Friday, October 17, 2014

EPL 2014/15 - Week 8

As is very common after international breaks, there are bound to be surprise results in this week-end's matches, so not throwing caution to the wind is probably a good idea. Here are my selections.

Man City v/s Tottenham. The champions were on a good roll before the break, and will be keen to keep the momentum going to keep in the touch with the pace set by Chelsea. They were made to work hard in their last win at Villa and moments of brilliance from Toure and Aguero, as expected, made the difference. That they did not panic during the long spells of sterile domination attests to the state of mind analogous to champions. Spurs are still finding their feet with their new coach and new players settling in. They will certainly be resilient but should eventually be broken down by the mighty attacking prowess of the home team. It could be close but Man City should prevail in the end. Home win.

Arsenal v/s Hull. The Gunners lost Ozil for a couple of months, which is a huge blow, although some think that it might be positive given the German's indifferent form. Truth is, Ozil is a game-changer and the Gunners badly need one at the moment with the absence of Walcott and Ramsey. The Gunners really need a win here to get on the title-charging bandwagon. They will huff and puff against a compact Hull side but once they can open the scoring, they should be in for a badly-needed win. Home win.

Burnley v/s West Ham. This is an ideal spot for the Hammers to claim full points, with Burnley yet to record a win. It seems whoever scores first will have a distinct advantage here. I think a share of the spoils is a real possibility here. Draw.

Crystal Palace v/s Chelsea. The Blues saw their title hopes evaporate last year when they lost this fixture in the title run-in. You can expect Mourinho to have learnt from that. This Palace team will be slightly different though, as Warnock has replaced Pulis as manager. With Costa at the forefront, Chelsea are always a threat to score at any time. The Eagles will give it a go, but class should tell here and the visitors will certainly be gunning for another valuable 3 points in the bag. Away win.

Everton v/s Aston Villa. One thing that is obvious but not too much so when looking at the standings, is that Everton are certainly better than their 17th ranking. With their current squad, they should be on a good run soon and that could very well start against the visiting Villains. The latter are having a horrible run of their own following a run of brutal encounters with the top teams. A hungry home team should add to their woes. Home win.

Newcastle v/s Leicester. Manager Pardew will probably not last much longer at Tyneside but this match gives him and his men an excellent opportunity to get their first win of the season. Striker Papiss Cisse has been the lone bright spot for the Magpies with some fine goals in recent matches and he will certainly relish taking on one of the worst defences in the league. Leicester have shown admirable tenacity in all their matches but I doubt they will be able to keep their momentum; a reality check might be more in the offing for them. Home win.

Southampton v/s Sunderland. I see Southampton getting back to winning ways here. They are playing well as a cohesive unit and will only get better as the season progresses. Although Sunderland got their first win in their last match, they do not inspire confidence as to replicate the same vein of form, week-in week-out. Striker Steve Fletcher seems to be hitting good form for them, but Southampton have my vote for the win. Home win.

QPR v/s Liverpool. Relegation expert Harry Redknapp is certainly not getting the job done at Rangers so far. They will be missing influential Mutch and Barton. Their displays have been listless, to say the least. The coming of Liverpool does not bode well for them. Sturridge might return to give their attack much-needed impetus. Sterling is always a threat and is developing into a top winger. Liverpool need the win to catch up with the leaders and I think they will get the 3 points. Away win.

Stoke v/s Swansea. This is a match between 2 teams of even strength that will end in the middle of table come May next year. None are in a rich vein of form or lack of, and a draw could be the likeliest result. Draw.

WBA v/s Man Utd. The Red Devils owed their last win to the heroics of keeper De Gea in the dying minutes of the match against Everton. Need to see those top-class saves from this budding star goalkeeper to understand how good he's becoming. Falcao got his first Premiership goal in that match as well, and has again scored for Columbia during the international break. If he's on a streak, then the WBA defenders are in for a tough encounter. WBA have a young starlet striker in Berahino but this week again, I see the Red Devils outscoring their opponents and get another win under Van Gaal. Away win.

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