And we’re back. Each week, I make predictions in an effort to help you all with your UMAXit tipping. I’ve also chucked in now 2 players I think will be crucial to the result which may help with your FPL.
Middlesbrough (19th) v (14th) Burnley
Head to Head:
Middlesbrough: 23 Draw: 18 Burnley: 25
This season: Burnley 1-0 Middlesbrough (EPL Dec 26)
Both teams coming off promotion, and they saw one win, loss & draw each in the prior campaign (2x Championship matches & an FA Cup Tie)
Form Guide (last 10 League games)
Middlesbrough: 0-4-6 (20th)
Burnley: 2-3-5 (16th)
Boro have had a shocking recent run, winless in their last 10. Burnley’s travel woes still see them winless away from home with just 3 draws from 15 games.
Players to Watch:
Middlesbrough: Negredo – Boro need to score, Negredo the most likely to do so.
Burnley: Ben Mee – the centre back has a strong recent record with Burnley keeping another clean sheet at home last outing. Can see Mee helping the Clarets to another one
Prediction: Draw 0-0
If Burnley are going to win an away game this year, surely it’s this one (they do have chances with Everton, Crystal Palace & Bournemouth away games to come). Proven track record suggests they won’t win though can’t see Boro winning.
West Brom (8th) v (9th) Southampton
Head to Head: West Brom: 24 Draw: 24 Southampton: 27
This season: Southampton 1-2 West Brom (Dec 31
Quite an even fixture over time. Since Saints promotion in 2012, they have won 3 & drawn 2 against the Baggies, who have won 4 over the Saints in that time.
Form Guide (last 10 games overall) West Brom: 4-3-3 (8th)
Southampton: 4-1-5 (13th)
Sitting 8th on table, Baggies have 8th best home record with 9 wins from 15, including 3 of last 4. Saints sit 9th on table, with 9th best away record winning 4 of 15 away (3 draws).
Player to Watch:
West Brom: Foster – The custodian for Albion should keep a clean sheet if the Saints doubtful forwards don’t play.
West Brom: Rondon – while Foster can look after the back, someone needs to score for the points, and I’d be looking at Rondon to do so
Prediction: West Brom (2-0)
The Baggies have been good value at home this campaign and against a Saints side with Austin & Van Dijk already on the injury list and with Gabbiadini, Davis & Bertrand all doubtful with minor injuries, Albion should take the points.
Stoke City (12th) v (3rd) Liverpool
Head to Head: Stoke City: 36 Draw: 40 Liverpool: 75
This season: Liverpool 4-1 Stoke (Dec 27)
Liverpool have long dominated this fixture, winning 6 of the last 7 league matches against the Potters (only exclusion is the infamous 6-1 final day demolition Stoke inflicted in Steven Gerrard’s final game)
Form Guide (last 10 League games) Stoke 2-3-5 (17th)
Liverpool 4-3-3 (6th)
Stoke are winless from their last 3, while Liverpool will be a little worried facing another bottom-half side, with the Reds’ only losses coming against bottom half opposition with depleted attacking options headlined by the recent knee injury to Sadio Mane (Lallana, Ings, Henderson also on the injury list. Continuo potentially doubtful with illness)
Player to Watch:
Stoke: Joe Allen – in good form earlier in season when Stoke were performing well. Has dropped off like his side but the midfielder could seriously hurt his former side if he finds his best.
Liverpool: Philippe Coutinho – with Lallana & Mane, Coutinho is going to have to be the main creative man every week for the Reds if they are to win
Prediction: Liverpool (0-1)
Last time at the Bet365 stadium, the Reds won on the opening day with a late Coutinho cracker. Expect a game just as tight and a similar result.
West Ham (15th) v (18th) Swansea
Head to Head: West Ham: 27 Draw: 15 Swansea: 18
This season: Swansea 1-4 West Ham (Dec 26)
They’ve clashed 9 times, all in league matches, since they both returned to being in the same division. Prior to 2012, their last league match was 1983. Since 2012, Swansea have won twice, three draws and four Hammers wins
Form Guide (last 10 league games)
West Ham: 2-2-6 (18th)
Swansea: 4-1-5 (14th)
Both teams are on the slide, West Ham have lost their last 5, since they last took a point, while Swansea have just 4pts from their last 6 (1W, 1D, 4L), since their mini resurgence where they won 3 out of 4.
Player to Watch:
West Ham: Lanzini – the attacking cog in the Hammers midfield needs to light a spark in his play if the Hammers are to get a win.
Swansea; Gylfi Sigurdsson – the Swans are a bit too reliant on the midfielder to having a good day to get a result. If the Swans are to score expect him to have a hand, well, boot in it.
Prediction: Draw (1-1)
Really don’t know which way this will go, so going down the middle with both teams to score. A Swans win will really pull the Hammers into the relegation scrap. A win for West Ham will give them a bit of breathing space.
Everton (7th) v (11th) Leicester City
Head to Head: Everton: 39 Draw: 32 Leicester: 34
This season: Leicester 0-2 Everton (EPL Dec 26), Everton 1-2 Leicester (FA Cup)
Since Leicester jumped to the Premier League in 2014, these sides have had goal fests. Prior to this season’s results above, the 4 league matches ended 2-2, 2-2, 2-3 (L) & (E) 3-1.
Form Guide (last 10 games)
Everton: 5-3-2 (3rd)
Leicester: 5-0-5 (9th)
Everton have been in solid recent form with the 3rd best record in the last 10 matches.
Since Claudio Ranieri’s sacking, Leicester have gone from 5 consecutive league losses to 5 consecutive wins, though face a tough task to continue that record.
Player to Watch:
Everton: Romelu Lakaku – the league’s top scorer (21 goals) will be vital to the Toffee’s if they will win. He needs to keep his very public talks in relation to his potential transfer out of his mind and focus on the game for Everton’s sake.
Leicester: Jamie Vardy – anytime you need to find a key player for the Foxes, it’s hard to look past Vardy. When they are on, he is on and with this run they are on, he’s regularly finding the back of the net
Prediction: Draw (2-2)
These matches have been goalfests in recent times. If Leicester are to grab a point or more here, they will need to be 100% focussed on Everton, not the upcoming Champions League fixture against Atletico Madrid, despite it being the biggest clash in the Club’s history.
* Crystal Palace DRAW Arsenal (1-1)
* MANCHESTER CITY v Hull City (3-0)
* Bournemouth v CHELSEA (1-3)
* Sunderland v MAN UNITED (0-2)
* TOTTENHAM v Watford (3-0)