Hey guys, before I share my predictions can I pass on my love and thoughts to the families of Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson. The families are struggling with ‘few answers to unexpected loss’. Clearly, it’s not looking hopeful of any positive news after all this time. At a time when we get angry over Mr Kroenke, transfers, and debate with each other, this is a reminder of bigger things in life than football…………….
Arsenal 4-1 Cardiff
A kind fixture for Arsenal as it’s unlikely the visitors will have ambition to test out our make-shift defence, maybe by corners, but set pieces is the one area we have dealt well with this season. Surely the perfect game to use Ozil’s creativity? I doubt a win here will make any Gooners confident about a trip to Man City but one match at a time. Win here and it puts pressure on our top 4 rivals.
Fulham 1-0 Brighton
It is depressing that we are linked with the same defenders that Fulham are (the difference is they can pay money for them!). I watched Chambers as DM and I think surely it makes sense to bring him back early. How can we be putting square pegs in round holes while across London there is a player who is better than our current options. Ranieri has improved the Cottagers but there is such a gap now they can’t keep being unlucky to lose, they need wins. From motivation, to the atmosphere at the Cottage, they need to replicate their performance against Spurs.
I think they will beat Brighton, simply because they need the 3 points more
Huddersfield 1- 0 Everton
The first thing the Terriers new boss said was don’t compare him to Wagner, well he has to do some job for that not to happen. Wagner wouldn’t have left if he believed this group of players could close the current gap. Their recruitment policy and choice of new boss smacks of a chairman prepared for relegation. As for Everton, I think that, 3 days after being knocked out of the cup, it’s a nightmare game for Silva who I think is under pressure. The number of premiership sides to be knocked out of the cup means it has opened up, so that was a chance missed for the Toffees. I’m expecting a cup like atmosphere and the visitors to again to be bullied.
Wolves 2-1 West Ham
Like Everton, West Ham will be thinking that with Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs already out of the cup, it was a chance missed. The only good news is Arnautovic has signed a new contract. His agent/brother has played a blinder. His job is to do what’s best for his client and he’s gone and got him a pay rise. You don’t one minute have your heart set on living in China, then change your mind. If you find a trip to Wimbledon tough, then you’re going to struggle at Wolves.
Man United 2-0 Burnley
No longer can we say Solskjaer hasn’t been tested. It’s as simple as playing/trusting your best talents and saying how good they are. The Norwegian won’t worry about being permanent boss if he carries on, his worst case is going back to Molde and if Poche didn’t deliver, who do you think Ed Woodward’s going to ring? In the Jose era I would give Burnley a chance, but this is the United many of us grew up with.
Newcastle 0-2 City
It’s the champions turn to play before Liverpool, something I think is a crucial factor the closer we get to the run in. Newcastle were heavily criticised for their tactics in this fixture last season. Rafa will argue it meant they only lost 1-0 and when they showed ambition in last 5 mins, they nearly snatched an equaliser. The Toon to park the bus yet again (and lose again).
Cherries 1- 1 Chelsea
I argued all month that us getting a defender and/or Chelsea buying a striker could be the difference in who finishes 4th. The Blues got Higuaín, we are trying to loan cast offs, that’s the difference between our two owners. It also means Sarri may now play Hazard in his natural position, no change in Kante’s situation though.
Bournemouth are dangerous in games where it will be open. By kick off, Arsenal and United could be level on points with Chelsea, so this is a tough game under pressure.
Southampton 2-1 Palace
I don’t think the Saints new boss has got enough credit. He has made individuals better and suddenly there is an identity again at St Marys. Having not played in 10 days he would have worked on fitness, an issue he identified on arrival. I give the home side the edge just in terms of rest but if I’m a Palace fan I’d rather the cup run.
Liverpool 2-2 Leicester
There have been chances in their last 2 games for the leaders to have dropped points. They were drawing at half time at Brighton and fell behind at home to Palace. To survive both is mentally huge. Yet this is the first time in a while they play after city, meaning they could kick off with a gap of just the one point. The Foxes pull out a result when you least think so. They beat City and won at Chelsea. They have individuals who could take advantage of any nerves.
Spurs 1-1 Watford
It’s been a horrible week for Spurs which could affect their season. People are too quick to dismiss the cups as not being a priority but it’s different for each club. Arsenal for example, accept we are in a low ebb, Gooners are unhappy with how we are being run. Spurs, on other hand, are meant to be in their golden era, their glory years, and yet are not winning anything. Poche can say only top 4 matters but the fact is he keeps getting into situations where silverware is within touching distance. How many semi-finals have they failed to win? I picture Wembley not sold out, silence and apprehension. Watford can take advantage.