Premier League Predictions: A Crucial Mid-Week Is Upon Us

January 29, 2019

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We are nearing the business end of the season and there is plenty to play for in the Premier League. With the trophy destined for either Merseyside or Manchester and the relegation battle hotting up, teams cannot afford to drop valuable points from here to May. The festive period may well and truly be over, but we still have plenty of Premier League action to keep us entertained until summer.

Next up are two mid-week fixtures on Tuesday and Wednesday, as the games continue to come thick and fast, with squads being tested to their very limits. Who will prevail and who will start to drop off as we enter the final stages of the season? I’ve taken a look into this week’s fixtures, which have the potential to really mix the standings up in the table.

Arsenal To Find Their Feet Against Cardiff

After Manchester United moonwalked on through in the FA Cup against Arsenal on Friday, Unai Emery has the task of picking up and rejuvenating his side after their humiliating defeat. Even with two defensive midfielders on the pitch, the Gunners look considerably shaky at the back and have just two clean sheets in their last ten games.

However, they are facing the joint-second lowest scoring team in the division in Cardiff City. In fact, their top scorer in the league this season, Callum Paterson, has just four to his name. The Bluebirds are in trouble after failing to capitalise on fellow relegation scrappers Newcastle and Huddersfield, with their FA Cup exit to Gillingham piling on the January woes. Scoring goals is a major concern for Neil Warnock, whose team look destined to go down.

Emery will rely on his attacking prowess to seal the fixture, as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette should be licking their lips at the prospect of facing Cardiff right now. The game, though, will be all about Emiliano Sala, who tragically disappeared on his flight to join the Bluebirds earlier on in the month. In what was such a devastating turn of events, the incident highlighted the beautiful side of the game, with football communities across the globe coming together to pay their respects and offer help to the Welsh club.

Prediction: Arsenal 2-0 Cardiff – 6/1 with Ladbrokes

Fulham Desperate For Three Points

Despite being tipped to flourish this season, Fulham are in big trouble at the bottom end of the table and are in need of another ‘great escape’ to survive. Claudio Ranieri has failed to revolutionise the struggling Cottagers, with just two wins from twelve games. They have a stronger XI on paper than most teams around them, but they fail to shut out opposition in the most pinnacle periods of the game.

Goals are also hard to come by and they have failed to score two goals in a game since November. With Aleksandar Mitrovic as the lone striker, Fulham continue to operate in a robust manner and there are limited areas as to where goals can come from across the park. Their upcoming opponent in Brighton aren’t necessarily the most explosive team in-front of goal, but they are a well-balanced side.

The Seagulls are soaring higher than many initially predicted and Chris Hughton deserves all the credit coming his way. They certainly aren’t a team that roll over easy and they will be awkward visitors to a Fulham side that will be desperate to attack from the off.

Prediction: Fulham 1-1 Brighton – 5/1 with Betfair

Battle For Europa League At Molineux

With the top six positions in the league all seemingly solidified, the fight for seventh is on. There is a growing polarisation between the ‘big guns’ and the rest of the league, so in some respect, finishing seventh is the new top spot for the mid-table sides. Manchester City face Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final and should one of the Premier League heavyweights win the FA Cup, a Europa League space opens up for the team in seventh.

Both Wolves and West Ham will be fully aware of this situation, with their clash on Tuesday night being dubbed a ‘six-pointer’. Both teams encountered surprising results in the League Cup over the weekend and you are never quite sure which Wolves or West Ham will turn up on the day. On paper, both teams possess enough quality to beat anybody and this game could be a strong indication of how each side fancies finishing the end of the season.

It will be a scrappy encounter in the middle of the park and I’ll predict the Hammers to come away with a surprise victory.

Prediction: Wolves 1-2 West Ham – 7/1 with BetBright

The Toffees To Unstick Their Recent Woes

Marco Silva has not hit the acclaimed heights that many had predicted at the start of the season, but they have too much firepower for Huddersfield to handle. The Terriers haven’t won a football game since November and survival looks far from feasible. David Wagner has departed, and the inexperienced Jan Siewert has been tasked with the job of making up ten points on Newcastle.

Huddersfield need to start putting in a plan for the Championship next season and anything other than an Everton victory will be regarded as an upset. The likes of Gylfi Sigurdsson and Richarlison will need to find space in-behind their opposition’s midfield three – surely they should be able to formulate and execute an organised performance against the bottom of the league?

Prediction: Huddersfield 0-2 Everton – 8/1 with Royal Panda

City’s Ruthless Run To Continue

6 games. 28 goals. 0 conceded. Pep Guardiola’s side has responded to their back-to-back defeats in December in emphatic fashion. Rotation has been the Spaniard’s key tool in keeping his players fresh over this festive period, and City now enter the latter stages of the season with nearly a fully fit squad.

Rafa Benítez continues to work wonders with his incredibly restricted resources, but he needs points. Newcastle boast an incredible defensive record of conceding less goals than Arsenal and United in the league this season, but it comes at a price. Going forward, the Toon rarely offer a threat to their opposition’s goal and this should be a walk in the park for City. They will remain patient and space will open up for the two Silva maestros, who continue to pull the strings for their unstoppable forward line. Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling to find the scoresheet in this one.

Prediction: Newcastle 0-3 City – 23/4 with 888 Sport

Ole Steering United into Fourth?

‘Ole at the wheel’ has been the beckoning chant around Manchester in recent weeks, with the caretaker manager exceeding all expectations to win his opening eight games in charge. The Norwegian has brought an expansive and dynamic identity back to Old Trafford, with his attacking stars flourishing in the process. There is a feeling of inevitability when United now step onto the field, with this form looking likely to continue against Burnley.

The Clarets have also had a cause for celebration over the festive period though – they picked up vital points against West Ham, Huddersfield and Fulham. Sean Dyche has steadied the rocking ship at Turf Moor and he will rely on his defensive resilience to stop the Red Devils marching through on Tuesday night. Off the back of a 3-1 victory against Arsenal though, United will be in the mood to extend Solskjaer’s perfect record even further.

Prediction: United 2-0 Burnley – 6/1 with Boyle Sports

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Six Points On The Line At Selhurst Park

Every year in the Premier League, we see what a significant impact a fresh face can make in the dugout. From Southampton’s perspective, it could well have been a decision to save their spot in the top division. Ralph Hasenhuttl has come in and changed their fortunes around, winning four games and drawing three in his opening ten games.

Southampton currently lie in 15th place just behind Crystal Palace, but level on points. Neither side can be ruled out of the relegation scrap, but both clubs are in a stronger position than those below them on the field. Palace also head into the fixture in good form and it’s certainly a tricky one to call. Roy Hodgson’s team will be on a high after dumping Tottenham out of the FA Cup, but they did field a full-strength side. Both clubs would be satisfied with a point.

Prediction: Palace 1-1 Southampton – 6/1 with Black Type

Big Guns A Stumbling Block For Eddie Howe

Bournemouth have been up and down the bottom and top half of the Premier League this season like a yoyo. You are never quite sure whether they are going to sweep aside their opposition 3-0 or concede three goals themselves. They were clinical against West Ham in their last outing though, and Eddie Howe will be instructing a high press against Chelsea on Wednesday.

Maurizio Sarri’s team selection is consistent and everybody knows the slow, patient build-up that the Italian likes to enforce onto his players. Time will tell as to whether Gonzola Higuain will be a hit, who has been brought in to deliver the much-needed goals at Stamford Bridge. With a natural striker in the side, this should get the best out of Eden Hazard, who will resume his favoured position out on the left.

Howe and Bournemouth have failed to upset any of the top dogs this season, but I fancy them to break this spell here. High pressure on Chelsea’s full-backs should cause issues and Calum Wilson’s form in-front of goal could see the Blues drop valuable points on their travels.

Prediction: Bournemouth 1-0 Chelsea – 16/1 with Coral

Klopp To Prevail On His Fox Hunt

City’s result away at Newcastle could shape the atmosphere at Anfield come Wednesday, but Jurgen Klopp’s message to his players will remain all the same. The title is mathematically in their hands and the German is desperate to deliver the red side of Merseyside their first ever Premier League trophy. However, they nearly slipped up against Crystal Palace and they will need to be more defensively assured against Leicester City.

The Foxes haven’t won in five and Claude Puel is in a bit of hot water, but you can never count them out. Having defeated Chelsea and City already this season, it would be a dangerous proposition to ever rule out Leicester. They always seem to perform better when the spotlight is away from them, but this should be too much of a big ask.

Mohammed Salah has been in electric form recently and with Roberto Firmino dropping deeper to accompany the Egyptian, Leicester won’t be able to shut out Liverpool all game.

Prediction: Liverpool 3-0 Leicester – 7/1 with Betfred

Pochettino Desperate For A Win

It was all looking high and bright for Tottenham but three injuries later and they find themselves in deep trouble. They have been knocked out of both domestic cups in four days and yet again, will be ending the season without silverware. Mauricio Pochettino has admitted that a top four finish was the only priority, although this felt like a small dig at Daniel Levy for putting the club in this situation.

Watford certainly have the potential to be awkward visitors at Wembley, as they are undefeated on the road in their last six away trips. Javi Garcia has performed excellently as the club’s manager and the Yellow Army could not be more content right now. A well-drilled performance could cause Spurs some issues and without Harry Kane or Dele Alli, they offer very little going forward.

Their woes could continue here and I’m backing Watford to leave London with a sneaky point.

Prediction: Tottenham 1-1 Watford – 11/2 with Karamba

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Author: Joshua

As an experienced sports writer, Josh has been published across various different platforms, writing about his beloved club Manchester United and other footballing topics. He also covers a range of other sports, specialising in UFC and Formula One.

Twitter @JoshGI97

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