STATS: Chelsea projected to battle relegation based on recent history

Chelsea’s problems so far this season have been documented far and wide. Jose Mourinho is under enormous pressure to turn things around after watching his side lose six of their first 11 games in the Premier League.

The Portuguese manager’s job is under threat, according to multiple reports, and there is little wonder when you look at the fate of other Premier League sides that have started with identical records in recent years.

Five sides have started the season with the same record as Chelsea (W3 D2 L6) over the past four campaigns, with three of those going on to suffer relegation by the end of the season.

Table: The last five sides to start with identical league records to Chelsea after 11 games.

Table: The last five sides to start with identical league records to Chelsea after 11 games.

West Bromwich Albion managed to turn their season around despite a poor start in the 2011/12 season as they ended up finishing 10th with 47 points unde Roy Hodgson’s guidance.

However, Wolves struggled badly after an identical start, going on to finish bottom of the table and suffering relegation to the Championship.

Wigan (2012/13) and Norwich (2013/14) also suffered relegation after picking up 11 points from 11 games and so using the word crisis to describe Chelsea’s start is hardly an overreaction.

Table: Finishing position of last five sides to start season with same record as Chelsea

Table: Finishing position of last five sides to start season with same record as Chelsea.

Using these statistics as a guide, it appears as though Chelsea’s problems will only worsen.

Although that’s not accounting for the fact that they’ve got a squad of elite professionals, many of whom lifted the title just six months ago.

Table: Chelsea's projected league finish based on recent history of sides with same starting record.

Table: Chelsea’s projected league finish based on recent history of sides with same starting record.

As the projection above shows, Chelsea look set to end the year in a relegation battle. That’s based on the last five teams’ finishes after starting with the same 11-point record through 11 games.

Finishing on that projected 36-point tally would be Chelsea’s lowest amount accrued in the Premier League era. The last time they picked up fewer points was back in the Football League First Division in the 1978/79 season (20).

Mourinho is in the middle of the biggest challenge of his managerial career and the spotlight is fully fixed on the Blues.

Their next Premier League game comes away at Stoke. Chelsea were eliminated from the League Cup last Wednesday after losing on penalties away at Stoke and so it’s difficult to see them picking up three points.


2015/16 Premier League Predictions: Winners, losers and everything between

The 2015/16 Barclays Premier League season is just a couple of days away as one of the most hotly anticipated days in the football calendar edges ever closer. But for those looking past the opening round of fixtures, there’s another long campaign ahead with drama, thrills and spills guaranteed.

New teams, managers and players have arrived ahead of what looks set to be a close-run season at either end of the table, with sides strengthening across the division over the course of the summer.

The Premier League is almost impossible to predict, but we’re going to have a go anyway because who doesn’t like to sit back at the end of the season and think: ‘Wow. I didn’t see that coming.’

Will Chelsea retain their title? Will Harry Kane manage to replicate his scintillating form from last year? And will Sunderland ever go down? Read on to find out what our editor, Louis East is predicting for the 2015/16 Premier League campaign:

Title winners: Chelsea

Chelsea fully deserved their success last season as they ended up winning the title by eight points, despite a relatively poor end to the campaign by Jose Mourinho’s high standards. They may not have changed too much over the summer, but they didn’t need to. They were easily the best side in the country last time out and should be too strong once more, although they can expect to be pushed right to the end by Manchester City, Arsenal and possibly Manchester United.

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Relegated:  Norwich, Watford & Leicester

Always difficult predicting who will go down before a ball has even been kicked, but three teams have to be selected here. It’s easy to go with all three promoted sides but I’m expecting Bournemouth to hold their own in the top flight and so I think Leicester City will join Watford and Norwich in falling through the trapdoor. Without Nigel Pearson, the Foxes were doomed last year. Now he’s gone, it’s hard to see them staying up. Sunderland are always lingering near the danger zone but Dick Advocaat looked to turn things around and they should survive yet again.

Player of the season: Wayne Rooney

Eden Hazard lit the Premier League up last term but hasn’t looked as sharp so far in preseason and Wayne Rooney’s opportunity to play as the lone striker should see him pick up his first Player of the Year award since the 2009-10 season. He played as a striker that year, netting 26 times, and the England captain should find himself at the heart of everything United do going forward this year as they look to be serious title contenders once more.

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Best young player: Raheem Sterling

Raheem Sterling’s controversial move from Liverpool to Manchester City has seen the player attract plenty of criticism from those in and around football, but his quality cannot be questioned. Still just 20, Sterling has the opportunity to kick on and develop further at City and will look to record his best season yet under Manuel Pellegrini this year.

Golden Boot: Harry Kane

Few could have predicted what Harry Kane went on to achieve during the 2014/15 campaign but the young Spurs forward ended the year with 21 league goals and didn’t even establish himself as a first-team regular until October. He now has a full season to shine and should better his goal tally. Many are predicting his performances will dip, but he only seemed to improve last year and will be a better player from his experiences.

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Surprise package: AFC Bournemouth

Bournemouth won the Championship in fine style last year, scoring more goals than anyone else with the second best defence in the league. The jump to the Premier League is a big one but there is a sense of real optimism around the club that they can hold their own in the top flight. Eddie Howe is a great young coach and should guide his team well clear of relegation as they look to be this season’s surprise package.

Shock of the season: Brendan Rodgers first to be sacked

Life as Liverpool manager has been tough for Brendan Rodgers. After narrowly missing out on Premier League glory in the 2013/14 season, the Reds dropped down to end last year in sixth, with that final day 6-1 defeat to Stoke one the fans were left devastated by. They start this season at the Britannia but Steven Gerrard and Raheem Sterling have gone and will leave Rodgers with further problems to fix. A flurry of new signings have arrived again but Rodgers might not have long enough to get them to gel this time around with pressure mounting rapidly.

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Signing of the season: Dimitri Payet

It was tough to neglect Petr Cech here as the goalkeeper will make Arsenal a much better side, but overall I think Dimitri Payet will prove more important to West Ham than Cech will to Arsenal this year. Payet arrives at the Hammers from Marseille off the back of a stellar season in France as he picked up 17 assists with seven goals in 36 league games. Only Lionel Messi made more successful through-balls in Europe’s top five leagues than Payet and he should ensure West Ham have a year to remember in what will be their last at the Boleyn Ground.

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Manager of the year: Mark Hughes

Mark Hughes has done a fine job with Stoke since taking over from Tony Pulis two years ago and doesn’t always receive the praise he deserves. Another fine summer of transfer business has seen the Potters strengthen with the likes of Glen Johnson, Marko Van Ginkel and Ibrahim Afellay arriving. Add that to the fact that Bojan will be back fighting and Hughes should have a Stoke side capable of replicating the stunning performance of Southampton last year.

What are your predictions for the 2015/16 Premier League season?

Stats: Is Leicester’s survival the Premier League’s greatest ever escape?

Leicester City have managed to retain their Premier League status for another season against all odds, but how does their great escape compare to the only other two sides to survive after being bottom at Christmas?

West Bromwich Albion were the first team to stay up despite being bottom of the league on Christmas Day, as they picked up 13 points in their final ten games to finish 17th.

Sunderland also picked up 13 points in their last ten games as they survived last season to finish 14th, despite being last at the turn of the year.

Leicester looked doomed for long periods this campaign and were still rock bottom of the Premier League with ten weeks to go.

But they have somehow turned things around, winning six of their last nine to ensure they will be playing top flight football next season, and it has to go down as the greatest ever relegation escape.

Table: A look at the three teams who have survived after being bottom at Christmas and their form in the final ten games

Table: A look at the three teams who have survived after being bottom at Christmas and their form in the final ten games

The table above shows how West Brom, Sunderland and Leicester fared in their great escapes through the final ten games of the season, though the Foxes still have one more game to play, making their 19 point tally from the last nine all the more impressive.

Staggeringly, Leicester have picked up as many points from their last nine matches as they had through their 28 prior to that.

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Nigel Pearson deserves great credit for turning the club’s performances around in recent weeks but his job will be to now get his side playing consistently to avoid another late season relegation scare next term.

Is Leicester City’s great escape the best in Premier League history?

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Burnley vs Leicester City

Competition: Premier League – Burnley FC vs. Leicester City FC

Venue: Turf Moor – Saturday April 25th – 15:00 BST (10:00 ET)

Match Odds: Burnley 7/5 – Draw 12/5 – Leicester 9/5

Match Preview

It’s Burnley vs. Leicester in the Premier League and it’s crunch time at Turf Moor on Saturday afternoon as two of the bottom three battle in a huge match with both clubs’ future surely on the line in this one.

Sean Dyches’ Burnley have been so resilient of late, and have picked up some very impressive results at home over the course of the season with a win over Manchester City and draws against Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.

They will be expecting to therefore beat lesser opposition in Leicester and the home fans will be expecting to win, especially as they beat champions Manchester City at Turf Moor last month. The win over the reigning champions is their only win in 12 games though – worrying form especially if you are staring down the barrel of relegation.

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With questions still surrounding Danny Ings future, and Burnley resigned to the fact they will lose their star striker come the summer, they will need to beat Leicester to remain in the Premier League for another season at least. That’s because next summer see’s the new TV deals come into effect and they will give clubs like Burnley some financial backing to do some business.

If Burnley can win this it could leave Leicester City in a bit of a mess and derail their own safety ambitions so this is a huge clash.

The Foxes won’t be easy customers as they have been very impressive of late, and if they play like they have in the last three, they will definitely remain in the Premier League next season.

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Leicester have given themselves a fantastic chance of escaping their bottom three by winning their last three on the spin and now only remain in the drop zone on goal difference behind Hull City. Another bonus is that they have a game in hand over their relegation rivals, but that is against Chelsea next week in a game the Blues can wrap up the title in, depending on their result against Arsenal.

The worrying form for Leicester is that they have only picked up 11 points from a possible 51 on the road this season. The away win at West Brom two weeks ago was their first since December.

Having scored seven in their last three games, Nigel Pearson’s side will be looking to keep hitting the back of the net, and outfox the Burnley backline to give themselves the best chance of survival.

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After this game for Leicester they face just one more away from home and will play at the King Power Stadium in their other four remaining games, which gives them another huge boost with regards to staying up.

The reverse saw the two sides battle out for a 2-2 draw with Ross Wallace equalising late in stoppage time for the Clarets to deny Leicester City all three points.

Team News

Burnley will be without Ashley Barnes, who was sent off against Everton last week, as he serves a one match ban, plus Dean Marney is out as is Kevin Long, who will be out until the Autumn.

Leicester City have doubts over David Nugent and Marcin Wasilewski, with Richie De Laet expected to come in if Wasilewski is ruled out of the relegation clash.

Key Points

Burnley’s last five: W/L/D/L/L

Leicester’s last five: D/L/W/W/W

Key Stats: Burnley have not beaten Leicester in any of their last eight meetings, stretching back to August 2010. They have lost their last three home games against the Foxes, scoring just once.

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Key Player: Leonardo Ulloa – The Argentine striker found his goalscoring touch against Swansea City last weekend and will be hoping to add to his tally of eight goals as he looks to try and reach double digits before the season is out.

Score Prediction

Burnley 1-2 Leicester City – Leicester City have some terrific quality and in the confidence they are in, they can inflict some serious damage to Burnley with goals coming from all angles. It’s difficult to see the Clarets keeping Leicester out and that could result in another win for the away side.

Aston Villa on track to set worrying Premier League record

It’s been a long and miserable campaign for Aston Villa yet again as they find themselves in the relegation zone with just 13 games to go.

The club sacked manager Paul Lambert yesterday after almost three years in charge of the club but he won just 29.57% of matches with the team in that time and it comes as no surprise to see the Scottish coach moved on.

Their form this season has been nothing short of disastrous as they have only won five times, picking up 22 points and have scored just 12 goals in the league all season – the worst goalscoring record in the top four tiers of English football.

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The second-lowest goalscorers in the league are Leicester and Sunderland but they have both scored 22 times – ten more than the Villains.

Derby County endured the worst-ever Premier League season by any club in 2007/08 as they picked up just 11 points, won just one game and scored 20 goals in the entire campaign. All three remain the worst records ever seen in the Premier League era.

It was assumed no club would ever have as bad a season as Derby did that year, in any of the three areas (points, wins or goals) but Aston Villa are well on track to entering the history books for their worrying form in front of goal.

Villa have scored 12 in the Premier League so far this season. To put that into perspective, that’s the same amount as Arsenal winger Alexis Sanchez has scored in his first season in English football alone.

Even Derby had scored more that that after the 25 game mark in the 07/08 campaign and so Villa need to hope for a dramatic turnaround of fortunes in front of goal to ensure they score more than 20 this season. Premier League survival is obviously the priority but you have to score goals to win football matches.

Aston Villa's Premier League record this season after 25 games compared to Derby's in 2007/08

Aston Villa’s Premier League record this season after 25 games compared to Derby’s in 2007/08

Derby scored just eight goals away from home in the entire 07/08 season (also the worst record ever) but Villa have netted just four away from Villa Park so far this term.

Goalscoring is a major problem for the team and they now have the worst goal difference in the Premier League. That will be a concern as it is so tight down the bottom and goal difference could decide the fate of a team come the last day of the season.

Villa need to turn things around quickly. They have the players there and it’s now about the right manager coming in and keeping their Premier League status intact.

Will Aston Villa break Derby’s record for fewest goals in a Premier League season?

MLSGB Premier League Predictions – Gameweek 22

As the transfer window has started to spark up for a few sides, we take a look at this weekends round of fixtures and how each team will fair.

Lewis Addley called four correct results with one correct score in the last edition and this week Jamie Ives will put his brain to the test in trying to predict the results in a crucial weekend of football.

Here’s this week’s Premier League predictions:

Saturday 17th January 2015 (All kick-offs are 15:00 unless otherwise stated)

Aston Villa vs Liverpool

Liverpool have finally gained some momentum in their season with an unbeaten run of five. Aston Villa have a run of their own however, as Paul Lambert’s men are without a win in six. We expect an away win here.

Prediction: 0-2

Burnley vs Crystal Palace

Alan Pardew has kicked off his tenure at Selhurst Park with two wins in two after victories against Dover and Tottenham. He will be wanting to continue this when Palace travel to Turf Moor this weekend. Burnley will not make it easy however, as they haven’t lost in their last three.

Prediction: 1-1

Leicester City vs Stoke City

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Stoke have been the example of inconsistency this season and will be hoping to bounce back from the defeat at the Emirates last weekend, and also to avenge the 1-0 loss they suffered at the hands of their opponents in the reverse fixture. Leicester haven’t lost since Boxing Day.

Prediction: 1-0

Queens Park Rangers vs Manchester United

Without a win in four, QPR will need a solid performance to even earn a point against a United side that will still be licking their wounds from the Southampton game. Can’t see anything but an away win.

Prediction: 1-3

Swansea City vs Chelsea

Without Wilfried Bony, Swansea lack an end product and a presence up front. Chelsea, on the other hand, look primed and ready for a title race. Swansea will be as hard to beat as usual, but I think a draw is the best they can hope for.

Prediction: 1-2

Tottenham Hotspur vs Sunderland

Spurs come off the back of an embarrassing defeat to Crystal Palace last time out and Sunderland have lost three of their last four in the league. Both teams will be hoping to pick up the points here but I think Spurs will be too strong.

Prediction 2-1

Newcastle United vs Southampton (17:30)

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The Saturday evening game sees the seasons surprise package Southampton travel to St. James’ Park. Southampton come off the back of beating United at Old Trafford and so will be full of confidence. Newcastle have recently lost their manager. Hard to see anything but an away win.

Prediction: 0-1

Sunday 18 January 2015

West Ham United vs Hull City (13:30)

West Ham have been brilliant this season and Andy Carroll has given them a huge boost mid-season. Hull have struggled to produce the performances that saw them reach an FA Cup final last season. West Ham look too good to beat at the moment. Home win.

Prediction: 2-0

Manchester City vs Arsenal (16:00)

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The stand out fixture of the weekend sees the champions against Arsenal. The Etihad will play host to the Gunners and with Alexis Sanchez in full flow this game should be entertaining. A repeat of the reverse fixture would be perfect. Score draw for us.

Prediction: 2-2

Monday 19 January 2015 (20:00)

Everton vs West Brom

Both teams with struggles, and Everton look like an entirely different side from the side that finished fifth last season. Tony Pulis will have his West Brom side set up strong and they will be hard to beat. A draw wouldn’t be a bad result for either. But I think Everton will turn things around.

Prediction: 2-1

How do you think gameweek 22 will shape up in the Premier League?

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Manchester City vs. Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace travel to the Etihad Stadium to take on Manchester City on Saturday for the afternoon kickoff in what should be an interesting encounter.

Palace have had a dreadful run of form which has seen them register only one win in their last ten in the Premier League.

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Manchester City come into the game with an opposite run of form, having won their last seven in all competitions, and are just three points off leaders Chelsea.

City do have a massive issue with who to play up front however, as they have no available first-team striker, while captain Vincent Kompany is also out.

Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic are all absent through injury and Manuel Pellegrini will have to resort to using 18-year-old Jose Pozo up top against the Eagles. He also played against Leicester in their last game.

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This poses a problem for the champions and one that could see their proficiency drop dramatically as they have only failed to score on one occasion in the league this season, but the lack of a first-team forward could put them in trouble.

Palace on the other hand lay only one point above the relegation zone in 16th, and find themselves dropping down the league rapidly.

They have only won once away from home all season and will need to be at their best to undo the champions at home, with City expected to come out on top, even without a recognised striker.

Score Prediction: Manchester City 2-0 Crystal Palace – City to go level on points with Chelsea for at least two days.

Key Player: Frank Lampard – New York City midfielder Frank Lampard is proving he still has what it takes to perform at the top level as of late, and we expect him to prove the difference once again on Saturday.

10 Bold Predictions for Premier League Gameweek 17

The final Premier League weekend before Christmas gets underway tomorrow and there are some tasty looking encounters to savour.

Manchester City host Crystal Palace in the first game of the weekend while Sunday see’s Newcastle face Sunderland in the Tyne-Wear derby before the game of the weekend as Arsenal take on Liverpool at Anfield.

Chelsea go away to Stoke on Monday night in what should be another exciting, and dramatic weekend of action.

Here are 10 bold predictions ahead of this weekend’s games:

1. Frank Lampard to score twice against Crystal Palace

Manchester City have the chance to go joint-top of the table with Chelsea if they can beat Palace on Saturday. Former Blues star Lampard has been in fine form of late and he should be played in a more advanced role against the Eagles as a result of City’s mounting injury list. That should see Lampard involved with most of the goalmouth action and we predict that the 35-year-old will net a brace in this one.

2. David De Gea to make at least five saves against Aston Villa

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After making a huge 8 saves in United’s 3-0 win against Liverpool last weekend, David De Gea is arguably in the best form of his life. He will make another five at least against Villa on Saturday as United will stretch their winning streak to seven.

3. At least 8 cards issued in the Hull vs. Swansea game

Swansea travel to Hull looking to turn things around after losing three of their last five, but the Tigers have been in much worse form, and are without a win in nine. The Swans have had more red cards than any side in the league (4) and both teams will be fighting to turn things around so don’t be surprised to see plenty of fouls, and as a result bookings.

4. QPR to be out of the relegation zone on Christmas Day

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Harry Redknapp’s side have not earned a single point away from home. That is staggering. But thankfully they’ll be at home when they take on West Brom this weekend and a win should see them go into Christmas Day outside of the bottom three. The R’s have won their last two at Loftus Road and they should make it three on Saturday.

5. Southampton fail to score at home against Everton

The Saints are on a very slippery slope. They’ve lost their last four in the league and were knocked out of the League Cup by Sheffield United on Tuesday night. Everton travel to St Mary’s in stuttering form but they will pick up just their second away clean sheet of the season as the Saints fail to score in front of their own fans for the first time since August.

6. Harry Kane to get a hat-trick against Burnley

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Tottenham take on Burnley on Saturday and man of the moment Harry Kane will continue to impress by netting a hat-trick against the Clarets. Burnley have turned things around of late and their 1-0 win against Southampton last week will see them arrive at White Hart Lane in full confidence. But the ‘Hurrikane’ has been unstoppable for Spurs and will give Spurs fans an early Christmas present.

7. West Ham to relegate Leicester City five months early

This one might sound a bit farfetched but Leicester will go into Christmas Day at the bottom of the Premier League table as West Ham will win their third home game on the bounce. Only two teams have avoided relegation when being bottom at Christmas in the past 22 years and it doesn’t look good for the Foxes.

8. At least two red cards in the Tyne-Wear derby

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Newcastle take on Sunderland in the first of two games on Sunday and it should be another feisty encounter. The Magpies lost 4-0 in the League Cup to Spurs on Wednesday but they have won their last four home games. Sunderland haven’t won in six and these two will battle it out in another exciting derby game. There have been 30 yellow cards and 4 reds in the past six meetings and we’ll see at least two reds on Sunday.

9. Liverpool to score an own goal in loss to Arsenal

Liverpool are in trouble. The 3-0 loss at Manchester United last week was their seventh of the season and they’ve won just two of their last eight in the league. Arsenal travel to Anfield looking to avenge last season’s 5-1 defeat and a vulnerable Liverpool defence won’t help itself by netting an own goal on their way to defeat.

10. Eden Hazard to score a hat-trick at Stoke

Eden Hazard tends to struggle away from home. But can he do it on a cold Monday night in Stoke this week? Yes. The Belgian winger has three goals and one assist in his last four and is playing some fine football. He netted away at Derby on Tuesday night and will get three on Monday as Chelsea remain top for Christmas.

What are your bold predictions for this weekend’s Premier League fixtures?

Could Aston Villa’s Christmas curse drag them into relegation scrap?

Aston Villa are currently 13th in the Premier League table and sitting five points above the relegation zone as we approach the traditional busy Christmas period of fixtures.

Having gone on a six-game losing run between September and the beginning of November, Villa have turned it around slightly and have lost just one of their last six, picking up two wins and three draws.

However, a look at their form over Christmas in the last five years makes for a worrying read to those affiliated with the Midlands side.

Aston Villa’s Christmas fixtures in the last 5 years:

AV stats

They’ve managed just two wins in the festive period in the last five years, and with the one game they had postponed against Wigan in 2010, that makes for a record of two wins from 14 games.

Perhaps even more concerning for Villa is the recent end of year results, as the last two seasons has seen them gain just one point from those six games and they’ve lost the rest.

If the history since 2009 repeats itself then Aston Villa will find themselves very much in a fight to beat the drop once again.

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Paul Lambert’s side welcome the in-form Manchester United to Villa Park at the weekend before a trip to Wales to face Swansea City on Boxing Day, and then they host Sunderland in their last game of 2014.

Will Aston Villa comfortably survive relegation this season?

Leicester City doomed for the drop?

Newly promoted Leicester City are on the verge of a breakdown and their lack of goals recently is more than concerning.

As we all know, goals win games and having only managed to score six in their last eleven outings, it’s no surprise they haven’t managed a win in any of those eleven.

In fact, they have only managed to pick up two points out of a possible 33 since their 5-3 win against Manchester United back in September.

Since the win against United, Leicester’s record signing Leonardo Ulloa has only managed to score once, including a streak of nine games where he failed to score. He started life in the Premier League so brightly but he needs to recapture his form fast.

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The old saying ‘you’re only as good as your strikers’ is definitely apt for this Foxes squad. The constant rotation of the forwards must be confusing as Nigel Pearson juggles with attacking trio Jamie Vardy, David Nugent and Ulloa on a weekly basis.

Adding to the  current disarray at Leicester is the announcement that they have sacked their director for football, Terry Robinson, after 16 years at the club.

Their abysmal form has to be mainly put down to the lack of production from their attacking players, as the defence doesn’t look too frail. They just have a huge problem scoring as of late.

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The Foxes have a tough period ahead as well because over Christmas they have to lock horns with Tottenham, West Ham and relegation rivals Hull City in what is a crucial period. Being bottom of the Premier League at Christmas doesn’t bode well.

They have a tough task ahead of them in the New Year too and at this point it’s hard to see them finishing outside of the bottom three. Perhaps some consistency in selection up front will help give them a base to find some form. Strengthening in the January transfer window is also vital.

Will Leicester beat the odds and avoid the drop this season?