Here are Dan’s Premier League predictions for Week 21 and we are all hoping we will see a few more shocks and Arsenal can start closing the gap on the leading four again.
Everton 2-0 Leicester
At home to Cardiff it was like Puel was trying to undo the goodwill created over Xmas. He took off Vardy when needing a goal, someone who would have taken the later penalty. It’s funny to compare the criticism Pogba gets for player power yet okay for Vardy to question tactics when the boss needs help from his captain. The fans will side with Vardy and the striker is well aware of it. Everton have been just as inconsistent over the holidays but have more match winners to call upon.
Arsenal 3-1 Fulham
2018 will be remembered as one of the worst in our history. It’s a shame that going into the New Year the same old feelings are returning. An injury hit squad, players running down their contracts, a lack of leadership and question marks over what Stan Kroenke will do in the transfer window. It means the Emirates has returned to being nervous and apprehensive with visitors knowing if they stay in the game for the opening half hour, the crowd goes quiet and certain players lack the confidence to cope. I’m not sure we have the mentality to recover if the gap between us and Chelsea gets any bigger. Luckily for us, despite a couple of recent clean sheets Fulham don’t have the personnel to park the bus for 90 minutes. It’s more likely that Mitovic bullies our centre backs. So soon after a drubbing, I think Emery should make changes and go back to basics. No more 3 defensive midfielders in front of a back 5, play to our strengths, which is attacking. If you can’t trust Kolasinac to play left back against a side in the bottom three then he’s not good enough period.
Cardiff 1-1 Spurs
If one thing cheered me up over Xmas it was seeing Spur’s title challenge last two days. This isn’t an easy game just a few days after such a disappointment. Cardiff demand that you work hard to get a result against them and as long as they don’t show the visitors too much respect like they did when Man Utd came to Wales, they can get something here.
Has anyone in football ever got an MBE for doing less then Harry Kane? Yes, he won the golden boot at the World Cup but was there really a game where he was the difference between us going through or being knocked out? It’s a slap in the face to English players who actually won trophies that he gets this honour just because we got to a semi final.
Bournemouth 2-1 Watford
The Cherries have been on the end of a couple of drubbings but have the ultimate realist in Eddie Howe who will not be panicking. He knows the way he insists his team play the likelihood is a couple of heavy losses. That’s the risk you take if you choose to be more than a side who park the bus at Wembley or Old Trafford. He’s such a good man manager it won’t have any long-term impact.
Chelsea 2-0 Southampton
We can put pressure on Chelsea by winning the day before but it’s not who we wanted them to be facing on Wednesday. Southampton showed little belief at home to Man City and the worry is they take that mindset to London. Chelsea have this skill of winning games even when not playing to their best.
Huddersfield 1-1 Burnley
Huddersfield will be aware a gap is beginning to grow between them and 17th, meaning they will identify this as one of the few fixtures they can win. It’s hard though when you know you lack a proven goal scorer, meaning the opposition is always in the game. Sean Dyche got his response at the weekend and I can’t see his players not having the right attitude so soon after their manager laid into them.
Newcastle 1-3 Man United
People are saying how kind the fixtures have been to United over xmas but there’s no way Jose would have allowed them to play the attacking football they have since changing managers. He certainly wouldn’t have taken his ego out of the way and built his midfield around Pogba’s strengths. The more you allow your best talents to express themselves, the more likely you are to win, the more you win, the more confident everyone becomes. Simple really.
West Ham 2-0 Brighton
Brighton would have bit your hand off for 4 points over xmas at home to Everton and Arsenal, with Chris Hughton still not getting the credit he deserves? West Ham got bullied at Burnley but I’m not sure the visitors have that
type of player.
Wolves 1-1 Palace
It would sum Wolves up to a few days after winning at Wembley to drop points at home. This is a team who have held City, Arsenal, United, and beaten Chelsea now. Spurs then follow it up by flattering to deceive. I don’t think Wolves like being favourites.
Man City 0-0 Liverpool
Are Liverpool the Champions if they win on Thursday? That was unthinkable just a month ago. This puts huge pressure on City who have shown recently they don’t always handle questions being asked of them. Both managers will earn their money this week, getting their teams to play what’s in front of them, ignoring the table. Does Pep feel the need to go all-out attack to win, making them vulnerable to the counter?