Premier League Predictions: Week 12 – Domestic action returns, North London Derby the standout fixture

Premier League Predictions: Week 12 – Domestic football is back following the international break. Many fans will be delighted that there are no more interruptions until March.

The top six are all in action on Saturday, with the North London Derby kicking things off at 12:30. League leaders Man City travel to Leicester, while Chelsea are also on the road at West Brom. Liverpool and Man United return with home fixtures against Southampton and Newcastle respectively.

Just the one game on Sunday as Watford and West Ham face off in another London Derby. Week 12 is finished off on Monday evening when Brighton host Stoke.

Read on for predictions to all ten of this weekend’s Premier League predictions: Week 12 could see plenty of change at the top…

Arsenal 2-3 Tottenham

Easily the biggest game of the weekend. The North London Derby usually doesn’t disappoint. Arsenal put in a poor display against Man City before the international break, losing 3-1. Arsene Wenger needs a response from his players, a loss to their bitter rivals could see them slip down to 7th. Spurs won 1-0 at Wembley against Palace last time out. A result that in years gone by they may not have been able to grind out. They look a strong force at the moment and confidence is high. Harry Kane and Dele Alli should be refreshed following his exclusion from international call ups, expect them to be at the forefront of the Spurs attack.

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Crystal Palace 1-1 Everton

The Premier League’s bottom side welcome out of form Everton to Selhurst Park. Palace fans may well have been looking forward to the international break in hope of their side having a chance to rebuild and get ready to face Everton. The Toffees really haven’t had anything to shout about. Their loss to Watford last time out meant that they have now conceded as many goals as Palace (22) this season. Both sides are desperate for a win, a scrappy score-draw could be on the cards.

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Liverpool 3-0 Southampton

Jurgen Klopp’s side have got their season on track again. They are sitting 5th in the league and that 4-1 thumping against Spurs seems a long time ago now. However, they are going to have to make sure they do not slip up this weekend. Sadio Mane is ruled out through injury once again, so the pressure for the inform Mohammed Salah to deliver has increased. Southampton have hardly set the world alight so far this season. Their home loss against Burnley before the internationals has left them loitering just four points above the relegation zone. A home win looks likely.

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Bournemouth 1-1 Huddersfield

Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth are in desperate need of a run of form. They have been unlucky in stages so far this season but it cannot be used as an excuse for their league position. The Cherries are just one point outside of the relegation zone and if results were to go against them this weekend they could be second bottom by Sunday evening. Huddersfield are still progressing well. They won 1-0 before the international break and are more than worth the place bang in the middle of the table. They will no doubt see this as a winnable fixture so expect an energetic game. Score draw.

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Leicester 1-4 Man City

Leicester City may think they were unlucky not to take all three points last time out. But it’s the same inconsistency that cost them. They are creating plenty of chances but are not clinical enough. They are unbeaten in their last five Premier League games, so there is reason to be optimistic ahead of this game. Man City have looked on a completely different level to the rest of the league so far this season. Pep Guardiola’s men are already being spoken about as one of his best ever sides and there is even talk about whether they can go the season unbeaten. Goals are free flowing for the Citizens, so don’t expect anything less this weekend.

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West Brom 1-3 Chelsea

West Brom are in trouble. Tony Pulis reportedly has two games to save his job. One of those is at home to the reigning champions here. The other sees the Baggies head to Wembley to take on Spurs. If the West Brom squad want to show they are behind the manager, now is the time. But they haven’t won in nine-straight league games and have slipped to 16th in the table. Chelsea impressed in their 1-0 win over Man Utd before the international break. Now Antonio Conte’s men need to kick on and keep the pressure on the three sides above them. Expect the Blues to prove too strong.

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Burnley 1-0 Swansea

Swansea have a 100% record against Burnley in their four previous Premier League meetings. But don’t expect that to continue beyond the weekend. Burnley are flying and Sean Dyche’s men are picking up plenty of plaudits for their strong start to the season. The Swans are 19th and seem to be struggling for goals and creativity. Paul Clement will find himself under serious pressure if results don’t improve, but they are unlikely to find at joy at Turf Moor on Saturday in what should be a tight game.

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Man United 2-0 Newcastle

This is a big game for Jose Mourinho and Manchester United. They could be 11 points behind Man City by the time they kick off on Saturday evening and they will have to get that gap back to eight, if City indeed win. They failed to score at Chelsea without properly threatening over the 90 minutes but they will have to take the game to Newcastle here. Rafa Benitez’s men will be setting up to contain the hosts and try and hit them on the break and from any set-pieces. It might not be pretty, but United should be able to get it done.

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Watford 2-2 West Ham

David Moyes starts life as West Ham manager with a tricky trip to Watford. Hornets boss Marco Silva looks like he’ll be staying put for now, and that’s a major boost for the home side considering their impressive start to the season. It’s unclear how much the speculation will have got to the Watford players but they’ll have a chance to show they are focused when the Hammers arrive on Sunday. Moyes has a tough job on his hands but he’ll set the visitors up to be solid and try and play as a unit. If they try and impress the new manager they could well come away with something positive.

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Brighton 1-1 Stoke

The fact that Brighton come into Monday night’s game three points ahead of Stoke highlights what an excellent start to the season they’ve made. Chris Hughton’s men have established themselves and have made the Amex Stadium a bit of a fortress so far. They’ve picked up eight points from a possible 12 since losing to Manchester City on the opening weekend of the campaign. They will fancy their chances here, especially with the whole nation’s eyes on them for Monday Night Football. Stoke showed signs of much-needed improvement before the break, beating Watford away before drawing 2-2 at home to Leicester. Mark Hughes has a talented squad of players but is not getting the best out of them. If they show up, they can cause anyone problems, but Brighton will be resolute and hard to break down.

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Premier League Predictions: Week 10 – 2nd vs 3rd as Man Utd take on Spurs, while Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool expected to win

Premier League Predictions: Week 10 – The Premier League weekend kicks off with an absolutely huge clash. It’s 2nd versus 3rd as Manchester United welcome Tottenham Hotspur to Old Trafford. Expect plenty of goals across the ten fixtures this week, while there is the potential for upsets in must-win games for the top sides.

The three o’clock action comes thick and fast after the early kickoff. Struggling Crystal Palace face off against West Ham in the only London Derby of the weekend. Pace-setting Manchester City travel to West Brom, while Arsenal and Liverpool have home ties. Chelsea complete Saturday’s action with the late kickoff away at Bournemouth.

Sunday has a couple of interesting fixtures, Brighton welcome Southampton, before Claude Puel begins his reign as Leicester City manager at home to Everton, who have recently sacked Ronald Koeman. The weekend’s action is completed with Monday Night Football as Newcastle visit Burnley.

Read on for all of this weekend’s Premier League predictions: Week 10 will be an interesting one…

Manchester United 2-2 Tottenham 

Easily the biggest fixture of the weekend. Man Utd vs Spurs has provided some classic fixtures through the years. Both sides are coming into this one needing to bounce back. United’s loss at Huddersfield last weekend was a shock result and Jose Mourinho needs a reaction like his side showed in their midweek Carabao Cup clash. Spurs were emphatic last time out in the league. Their 4-1 win over Liverpool sent out a message to the rest of the league, however their dismal loss against West Ham in midweek was unforgivable and they owe it to their fans to pick up a positive result here. Expect goals as Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku go head-to-head.

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Crystal Palace 1-1 West Ham

This is a big game. Make no mistake about that. Some reports suggested that failure to win this one would result in the sacking of Slaven Bilic as West Ham manager. However, Wednesday’s Carabao Cup win over Spurs may change that. Either way, Premier League points are the priority for both. Palace have struggled but did win their last home game. Another home win here would be a major boost. However, they haven’t scored in 9 of their last 10 games, losing each. West Ham haven’t been much better, failing to win 11 of their last 12 away games. Don’t expect this to be pretty.

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West Brom 0-3 Manchester City

Tony Pulis, like every West Brom fan was devastated not to have picked up at least a point last weekend. However, they have to hold their hands up to accept losing at the hands of one of the goals of the season. West Brom are sitting in and around mid table but they won’t be looking forward to a visit from league leading Man City. Pep Guardiola’s side didn’t have it all their own way in midweek, yet they sealed their place in the next round of the Carabao Cup, despite his displeasure of the ball. Normal service resumes with a ‘normal ball’ here and we expect City to continue their early title charge.

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Watford 2-0 Stoke

They might have lost 4-2 at Chelsea last weekend but Watford are undoubtedly this season’s surprise package so far. The Hornets are enjoying their best ever start to a season in the top flight. They beat Arsenal in their most recent home fixture and should prove too strong for Stoke here. The visitors are in trouble. Last week’s home loss to Bournemouth left them down in 17th. They’ve not won away from home yet this season. Don’t expect that to change here.

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Arsenal 3-0 Swansea

Arsene Wenger & co. have reason to be in high spirits. They took apart a very sorry Everton side last weekend keeping them at pace with the top four. Following up from that a much changed side secured progression in the cup in midweek. Arsenal should be looking to take three points in what has the makings of a routine home game this weekend. Swansea are sitting 15th but are only outside the relegation zone on goal difference. They cannot afford to take a drumming here as we all know how important goal difference can be in the Premier League. A win to ‘nil looks likely for the hosts.

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Liverpool 2-1 Huddersfield

The fact that Liverpool come into this game just one point ahead of Huddersfield tells you all you need to know. The Reds have been inconsistent and have not solved their defensive problems. Last week’s 4-1 loss to Spurs further highlighted their vulnerabilities and they now need to bounce back. They will fancy their chances at home, but the visitors are riding high in confidence. Their 2-1 win over Man Utd was arguably the shock result of the season so far. Don’t rule out another surprise result at Anfield, although Liverpool should edge it.

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Bournemouth 1-2 Chelsea

Bournemouth remain in the bottom three. They picked up a much needed win last weekend away against Stoke and made it a week with plenty to cheer about having progressed in the cup. This is going to be another big test for them but they’ll be relishing a visit from Chelsea. Antonio Conte’s side are coming through a rough patch with promise. Despite being a way off the top of the Premier League their squad depth stood the test of three games in a week. Last weekend’s win at home to Watford showed they have the resilience to fight back and if they go behind here, don’t expect them to let it phase them. Narrow victory for the Champions.

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Brighton 2-2 Southampton

Neither of these sides have really set the world alight yet this season. They have showed some signs of promise but inconsistency has prevented either side from making a statement. Brighton will be pleased with their start to life in the top flight. They are unbeaten in three-straight home league games and will now hope to keep that form going. The Saints picked up a first league win in four last weekend. It’s hard to tell which Southampton side will turn up. But goals could be on the cards here.

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Leicester City 1-1 Everton

The battle two sides who have recently sacked their managers. Leicester have acted promptly to replace Craig Shakespeare with Claude Puel. They picked up an impressive win away at Swansea last weekend and also reached the quarter-final of the Carabao Cup in midweek so things are on the up. Everton’s woes continue, they sacked Ronald Koeman after being demolished by Arsenal last weekend and were knocked out the cup by Chelsea on Wednesday evening. Their poor run of form has to come to an end soon, but we don’t expect them to win here. Score draw.

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Burnley 1-1 Newcastle

The weekend is rounded off with an intriguing matchup. Burnley have been a better side away from home so far but will still see Monday’s game as one they should be winning. Their only home win so far this term came against Palace. For Newcastle, they’ll be looking to keep picking up points. They’ve only lost one of their last seven and look like they’re all pulling in the same direction as Rafa Benitez. It might not be the most entertaining game, but expect it to be interesting.

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Premier League Predictions: Week 8 – Expect a one-sided affair as Liverpool host Man Utd, while Man City should keep on rolling

Premier League Predictions: Week 8 – Premier League action returns after the international break. Liverpool and Manchester United face off to get things going on Saturday lunchtime in what is the standout fixture of the weekend. Two games take place on Sunday, while Monday night rounds off what should be an action-packed weekend.

The remainder of the top four are in action on Saturday. Man City welcome Stoke, Spurs host Bournemouth and Chelsea travel to struggling Palace. Arsenal complete Saturday’s fixtures with a cross-London trip to Watford in the late game.

Brighton take on Everton, while Newcastle have the trip down south to Southampton in the Sunday double-header. The final fixture on Monday night sees Leicester face West Brom.

Read on for all of this weekend’s Premier League predictions: Week 8 marks the anticipated return of domestic football…

Liverpool 0-3 Manchester United

The latest instalment of the historic fixture. Jose Mourinho’s United have been in fantastic form this season, while Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool have struggled defensively. Both sides have been hit with injuries of late, Liverpool will be without Sadio Mane, while Paul Pogba remains out for United. Given how free-scoring United have been and that Liverpool have just a +1 goal difference, we predict a healthy win for the Red Devils.

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Burnley 2-2 West Ham 

Burnley are high-flying in sixth place. Sean Dyche’s men picked up three points away at Everton before the international break and they will be looking to continue their great run of form here. West Ham’s struggles have been all too apparent, but they steadied the ship last time out with a 1-0 win over Swansea. This is going to be a tight one. Score draw.

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Manchester City 4-0 Stoke

Pep Guardiola would not have wanted the international break to come after his City side put in an outstanding tactical performance to win away at Chelsea. The Citizens are league leaders on goal difference and will be praying results go their way to open a gap at the top this weekend. Stoke also picked up three points heading into the international break, but this is going to be a huge ask for them. Expect goals from City.

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Crystal Palace 0-1 Chelsea 

Negative runs have to come to an end at some point. Crystal Palace are yet to even score a goal this season, so what better way to do it this weekend against the Champions. Chelsea are without a few key faces, N’golo Kante and  is sidelined, while Alvaro Morata also continues recovery from a hamstring injury. Antonio Conte’s squad depth will be tested but in all honesty, anything less than three points and a clean sheet will be a failure for Chelsea fans here. It couldn’t happen, could it?

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Tottenham 2-0 Bournemouth

The end to the Wembley hoodoo for Spurs. Mauricio Pochettino’s side have to pick up three points this weekend and with the goalscoring form of Harry Kane they should do. That said, Spurs cannot be too reliant on their Ballon d’Or nominee. Bournemouth are sitting second bottom and will not be looking forward to an away tie off the back of the international break. Spurs to win to nil.

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Swansea 1-1 Huddersfield 

The Premier League can be a cruel animal and Swansea are experiencing how tough things can be. They are without a league win since August and are going to need to get back to winning ways sooner rather than later. Huddersfield have been giving a good account of themselves since so far this season. They’re only four points outside the top four, however as the games roll on they may quickly find out how quickly things can change. An away point will seem a better result for them than the hosts this weekend. 1-1 draw.

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Watford 2-2 Arsenal 

Arsenal’s early-season problems seem to be behind them. Contract sagas remain ongoing but on the field, the Gunners have won six of their last seven in all competitions. The only exception was that 0-0 draw at Chelsea. But Watford have impressed and the fact they come into this game just a point behind Arsenal is testament to their strong start. Marco Silva’s men lost 6-0 to Man City in their last home game and will be hoping to show more fight against one of the top sides this time around.

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Brighton 1-1 Everton

Both sides come into Sunday’s game tied on seven points from seven games. Brighton will be content with that. Everton will not. The Toffees have failed to get going, despite heavy summer investment. Ronald Koeman is under pressure and needs to get a result here. However, Brighton are tough to break down. They beat Newcastle in their last home game and will be hoping to secure at least a point here.

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Southampton 1-1 Newcastle

Southampton have really struggled to get going so far. They are short of goals and have lost three-straight home games in all competitions. They need to avoid defeat here but come up against a resolute Newcastle side. The Magpies seem to be growing in confidence. They battled well to a 1-1 draw with Liverpool before the international break and could add to their points tally with another strong showing here.

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Leicester 2-1 West Brom

Leicester come into the weekend outside the relegation zone on goal difference only. They could be in the bottom three by Monday night, depending on results and need to win this game. They have only won one league game all season so far but have enough quality to get three points here. West Brom are winless in five league outings themselves. The fact they are on the road here further limits their chances, so the Foxes should just edge it.

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Steven Taylor nearing Portland Timbers switch following Newcastle exit

Portland Timbers look set to bolster their backline as English centre-back Steven Taylor is on the verge of completing a move to the reigning MLS Cup champions.

Taylor has been without a club since leaving Newcastle, the club he had spent his entire career at until they were relegated from the Premier League last term.

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The 30-year-old’s contract was not renewed on Tyneside and so the tough-tackling defender is now looking for a new club after 13 seasons and 268 appearances with the Magpies.

That new club looks set to be the Portland Timbers. A report on Saturday suggested that the move to Portland was done, with ESPN’s Taylor Twellman then backing up those claims by revealing Taylor was at Providence Park for Saturday’s game against LA Galaxy.

Taylor would bring an abundance of Premier League experience to a Portland defence that has looked lapse at times this season. Caleb Porter’s team have shipped 33 goals in 22 games so far this term – the joint-third worst record in MLS.

When you also factor in that Liam Ridgewell and Nat Borchers are both set to see their contracts expire at the end of the current season, the move to bring in Taylor makes sense for the Timbers.

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Portland’s decision to sell goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey to Norwegian side Rosenborg BK last week has freed up space on the team’s salary cap, while also opening up another international slot that Taylor could fill.

The Timbers travel to Sporting Kansas City next weekend, but it’s perhaps more realistic to expect to see Taylor make his debut against the same opponent when SKC travel to Portland on August 7 if he does indeed complete the switch to MLS.

Would Steven Taylor be a good signing for Portland Timbers? 

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Newcastle United vs Tottenham Hotspur

Competition: Premier League – Newcastle United vs. Tottenham Hotspur

Venue: St James’ Park – Sunday, May 15 – 15:00 BST (10:00 ET)

Match Odds: Newcastle 16/5 – Draw 11/4 – Tottenham 4/5

Match Preview

Newcastle United welcome Tottenham Hotspur to St James’ Park on the final day of the Premier League season, a campaign which could have offered more for both of these sides, who find themselves at either end of the table.

The home supporters will be bitterly disappointed to have been relegated in midweek but will need to be behind their side for the last time in the Premier League for at least a season. They come into this one off the back of their 0-0 draw with fellow relegated side Aston Villa.

Newcastle have nothing to play for here but pride. They need to go out with a strong performance and are capable of doing so, having not lost in their last five. Form has been good but it has come a little too late.

This could be Rafa Benitez’s last game in charge of the club. He has made a positive impact but couldn’t quite steer Newcastle to safety. If the club can tempt him into staying on as manager they stand a great chance of coming straight back up next season.

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Tottenham come into this one off the back of their 2-1 home loss to Southampton, a game they were winning, which ended an eight-game unbeaten run and followed the disappointment of officially missing out on the league title a week earlier at Chelsea.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side need to avoid defeat here to secure a second place finish ahead of rivals Arsenal. Although Spurs have missed out on the title, it has been a very impressive season and there is plenty to be excited about for the Lilywhites.

Tottenham need to go out with a win here and look forward to next season. They have a lot to look forward to and can mount another challenge for the title next campaign if they play with the same intensity from start to finish.

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Newcastle actually beat Spurs at White Hart Lane in the reverse fixture, coming from behind to win 2-1 thanks to a 90th minute Ayoze Perez goal. However, Spurs have only lost one of their last five trips to Newcastle and will be confident of sealing at least a point.

Team News

Newcastle’s injury woes have overshadowed a gruelling campaign. Tim Krul, Massadio Haidara, Curtis Good, Rob Elliot and Fabricio Coloccini all remain injured as Rafa Benitez prepares to name the club’s final Premier League lineup for at least a season.

Tottenham have just one injury concern as Nabil Bentaleb remains out. Both Mousa Dembele and Dele Alli are suspended and won’t feature. Ryan Mason is expected to partner Eric Dier in midfield again, while Heung Min-Son will hope to keep his place ahead of Nacer Chadli in behind Harry Kane.

Key Points

Newcastle’s last five: W/D/D/W/D

Tottenham’s last five: W/W/D/D/L

Key Stat: Tottenham are unbeaten in 16 of their last 17 away matches in the Premier League.

Key Player: Harry Kane – The Englishman has had a great season and will be battling with fellow countryman Jamie Vardy, as well as Sergio Aguero on the final day for the golden boot. Kane has 25 goals for the season and is ahead of Vardy by one.

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Score Prediction

Newcastle 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur – Spurs to sign off with a win and give Newcastle United fans an all too familiar feeling with another loss this season. Both have endured contrasting seasons and the gulf in class is likely to be apparent here.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Newcastle vs Manchester City

Competition: Premier League – Newcastle United vs. Manchester City 

Venue: St James’ Park – Tuesday, April 19 – 19:45 BST (14:45 ET)

Match Odds: Newcastle 9/2 – Draw 3/1 – Man City 3/5

Match Preview

Newcastle host Manchester City in an enormous Premier League clash between two sides at either end of the table on Tuesday night.

The Magpies sit 19th coming into the game but gave their survival hopes a huge boost on Saturday as they beat Swansea 3-0 at home. They now sit three points behind Norwich and have to try and take at least a point from this game in hand.

The worry for Newcastle fans will be that City are the one team they wouldn’t want to face, even if they are at home. The Toon Army have a horrendous record against City and have now lost 12 consecutive Premier League games against them.

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A 13th-straight loss here would do little to help the Magpies climb out of the bottom three but Rafa Benitez will hope he can inspire his players to pick up what would be a magical win in front of the home crowd on Tuesday.

City travel to St James’ Park in great shape. They are in the semifinals of the Champions League and come into this game off the back of a 3-0 win at Chelsea – their third-straight league vicory.

Manuel Pellegrini only has a few games left in charge of the club but will be looking for his 100th win as City boss in all competitions here.

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City are still battling to cement a place in the top four. They sit third heading into the game, four points ahead of Manchester United in fifth and know three points here would give their chances another major boost.

The reverse fixture saw Newcastle destroyed 6-1 at the Etihad, with Sergio Aguero netting five goals. City haven’t lost to Newcastle in 18 consecutive top flight games and haven’t lost at St James’ Park in 11 years.

Team News

Newcastle still have a huge injury list to deal with as they fight for survival. Nine players are sidelined as Tim Krul, Ivan Toney, Massadio Haidara, Curtis Good, Rob Elliot, Kevin Mbabu, Fabricio Coloccini, Daryl Janmaat, Steven Taylor all remain injured.

Samir Nasri will miss out here for Manchester City after picking up a knock against Chelsea. David Silva is close to returning and might be fit enough to start here, while Raheem Sterling, Vincent Kompany and Gael Clichy are also close to returning.

Key Points

Newcastle’s last five: L/D/L/L/W

Manchester City’s last five: D/L/W/W/W

Key Stat: Newcastle are winless against Manchester City in 18 consecutive Premier League games, losing the last 12 in a row.

Key Player: Sergio Aguero – The City star netted a hat-trick in the weekend win over Chelsea and destroyed Newcastle in the reverse fixture by scoring five in the 6-1 win. Aguero now has ten goals in eight league appearances against the Magpies. If he’s in the mood, Newcastle stand little chance.

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Score Prediction

Newcastle 1-3 Manchester City – This is an enormous game for Newcastle as they look to make the most of their game in hand over Norwich. However, City will arrive in high spirits and will likely prove too strong for the hosts yet again. The Magpies should find the net, and depending on how early they do so, might stand a chance, but City are a lot stronger and should seal three points here.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Newcastle vs Sunderland

Competition: Premier League – Newcastle vs. Sunderland 

Venue: St James’ Park – Sunday, March 20 – 13:30 GMT (09:30 ET)

Match Odds: Newcastle 11/10 – Draw 23/10 – Sunderland 5/2

Match Preview

Newcastle host Sunderland in what is set to be one of the most important Tyne-Wear derbies in the Premier League era. Both sides are fighting relegation and this is as big a six-pointer as you could see.

Newcastle started life under new manager Rafa Benitez with a 1-0 loss to Leicester last Monday, but there were positives from their performance and the Spaniard will hope his side can now build on that display with a crucial win over their local rivals.

A win against any side would be huge for Newcastle – who sit 19th in the table – but a win against fellow relegation strugglers and fierce rivals means this is undoubtedly the biggest game of the Magpies season.

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They have lost their last six meeting with the Black Cats and must try and get the crowd behind them early. The Magpies have only lost one of their last four at home in the league and that’s a positive heading into this game.

Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce will face up against Rafa Benitez once again but with an enormous amount at stake, all attentions will be on what takes place on the field, rather than in the dugouts.

The Black Cats have been in relatively good form of late and enter the weekend outside the bottom three. They have only lost one of their last five and will be desperate to avoid defeat at St James’ Park on Sunday afternoon.

One major problem for Sunderland is their defence. They haven’t kept a clean sheet in 15 consecutive league outings and that will be a concern for Allardyce and his team.

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The reverse fixture ended 3-0 to Sunderland back in October in what was Allardyce’s first home game. But now Benitez will be hoping his first home game will reap similar rewards.

This is sure to be a fiery clash between two sides fighting for their lives. You don’t want to miss this.

Team News

Rafa Benitez might name an unchanged team to the side that lost at Leicester on Monday. The new manager has 12 injury concerns heading into his first home game, with Chancel Mbemba the only player on the injury list in contention to recover. He will face a late fitness test but Paul Dummett, Cheick Tiote, Fabricio Coloccini, Sylvain Marveaux, Curtis Good, Kevin Mbabu, Papiss Cisse, Massadio Haidara, Gabriel Obertan, Ivan Toney and Tim Krul are all still sidelined.

Sunderland have much less to worry about on the injury front, with Duncan Watmore the only player certain to miss the game. Emmanuel Eboue is unlikely to feature as he continues to build up fitness, while Wahbi Khazri, Jermain Defoe, Jeremain Lens and Lee Cattermole are also doubts but should recover in time to play.

Key Points

Newcastle’s last five: W/L/L/L/L

Sunderland’s last five: D/W/L/D/D

Key Stat: Sunderland have won each of the last six Tyne-Wear derbies in the Premier League – the best ever winning streak in this derby by either club.

Key Player: Jermain Defoe – The Sunderland striker has netted seven goals in his last eight league games away from home and will be tasked with firing the Black Cats to victory at St James’ Park on Sunday. He proved to be dangerous against Newcastle last season and will be out to hurt them once again here.

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Score Prediction

Newcastle 2-1 Sunderland – This is a colossal game for both sides, but you’d have to say Newcastle need the win more for two reasons: They are playing at home, and are 19th in the table, a point behind Sunderland who sit in 17th. A draw will likely keep Sunderland outside the bottom three, depending on the Norwich result, and they will set up to avoid defeat. But Newcastle looked much better against Leicester and need to show the fight and desire that Benitez will demand if they are to win this game and subsequently stay up. Narrow home win.

Five key facts following Newcastle’s appointment of Rafa Benitez

Newcastle made a key managerial change on Friday, with Steve McClaren’s sacking paving the way for Rafa Benitez to be appointed within just a matter of hours.

The Spanish boss will return to the Premier League for what will be his third job in the top flight, following previous spells with Liverpool and Chelsea, but faces what is set to be the biggest challenge of his career at St James’s Park.

Newcastle are 19th in the Premier League with ten games to go and are embroiled in a relegation dogfight – something Benitez has not been involved with in his managerial career as of yet.

Benitez is someone who clearly loves a fact, so here are five of them:

1. No bottom three Premier League club has ever stayed up when sacking a manager after March 3.

Benitez will have to do something no Premier League manager has ever done by keeping the Magpies in the top flight over the next ten games. There have been 11 previous managers appointed to clubs in the bottom three after March 3, but none of those have been able to avoid relegation.

2. Rafa Benitez has the seventh-highest win percentage of all Premier League managers to have overseen 50 or more games.

Benitez appears to be a huge managerial capture for Newcastle and that is proven by his all-time Premier League win percentage of 56%. That figure is the seventh-highest of all top flight managers to have been in charge of at least 50 matches. If he can keep that win record intact, Newcastle will win be on track to win five of their last ten games and would surely be safe.

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3. Benitez’s teams have averaged 1.57 goals-per-game over the course of his managerial career.

One of Newcastle’s major problems this season has been the inability to score goals as they have only averaged one goal-per-game in the Premier League – only Aston Villa have a worse record. Benitez tends to see his side score closer to two goals per match than one, and will hope to instantly increase the Magpies’ goal output.

4. Teams managed by Benitez concede less than a goal per game, on average.

As well as addressing Newcastle’s offensive issues, Benitez will need to shore up a defence that has conceded 53 goals in 28 league games this term – an average of 1.89 per game. The Spanish manager is renowned for making his teams tough to beat and that is proven by the fact that his sides concede an average of 0.91 goals-per-game.

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5. Rafa Benitez has not lost his first league game in charge in any of his last six jobs.

Benitez has a very tricky first game in charge to prepare for as Newcastle travel to Leicester on Monday night. The Foxes are top of the league and are on course for a historic title win. However, Magpies fans should take confidence into that trip based on Benitez’s record with his last six clubs. The Spaniard has not lost his first league game in charge since 2000 and has only conceded one goal in his last six opening matches as a manager. Three of his last four jobs have seen his opening league game end 0-0 – a result Newcastle fans would probably accept ahead of Monday’s trip.

Will Rafa Benitez keep Newcastle in the Premier League? 

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Leicester vs Newcastle

Competition: Premier League – Leicester City vs. Newcastle United

Venue: King Power Stadium – Monday, March 14 – 20:00 GMT (15:00 ET)

Match Odds: Leicester 4/7 – Draw 3/1 – Newcastle 19/4

Match Preview

Leicester face Newcastle in a crucial Premier League fixture for both clubs on Monday night, with plenty of focus sure to be on new Magpies manager Rafa Benitez.

Benitez, who was sacked by Real Madrid in January after just seven months in charge, replaced Steve McClaren on Friday and will now be tasked with trying to keep Newcastle in the Premier League.

He faces a stiff first game in charge though, with a trip to Premier League leaders Leicester probably the most difficult fixture he could have been handed.

The Foxes are five points clear at the top of the table heading into the weekend and have not lost in ten games at the King Power Stadium.

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A resilient 1-0 win at Watford last time out saw Leicester reinstalled as title favourites and they are now just nine games away from landing a historic and remarkable title win.

Newcastle are enduring a completely different campaign. They sit second from bottom and are in real danger of being relegated.

However, the Magpies have a game in hand over the clubs around them and are only a point from safety heading into the weekend. They will hope the appointment of Benitez can inspire things to improve on the field.

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The 3-1 loss at home to Bournemouth last weekend saw them lose their third league game on the bounce. The Magpies have not lost four in a row all season.

Leicester won the reverse fixture 3-0 at St James’s Park and will be looking for a fourth consecutive victory against Newcastle in all competitions on Monday night.

Team News

Leicester’s only current injury concern is Matthew James and so Claudio Ranieri will be able to pick his strongest possible lineup for the visit of Newcastle on Monday night.

All eyes will be on Rafa Benitez’s first team selection as Newcastle boss on Monday evening but the Spanish manager could be without as many as 12 first team players. Andros Townsend and Cheick Tiote are both doubts, while Tim Krul, Ivan Toney, Gabriel Obertan, Massadio Haidara, Pappis Cisse, Kevin Mbabu, Curtis Good, Sylvain Marveaux, Chancel Mbemba and Fabricio Coloccini remain out.

Key Points

Leicester’s last five: W/W/L/W/L

Newcastle’s last five: L/W/L/L/L

Key Stat: Monday blues – Newcastle have lost each of their last eight Premier League games played on a Monday night, failing to score in any of their last five Monday fixtures. All eight have been played away from home.

Key Player: Riyad Mahrez – The Algerian playmaker has been a revelation for the Foxes this year. He netted the winner in Leicester’s 1-0 win at Watford and has now been involved in 26 Premier League goals. He is the only top flight player in double figures for both goals (15) and assists (11) this term.

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Score Prediction

Leicester 2-2 Newcastle – Leicester haven’t looked as dangerous in recent weeks and had to settle for a 2-2 draw with West Brom in their most recent home game. Newcastle’s managerial change should see the players improve and Rafa Benitez will be desperate to avoid defeat in his first outing as manager. A close-fought battle looks likely, though there could be some goals in this.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Chelsea vs Newcastle

Competition: Premier League – Chelsea vs. Newcastle

Venue: Stamford Bridge – Saturday, February 13 – 17:30 GMT (12:30 ET) 

Match Odds: Chelsea 4/9 – Draw 7/2 – Newcastle 6/1

Match Preview

Chelsea welcome Newcastle to Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening in a battle between two sides still looking to climb the Premier League table after disappointing seasons.

The Blues have not lost a game since Guus Hiddink returned to the dugout in December, but they are still not winning enough and sit in 13th place as a result.

They did well to battle back to earn a 1-1 draw at home to United last weekend but that result means Chelsea have drawn their last four league games, without keeping a clean sheet in any of those matches.

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They’ve only won one of their last five coming into this one, but will be expected to seal three points against Newcastle side battling relegation.

The Magpies sealed a vital win against West Brom last weekend but they are still embroiled in a relegation battle and are just one point above the drop zone heading into the weekend.

Inconsistency remains a huge problem for Steve McClaren’s side as they have only recorded back-to-back league wins once this season.

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Newcastle have a huge injury list to worry about at a pivotal stage of the season but new signings such as Jonjo Shelvey, Andros Townsend and Seydou Doumbia will hope to help the team avoid the dreaded drop to the Championship.

The reverse fixture ended 2-2 at St James’ Park, with two late Chelsea goals earning them a point after Ayoze Perez and Georgino Wijnaldum had given the Magpies the lead.

Team News

Chelsea have been dealt a huge blow as Kurt Zouma will be out for around six months with a knee injury suffered in the 1-1 draw with United last Sunday. He joins Falcao and Loic Remy in the treatment room, while Alexandre Pato isn’t deemed fit enough to play yet.

Newcastle manager Steve McClaren has an astonishingly long list of unavailable players for this one, with no fewer than 15 players either injured on suspended. Daryl Janmaat, Jack Colback, Paul Dummett and Siem De Jong are all doubts, while Jamaal Lascelles is still suspended. Tim Krul, Ivan Toney, Gabriel Obertan, Massadio Haidara, Pappiss Cisse, Vurnon Anita, Kevin Mbabu, Chancel Mbemba, Curtis Good and Sylvain Marveaux are all definitely out with injuries.

Key Points

Chelsea’s last five: D/D/W/D/D

Newcastle’s last five: D/W/L/L/W

Key Stat: Newcastle have not scored a goal at Stamford Bridge since May 2012 and have lost on each of their last three visits to Chelsea.

Key Player: Aleksandar Mitrovic – The Newcastle striker fired his side to victory against West Brom last week and will hope to benefit from Kurt Zouma’s absence in the Blues’ defence.

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Score Prediction

Chelsea 2-1 Newcastle – Newcastle have a huge list of unavailable players and that will likely cost them dearly here as Chelsea should be able to take advantage by recording just a second win in six league games. Games between these two tend to be close and so this is likely to be decided by the odd goal.