Sheff Utd v West Ham
This is a tricky one for me. On paper, it looks a great opportunity for Sheff Utd to gain their 8th clean sheet in the league this season, but I’m not quite sure that will be the case here. Has Moyes spotted more attacking potential since his arrival? Players such as Fornals (£6.0m), Lanzini (£6.2m) (an old favourite of his) and Felipe Anderson (£6.6m) to name a few, could end up back in our thinking. The latter playing as a 2nd striker in last week’s FA Cup clash with Gillingham.
Only Leicester (2), Man Utd (3), and Newcastle (2) have manged to score more than the one goal at Bramall Lane this season. I’m sticking my neck out and saying West Ham could be added to that list.
Prediction:- Sheff Utd 1 – 2 West Ham
Player to watch:- Felipe Anderson
Crystal Palace v Arsenal
Whilst Palace have kept 4 clean sheets at home already this season, I am certain they won’t get a 5th here. Their current injury crisis makes their squad look pretty bleak (especially their defence).
I swiftly move on to Arsenal and I like what Mikel Arteta is bringing to the table. He’s under no illusions and after the 1 nil FA Cup victory against Leeds, he told us he made the team know exactly how angry he was with them at half time.
I think he is going to be a fantastic manager. A slow start since his arrival but they are showing signs of improvement. David Luiz (£5.7m) made some interesting comments recently and he made it quite clear that Arteta has demanded a better attitude and higher work ethic. Also that the team are now happier.
Luiz is one of a few players who I expect to have a big impact to Arsenal’s remaining fixtures. A much happier front 3 of Pepe (£9.1m), Lacazette (£9.3m) and, if he’s over his illness, a rested Aubameyang (£10.8m) could be far too much for Palace.
Prediction:- Crystal Palace 0 – 2 Arsenal
Player to watch:- Aubameyang
Chelsea v Burnley
When these 2 teams met at Turf Moor back in GW10, we saw a Pulisic (£7.0m) hatty in a convincing 4-2 victory for Chelsea. Will this be enough for Lampard to give him another run out as he was rested/injured against Forest in last weekend’s Cup tie? I’m not sure. His name is muck in the FPL world since offering no attacking returns since he last notched in GW12 (ouch). Though I do expect another Chelsea victory. They have some pretty mean fixtures coming up after the next 2 games (Ars, Lei, Mun, Tot), so Frank will expect nothing less than 6 points starting at home to Burnley, before a visit to Newcastle. I have a feeling that the young duo in Mount (£6.3m) and Abraham (£7.8m) will do very well here. Unfortunately, I own neither.
Prediction:- Chelsea 3 – 0 Burnley
Player to watch:- Tammy Abraham
Everton v Brighton
This is another tough one for me and recent stats suggest it doesn’t scream goals to me (I’m going to go against this though). I like Ancelotti, and I think Everton fans should, and will be thrilled with his appointment. 3 goals in his first 5 matches isn’t brilliant, though I believe the goals will come soon. I like what he seems to be doing with Sidibe (£5.4m) which is why I bought him after his 12 points haul in GW19 against Burnley. They were very impressive that day with 68% possession and 21 attempts at goal. Then followed Man City and the Cup tie against Liverpool youths. Though for all of us who watched that game, you’ll know Everton could have easily scored a few in the first half… though unfortunately for them, they didn’t. They will have to quickly move on from that game here! I like Brighton, and I’m pleased Jahanbakhsh (£5.8m) has scored in his last 2 league games. I expected big things from the Iranian last season as he came with a proven goalscoring record. Maybe Graham Potter can finally get something out of him? The reverse fixture at the Amex saw Brighton win 3-2. Both teams know they need to score more, and both teams left the FA Cup knowing they went into the games as favourites. I think we could be in for a treat here but really cannot separate them.
Prediction:- Everton 2 – 2 Brighton
Player to watch:- Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£5.9m)
Leicester v Southampton
I don’t know how many of you remember my GW10 predictions when I guessed Leicester would win 9-0 at St Mary’s?? Haha what a Friday night that was! I brought Tielemans (£6.3m) in for that game and it couldn’t have started any better…. Then very quickly became the Perez (£6.0m) and Vardy (£10.0m) show. Since that game, McCarthy (£4.3m) has been no.1 and whilst only keeping 2 clean sheets, they have never conceded more than 2 in a PL game (that’s an improvement right). That said, those 2 clean sheets have come in their last 3 games against Spurs and Chelsea, only 3 against them in their last 5 is a massive improvement at the back. Ings (£6.7m) is on fire and I can’t see him not scoring. The goal against Spurs was class and he’s clearly oozing with confidence. I’d go as far as saying this is Southampton’s biggest game of the season after what happened at St Mary’s. Though this is Leicester we’re talking about. Vardy (c) was everywhere I looked in GWs 20 and 21. Though managers who own should keep the faith. He surely plays and that means he more than likely scores. He’s only failed to return 6 times in 19 PL games so far, hitting double figure hauls 6 times along the way. I think Southampton will be up for it, but their excellent 4 game unbeaten run should come to an end here. Villa came away with a draw on Wednesday evening in the Semi Final 1st leg, but the stats don’t agree. Leicester having 70% possession on the night, with 21 shots at goal to Villa’s 3. Interestingly, Maddison (£7.7m) had 8 of those attempts but only hit the target twice (hopefully the head injury he received in the closing minutes is nothing to worry about), They also had 11 corners in the game adding to their dominance. Vardy did play his part setting up Iheanacho’s (£5.7m) equaliser with a perfectly weighted through ball.
Prediction:- Leicester 2 – 1 Southampton
Player to watch:- Jamie Vardy
Man Utd v Norwich
Going into this game, it feels like there is more pressure to perform for Man Utd (sitting 5 points from 4th) as there is for Norwich (7 points from safety). I can’t see anything but a Man Utd win here. Yes they’ve been woeful at times this season especially in their last 3. Will Rashford (£9.1m) making it 3-1 in the 70th minute make a difference to the outcome of the 2nd leg? Nope! But I’m pleased for him none the less and think he will yet again find the net here. Martial (£7.9m) will clearly be a threat too if he’s in the mood. With Pukki (£6.5m) in the hamstring injury brigade, things aren’t looking great for the Canaries here. I’m predicting a United clean sheet and a huge response this weekend at Old Trafford. Buendia (£6.0m) has caught my eye of late and has now notched up 7 assists for the season, but he’s 6m so it’s a no from me. Rashford and Martial will enjoy this one. I’m tempted to wildly predict 4 goals in this game…. Though I think 3 is generous enough!
Prediction:- Man Utd 3 – 0 Norwich
Player to watch:- Marcus Rashford
Wolves v Newcastle
The reverse fixture finished 1-1 but I’m quite confident Wolves will take all 3 points here. Newcastle’s injury crisis appears to be up there with Palace’s. Whilst Boly (£4.8m) remains out, it clearly weakens the Wolves backline so I think Max Kilman (£4.0m) may step in again as he did against Liverpool. He actually had an excellent game that day. I get the feeling Matt Doherty (£6.1m) is just a clean sheet away from a monster haul. He’s looking exciting again and seems to be getting in and around the box much more of late. Whilst Jota (£6.1m) may be ruled out after picking up an injury against Watford, Neto (£5.0m) has shown promise of late and appears ready to take the chance if given to him. I own Jimenez (£7.5m) and I expect him to get plenty of chances against a Newcastle side who have conceded 9 goals in their last 3 league games. That said, I wish I owned Doherty here. I believe they will keep Newcastle at bay and I fancy him to add attacking returns along the way.
Prediction:- Wolves 2 – 0 Newcastle
Player to watch:- Matt Doherty
Spurs v Liverpool
I’m looking forward to this game. Not just because I’m sat on triple Liverpool assets, I’m intrigued as to how Jose is going to approach this. Everyone expects him to park the bus, they’ve no Kane (£10.9m), Sissoko (£4.9m), Lloris (£5.3m) or left backs. When he first arrived he was open about Ryan Sessegnon (£5.4m) saying he sees him as an attacking player, yet he’s been forced to play him as a left back/wing back. He may feature there again, unless he feels Vertonghen (£5.2m) will be the better option, more experienced to handle the attacking threat of Salah (£12.3m), but only time will tell. Tottenham will have to be patient even as the home side. Liverpool thrive on possession as we know, though Jose will know with the PL return of Son (£9.8m), possibly alongside Lucas Moura (£7.2m), they have pace in the final third. Clean sheets have finally arrived with the reds. Coincidentally, the return of Alisson (£6.0m) has had the desired effect keeping teams out for the last 5 consecutive PL games – I have a sneaky feeling that Spurs just won’t have enough. Alli (£8.8m) has played 90 mins consistently all the way through the hectic festive period, adding a further 90 minutes in their FA Cup battle against Middlesbrough last weekend. I believe he’s jaded, and that they will miss a work horse in the centre of midfield. I always try not to be bias when making my predictions which isn’t easy in relation to my FPL team. (I own Salah, Alexander-Arnold (£7.5m) and Robertson (£7.0m)) I believe Mane (£12.3m) will get his 3rd consecutive PL goal. I believe he will pin Aurier (£5.1m) back which will frustrate him. I’m also predicting a clean sheet for Liverpool, and this usually points to a defender picking up the maximum bonus points, though don’t be surprised if Mane also assists. Whilst saying that, the exact same thing could be said about the opposite flank and I may well yet pass Salah the armband. Tough evening ahead for the Spurs full backs/wing backs.
Prediction:- Spurs 0 – 2 Liverpool
Player to watch:- Sadio Mane
Bournemouth v Watford
Where do I start with Bournemouth? Since the beginning of November they have beat Man Utd 1-0, defeated Chelsea away 1-0 and shared the points with Arsenal…. Stop! They’ve also been beaten 8 times since the beginning of November scoring just 4 goals in those 8 defeats. They’ve scored just twice in their last 7 league games! Though they’ve just put 4 past bottom of the Championship side Luton in the FA Cup. At just one nil, Luton missed a penalty which could have made the game more interesting… but I’m pleased Bournemouth got that luck. Callum Wilson (£7.4m) got a goal and Dom Solanke (£5.2m) even scored a rare goal. If Bournemouth can compete with Nigel Pearson’s resurgent Watford team, then I’ll definitely consider Callum Wilson for their kind fixture run (up until GW 28 anyway). However, Pearson deserves high praise – Tom (AVFC82) gave us insight on his thoughts for snapping up a few decent Watford assets last week and the way they are playing under Pearson, they deserve the accolades. The 4-2-3-1 formation seems locked in and Sarr (£6.2m), Deulofeu (£6.1m), Doucoure (£5.6m) and Deeney (£6.2m) are reaping the rewards. GW10 saw these two teams locked in a stalemate…. That will not be the case come Sunday afternoon. I predict Callum Wilson will bag and Bournemouth will give Watford a game, but I think the attacking threat Watford hold will be too much for the Cherries right now.
Prediction:- Bournemouth 1 – 2 Watford
Player to watch:- Ismaila Sarr
Aston Villa v Man City
Finally, we arrive at the last game of GW22 with the Sunday 4.30pm KO (UK time). In the Leicester v Southampton preview I touched on Leicester’s dominance over Villa. Unfortunately for Villa, this is surely going to be an even bigger task and I don’t think they’ll get a sniff. Whilst I am a huge admirer of Grealish (£6.4m), I can see Man City having an absolute field day. 51.3% current ownership for De Bruyne (£10.6m), and the majority of owners will be hoping to see a more attacking KDB than we’ve seen of late as he thrives in games like this. This man could give us attacking returns from centre half so there’s no need to panic. I’m talking myself into giving him the armband here…. That wasn’t the plan! Not quite sure who will join him in the midfield/attacking slots but whoever plays is going to be a threat. I hope Bernardo Silva (£7.8m) starts. He’s a delightful player to watch. Mahrez (£8.4m) is on fire and Sterling (£11.8m) needs a goal with a performance to match. We saw David Silva (£7.4m), Sterling and Gundogan (£5.2m) each score in the 3-0 win at the Etihad back in GW10, this week I predict a very similar score. I can’t predict the line-up, though I feel Aguero (£11.7m) is going to get the nod up top despite the Jesus (£9.5m) brace in GW21 where he looked exceptional. That being said, it really wouldn’t surprise me if he played alongside Aguero replacing Sterling.
Prediction:- Aston Villa 0 – 4 Man City
Player to watch:- Sergio Aguero
Thanks for taking the time out to read this. Good luck all!