Gameweek 19 Predictions
Tottenham 3-1 Brighton
Aston Villa 2-1 Norwich
Bournemouth 0-1 Arsenal
Chelsea 2-1 Southampton
Crystal Palace 0-1 West Ham
Everton 2-0 Burnley
Sheffield Utd 1-1 Watford
Manchester United 2-0 Newcastle
Leicester 2-2 Liverpool
Wolves 1-2 Manchester City
The halfway point of the season is neigh, and the title race is already seemingly over. Liverpool return home from the Club World Championships as the new World Champions with a 14-point lead over the rest of the chasing pack. Elsewhere in League, many teams remain in disarray, with 5 sackings already and a few more certainly expected between now and May. Carlo Ancelotti takes the reigns at Everton in GW 19, as they play host to mid-table Burnley, while Mikel Arteta’s first game as Arsenal’s new boss comes at struggling Bournemouth. Both should be able to get off to winning starts.
These Boxing Day fixtures should favour the home teams, with the away teams leaving their families to travel on Christmas Day- never the most favourable situation to be in – especially for a Brighton side who travel to North London for an early 12.30 kick-off against Tottenham, who will desperately be looking to bounce-back from their worryingly one-sided loss at home to Chelsea. West Ham may be exempt from disadvantages facing the away teams, as they benefited from Liverpool’s World Championship escapades by having their scheduled fixture against them postponed, therefore, inheriting a full week of rest. They will have no excuses if they fail to leave Crystal Palace with a positive result, which will surely result in the West Ham’s managerial hot-seat getting even warmer.
Games of the Week: Leicester City vs Liverpool
Liverpool are unquestionably the team to beat this season. They hold a 10 point lead at the top of the Premier League (and still have a game in hand), with their last defeat in the EPL coming way back on January 3rd. However, Liverpool are likely to weary after their long trip, and subsequent victory, in the Club World Cup. Liverpool’s away performances haven’t been spectacular this season, while The King Power Stadium has been something of a fortress for Leicester under Brendan Rogers, with all but 2 of their 15 home games under him ending in home victory.
Leicester are well represented in the combined XI once again, and surprisingly have more players in the XI than Liverpool. However, Leicester are aided by the absences of Trent Alexander Arnold in the right back position, Matip in defence and Fabinho in midfield . Leicester’s more creative midfield edges our Liverpool’s more workmen-like players, while Vardy gets the nod over Firmino, sandwiched between Mane and Salah.
I fully expect Leicester to avoid a defeat against a tired Liverpool team, however, BTTS is probably the lock bet in this game at around 4/6 (-150). Each of the last seven Premier League meetings between the sides has seen both teams get on the scoresheet. Leicester’s Jamie Vardy is the League’s top scorer and the hosts have scored in each of their last eight Premier League home games, meanwhile, Liverpool posses one of the best front threes in world football, and haven’t failed to score on the road since March.
Leicester 2 Liverpool 2