Friday, September 12, 2014

EPL 2014/15 - Week 4 Predictions

Arsenal v/s Man City. I thought Arsenal snatching Danny Wellbeck from Man Utd was one of the best transfers before deadline closing day. His pace should fit naturally in the Gunners system and if he stays fit, there's every chance that he is going to get over 10 goals for this season. Arsenal have lost Giroud for the season and while the French striker might be a better finisher than Wellbeck, the latter's mobility give them more interesting options up front. Definitely a great buy at 16 million pounds. Man City suffered a shock defeat at home to Stoke in their last game and they haven't been very active in the transfer market mainly due to the Fair Play restrictions. Mind you, they still boast the most complete squad in the league. The manner of their home defeat looked to suggest that they might lack cutting edge up front when Aguero and Dzeko are not firing on all cylinders. This is a big 6 pointer match for 2 leading teams this early in the season and the winner will be the one taking the most of the chances at hand. A draw might be the likelier outcome and that is the selection. Draw.

Chelsea v/s Swansea. After taking the scalp of Man Utd on opening day, Swansea will aim at doing the same to the Blues. Thing is, Chelsea are formidable at home under Mourinho and are so far perfect this season. I just cannot see them losing this match and Swansea's good run should come to a halt at the Bridge. Home Win.

Crystal Palace v/s Burnley. There's no doubt that the departure of Pulis just before the start of the season have wrecked plans not just at Crystal Palace but also in the betting markets. A team that I thought was destined for a top 10 finish will now possibly be fighting for relegation survival. That said, the Eagles have shown good resilience even in their 2 defeats in 3 matches, and the coming of fellow strugglers Burnley will be an opportunity-not-to-be-missed to get 3 important points. Home Win.

Southampton v/s Newcastle. The Saints seem to be on a mission to contradict the naysayers as they continue their good run despite having lost their manager and best players over the summer. Their new boss Ronald Koeman is a good coach with whom they can manage a middle of table finish. Newcastle have yet to win and manager Pardew is already on the hot seat particularly after the fan outrage of losing talented player Ben Arfa during the transfer window. This will be a tight match but I like the chances of Southampton posting another win. Home Win.

Stoke City v/s Leicester. Stoke stole 3 invaluable points at Man City last week-end, something that not many teams will probably do. They should be their stingy self at home again this year and I don't anticipate many goals in this match. It's hard to see Leicester win this and the most they can aspire to is a draw. Chances are that it will end up with the home side bagging up all 3 points. Home Win.

Sunderland v/s Tottenham. The actual strength of Tottenham was fully exposed in their defeat at the expense of Liverpool in their last match. Spurs were lucky to snatch a last-gap victory at West Ham on opening day and I think there is still much room for improvement regarding team chemistry under new coach Pochettino. This match seems to be the right opportunity for the hosts to finally bag their first win after 2 draws and a defeat in the first 3 matches. The Black Cats usually keep matches tight with their stingy defence and have enough the firepower to cause trouble at the other end of the field. A home win for Sunderland is the value punt of the week-end. Home Win.

WBA v/s Everton. Two win-less teams so far and visitors Everton will be gunning for the full points here against a team that many are expecting to be relegated. The Toffees should have too much firepower for the Baggies to handle and if there is to be an away win on Saturday, it should be in this one. Away Win.

Liverpool v/s Aston Villa. Liverpool were dealt a blow in mid-week with the loss of striker Sturridge for a few weeks. It will be up to new recruit Balotelli to lead the charge although the eccentric player is not fully fit. Still, Liverpool seem to be getting to last year's form and they are always a formidable foe at Anfield. Villa have started the season brightly and the managerial combination of Lambert and Keane seems to be bringing dividends to the club. Villa won't be easy to overcome but I reckon the Kops will get the important win in the end. Home Win.

Man Utd v/s QPR. Talk at Old Trafford is now about the Gaal-acticos after the arrivals of Di Maria and Falcao, these 2 players being arguably the best in the world at their positions. It won't escape regulars of this blog that I rate Falcao very very highly; in fact, I think he's the best striker in the world. Not only he scores boatloads of goals, he scores them in the most important matches as well. If he stays fit, he's going to be a massive signing and addition to the club. Di Maria is a fantastic buy as well, a real danger to any team and a game-changer as well. When Van Gaal gets this team to fully gel, which I reckon will take a couple of months, they will be scoring loads of goals left and right.
The fact that Rio Ferdinand is still central to QPR's plans tells you about their health (or lack of) in defence. Rangers can certainly score against the volatile Man Utd rearguard but they will almost inevitably concede as well. This match will probably not be a thrashing that many people are expecting but in the end, the Red Devils should be celebrating their first win of the season. Home Win.

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