MLSGB Premier League Predictions – Gameweek 17

Starting this week, the MLSGB team will take it in turns to predict the Premier League results from each round of fixtures.

This week Ben Ashton gives his predictions for the final gameweek before Christmas:

Saturday 20 December 2014 (All kick-offs are 15:00 GMT unless otherwise stated)

Manchester City vs. Crystal Palace (12:45)

Man City have done well to make up some ground on Chelsea in recent weeks with a five-game winning streak, and they sit just three points off the pace now. It has been a satisfactory season so far for Palace and you’d expect them to defend from deep and attempt to hit their opponents on the break, but with just one win in ten, City should have enough to win this comfortably.

Prediction: 3-0

Aston Villa vs. Manchester United

Aston Villa will be disappointed with their derby defeat to West Brom last weekend having previously gone on a five-game unbeaten run. Meanwhile, United can’t seem to stop winning under Louis Van Gaal at the moment and it’s unlikely that we’ll see that run coming to an end at Villa Park.

Prediction: 0-2

Hull City vs. Swansea City

Hull City are now already in a situation where every game becomes a cup final and they will be scrapping for every point they can get. Swansea can blow hot and cold and you’re never quite sure which team will turn up for them. It should be a tight game and they’ll share the spoils.

Prediction: 1-1

Queens Park Rangers vs. West Bromwich Albion

The remainder of this season is not going to be comfortable for either of these sides as they look to avoid relegation and home form is going to be crucial. QPR should just edge this with the advantage of the home support.

Prediction: 2-1

Southampton vs. Everton

Southampton are in real danger of going into freefall – that’s if they aren’t already of course. So they will be desperate to avoid yet another defeat. As for Everton, they have failed for consistency and that’s why this one will probably end all square.

Prediction: 1-1

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[The Saints need to bounce back this weekend]

Tottenham Hotspur vs. Burnley

Spurs will be buoyed from their midweek League Cup win over Newcastle and that confidence should be enough to see them over the line against a Burnley side who’ll be reliant on their home form to stand any chance of survival this season.

Prediction: 2-0

West Ham United vs. Leicester City

West Ham have been one of the surprise packages this season and they face a Leicester side who have really struggled since their reasonable start to the campaign and now find themselves rooted to the foot of the table. The Hammers should have no problems in seeing off the Midlands side.

Prediction: 3-1

Sunday 21 December 2014

Newcastle United vs. Sunderland (13:30)

Despite two heavy defeats in North London in the last week, Newcastle should still be confident of overturning an average Sunderland outfit. They’ve only lost one game at home which came on the opening day against Man City and it’s unlikely that we’ll see that change this weekend.

Prediction: 2-0

Liverpool vs. Arsenal (16:00)

Liverpool have won only two of their last eight Premier League games and they’re really struggling for form. Arsenal have been the epitome of inconsistency this season so you never know how they’re going to perform. However, the Gunners are probably slight favourites for the win and should edge it.

Prediction: 1-2

Monday 22 December 2014

Stoke City vs. Chelsea (20:00)

Stoke are always a tough team to beat, but they won’t be able to deal with Chelsea’s attacking quality. Chelsea returned to winning ways against Hull last weekend as well as cruising into the last four of the League Cup against Derby midweek, so they will be full of confidence and the minor blip at Newcastle will be a distant memory.

Prediction: 0-2

What do you think will happen in the Premier League this weekend?



Southampton suffering second successive winter meltdown

Southampton enjoyed an extremely good start to this Premier League season, as they managed to keep pace with leaders Chelsea and were above title holders Manchester City.

Many have said they could be pushing for European football next season, whether in the Europa League or even Champions League – something which is still a possibility but they need a turnaround. Fast.

They are repeating last season’s winter meltdown as they won just once in nine games over the Christmas period in the 2013/14 season, with a real dip in form starting after November 23.

This year it’s started to go wrong a day later, on November 24. The Saints have not won since then and are facing four more tricky games in a similar nine-game run over Christmas this year.

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After a summer of mass exodus, seeing top players like Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw and Dejan Lovren leave for big money, as well as manager Mauricio Pochettino, it would have been easy to predict a demise on what was a good season last term.

And although they defied all odds under Ronald Koeman to begin with, they haven’t won in their last five games in the Premier League, four of which were defeats. Until as recently as 24 November the highflying Saints were just six points behind the leaders, and still ahead of City.

League table on November 24:

1 Chelsea 12 10 2 0 30 11 19 32
2 Southampton 12 8 2 2 24 6 18 26
3 Manchester City 12 7 3 2 24 13 11 24
4 Manchester United 12 5 4 3 19 15 4 19

Current table on December 15:

1 Chelsea 16 12 3 1 36 13 23 39
2 Manchester City 16 11 3 2 33 14 19 36
3 Manchester United 16 9 4 3 29 17 12 31
4 West Ham United 16 8 4 4 27 19 8 28
5 Southampton 16 8 2 6 25 13 12 26

We can see the differences between how they had been performing compared to now in the space of around three weeks.

Southampton did have a tough three game period, playing Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United. But their most surprising recent result was this weekends – an away defeat to Burnley.

Southampton’s winless streak:

Aston Villa 1-1 Southampton (24/11/14)

Southampton 0-3 Manchester City (30/11/14)

Arsenal 1-0 Southampton (03/12/14)

Southampton 1-2 Manchester United (08/12/14)

Burnley 1-0 Southampton (13/12/14)

It would appear they have just lost their confidence, and perhaps their emphatic start to the season is catching up with them. The free flowing play and goalscoring has been lacking and defensive mistakes have crept in.

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Koeman will be disappointed with his side’s performances of late and needs a good result this weekend against Everton to get things back on track.

The Saints travel to Bramall Lane to take on Sheffield United in the League Cup this week and the Blades have been in solid form, so it’s a game Koeman’s men could possibly do without.

Will Southampton recover their form and finish in a European place at the end of the season?