Tomorrow's Football Predictions: Matchweek 18
Tomorrow’s Key Matches
This week saw two familiar faces return to The Premier League. Alan Pardew and Sam Allardyce are two managers who divide opinion but there’s no denying they’ve both seen it all in The Prem and they should have what it takes to steady the ship for two underperforming sides – West Brom and Everton.
Conveniently for Pardew, he’s won more away games at West Brom’s ground than anywhere else, so he’ll feel quite at home at The Hawthorns when fellow strugglers Crystal Palace come to town on Saturday. Baggies fans will be looking for Pardew to have a similar effect as Roy Hodgson has had at Palace who – despite still being bottom of the league – have only lost once in five games.
Sam Allardyce takes Everton into the notoriously busy Christmas period with a tricky game against Huddersfield at the weekend. No team have conceded the amount of goals Everton have at this stage of the season and stayed up... We wouldn’t have wanted to be Ashley Williams and co during Big Sam’s first training session.
The unmissable game in the top flight this weekend has to be Saturday evening’s heavyweight battle between Manchester United and Arsenal. Whilst the players don’t quite fight it out as literally as they used to in the days of Keane and Vieira, the managers in this fixture have a particular dislike for one another that adds a little extra spice to proceedings.
Who’s In Form?
Familiar reading at the top of the form table after last weekend’s games – who else but Manchester City? Guardiola’s side have dropped points on just one occasion this season on the way to totting up 37 points by the end of last weekend. That’s eleven more than third-placed Chelsea, whose draw with Liverpool at Anfield last weekend ended their winning streak.
The form books don’t make such pleasant reading for West Ham or West Brom although both now have new managers in place with the task of turning things around. Swansea are in the worst rut of form of any Premier League team, but in matchweek 17 they travel to a Stoke side who lost to bottom club Crystal Palace last weekend.
In the Championship Wolves are flying high with five straight wins to their name, while Millwall and Hull City are both winless in six, with the Tigers now just four points above the drop zone. Aston Villa and Cardiff City have both won three on the bounce and will ve looking to keep the pressure on the league leaders this weekend.
What We Look For In Tomorrow’s Games
Manchester City’s formidable attackers have scored double the amount of goals at home as they had after the same number of games last season. They host West Ham on Sunday and The Hammers have one of the leakiest defences in The Premier League. It could be a goal fest at The Etihad.
Quite the opposite may be true at Dean Court where Bournemouth host Southampton. Nobody’s netted fewer times on the road than Southampton – they’ve scored just three – and Bournemouth have only managed to score seven times at home.
The Arsenal v Manchester United game will likely be the most watched PL fixture this weekend. After a period of dominance over Arsenal between 2011 and 2015 when they didn’t lose, United have now won just once in their last five attempts against Arsene Wengers’ men. Arsenal’s home form has been impeccable this term, so despite United’s quality we fancy this one to finish all square.
Aside from Manchester City, two teams in England’s top leagues have won their last five games. Unfortunately, with Wolves not playing until Monday and Scunthorpe not in action either, that’s two potential bankers off the cards this weekend. Sheffield United – and goal scoring machine Leon Clarke – look like the best bet in The Championship. They visit Millwall who haven’t won since mid-October.
Sure Predictions For This Week
Our sure winner pick this week is Derby County, who are at home to Championship strugglers Burton Albion. Burton boss Nigel Clough said this week “we’ve had our bad run, and I do believe we’re going to have a good run at some point” which is optimistic if a little premature, given that his side have shipped more goals than any other team in England’s top three divisions. Derby’s midweek hiccup against Ipswich shouldn’t concern them too much when the face an Albion side that have only scored three times away from home all season.
Southend have drawn five of their nine home games this season in League One, which is why they’re our sure draw prediction for matchweek 17. Both of their last two games ended up all square, just like their opponents Oldham who they’ve had two consecutive stalemates versus AFC Wimbledon and Gillingham. It looks like more of the same this weekend.
Choose your seven now!