After a six-week break from the winter World Cup (and an even longer one from myself), the Premier League predictions are back for Christmas, so what do I expect over the first set of festive fixtures? Below are my 10 predictions for the games from Monday afternoon to Wednesday night.
|Premier League predictions – week 16||My prediction|
|MONDAY, 26 DEC|
|Brentford v Tottenham||2-2|
|Crystal Palace v Fulham||0-1|
|Everton v Wolves||0-0|
|Leicester v Newcastle||2-4|
|Southampton v Brighton||1-3|
|Aston Villa v Liverpool||1-2|
|Arsenal v West Ham||2-1|
|TUESDAY, 27 DEC|
|Chelsea v Bournemouth||1-0|
|Man Utd v Nott’m Forest||2-1|
|WEDNESDAY, 28 DEC|
|Leeds v Man City||1-4|
Games kick off at 15:00 GMT unless stated
MONDAY, 26 DECEMBER
Brentford v Tottenham (12:30 GMT)
After such a long time away from doing any predictions and a World Cup break, it’s hard to remember what teams did in their last Premier League game. But I couldn’t forget Brentford’s remarkable 2-1 win at Manchester City, where Ivan Toney scored twice. I wonder if he placed any bets on that?
Toney, who didn’t make it into the England squad, will be looking to pick up where he left off while Tottenham will be hoping Harry Kane hits the ground running after returning from Qatar.
Spurs have also got Son Heung-min and Dejan Kulusevski fit, which will help, but Richarlison is out injured and will be a big miss given his impressive form at the World Cup.
I’d love for this game to be a (insert a ludicrous number of goals here) thriller, but my gut feeling is that we’ll get a draw, albeit an entertaining one.
My prediction: 2-2
Crystal Palace v Fulham
This is quite a tricky one to predict as Fulham have given everyone a real go this season, home or away.
Many will say they have over-achieved so far, while it feels like Crystal Palace have underperformed in many areas, certainly when you look at the players they possess.
That being said I’m backing the Cottagers. They’ve been strong in so many games and I think they will edge this one.
My prediction: 0-1Embed from Getty Images
Everton v Wolves
This is a massive game for both teams, but it actually seems bigger for the Toffees.
It’s a chance for new Wolves boss Julien Lopetegui to properly get to work, in what will be his first game in charge of the Premier League’s bottom side since he was appointed more than a month ago.
Lopetegui has lots to do, including getting Wolves to score some goals, but he is making a fresh start, while Everton were sinking fast before the season paused for the World Cup.
Frank Lampard’s side have lost six of their past eight games in all competitions and signed off in the worst way after being beaten twice in a row by Bournemouth, in the Carabao Cup and the league.
Wolves are in a relegation battle, but so are Everton and a win here is absolutely crucial for them with Manchester City up next, at Etihad Stadium on New Year’s Eve.
Everton have to win, and I don’t think they will. Their fans do make a difference at Goodison Park in games like this, but I think the players lack the final product to get them goals.
My prediction: 0-0
Leicester v Newcastle
Both of these sides were in great form before the break – Leicester had climbed the table after winning four out of five league matches, while Newcastle went up to third with five wins in a row.
The Foxes won this very fixture 4-0 last December, but Newcastle are a completely different team now. It will be close, but I’m backing them to win this one.
My prediction: 2-4
Southampton v Brighton
Southampton also have a new manager after appointing Luton boss Nathan Jones, but I am not convinced they will do enough to stay up, regardless of the decision to replace Ralph Hassenhuttl.
I may well be proved wrong come May but I actually think they would have a better chance of staying up with Hassenhuttl.
Saints have got a kind run of fixtures coming up, with Fulham and Nottingham Forest next after Brighton, and they really need a ‘new manager bounce’ to pick up some wins from those fixtures.
I’m confident they won’t get one here, though. Brighton play with freedom under Roberto De Zerbi, and they always look like scoring goals.Embed from Getty Images
My prediction: 1-3
Aston Villa v Liverpool (17:30)
Liverpool looked lively against Manchester City in the Carabao Cup on Thursday but they missed some big chances and also looked leaky at the back.
Despite that I can’t see there being a surprise result in this fixture despite what Unai Emery might be thinking about sneaking this one.
My prediction: 1-2
Arsenal v West Ham (20:00)
Arsenal may be five points clear at the top of the table but we are going to find out in the next few weeks if they are real title contenders.
The break probably came at the worst possible time for them, because of their incredible form and they couldn’t have lost a more important player to injury than Gabriel Jesus.
Some may look at his lack of goals before the World Cup but Jesus is integral to them in the way they press, and with his link-up player.
He is irreplaceable, certainly from within their squad, so the seriousness of his injury will probably decide whether they try to make some signings in January.
I feel like a lot of people back West Ham to be better than they have been on plenty of occasions already this season, and with how good Arsenal are I expect them to win.
My prediction: 2-1
TUESDAY, 27 DECEMBER
Chelsea v Bournemouth (17:30 GMT)
Chelsea will be desperate for a win after going six domestic games without a win, especially when they lost the past four of them, so the pressure is really on Graham Potter here.
I do think Potter just needs time to get things right at Stamford Bridge, but they have had issues with scoring goals since he took charge and they will need to finish their chances against Bournemouth, as well as create plenty of them.
I do expect Chelsea to win this game but it’s going to be interesting to see what happens with the Cherries as well.
Gary O’Neil’s success as their caretaker boss meant he definitely deserved to be appointed permanently but, to keep the job, he needs to match these results now.
My prediction: 1-0
Man Utd v Nottingham Forest (20:00 GMT)
At the start of the season, I didn’t think Nottingham Forest would be relegated but now they’re bang in trouble.
At least Forest have got some time to save themselves but their away record is appalling – just two points and one goal from seven games – but I do see them adding to either tally at Old Trafford.
Now Mr. Sulky – aka Christiano Ronaldo – has gone, the expectation is that Manchester United will be in a better place and be much better as a team.
That may well be the case, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they find it difficult to win this game and need a bit of magic from Marcus Rashford to get them over the line.Embed from Getty Images
My prediction: 2-1
WEDNESDAY, 28 DECEMBER
Leeds United v Man City (20:00)
Manchester City put out a strong team against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup on Thursday and they looked like they meant serious business.
I am a fan of how Leeds play, and they always seem to have a spell in every game where they are on top, but they rarely do it for 90 minutes and that worries me when they play such good opposition such as City.
There will be a great atmosphere at Elland Road – as there always is regardless of who they play – but that won’t help Leeds much here.
My prediction: 2-4
So there you have it – my seven predictions for the Premier League’s fixtures this game week.
Do you agree with me? Or have I got it all wrong this week? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and let’s wait and see what happened come Wednesday night.