Duffy, Glenn Murray, and Jose Izquierdo will probably miss this game for Brighton, I still think they end up being stout enough defensively on corners to handle Burnley’s very set piece-based attack. That being said, it is entirely possible that the probable starter, Leon Balogun, loses his assignment on a set piece and it ends up in a goal. His inexperience is something concerning, but ideally Lewis Dunk helps him with that, as well as having the experience of Tuesday when he was forced into action after Duffy was sent off. I also think their attack will be just fine without Murray, and in fact I think it might be better. Florin Andone has come out of the gates firing, with goals in each of the last two games, the former being his first goal for the club. With him and whoever else Chris Hughton decides to start on Saturday up front, they should be able to take advantage of an overall porous Burnley defense and have another productive result.
Score Prediction: 2-0 Brighton
Cardiff City (H) vs. Southampton (A)
This match seems pretty irrelevant on first glance, but it will probably have a big impact on the relegation battle in the league this season, as Cardiff sit in 16th with Southampton in 18th. The fact that Cardiff are even in 16th surprises me, though, as many, including myself, did and still do consider them at high risk for relegation. Despite my opinion, though, Cardiff have been getting better results as of late. Over their last 5 games, they are 2-3, but two of their losses were 1-0 to top-10 sides in Everton and Leicester. Despite this uptick in form recently though, they still seem to have a distinctly Championship-level side, and should find their awful form from the beginning of the season again soon enough. That might have started with the 3-1 loss to West Ham on Tuesday, and if it did then Cardiff fans might want to hold on to their hats (or rather, they would probably throw them at the ground in frustration).
Southampton, on the other hand, come off of a 3-1 loss of their own to Spurs, but seemingly in a better position than Cardiff. Despite being two spots lower than Cardiff in the table at present, most would probably agree that Southampton have the more talented of the two sides. Most would also probably agree that Ralph Hasenhuttl is a better manager than Neil Warnock. These two things matter more in the long-term right now for Southampton though, as Hasenhuttl still needs more time with the team before they can really adapt to hs style. Right now, their main priority needs to be preparing for the second half of the season with Hasenhuttl and leaving the first half behind them. In the short-term, this game to me has boring written all over it from a neutral’s perspective.
Score Prediction: 0-0
Manchester United (H) vs. Fulham (A)
On first glance, this seems like an easy win for United. Facing the 20th place team in the Prem shouldn’t be that hard right? It shouldn’t be, but this is 2018-19 Manchester United. Every game is nerve-wracking. You know it’s been a bad season for United when 8th is a position that makes this season look better than it’s been. Quite literally every game is possible for United to lose this season, including this one. However, I don’t think they will because for as bad as United have been this campaign, Fulham have been exponentially worse. They have the worst defense in the league and an attack that cannot support it enough to be able to get results. In the end though, I don’t really have much to say about this game because United have been so turbulent this season. They can look really good, but it only seems to be in flashes. If they have one of those flashes in this game, they will win comfortably. If they don’t though, they could struggle a bit as they tend to do when a flash doesn’t occur. I will say this though: if United do lose this game, Jose Mourinho should not have a job by Saturday evening. If he can’t beat a side struggling as much as Fulham are, he can’t have that position anymore.
Score Prediction: 2-1 United
West Ham United (H) vs. Crystal Palace (A)
This matchup features two of the more underperforming teams in league, or maybe I should say more disappointing teams in the league. First, West Ham. It doesn’t help when one of your marquee signings goes down injured early in the season, but when you spent as much money as you did to get to 13th in the table, it’s something that needs to be improved. Now, by no means am I saying West Ham spent money poorly in the summer, it’s too early to even think about saying that. What I am saying is that West Ham is a side that is extremely inconsistent and that needs to be getting consistent performances from people other than Felipe Anderson and Marko Arnautovic. Until they make themselves into a consistent side, they’re always going to be extremely difficult to pick.
On the other side, Crystal Palace has done anything but enjoy this campaign so far. They sit 15th in the table, and they are coming off a brutal 3-1 loss to a 10-man Brighton side from the 25-minute mark or so onward. Despite this result, their defense has been half-decent this season, sitting at 1.33 goals allowed/game. It’s the attack that is lacking immensely, sitting at .73 goals scored/game. It seems sometimes as if their attacking strategy is to give the ball to Wilfried Zaha in the box and let him draw a penalty. They need to get their attack straight or they will be in serious danger of being relegated. I don’t see the attack being any better in this game than it has been for the majority, even against a below-average defense.
Score Prediction: 2-1 West Ham
Chelsea (H) vs. Manchester City (A)
The marquee matchup from this matchday, this fixture would have probably been much more enticing earlier in the season, or rather anytime from a couple weeks ago back to the beginning of the season. I only say this because Chelsea seem to have lost it a little in the past couple of games. They had an embarrassing loss to Spurs, followed by a 2-0 win against the worst team in the league (Fulham), which was promptly followed by another embarrassing loss, this time a 2-1 to Wolves. Now don’t get me wrong, I’d rather lose to Wolves than to Fulham, but Chelsea should not be losing to Wolves in the first place. I get that they were rotating players, but a Chelsea squad rotating players still has massive amounts more talent than Wolves (especially because Eden Hazard started!). So while this appears like a great matchup, I don’t trust Chelsea right now to really challenge Manchester City.
As for the Citizens, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they’ve won all of their last 5 Premier League games while scoring at least 2 goals in every one of them. In fact, over their last 5 Prem games, City has scored 18 goals and conceded 4. Ridiculous. There’s a reason they average 3 goals/game, and it’s because bar Liverpool, nobody is really close to being at their level in the Prem right now. Like I said earlier, I don’t really trust Chelsea right now to challenge Manchester City, and the more I look at the numbers the more I agree with the numbers.
Score Prediction: 3-1 Manchester City
Leicester City (H) vs. Tottenham Hotspur (A)
I would like to take this time to congratulate myself on a perfect prediction from Wednesday, as I said Leicester and Fulham would play to a 1-1 draw and that is exactly what happened. I’m basically just a prediction genius at this point (none of my other predictions were exactly correct I don’t think). Now on to the actual analysis of this match. As I mentioned for Wednesday’s game, Leicester’s attack has been flat for some time now, and there’s no reason to believe they can break the Spurs defense easier than the Fulham defense. So, in terms of goals for Leicester, I don’t see very many.
On the opposite side though, Spurs’ attack has been pretty hot, despite their fairly tame start to this campaign. In their last 5 Premier League games, they have scored 2 or more goals 4 out of the 5. They stomped on Southampton on Wednesday, winning 3-1, and I’m tempted to predict a similar result in this one. But, when looking at the numbers, Spurs’ defense only allows 1.07 goals/game, and seeing as Leicester could only put one past a horrendous Fulham defense on Wednesday, there is no reason for me to believe that they will put any by the Spurs’ back line Saturday.
Score Prediction: 2-0 Spurs
Newcastle United (H) vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers (A)
Both of these sides are probably feeling pretty good about themselves right now. Newcastle won three straight before their loss to West Ham, but they drew Everton this past week, putting them back on track. The biggest problem for Newcastle, though, is that those three wins were the only three they have had all season. Despite that though, I can’t help but think that Rafa Benitez has somehow found a way to get that extremely budget team to play decent football. Their options are very thin in basically every position, but Rafa has seemingly put together a functioning team from what seems like almost nothing.
As for Wolves, I mentioned their poor form in the last article and somewhat wrote them off facing Chelsea on that kind of form.
Then they promptly laughed in my face in the process of beating Chelsea.
For that reason alone, I’m tempted to pick them in this matchup. Despite having not played well before the Chelsea game, it does take a ton of effort to beat Chelsea, especially when Eden Hazard is starting. But I just can't get over the fact that they lost to Cardiff and Huddersfield in back to back fixtures (not to mention Huddersfield shut them out!). Wolves also have the advantage in just about every statistic, which should lead me to pick them.
Score Prediction: 1-1
Everton (H) vs. Watford (A)
Despite some ups and downs to begin the season, Everton are now in 6th in the table, which is obviously a great thing for them. However, through recent weeks, their attack, much like Leicester’s, has been fairly flat. Everton haven’t scored multiple goals in a game since early November against Brighton. This was shown this past match where they drew 1-1 with Newcastle, a result that a 6th place team should not be playing to. Again drawing similarities to Leicester, if Everton can only put one past Newcastle, what can they do against the big sides in England? The answer is that it doesn’t matter this week because Watford are not one of the big sides in England last I checked.
In fact, last I checked, Watford were in free fall. They were great at the beginning of the season, as Jose Holebas and others were playing out of their minds while Watford sat close to the top of the table for some time. But as time has passed, Watford has been the team to suffer from regression to the mean more than anyone else. They now sit in 11th place, having given up multiple goals in each of their past three matches. It also seems to be all-or-nothing for the Hornets, as they have won 6, drawn only 2 and lost 7 this season. This line is leading me towards a result for one team, and from what I’ve said here, it should be pretty obvious who that team is.
Score Prediction: 1-0 Everton
Burnley (H) vs. Liverpool (A)
I’ve inadvertently decided to make my first game preview on this site one of the easiest I might do ever, but here goes. We’ll start off with this: Burnley have been horrendous this season. Many predicted a dropoff for them because of their participation in the Europa League, but they were knocked out of that very early on and haven’t looked like the same set of players that played for the club last season. I won’t bother making any stat comparisons to last season here, as that isn’t really important to this game, but I will tell you that there are multiple reasons why Burnley seem destined for relegation, these being two of them:
On quite literally the exact opposite side of the table from Burnley sit Liverpool, who, while struggling somewhat in the Champions League, are still unbeaten in the Premier League and sit in 2nd. Now, for some games, one might want to look deeper into the stats surrounding each side, but since this matchup seems pretty straightforward, I’ll give you this: Liverpool score 1.93 goals/game on average while conceding .36 goals/game.
Score prediction: 3-0 Liverpool
Everton (H) vs. Newcastle (A)
Earlier in the season, ths game probably would have also been a pushover, despite Everton’s struggles at the start of the campaign. I say this mainly because Newcastle were absolutely dreadful towards the beginning of the season, but have since actually been having a decent run of form. Before West Ham embarrassed them Saturday, the Magpies had won three straight Premier League games, and against a couple of decent opponents in Bournemouth and Watford (they also played Burnley in that stretch, but I didn’t mention them because we already know how great Burnley is).
On the other side, it will be interesting to see how Everton bounce back from a heartbreaking 1-0 loss on Sunday to Liverpool in the Merseyside derby. On one hand, they could come out uber-motivated and ready to destroy anything in their path in order to get back on track. Or, on the other hand, they could come out flat and be negatively affected by the late drama in the aforementioned derby. This is where I think home-field advantage has some impact. If this game were at St. James’ Park, I would probably say Everton come out flat and narrowly grind out a 1-0 result. However, since the game is at Goodison Park, I think Everton will feed off of their home crowd and put together a good performance for them. Additionally, for the same reasons I just mentioned, I think Newcastle might struggle to get going due to lack of morale. I think Everton largely control this game and the scoreline doesn’t end up quite reflecting how the game looked.
Score prediction: 2-1 Everton
Fulham (H) vs. Leicester City (A)
This matchup seems interesting to me, though I almost feel like it shouldn’t. One of the most bang-average attack in the league vs. the worst defense in the league. That doesn’t sound very appetizing at all, but I feel like Fulham could have a chance is this one. Leicester score 1.43 goals/game on average, but on Saturday, they scored 2 or more goals in a game for the first time since late September. Before Saturday, Leicester had drawn three of their past four, and all of those draws came against sides that were (and still are) lower than them in the table (and one of those was the great Burnley, why do they keep showing up in this preview?). So Leicester hasn’t been on very good form, or really even good form for some time now, which bodes well for Fulham, especially because the worst defense in the league could use an attack that has been struggling. Out of Fulham’s last five games, they have played three of the better attacks in the league (Bournemouth, Liverpool, Chelsea) and two of the worst (Southampton, Huddersfield). They beat Southampton 3-2 and lost narrowly to Huddersfield 1-0, so a struggling attack could mean a surprise victory for Fulham.
However, Leicester’s defense has been ok this season, while Fulham’s attack, despite their playing style, is only marginally better than Burnley’s at 1 goal/game. So despite the possible decent showing for the Fulham defense, I still think Leicester will still manage to get one past.
Then Fulham will get one back and sneak a point out of this match.
Score prediction: 1-1
Wolverhampton Wanderers (H) vs. Chelsea (A)
Based on recent form alone, this matchup should be extremely one-sided. Wolves have not won since the beginning of October while Chelsea have still been finding ways to get results (minus their nightmare against Spurs) despite not playing as well as they were towards the beginning of the season. For Wolves, though, this game is massive. It isn’t a must-win, but they need to be able to take something positive out of this game. Losing to Huddersfield and Cardiff in two consecutive games has to feel extremely bad, and I would not be surprised if many of their players have lost confidence by this point.all this being said, they did play Arsenal to a draw before their last two awful losses, so there might be hope for them yet in this game.
Realistically though, I still see Chelsea having command of this game. They are widely regarded as the only team aside from Manchester City and Liverpool that has a chance at the Premier League title, and that is for good reason. Eden Hazard was possibly the most in-form player in world football for a while this season, and even though he’s come back to Earth recently, I see him picking that form back up in this match. Wolves’ defense hasn’t been awul all year, but after allowing two goals to both Cardiff and Huddersfield, I don’t trust anyone in that back line to be able to contain Hazard. I think Chelsea will have a tight grip on this game but Wolves will find a way to keep it close.
Score prediction: 2-1 Chelsea
Tottenham Hotspur (H) vs. Southampton (A)
Despite Burnley looking like a Championship team this season, they have had plenty of competition for the title of “Worst Team in the Premier League”. One of those teams challenging for the title is Southampton, as they have only won once all season in the league. In fact, their goals/game is worse than Burnley’s, as Southampton have only mustered .86 goals/game this season. And, as was mentioned earlier, that’s not good when you’re allowing 1.86 goals/game. However, changes have been made to the club, as manager Mark Hughes was finally sacked after many weeks of fans, pundits, and others calling for it. His replacement is Ralph Hasenhuttl, a 51-year old former Austrian striker perhaps most well-known for his recent work at RB Leipzig, where he led that club to 6th and 2nd place finishes in the Bundesliga. He is also extremely well-known for his work with young players, which is presumably why Southampton looked to him when the vacancy arose. What worries me about him is that his style of play tends to be quite fast and pressing. That isn’t a bad thing to have in a manager, in fact I think it’s a good thing to have in a manager.
For mid-to-top tier clubs.
For a club like Southampton, especially with the state they are in right now, I don’t know if they’ll be able to play a fast-paced press successfully in the Premier League. That issue arose with Fulham early in the season, resulting partially in their record as the worst defense in the Prem, but it also resulted in their manager being sacked just a couple weeks ago. So if Hasenhuttl can’t adjust to his players’ strengths, I fear his term at Southampton could be shorter than he and the club would like.
As for Spurs, they have been hit-or-miss this season. They beat up on Chelsea a couple weeks ago, only to get humiliated in the second half by Arsenal on Sunday in the North London Derby. Do I think they’ll have any troubles with Southampton though? No. Even though Spurs will probably rest a fair few players in an effort to have a full strength lineup for their Champions League match in a week or so, I don’t think Southampton will be playing any better under Hasenhuttl this week than they did under Mark Hughes on Saturday. Hasenhuttl has had about a day or so with these players, so the likelihood of him getting any tactical message across is quite slim. For these reasons, I think Spurs cruise in this one.
Score prediction: 2-0 Spurs
Manchester United (H) vs. Arsenal (A)
Let me start by stating the obvious: Manchester United are not good. This match will probably not be a classic of any sort, and to be honest, I don’t see it as being a very interesting game until Arsenal inevitably score the first goal. This is because if the opponent doesn’t score, often United don’t either. They have made a multitude of comebacks this season, and I must give them props for that, but when you have to come back from 2 goals down against Mark Hughes’ Southampton the match before Hughes gets the sack (and they only managed a draw!) that’s pretty damning. Coming off two draws against two of the early season relegation candidates (Southampton, Crystal Palace), I don’t see United staying in this game for very log, especially with the Arsenal attack firing as it has been all season.
Speaking of Arsenal, I feel they should win the match 100%. If The attack keeps up like it did in the second half of the North London Derby last weekend, this could be a very long evening for United. This problem is compounded when one remembers how the United centre-back situation is going currently. The guys there haven’t been good enough anyways, but against Southampton, Mourinho was forced into playing centre-back positions in a back three because Phil Jones was the only healthy centre-back. If this is the case again against Arsenal, I expect Aubameyang and Lacazette to have a lot of fun, because that back line could barely contain Nathan Redmond, much less two of the best strikers in the world, one of which coming off a North London derby brace (Aubameyang). I think the game might be within reach for United at halftime, as Arsenal are normally very much a second-half team, but Arsenal should put them away in the second half with that lethal attack.
Score prediction: 3-1 Arsenal