The Premier League is finally back tonight, and after what feels like an eternity since the last round of fixtures, it’s time for some more predictions from The Big Kick Off.
The last full round of fixtures (I haven’t forgotten Burnley v Watford last Saturday) finished on 23rd January. The final match saw Chelsea turn up at Stamford Bridge to collect their routine 3 points from Spurs.
Since then we’ve seen the end of the January transfer window, a round of FA Cup fixtures, and the conclusion of the Africa Cup of Nations.
In the latest betting, Manchester City are 1/9 to win the Premier League. Liverpool are 11/2, and Chelsea are 90/1. No need to mention Man Utd in this segment anymore!
Speaking of Chelsea, and they are absent from this week’s fixtures. This is because they are away at the World Club Championship in Abu Dhabi.
For Man City fans and those not aware, the World Club Championship is the competition the Champions League Winners go into.
Matchweek 24 Match Predictions
Right, that’s Spurs, Man Utd and Man City fans all insulted now, so it’s time for this week’s match predictions.
Newcastle v Everton – Tuesday 7.45pm
Fans of both these teams dare I say may be happy with their respective transfer windows.
Newcastle have brought in a – much needed – brand new defence, while Everton signed a couple of lost midfielders looking to resurrect their misfiring careers.
How quickly Newcastle’s new defenders gel together will be key to their chances of staying up.
As for Everton, they also brought in a new manager since they last played in the league.
Yes, Frank Lampard might not be to the liking of all Toffee fans. But I’m sure they will all agree on one thing, that Lampard is an improvement on Rafa Benitez.
Can Lampard get Donny van de Beek and Dele Alli playing again? If he can, Everton will have a couple of top quality players on their hands.
More pressing for Everton will be keeping Dominic Calvert-Lewin on the pitch. If they can keep the striker fit, they will have no problems staying up.
I feel tonight’s relegation clash, is more of a no-lose game for Lampard, as opposed to a must win.
I think they will achieve that and won’t lose at Newcastle. I’m going for a draw.
- Verdict – DRAW
West Ham v Watford – Tuesday 7.45pm
David Moyes’ West Ham side dodged a bullet in the FA Cup last weekend, and they will be looking to end a run of two straight defeats in the Premier League when they entertain Watford.
The Hammers two defeats were at home to Leeds (3-2), and away to Manchester United (1-0). If they are really going to contest for fourth spot, they can’t afford anything less than a win against Watford.
The Hornets managed a draw in their first match under their latest new boss Roy Hodgson. They will be looking to build on the 1 point and clean sheet they got at Turf Moor last Saturday, but I suspect it will be difficult.
Hodgson has striker Emmanuel Dennis back after suspension, but I can’t see him preventing a win for the Hammers.
- Verdict – WEST HAM WIN
Burnley v Man Utd – Tuesday 8pm
Right, Burnley are in trouble now. For a while, I just thought it was typical Burnley, they will start winning matches again soon, and will be fine.
But it’s just not happening. The Clarets are bottom of the table with just one win all season.
They do have games in hand on everyone, but will they win them?
Going in their favour is the fact they’ve only lost eight this season. That’s less than all their relegation rivals. And they have by far the best goal difference as well.
In their last five, the Clarets have drawn three and lost two. While in their last nine, they have drawn six and lost three. Is there a revival of sorts there?
Anyway, as for Manchester United, who knows what to expect. One thing I did pick up from the FA Cup defeat to Middlesbrough, was a more togetherness in the squad.
There seemed to be far more encouragement and support shown by the likes of Fernandes and Ronaldo, than we’re used to seeing of late.
Is there a sense that this United squad is coming together? It certainly looked like an effort was being made to show that in public!.
I’m going to go with United to bounce back from the FA Cup defeat with a win here. I don’t think it will be pretty, or convincing, but United will just win for me.
- Verdict – MAN UTD WIN
Man City v Brentford – Wednesday 7.45pm
The Cityzens winning run finally came to an end at St Mary’s against Southampton a couple of weeks back.
This week City take on a Brentford side that has lost four in a row in the league, and also got thumped by Everton in the FA Cup last weekend.
Two of the league defeats were to Liverpool and Man Utd, but I have just sensed a drop off from the Brentford players in recent weeks.
I suspect City will bounce back to winning ways here!
- Verdict – MAN CITY WIN
Norwich v Crystal Palace – Wednesday 7.45pm
Interesting fixture here, Norwich has now won back-to-back Premier League matches and have climbed out of the bottom three.
A few weeks back, I think most observers thought that the Canaries were already down. Can they keep this run going and achieve the unlikely?
Well, a home match with Crystal Palace is certainly winnable, and with Everton who are directly above them playing Newcastle, this is a huge fixture for Dean Smith and his team.
As for Palace, they are in a bit of a sticky patch of form. They’ve only won one of their last five, with three defeats and a draw also in that run.
On form Norwich should win. I just don’t see them winning three on the bounce though. I’m going for a draw at Carrow Road.
- Verdict – DRAW
Spurs v Southampton – Wednesday 7.45pm
Tottenham saw their unbeaten Premier League run brought to an end at Stamford Bridge with a disappointing 2-0 defeat to Chelsea.
Despite that defeat and the two Carabao Cup losses, both also to Chelsea, they have been doing well under Antonio Conte.
Southampton are also in a good place at the moment though. They’ve just ended Man City’s remarkable winning run by holding the champions to a 1-1 draw at St Mary’s.
A lot of the Saints’ better performances have come at home though. On the road, they’ve been fairly average.
Throw the return to form of Harry Kane into the mix, and it has to be a home win.
Verdict – SPURS WIN
Aston Villa v Leeds – Wednesday 8pm
Leeds staged a mini revival of sorts by beating Burnley 3-1 at Elland Road, and then winning 3-2 away at West Ham.
That all came to a disappointing end when they lost 1-0 at home to Newcastle last time out. All of a sudden, they were back under pressure again.
They come up against a Villa side that have continued to impress under Steven Gerrard. Even when they lose, Villa look good at the moment. They simply look a different side under Gerrard.
I can only see one result here, and it’s not good news for Leeds United fans.
- Verdict – VILLA WIN
Liverpool v Leicester – Thursday 7.45pm
Liverpool will have Sadio Mane and Mo Salah back available for this match. But after their exploits at the Africa Cup of Nations, it’s hard to know how much playing time they will see.
Klopp’s team were only without the star duo for two Premier League matches, and they managed to win them both. Liverpool’s blip came prior to the two leaving, when they didn’t win in three.
They should have little problem beating a Leicester team that were embarrassing away to Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup last weekend.
The set piece problems Leicester were previously struggling with, now look like they’ve mutated into fully blown defensive incompetence. It can’t be too long before Foxes fans start to lose patience with Brendan Rodgers, the way things are going.
The way Leicester are currently playing, it’s impossible to see anything other than a Liverpool win.
- Verdict – LIVERPOOL WIN
Wolves v Arsenal – Thursday 7.45pm
The final fixture sees in-form Wolves face an Arsenal side who have had a poor January.
Things started so well for the Gunners at the start of the year. For the majority of the match against Man City on New Year’s Day, Arsenal dominated.
They eventually lost the match 2-1, and then followed that up with a disappointing 0-0 draw at home to Burnley.
Alongside the two Premier League matches without a win, the Gunners also went out of the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup in January.
I don’t know why, but I just see this as a match that Arsenal might sneak. It reminds me of when they went to Leicester earlier in the season, and came away comfortable victors.
- Verdict – ARSENAL WIN