Friday, February 3, 2023

EPL 2022/23 - Week 21

 

Everton v Arsenal - Away

Aston Villa v Leicester - Home

Brentford v Southampton - Home

Brighton v Bournemouth - Home

Man Utd v Crystal Palace - Home

Wolves v Liverpool - Draw

Newcastle v West Ham - Home

Nott Forest v Leeds - Draw

Tottenham v Man City - Home

 

This could be the week where Arsenal crushes the league. With 5 points to spare with a game in hand, the Gunners look in total control of their destiny. Sure, Man City have the capacity to claw back the gap but Arsenal are looking strong at the moment and showing no signs of slowing down as many, including myself, thought they would.

Against a club in disarray like Everton, Arteta's men will be gunning for full points and will be disappointed not to do. After all, the Merseyside outfits are still looking for a new manager after sacking Lampard. This should be a canter for the visitors. On the other hand, Man City have an arduous match waiting for them at White Hart Lane. The fact that they did not reinforce the squad before deadline day can be seen as a negative. But losing Cancelo to Bayern is what will truly hurt the team for the remainder of the season. That was a shocker of a loan move as the Portuguese was arguably an untouchable on the first team just a while ago. A loss of form has turned that privilege on its head and there doesn't seem to be a natural successor for the versatile defensive back. While the Citizens will go in as favourites to get the away win, there is still a live possibility that they require some time to re-adjust filling the void left by Cancelo. It could be Arsenal 8 points ahead by the end of the week-end and that will be too much of a tall order for Guardiola's men to pick up.

Win: Arsenal

 

 

 

 

Friday, January 20, 2023

EPL 2022/23 - Week 20

 Liverpool v Chelsea - Home

Bournemouth v Nott Forest - Draw

Leicester v Brighton - Home

Southampton v Aston Villa - Away

West Ham v Everton - Home

Crystal Palace v Newcastle - Away

Leeds v Brentford - Draw

Man City v Wolves - Home

Arsenal v Man Utd - Home


An Arsenal vs Man Utd fixture used to be one of the hotly contested matches in the not-so-distant era of the Ferguson and Wenger days. We talk of intense rivalries in derbies but the feud between the 2 clubs and particularly their managers was as intense as ever been witnessed in the Premier League. Add to the mix the 2 non-compromising captains in Keane and Vieira and the matches were certainly extraordinary. 

With Arsenal now strongly in command at the top of the league and the Red Devils showing signs of renaissance under Ten Hag, Sunday's fixture will bring some air of nostalgia to their fans. Arteta has brought new life and hope to the Gunners through a judicious selection of young guns playing free flowing football reminiscent of the Wenger days. Odegaard, Martinelli, Saka are playing with an energy level that is packing a punch through defences while Partey is the strong midfield anchor the Gunners have been looking for in recent years. The defence is strong too and goalkeeper Ramsdale is a proven number 1 that should be England's as well. 

Man Utd got their 10-game winning streak snapped in mid-week at Selhurst Park where they were rather unfortunate to concede the tying goal in extra time. More importantly though was the loss of Casemiro for this match due to a yellow card. The Brazilian is arguably the Red Devils' most valuable player after Rashford so far this season. He is the midfield lynchpin they have been looking for since Roy Keane. Arsenal looks certain to score without the presence of Casemiro giving cover to the back four. In fact, one way Man Utd can sneak a victory out of this is with strong physical play to break the dynamic threat posed by the Gunners' forwards. I sense that the Arsenal attack will overwhelm whatever resistance the vistors can offer and claim a comprehensive win; one of the big steps remaining towards the coveted title.

Win: Arsenal

Friday, January 13, 2023

EPL 2022/23 - Week 19

 

Man Utd v Man City - Home

Brighton v Liverpool - Away

Everton v Southampton - Home

Nottingham Forest v Leicester - Home

Wolves v West Ham - Home

Brentford v Bournemouth - Home

Chelsea v Crystal Palace - Home

Newcastle v Fulham - Home

Tottenham v Arsenal - Draw


I mentioned a while back that Chelsea might have commited folly replacing a Champions League winning coach like Tuchel with the unproven Potter. Seems the results of the past few gameweeks are indeed showing that Chelsea have embarked on the wrong path and unless their results start improving drastically, he might be out the door sooner than later. The coming of Crystal Palace give the Blues a first-rate opportunity to get back to winning ways and I think they will. Against Fulham in mid-week, Chelsea seemed buoyed by new arrival Felix until the loanee got sent off in the second half which led to their defeat. Crystal Palace are a team playing with little confidence at the moment and this should end up in a much-needed 3 points in the bag for the home team.

Man Utd are in hot form and their Derby against Man City will put their title credentials to the test. Rashford is playing with supreme confidence, bagging goals from everywhere. Martial is due a goal soon and wouldn't surprise me if he is on the scoresheet (if he plays). Rivals Man City are still the favourites to land the league title again although the gap with Arsenal is starting to get worrying. They lost to Southampton in mid-week and I have a feeling that all is probably not right in their setup at the moment. Still, they never go beaten in advance particularly with striker Haaland leading the charge. I believe this will end in either a draw or the home team edging this.

Win: Man Utd, Chelsea

Sunday, January 1, 2023

EPL 2022/23 - Week 18

Brentford v Liverpool - Home

Arsenal v Newcastle - Away

Everton v Brighton - Home

Leicester v Fulham - Home

Man Utd v Bournemouth - Home

Southampton v Nottingham Forest - Away

Leeds v West Ham - Home

Aston Villa v Wolves - Home

Crystal Palace v Tottenham - Home

Chelsea v Man City - Away


Arsenal have opened a 7-point gap at the top and the way they are playing, they will take some stopping. They have a huge nugget this week against upcoming powerhouse Newcastle. Although the Magpies fired blanks against Leeds, they are by no means push-overs; they have the team to frustrate the strongest teams particularly on their travels. This is going to be a major test for the young gunners and it will give them a world of confidence to keep striving at the top if they pass this. I believe this is going to be a close one and wouldn't be surprised if the visitors nick it in the end.

West Ham are on a bad losing streak and it wouldn't be a surprise if manager Moyes is given the boot to change the club's fortunes. Leeds will be buoyed by their excellent draw at Newcastle and can certainly compound the visitors' misery. The Peacocks have been involved in a few high-scoring matches and I can see them outscoring a Hammers team that has been mainly hurt by their inability to find the net consistenly of late.

Win: Newcastle, Leeds