The last EPL preview we had here, we got four results correctly, including the perfect 1-1 scoreline between Manchester United and Liverpool. This week’s fixtures take place in the mid-week after an FA Cup weekend. In this EPL preview, and with the league nearing its home stretch, every point would be contested furiously and in previewing them even a Nostradamus might shoot over the bar.
Tuesday, January 31, 2017 EPL Preview
Arsenal V Watford, 8.45pm
Many expected Arsenal to suffer FA Cup heartbreak in Southampton. Southampton got a spanking. There is little breather as Watford come calling. Watford are not firing from all cylinders. Walter Mazzarri’s men snatched a point at Bournemouth.
Coming against an Arsenal anxious to cement their position as title contenders, Watford are almost certain to leave the Emirates empty-handed. Arsenal are conceding penalties on astonishing rate. Watford should get a goal.
Final Score: 3-1 #ARSWAT
Swansea City V Southampton, 8.45pm
A shocking win at Anfield last week saw Swansea leave the relegation spots for the first time in months. Paul Clement and Makelele will look to build on this and maintain some form of consistency to survive the drop.
Southampton are on a see-saw, they shocked Liverpool at Anfield then succumbed to an FA cup spanking at home, add the five league losing streak pre-Leicester and Swansea should fancy their chances. Southampton convincing performance against Leicester is something they can look back to for inspiration. A high scoring match this poses.
Final score: 2-2 #SWASOU
Sunderland V Tottenham, 8.45pm
David Moyes have earned the right to feel sorry for himself. Sunderland are in every bookmaker’s favourites to go down. A hard-fought 2-2 draw against Liverpool in the New Year hasn’t been built upon. Subsequent defeats to Stoke and West Brom have all but cemented Sunderland on the bottom.
Can they get anything against Tottenham? Tottenham are flying high and should make a meal out of this one. On paper, at least. Thankfully for the hosts football is not exactly mathematics. Ninety minutes will decide. But I will be surprised if Sunderland get anything out of this.
Final score: 0-2 #SUNTOT
Middlesbrough V West Brom, 8.45pm
Middlesbrough are 16 on the table. They are where they are expected to be but a relegation fight seemed so far away in November. They are yet to gain maximum points in 2017. Coming against a West Brom team dreaming of European Football in September will be a handful for Karanka’s team.
West Brom are riding high, they didn’t play in the weekend. The added rest time would do the magic.
Final score: 0-1 #MIDWBA
Bournemouth V Crystal Palace, 8.45pm
Bournemouth are the entertaining storehouse so far this year. Recall their 3-3 thriller with Arsenal. They haven’t looked back. An average of 4.6 goals per match have been scored in matches involving them this year.
Crystal Palace with Zaha and Benteke should score goals. But they have scored just once in their last four matches. They have only won once in two months. No, they will not win at Bournemouth. Will we see another free scoring thriller? Most likely (don’t bet on it).
Final score: 3-2 #BOUCRY
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Burnley V Leicester, 8.45pm
Leicester are hell-bent on making history. First champions to be relegated in the making. They are one of the only two teams yet to win away this season. The other team is their host. But Burnley have the fourth best home records, winning 25 out of their 26 points at home (their only point away in Old Trafford… hello Mourinho?).
Leicester City have the second worst away record with three points. Can they add to this in Turf Moor? Perhaps, with their nation’s cup contingent back, morale should be high enough, for three points? Burnley wouldn’t allow that. A draw will do.
Final score: 1-1 #BUNLEI
Liverpool V Chelsea, 9.00pm
Liverpool are having a 2017 to forget. One win in seven, three consecutive home loses and the best team in England is marching towards the wall of Anfield. Can Klopp survive Chelsea? Senegal is out of African Nations Cup, Mane has been flown back to Liverpool in a private jet, it is fair to say Liverpool are back from the Nations Cup.
But everything cannot be pinned to Mane. Liverpool have done well against the top teams and it would take Conte extraordinary stamina to inflict Liverpool their fourth home defeat in a row. It will be a great entertainment, a tight thriller or it will come out a bore. Both teams might be wary of going too forward.
A stalemate is the surest bet but there is a strong hunch to give this to Liverpool. A Chelsea lose will throw the league title wide open and get Liverpool into contention. At the end it might be a matter of who has the more to lose. Liverpool to pip Chelsea.
Final score: 1-0 #LIVCHE
Wednesday, February 1, 2017 EPL Preview
West Ham V Manchester City, 8.45pm
West Ham have been flying high without prodigal son Payet who finally rejoined Marseille. Manchester City’s irregular form continues. Can Pep Guardiola win this? The memories of the humiliation in Everton and the botched opportunities against Tottenham are still fresh.
But it is West Ham who will answer their most important question this season: can they mount a pursuit of European places? They might but Manchester City are in pole position to delay the answer.
Final score: 1-3 #WHUMCI
Manchester United V Hull City, 9.00pm
Manchester United and Hull City are tired of seeing each other. This is their third match in 19 days. Hull City fresh from FA Cup hammering and the attendant comedy in Fulham should be even angrier with their schedule which includes Liverpool and Arsenal in the following eleven days.
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Would they get anything from Old Trafford? Mourinho’s men are buoyant with confidence. FA Cup brushing aside of Wigan with some stars rested means they have fresher legs. Manager Marco Sylva said Hull City ‘need to do many many things before the transfer closes on Tuesday’. This match has come a little too early. No shame in losing.
Final score:3-1 #MUNHUL
Stoke City V Everton, 9.00pm
Both Stoke and Everton didn’t play in the weekend. Getting knocked out of the FA Cup in the third round has its merits. Both teams had a good outing in their last league fixtures. Stoke held Manchester to a draw and Everton took maximum points at Crystal Palace.
New Stoke signing Berahino should get his debut for Stoke but how much harm they would do Everton depends largely on who scores the first goal.
A tight affair, this one, the first to concede is guaranteed a Trojan walled defense. Everton with in-form Lukaku and co have a slightly superior quality to get the first and potentially only goal.
Final score: 0-1 #STOEVE
Note: All times in Nigerian Time, GMT +1
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