English Premier League Predictions Gameweek 34
It's that time of the week again, when I attempt to predict the outcomes of the upcoming Premier League games. There are two midweek games again this week, and all fantasy footballers should be aware of which players will play twice.
It's not easy to pick players from Stoke, Wolves, Fulham and Bolton, but they are the options if you want some players to have extra games. The season is getting very close to an end now, and quite a few issues will be resolved over the next few weeks, with the relegation battle in particular looking like it will go all the way.
My predictions league is going from bad to worse for me at the moment, and I'm only just hanging on to fourth place. Interestingly, the leader Stephen Bradley had a large chunk taken out of his lead last week, and another week like it could see him in a real battle at the top.
I only managed to get three outcomes correct last week and six wrong, and yet again I would have to advise anybody to bet against any predictions I make. Here's a look at how my predictions league stands.
Man Utd vs Everton
Manchester United's are favourites to win the Premier League because their home form is so good. They have won 15 games and drawn only one of their 16 games so far, and they will be champions if they win their last three home games I am sure.
Their reaction to dropping two points away to Newcastle on Tuesday night will also be interesting, as will their reaction to losing the FA Cup semi final to Man City last week. The next eight days could make or break their season, but they look to have the mental toughness to ensure that it's the former.
Everton are the in-form team at the moment in the Premier League, and they are pushing Liverpool for sixth place. Their away form is not great, but they are far from easy to beat.
I'm sure they will see United as vulnerable due to their incredibly busy schedule, and their best chance of getting anything from the game is to attack. The chances are they will play a defensive game though, and that could prove to be their downfall.
However much I hope for Everton to get something from this game, I think United will run out winners of a close game and continue their march towards a record 19th league title.
Prediction: United, 2-1
Aston Villa vs Stoke
Aston Villa managed to get back on track with victories in their last two games, and they now find themselves in the top half of the table again and seven points clear of the relegation zone too.
A victory would see them almost certainly clear of any relegation trouble, and their home form is still pretty impressive. As long as they keep attacking, the goals will come, but their defence will need some surgery before next season in my opinion.
Stoke RFC have a very poor away record this season, and they're currently only five points above the relegation zone. However, they do have an FA Cup final to look forward to, and it could prove to be the boost they need to get a win or two that will make them safe for another season.
The Stoke RFC players should be looking to make an impression on their manager before the cup final, and their no frills approach could make life difficult for Villa's dodgy defence.
I think Villa should get the win they need to ensure Premier League safety for another season, but it will be a close game.
Prediction: Villa, 2-1
Blackpool vs Newcastle
Blackpool are on a terrible run at the moment, and their home defeat to Wigan last week saw them slip into the relegation zone for the first time this season.
Three of their last five games are at home, but they have lost more home games than any other team in the league so far this season. I think things are looking very grim for them with their two remaining away games at Tottenham and Manchester United.
I hope they manage to stay up, but I think the tide has turned against them, and relegation looks to be almost a certainty at this stage.
Newcastle are in the top half of the table, and they know a victory in this game will ensure their Premier League status for another season. They have a pretty poor away record, and no other team has scored fewer goals on their travels than Newcastle.
However they should be confident of scoring a few goals against the worst defence in the league, and of getting some sort of result too.
I really hope Blackpool can get the three points from this game, but I fear their defence just isn't good enough to play at this level, and the best they will do is share the spoils.
Liverpool vs Birmingham
Liverpool are missing quite a few players, but they have still managed to play well enough to stay in sixth place.
They managed a dramatic draw with Arsenal last week, and they beat Man City comfortably the week before that. Their defence suffered another couple of injuries against Arsenal last week, and they are down to the bare bones, but I still think they should have enough attacking options to score a few goals.
Birmingham have managed to pull themselves five points clear of the relegation zone, and they look like they will be safe for another season. Their away form is pretty poor, but they do get a few draws on the road, and that will be their best hope in this game. As long as they manage to stay up, this will be seen as a great season for them, after winning the Carling Cup final.
I think Liverpool will continue their recent good form and get the three points from this game.
Prediction: Liverpool, 2-0
Sunderland vs Wigan
Sunderland looked to be heading for a very good season, but a return of one point from nine games has cost them dearly, and if they can't stop that run they will be in very real danger of relegation. They still seem to be playing well enough, but they are leaking far too many goals, and the loss of Darren Bent to Villa in the transfer window now looks to have been a terrible move for Sunderland.
Wigan put in a great performance away to Blackpool last week, and the victory lifted them out of the relegation zone for the first time in a very long time. Their defence is actually quite solid on the road, and they will make life very difficult for Sunderland.
I think Wigan will make things very tough for Sunderland, and they will manage to get a precious point from this game.
Tottenham vs West Brom
Tottenham did very well to come from two goals down and get a point against Arsenal on Wednesday night. They now need to win this game to put themselves ahead of fourth-placed Man City who don't play until Monday night.
If they can attack as well as they did against Arsenal on Wednesday night, I am sure they will have far too much for a West Brom team that looks very shaky at the back. Now that they have exited the Champions League, they will hope to improve upon a record of only one win in six league games.
West Brom have really turned things around since Roy Hodgson took over the reins at the club, and relegation is now very unlikely. They will target a Spurs defence which gave up a lot of chances to Arsenal on Wednesday night, and a win will guarantee another season in the Premier League for them in my opinion.
I think Spurs should have too much in attack for West Brom, but it certainly won't be easy for them. If they can find the intensity they found against Arsenal, they should win by a couple of goals though.
Prediction: Tottenham, 3-1
Wolves vs Fulham
Wolves looked to have turned things around, but successive three-goal defeats have left them back on the bottom of the table with only five games to go. A win in this game would probably see them climb out of the bottom three though, and they have every chance of doing just that.
Fulham are only five points above the relegation zone, but they should be safe in my opinion. Their away form is their problem, as they have only won once on their travels all season. If they can reproduce their home form, they will cause Wolves some real problems, but for some unknown reason they rarely win on the road season after season.
I see this as an absolutely must win game for Wolves, and they should be up for it. If they can get ahead, I think they will hold on to give themselves a chance of Premier League survival.
Prediction: Wolves, 2-1
Chelsea vs West Ham
Chelsea have come with a late surge in the Premier League, and they are now second, ahead of Arsenal on goal difference. They have won six and drawn two of their last eight league games, and they will have to win their last five games to have any chance of retaining their title.
Florent Malouda and Didier Drogba seem to have found their form again, just when it really matters, and I expect them to score as many goals as possible in their remaining games, in case the title is decided on goal difference.
West Ham are back in the relegation zone, and they travel to Man City next week after this game against Chelsea. It looks like they will have to try to get some points from their last three games, as I can't see them having much chance against Chelsea or City.
Their defence has been very poor this season, and they could see themselves well beaten in both of those games in my opinion.
Chelsea may not be as good as they were last season, but they won't have to be to beat a West Ham team which are in grave danger of relegation. I think they will win comfortably enough and keep up the pressure at the top of the table.
Prediction: Chelsea, 3-0
Bolton vs Arsenal
Bolton were soundly beaten by Stoke RFC in their FA Cup semifinal last week, and it will be interesting to see how they react against an Arsenal team that just can't seem to get a win at the moment. Bolton have only lost twice at home this season, and they are scoring quite freely at home too.
If they can bounce back from last week's disappointment, they will cause Arsenal some real problems, but if not, they could suffer again.
Arsenal eventually managed a good performance against Spurs on Wednesday night, but they only managed to draw 3-3, despite leading 3-1 at one stage. Their inability to keep a lead gives any team hope against them, and it looks to have cost them the league title.
They have five games left, and they need to win them all if they are going to have any chance of getting their first trophy in six years. Even if they win those games they will also have to score a lot of goals to catch the teams ahead of them on goal difference, and it just looks to be too much at this stage.
I think Arsenal will add to the best away record in the league with another win, but it won't be easy for them, and there won't be more than one goal in it.
Prediction: Arsenal, 2-1
Blackburn vs Man City
Blackburn are only two points clear of the relegation zone, and they have to get something from this game. It won't be easy against a team which is chasing a Champions League spot, but they have a good home record, and they will give it all they have.
They are playing better football since Sam Allardyce was sacked, but they need the points to go with that football or relegation is a real prospect.
Man City will be buoyed by their FA Cup semifinal victory over Manchester United last week, and they will want to amass enough league points to make sure they qualify for the Champions League next season.
With only six games remaining, and one of them against their main rivals Spurs, they will know a win in this game is vital. If their manager sends them out to attack Blackburn I think they will win, despite Carlos Tevez missing the game through injury.
I can see Blackburn putting up a brave fight and taking a point to frustrate a City team that need all three.
Stoke vs Wolves
Stoke will see this game as an ideal opportunity to finally end any chance of them getting sucked into the relegation struggle. Their home form is quite good, and their style of football is difficult to play against.
Wolves are in dire relegation trouble, and I don't expect things to be any better after this game. They don't travel well, and they have a poor defence, which should mean they get very little from this game.
I think Stoke RFC will win this game fairly comfortably.
Prediction: Stoke, 3-1
Fulham vs Bolton
Everton are still pushing for sixth place, but they have suffered a lot of injuries recently, and their game away to league leaders United on Saturday will have been tough on them. If they get a result against United, I think they will have a chance against Fulham, but I don't see that happening.
Fulham will ensure their Premier League survival with a win in this game, and their home record would suggest it's the most likely outcome. They have played pretty well at home recently, and another such performance should be enough to get all the points in my opinion.
I think Fulham will manage the win they need against an Everton team that are never easy to beat.
Prediction Fulham, 2-0
That's it for today.
See you tomorrow.