MLS Preview and Prediction: Real Salt Lake vs New York City FC

Competition: Major League Soccer – Real Salt Lake vs. New York City FC

Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium – Saturday, May 23 – 22:00 ET (03:00 BST)

Match Odds: Real Salt Lake 19/20 – Draw 23/10 – New York City 3/1

Match Preview

Real Salt Lake welcome former manager Jason Kreis back to Rio Tinto stadium this weekend with his New York City FC side.

Salt Lake are in desperate need of a win after an embarrassing 4-1 loss to Montreal Impact last weekend and come into the game with only one win in seven.

Another key aspect of RSL’s poor form in their lack of goals recently, managing just four in their last seven games in MLS. Salt Lake do have reason for optimism however, as star striker Joao Plata has resumed full training.

Real Salt Lake’s 2015 MLS record: P11 – W3 – D5 – L3

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New York City are arguably the worst team in MLS at the moment. They have failed to register a win in their last nine outings and three red cards in their last four MLS matches suggests that they are having a disciplinary crisis.

New York City’s 2015 MLS record: P11 – W1 – D4 – L6

Jason Kreis’ men are lacking motivation and need a win to keep their season afloat, and at the moment, they seem like a club that are waiting for Frank Lampard to save them.

Team News

Real Salt Lake’s Chris Schuler is out. Javier Morales, Sebastien Jaime and Boyd Okwuonu are also doubts. Joao Plata is back in full training following injury, so could start. Jordan Allen is away on international duty.

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New York City are without George John, Tony Taylor and Josh Williams, while Javier Calle and Kwame Watson-Siriboe are doubtful. Ned Grabavoy is a slight doubt but could be fit to play. Patrick Mullins is expected to start ahead of Khiry Shelton up top.

Key Points

Real Salt Lake’s last five: L/D/D/W/L

New York City’s last five: L/L/L/L/D

Key Stat: There has been a red card in seven of New York City’s 11 matches this season.

Key Player: Josh Saunders – The NYC goalkeeper returns to Rio Tinto stadium at the weekend after a brief spell there in 2013. He will need to be at his early season best to keep New York City in this game.

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Score Prediction

Real Salt Lake 2-0 New York City – New York City have failed to win in nine and it’s tough to see them changing that away from home.

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MLS Preview and Prediction: Houston Dynamo vs Portland Timbers

Competition: Major League Soccer – Houston Dynamo vs. Portland Timbers

Venue: BBVA Compass Stadium – Saturday, May 16th – 20:30 ET (01:30 BST – Sunday, May 17th) 

Match Odds: Houston Dynamo 6/4 – Draw 9/4 – Portland Timbers 9/5

Match Preview

Houston Dynamo play host to the Portland Timbers on Saturday night as they look to build on an impressive 2-1 win away at Toronto last weekend.

The Dynamo have looked like a team that is struggling to adapt to the philosophies of a new manager as Owen Coyle has persisted with a 4-4-2 system.

However, the victory at BMO field was more than impressive as defensively, the Dynamo were superb, while offensively, Giles Barnes was wreaking havoc when they had the chance to counter.

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Their home form has been somewhat poor however, losing their last two and conceding ten in total at home, compared to just four away.

Houston Dynamo’s 2015 MLS record: P11 – W3 – D4 – L4

Portland have yet to set MLS alight this season and some may argue they are underperforming because on paper they have one of the strongest squads in the league.

Much of their form is down to the limited attacking options head coach Caleb Porter has available. Diego Valeri has only just returned after an ACL injury and Fanendo Adi hasn’t scored a goal in his last six matches.

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With the Timbers yet to register back-to-back wins, they will be hoping that Saturday night will see that trend change.

Portland Timbers’ 2015 MLS record: P10 – W3 – D4 – L3

The last time these two sides met was in April 2014 when it ended in a 1-1 draw with Will Bruin and Gaston Fernandez on the scoresheet.

Team News

Houston Dynamo’s Nathan Sturgis is out, while Brad Davis is a slight doubt and will fight to be fit enough to start. Giles Barnes and Will Bruin should continue their strike partnership as Owen Coyle continues to play the 4-4-2 system.

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Portland Timbers’ Will Johnson, Ben Zemanski and Michael Nanchoff are all out. Gaston Fernandez is also a doubt, while Diego Valeri is expected to start in midfield.

Key Points

Houston Dynamo’s last five: D/D/L/L/W

Portland Timbers’ last five: L/W/L/D/W

Key Stat: Portland Timbers are yet to win away at Houston Dynamo in three attempts.

Key Player: Diego Valeri – Arguably one of the best players in MLS is back and expect him to be a major threat that the Dynamo will find difficult to contain.

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Score Prediction

Houston Dynamo 0-2 Portland Timbers – The Timbers to win comfortably and record their first ever victory away to the Dynamo.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Southampton vs Aston Villa

Competition: Premier League – Southampton vs. Aston Villa

Venue: St Mary’s Stadium – Saturday, May 16th – 12:45 BST (7:45 ET)

Match Odds: Southampton 4/5 – Draw 5/2 – Aston Villa 7/2

Match Preview

Aston Villa travel to St Mary’s knowing that a win against Southampton will guarantee top-flight football for another year.

The Saints are chasing their own ambitions however, as they close in on Europa League football. They are one point off Tottenham and will need a win to keep the pressure on Spurs going into the final weekend.

Southampton have been impressive this term despite their drop in form recently and have managed to only concede 12 goals at home in the Premier League, which is no mean feat.

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However, they haven’t registered a win in their last four and have conceded at least two in all of those matches, so Villa will feel confident ahead of this one.

Southampton’s home record in the Premier League: P18 – W10 – D4 – L4

Aston Villa have turned a corner under Tim Sherwood as they look more confident and hungry under the former Spurs boss, achieving a 55% win ratio in the Premier League alone.

When you add this to the matter of them being in the FA Cup final, few will argue what a great job Sherwood has done in such a short space of time as the Villains looked doomed at one point.

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Much of the recent form has been down to the scoring streak that Christian Benteke has put together, netting ten times in the league since Sherwood came in. A sensational return.

Aston Villa’s away record in the Premier League: P18 – W5 – D2 – L11

This being said, Villa have only managed to find the net 12 times away from home this season and will need to be at their best to beat the Saints on Saturday.

Team News

Southampton will be without Dusan Tadic, Jay Rodriguez, Morgan Schneiderlin, Emmanuel Mayuka and Fraser Forster. James Ward-Prowse is back in contention after serving a suspension. Kelvin Davis is expected to come in for Paulo Gazzaniga in goal.

Aston Villa will travel to Southampton without Chris Herd, Ciaran Clark and Nathan Baker as all three are ruled out. Ashley Westwood should continue to keep Carlos Sanchez out of the side and Gabby Agbonlahor could be preferred to Charles N’Zogbia in attack.

Key Points

Southampton’s last five: W/L/D/L/L

Aston Villa’s last five: D/W/L/W/W

Key Stat: Villa have only lost once away at Southampton since November 2000, a 4-1 loss in 2012.

Key Player: Christian Benteke – The Belgian hit-man has been sensational as of late he will be expected to torture Southampton’s defence in this one.

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Score Prediction

Southampton 1-1 Aston Villa – With both teams needing a win, expect them to cancel each other out, as a draw looks the most likely result. A point for Villa should be enough to keep them out of any trouble on the last day, while Southampton will have all to play for should they avoid defeat themselves.

MLS Preview and Prediction: DC United vs Orlando City

Competition: Major League Soccer – DC United vs. Orlando City SC

Venue: RFK Stadium – Wednesday, May 13th – 20:00 ET (01:00 BST)

Match Odds: DC 23/20 – Draw 9/4 – Orlando 5/2

Match Preview

DC United will look to extend their unbeaten run at home this season when they host Orlando City on Wednesday night in the first of several games before the end of the month.

DC have only lost once this season and are unbeaten in seven now. It speaks volumes of how good this DC side is as they haven’t hit their full potential yet but could go top of the Eastern Conference with at least a draw against Orlando.

Having won the reverse fixture last month with a last minute Luis Silva winner, DC are rightly favourites to record a third win in their last four.

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And the bonus of having Fabian Espindola back in the mix should inject more goals into Ben Olsen’s side, although the front man is a minor doubt for this one as he is carrying a knock and is being monitored day-to-day.

DC United’s 2015 MLS record: P9 – W5 – D3 – L1

Orlando City have struggled with injuries this season and have inadvertently failed to gain any consistency thus far.

Having not registered a win at home this season, perhaps they have a greater chance playing DC away as Orlando have won both of their games away from the Citrus Bowl this term.

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This will be a difficult task for the expansion franchise and much of their fate lies on how well Kaka plays. The Brazilian has not scored in three and needs to rediscover his form quickly.

Orlando City’s 2015 MLS record: P9 – W2 – D3 – L4

Both DC United and Orlando will play again at the weekend and so it will be important to try and pick up some extra points in this midweek clash.

Team News

DC United will be without Eddie Johnson and Collin Martin. Andrew Dykstra, Steve Birnbaum and Markus Halsti are all on their way back from injury and could feature. Fabian Espindola is day-to-day but should be fit in time for kickoff. Ben Olsen may reshuffle his side ahead of a busy period for the club.

Orlando City have several injury concerns as Tally Hall, Pedro Ribeiro, Martin Paterson, Kevin Molino, Lewis Neal and Tony Cascio are all out. Cyle Larin is set to continue as the lone striker after scoring his second of the campaign on Friday night against New England Revolution.

Key Points

DC United’s last five: D/D/W/W/D

Orlando City’s last five: L/W/L/L/D

Key Stat: DC United are undefeated in their last 14 home matches in MLS.

Key Player: Kaka – If Orlando is to make a game of this, Kaka will be the key to their attacking prowess. He always has the potential for brilliance and will look to show it in front of a nationwide audience.

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Score Prediction

DC United 2-1 Orlando City – Expecting an entertaining encounter between two sides looking for a win. DC have looked solid and are unlikely to lose this one, while Orlando’s determination for a win could see them caught out on the counter-attack.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Manchester City vs QPR

Competition: Premier League – Manchester City vs. Queens Park Rangers

Venue: Etihad Stadium – Sunday, May 10th – 13:00 BST (08:30 ET)

Match Odds: Man City 2/9 – Draw 11/2 – QPR 10/1

Match Preview

Manchester City host QPR in the Sunday afternoon kickoff in a game that could be a make or break clash for the West London club as they are currently seven points off safety and will be relegated from the Premier League if they lose.

With Manchester City seemingly left with nothing to play for but Champions League security, it looks there will be a summer of change at last year’s champions.

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City have the benefit of playing at home as they have won their last five at the Etihad and are strong favourites to make it six as they have the best attack in the league, with 71 goals scored this term.

Manchester City’s home record: P17 – W12 – D3 – L2

QPR have looked certain for the drop for much of the season, and boss Chris Ramsey’s efforts look all but lost as he has battled to keep a weak QPR side in the top flight for several weeks.

With the worst defense in the league, QPR have leaked an incredible 61 goals this term, and could be in trouble at City this weekend.

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A long season for QPR could all be over come the end of the weekend, as they need three wins to even have a hope of staying up.

QPR’s away record: P17 – W2 – D1 – L14

Team News

Manchester City: Steven Jovetic, Vincent Kompany and Yaya Toure are all out. Samir Nasri and Jesus Navas are both doubts and aren’t expected to start. Fernando, Fernandinho and Frank Lampard are expected to make the midfield trio.

QPR: Alejandro Faurlin, Eduardo Vargas and Mauro Zarate are all out, Nedum Onuoha is suspended and Steven Caulker and Armand Traore are doubts. Charlie Austin and Bobby Zamora are expected to start up front.

Key Points

Manchester City’s last five: LLWWW

QPR’s last five: W/D/L/D/L

Key Stat: QPR haven’t won away to City in the Premier League since May 1995.

Key Player: Sergio Aguero – The star striker has been the shining light in a fading team and has kept them ticking over this term with 22 goals.

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Score Prediction

Manchester City 3-1 QPR – The Citizens look far too strong for QPR and should win the game with relative ease to spell the end of the R’s survival chances as they prepare for next year in the Championship.

MLS Preview and Prediction: DC United vs Sporting Kansas City

Competition: Major League Soccer – DC United vs. Sporting Kansas City

Venue: RFK Stadium – Saturday, May 9th 19:00 ET (00:00 BST)

Match Odds: DC United 7/5 – Draw 23/10 – Sporting KC 15/8

Match Preview

DC United host Sporting Kansas City on Saturday night in what is expected to be a tight affair at RFK Stadium.

DC come into the clash unbeaten in their last six in MLS and have to be considered strong favourites to extend that streak to seven in front of their own fans.

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It has been a very strong to 2015 for DC as they haven’t been in a losing position at home all season, a stat unlikely to change on Saturday night.

DC United’s 2015 MLS record: P8 – W5 – D2 – L1

Sporting Kansas City have endured a stuttering start to 2015 and will hope to find a run of form soon as they look to push for a playoff spot in the Western Conference this term.

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With only one win in their last four this is a team that is lacking consistency, and with only one victory away from home, they are outsiders to even pick up a point here.

Sporting KC’s 2015 MLS record: P9 – W3 – D4 – L2

Especially when you consider they failed to score against DC on three occasions last term, with United winning two of those clashes.

Team News

DC United will be without Eddie Johnson, Markus Halsti, Steve Birnbaum and Collin Martin again as they will all sit out of this one. Andrew Dykstra is a doubt but Bill Hamid is expected to start in goal again anyway.

Sporting Kansas City have two major worries as Ike Opara and Chance Myers are both long-term absentees. Marcel De Jong is a doubt as it looks like SKC could field an unchanged team from the 1-0 win against Chicago Fire last week.

Key Points

DC United’s last five: W/D/D/W/W

Sporting KC’s last five: W/D/L/D/W

Key Stat: Sporting KC last won away at DC in March 2012 and have only won one of the last five meetings.

Key Player: Fabian Espindola – DC United’s star man has returned from suspension with a bang, with a goal and an assist in his past two, and will look for another impressive display in front of his own fans in this one.

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Score Prediction

DC United 1-0 Sporting Kansas City – DC United to extend their unbeaten run to seven with another home victory in what looks set to be a low-scoring affair. Sporting Kansas City have struggled to find consistency and will struggle to break down a resilient DC side that look to be flying.

Arsenal legend thinks the club can win the league with French striker

Olivier Giroud has been the topic of public debate for little under a week now after it was suggested that Arsenal would fail to win the Premier League title with the French international as the lone striker.

Arsenal invincible Thierry Henry suggested that Arsenal need another forward after Chelsea clinched the title on Sunday against Crystal Palace, continuing Arsenal’s ten-year wait for another championship.

“I’m afraid, they need a top, top quality striker to win this league again,” Henry said.

However, Sky Sports pundit and former Arsenal star Charlie Nicholas has argued that Gunners boss Arsene Wenger doesn’t “particularly want or need a new striker”, going on to suggest that Arsenal “can win the league with Olivier Giroud”.

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The last time Arsenal won the coveted title was in the 2003-04 season when they unprecedentedly went unbeaten. During that season Thierry Henry scored an unbelievable 30 league goals.

Currently Giroud has an impressive 14 league goals in just 23 games, although his season has been hindered by injury.

Thierry Henry Appearances Goals Goals Per Game
2003-04 Season 37 30 0.81
Olivier Giroud Appearances Goals Goals Per Game
2014-15 Season 23 14 0.61

As you can see from the table above, Giroud falls short once again of the proficiency required to propel his club to the title and maybe with more consistent output, Arsenal can regain the Premier League.

Do you think Arsenal can win the Premier League with Olivier Giroud as their main striker?

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Hull vs Arsenal

Competition: Premier League – Hull City vs. Arsenal 

Venue: KC Stadium – Monday, May 4th – 20:00 BST (15:00 ET)

Match Odds: Hull 4/1 – Draw 11/4 – Arsenal 3/4

Match Preview

Hull City host Arsenal in this week’s Monday night fixture in a game which is of equal importance for both sides but for opposite reasons.

Hull sit just a point above the relegation zone following the weekend’s fixtures and will need to give themselves breathing space sooner rather than later as sides around them are picking up points.

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Having won their last two matches without conceding a goal, Steve Bruce’s men will feel confident they can deliver some more points on Monday night against the Gunners.

Hull City’s home record in the Premier League: P16 – W5 – D4 – L7

Arsenal’s title dreams are over after Chelsea won the league on Sunday, but Arsene Wenger’s side will still need to maintain their current form as they look to secure an automatic Champions League place.

Arsenal haven’t lost a league game since early February, and run of nine games, and have won their last four on the road. They also have a place in the FA Cup final once again as they look to retain their trophy so there is lots to play for.

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Arsenal will be overwhelming favourites to win here seeing as they are undefeated in their last nine meetings with Hull, winning eight of those.

The Tigers drew 2-2 in the reverse fixture back in October but lost at the Emirates in the FA Cup in January.

Arsenal’s away record in the Premier League: P17 – W9 – D3 – L5

Hull come into the game off the back of a 1-0 win against Liverpool last Tuesday and will be hoping to seal all three points in this one too.

Team News

Hull City: Andrew Robertson and Robert Snodgrass are both out. There will be late fitness tests for Mohamed Diame, Nikica Jelavic and Curtis Davies. But Steve Bruce looks set to name the same team for a third straight week.

Arsenal: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is out. Mathieu Debuchy, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini are all doubts. Danny Welbeck and Gabriel could come into the side.

Key Points

Hull’s last five: L/L/L/W/W

Arsenal’s last five: W/W/W/W/D

Key Stat: The last time Hull beat Arsenal at home was April 1915. Can they end a 100 year wait on Monday?

Key Player: Alexis Sanchez – The superstar winger has had a superb season so far and he might prove to be the difference once again.

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Score Prediction

Hull City 0-3 Arsenal – The Gunners to prove too strong for Hull as they pick up another win to move five points clear of United in fourth. Hull need points but this one will be too much of a challenge and they’ll be looking to next weekend’s meeting with Burnley for points.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Sporting Kansas City vs Chicago Fire

Competition: Major League Soccer – Sporting Kansas City vs Chicago Fire

Venue: Sporting Park – Sunday, May 3rd – 17:00 ET (22:00 BST – Live on Sky Sports)

Match Odds: Sporting KC 3/4 – Draw 13/5 – Chicago 18/5

Match Preview

The live Sunday night game on Sky Sports is at Sporting Park this week as Sporting Kansas City host the Chicago Fire in what could be a testing affair for both sides.

Sporting KC have had a stop-start campaign so far and losing star centre-back Ike Opara would hurt any defence, and that was seen as they shipped four goals in last weekend’s crazy 4-4 draw with the Houston Dynamo.

A shadow of the side that won the MLS Cup in 2013, Sporting Kansas City will need to dramatically improve if they are to make the playoffs and a surge towards MLS Cup again this season in a highly competitive Western Conference.

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One thing that is certain is that Dom Dwyer needs to start replicating his goalscoring form from the previous season pretty soon as he only has two so far.

Sporting KC’s 2015 MLS record: P8 – W2 – D4 – L2

Chicago had the worst start to the season of any MLS side but are now the most in-form team, with three wins on the bounce. What a turnaround!

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They are the team to beat at the moment and they will be confident of getting a result from Sporting Park this week as the hosts haven’t won in three now.

Chicago Fire’s 2015 MLS record: P6 – W3 – D0 – L3

The performances of star men Shaun Maloney and Harry Shipp have guided the Fire into a playoff spot at this early stage and now Frank Yallop’s team must maintain their position in the Eastern Conference’s top six for as long as possible.

Team News

Sporting Kansas City: Ike Opara has been ruled out for the season so Kevin Ellis will continue to partner Matt Besler in defence. Chance Myers is a doubt, though Graham Zusi is back so could start from the left.

Chicago Fire: Mike Magee and Patrick Nyarko both remain out. David Accam could play as part of a three man attack involving Shaun Maloney and Quincy Amarikwa.

Key Points

Sporting KC’s last five in MLS: W/W/D/L/D

Chicago’s last five in MLS: L/L/W/W/W

Key Stat: Chicago haven’t won away at SKC since June 2012 in the MLS regular season.

Key Player: Benny Feilhaber – The man of the moment at Sporting KC as he has racked up five assists already and is providing a core to their midfield that they can build on. Huge asset to Kansas City and will be important in this one too.

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Score Prediction

Sporting Kansas City 1-1 Chicago Fire – Although form suggests a Fire win, it’s tough to see SKC losing at home here. Score draw the most likely outcome in what should be an intriguing clash.

MLS Preview and Prediction: LA Galaxy vs Colorado Rapids

Competition: Major League Soccer – LA Galaxy vs. Colorado Rapids

Venue: StubHub Center – Saturday, May 2nd – 22:00 ET (03:30 BST)

Match Odds: LA 1/2 – Draw 16/5 – Colorado 11/2

Match Preview

The late night game on Saturday night sees the LA Galaxy host the Colorado Rapids in a Western Conference clash that isn’t necessarily the formality the odds suggest.

LA are undefeated in their last 23 home matches in MLS. Their frightening form has seen StubHub Center become a fortress and Colorado will need to do a lot to break that streak.

With 10 points from a possible 12 at home this season, the Galaxy are rightly the favourites, and supporters will be expecting a win.

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And with the insurgence of youngster Bradford Jamieson IV playing upfront they still have a strikeforce that can hurt the Rapids, even without the injured Robbie Keane.

LA Galaxy’s 2015 MLS record: P8 – W3 – D3 – L2

Colorado had a poor start to 2015 after opening with three 0-0 draws. They have, however managed to break their winless run recently, having thumped FC Dallas 4-0 to earn their first win of the season last month and have only lost one of their last four now.

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Better away from home, the Rapids are not a team to bet against when on the road. Especially because they have only conceded once away all season, in the 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday night.

Colorado Rapids’ 2015 MLS record: P8 – W1 – D5 – L2

All of this just hides the fact that this is a side that will struggle to have success if they fail pick up points more often. Colorado are sitting bottom of the Western Conference and need to start climbing the table soon so this could be seen as a must win for the Rapids.

Team News

LA Galaxy: Brian Perk is out. Robbie Keane and Jose Villarreal are major doubts and Leonardo is a doubt but is expected to play. Bradford Jamieson IV could make another start in the absence of Keane, alongside Alan Gordon who is set to continue up front with Gyasi Zardes on the wing.

Colorado Rapids: Marcelo Sarvas is out so Sam Cronin could fill in. Marc Burch is out and Drew Moor is a doubt. Gabriel Torres is expected to lead the attack in place of Dominique Badji.

Key Points

LA Galaxy’s last five in MLS: L/L/W/W/D

Colorado Rapids’ last five in MLS: L/W/L/D/D

Key Stat: LA Galaxy scored ten goals in three matches against the Rapids last season, including a 6-0 win at StubHub Center in their most recent meeting.

Key Player: Gyasi Zardes – In the absence of Robbie Keane, Zardes may be needed to step up and deliver the goals and chances to help Galaxy win this one.

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Score Prediction

LA Galaxy 2-0 Colorado Rapids – The Galaxy to win their third straight home game to keep that unbeaten run at StubHub Center going. The Rapids have been good on the road but could be fatigued by their game in New York on Wednesday night.