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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MLS Power Rankings: Week 12 – DC return to top as Portland fall again

Week 12 of the MLS season is done and it was another surprising one as the likes of Montreal Impact and Philadelphia Union won their second consecutive games against strong opposition to shake up this week’s Power Rankings.

There were 24 goals in the 11 games this week, including six in the midweek game between Sporting Kansas City and New England Revolution, with SKC winning 4-2.

Sporting KC then drew 0-0 at Seattle Sounders on Saturday night and move up to seventh in this week’s Power Rankings as a result.

The Revs were top in last week’s rankings but defeat in Kansas City, followed by a draw against DC United sees them fall down to second.

DC move back into top spot following that draw, as the top nine clubs from last week’s rankings all failed to win this weekend.

At the bottom end of the rankings, Montreal Impact and Philadelphia Union both won their second games in a row against strong opponents in FC Dallas and New York Red Bulls respectively.

New York City lost again though and sit rock bottom after 12 weeks, with just the one win so far in 12 games.

Portland Timbers are also struggling for wins as they have only won one of their last five and suffered a second consecutive defeat at the hands of Toronto FC on Saturday night.

Here’s how our MLS Power Rankings look after Week 12’s action:

MLS Power Rankings: Week 12

What do you make of the latest MLS Power Rankings? Do DC United deserve to be top again?

MLS: 5 Takeaways from week 12’s action

Another exciting week of MLS action is over, and the standings in both conferences are starting to take some shape. There were 34 goals scored in the 11 games this week, giving an exciting average of 3.09 goals per match. Here are our key takeaways from the action:

 

1. LA Galaxy are back in business.

LA Galaxy made the most of a double gameweek, by winning both matches in front of their own fans against FC Dallas on Wednesday and Philadelphia Union last night. Robbie Keane scored in both games and now has seven for the season, but Landon Donovan makes all the headlines after he made MLS history by becoming the all-time leading goalscorer. The Galaxy looked much better in both games and will look to make it three on the bounce when they travel to Chicago Fire next weekend.

 

2. Sporting Kansas City stuttering form continues.

Kansas City hosted Toronto FC on Friday night, looking to avoid losing three in a row, and they did. Though they couldn’t hold on to win as a late Toronto goal ensured that points were shared. Sporting now sit five points behind Eastern Conference leaders New England, in second place and must turn things around quickly if they are to meet their target and win the Conference. They are significantly weakened defensively, and had no centre-backs available for Friday’s match, but will want to get back to winning ways against New York tomorrow night.

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3. New York Red Bulls are in trouble.

Speaking of the Red Bulls, they are a team in very poor form by their high standards, and fell to their third defeat on the spin on Saturday night against Portland. The Timbers came from behind to win 2-1, thanks to a brace from Maximiliano Urruti and were the only side to win on the road this week. New York look vulnerable defensively, and will continue to ship goals regardless. They must make sure they try and outscore their opponent to enjoy success. A dangerous tactic, but with the players available, it would appear to be the only possible approach at this point.

 

4. Columbus finally win.

The Crew ended their eight-game winless run with a 2-0 victory against a poor Chicago Fire on Saturday night, and the much needed win could help them kick-start their season once more. They hadn’t won since March 29, after winning the first three of the season but got back to winning ways, with Federico Higuain the catalyst once again. He got another two assists with two excellent passes, and now has five for the season. Ethan Finlay scored his second in as many weeks in his first start of the season, and looked a constant threat with his blistering pace a dangerous outlet of attack for Columbus. They face Toronto FC on Saturday in what should be an exciting game.

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5. Houston Dynam-oh-no.

Houston played two away games in week 12, and will want to forget about both pretty quickly. They lost both and failed to score a goal, losing 2-0 at DC United on Wednesday, before going down 3-0 at the San Jose Earthquakes yesterday. They were defensively poor in both, but particularly embarrassing in Sunday’s loss, as they conceded two very sloppy goals. The first was a free-kick inside the box, after Tally Hall forgot the rules as he picked up a back pass. And the goalkeeper was at fault for the third goal too, as he came charging out of his box, only to realise he couldn’t use his hands and lost in the aerial battle with Atiba Harris, who tapped in following up on his initial headed effort which hit the post. Houston travel to Colorado next, and will need to shore up their defence if they are to get anything there.

MLS: 5 Key stats heading into this weekend’s action

Week 12 got underway with the two midweek games on Wednesday night, but this weekend see’s eight matches in MLS, and here are some key statistics to look out for:

1. New York Red Bulls vs Portland Timbers

New York have scored at least two goals against Portland in their last four meetings, in all competitions, and have scored at least two in their last three home games as well. All signs indicate that they will get back to scoring ways after last week’s disappointing 2-0 loss to Toronto.

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(Photo: Theirry Henry and the Red Bulls will look to get back to scoring ways on Saturday)

2. New England Revolution vs DC United

New England have not conceded a goal at home all season, and have won their last three on home soil. They are currently on a four-game winning streak and DC will have it all to do, especially off the back of a midweek game as well. Though they have scored at least once in each of their last nine games in MLS and will hope to leave New England with at least a point.

3. Columbus Crew vs Chicago Fire

Chicago have scored in every game they have played this season, add that to the fact that Columbus have not kept a clean sheet at home and are without a win in eight, and it would appear as though Chicago have already got this one wrapped up. Chicago are unbeaten in their last four away matches, and are looking for a third win in a row.

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(Photo: The Fire will want to keep their strong run going against the hapless Columbus Crew)

4. Real Salt Lake vs FC Dallas

Salt Lake are the only remaining unbeaten team this season, and they have now gone 15 MLS games without losing. They have scored in every home game this season, and are looking for their fourth successive win. FC Dallas have lost five from their last seven, and have conceded at least one goal in every game this year. It would take a brave man to bet against Salt Lake in this one.

5. San Jose Earthquakes vs Houston Dynamo

The Earthquakes have only scored five in their last six and are without Chris Wondolowski, who is with the USMNT. Houston have won the past three meetings between these two but have lost four of their five away games this season and this is a really unpredictable match-up. 90% of San Jose’s points have been earned at home and they will look to add to that this weekend.

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(Photo: San Jose are struggling to score without Wondo)