Man United v Arsenal is the biggest fixture in this midweek fixture list, but with Man City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham rivals all having reasonably easy games we could drop behind again if we don’t win at Old Trafford. A win tomorrow would perhaps be even better than the Spurs demolition, but would a draw be so bad if it maintains our unbeaten run?
Anyway, here are Dan’s Predictions….
AFC Bournemouth 3- 0 Huddersfield
You can understand Wagner struggling to keep up his good guy routine on Saturday. The German is smart enough to know it’s hard enough to get points with a limited squad, virtually impossible when you are forced to play with 10 men. Eddie Howe is too good a manager to allow his boys to be affected by four straight defeats. The Cherries easily could have taken something against Man United, us and even pushed Man City closer than most.
Brighton 1-2 Palace
Palace produced a performance at the weekend why I think they are too good to do down. There’s no reason with the players they have why they can’t be as positive away from home. Brighton are more organised and focused then Burnley but if the Eagles show ambition they can win this game.
West Ham 2-1 Cardiff
I never feel comfortable backing the Hammers in games where they are favourites. As long as they match Cardiff for work rate and attitude they will win as they have more quality. It would be very West Ham of them to make a pickle out of getting three points.
Watford 2 -3 Man City
You know you are doing well, when your manager feels compelled to remind everyone just because they are scoring 3- 5 goals weekly, don’t assume it’s not based on hard work. Pep at the weekend made comparisons with the likes of Federer and Nadal, pointing out how they didn’t stop once they won a Grand Slam, the hunger remained to keep on winning. In other words, the hope for the rest of us is City simply get bored of comfortably winning every game or more likely their boss leaves due to burn out like at Barcelona. This is the type of fixture they are most likely to slip up in. A cold winter’s night at Vicarage Road, flood lights on, Watford where possible will at least try to attack them.
Burnley 0-2 Liverpool
Any other year I describe this as a banana skin for Liverpool but even Sean Dyche has admitted his side have lost their mojo at the moment. It shows the levels they were reaching to reach 7th last season. Those levels drop and suddenly they are in the bottom three. Liverpool looked a bit short of ideas at the weekend, but this is another game they can win without playing well. I truly think that keeping the gap with City to two points having not been great against Everton was the reason for Klopp running onto the pitch. What’s the difference between the German and Jose doing that type of thing? One hasn’t spent a decade poking and poking. Plus, there’s a difference between running towards oppositions fans to suit your own agenda compared to celebrating your teams’ achievements.
Everton 1-0 Newcastle
Pickford will be grateful there’s a game so quickly, giving him an immediate chance to make up for his incredible mistake on Sunday. This is a young man who’s had a lot of great things said about him but the true test of an individual is not when things are going well but when you experience adversity. I can think of other English keepers whose confidence shrank when making high profile errors. The Toffees are beginning to struggle to convert possession into goals so may have to be patient.
Fulham 3-2 Leicester
I can already see Claudio’s personality rubbing off on his new team. If any club know the impact the Italian can have it’s the Foxes. Can see this being quite open. Fulham have goal scorers in their team which not all sides in the bottom half have.
Wolves 1-2 Chelsea
The worrying thing about Wolves’ attitude is they will be up for this game but can’t find the same motivation for the Huddersfield’s and Cardiff’s of this world. Chelsea have looked out of sorts recently, coinciding with Hazard not being 100 percent fit. The difference here could be the home sides lack of a proven goal scorer.
Man United 1-1 Arsenal
As much as I loved Sunday, beating Spurs at home is something we are used to, a win at Old Trafford however would signify a huge change in our mentality. The task for Emery is to get his players to play what’s in front of them and not the occasion. Forget the venue. Ignore our record there, this current Man United are beatable. Jose’s the type to get a slice of luck against us but make no mistake this is a good time to go to the red half of Manchester. A draw is not the end of the world but would seem like a chance missed.
Spurs 2-0 Southampton
If a child one day asks you how to sum up Spurs, just show them the 90 minutes from the weekend. They went from false hope, expectation, arrogance to failure. No cheap shots but at what point do their fans get tired of being told how this is their glory period, a shift in power, etc with zero trophies or wins at the Emirates? Mark Hughes was right to point to the positives in the draw with Man United. but it was too little too late in terms of his job.