Fabian and Fridah’s Picks – MW8October 3, 2015
Crystal Palace v West Bromwich Albion
Last five meetings: W2 D1 L2
Fabian: Tony Pulis, on his return to Selhurst Park last season masterminded a win against his former charges, but this time round it might not be as straight forward. Palace finally got back to winning ways with victory at Watford last Sunday while the Baggies uncharacteristically threw away a 2-0 lead to Everton a day after. Momentum is with the home side.
Fridah: Pulis is finally getting his team right and Crystal Palace are getting slower though their wing play is still amazing. I think Pulis has a point to prove and he will.
Match facts: West Bromwich Albion have won twice in their last 14 Barclays Premier League trips to London (D5 L7), with their last win in the capital coming against Palace in April 2015 (2-0).
Of the 43 points Crystal Palace have won under manager Alan Pardew, 27 (63%) have come away from home, with nine victories achieved on the road compared to five at Selhurst Park.
Aston Villa v Stoke City
Last five meetings: W2 D0 L3
Fabian: The Villains are a curious case. They generally find goals easy to come by, but somehow they are in the relegation trenches. The Potters on the other hand registered their first win of the season last weekend and will have a go at Villa’s comical defence. There should well be goals from both sides in this one.
Fridah: Stoke got their first win and I think they are on an upward curve. Aston Villa are yet to get to their best. Stoke should get their second win of the season.
Match facts: Stoke have averaged 1.43 points per match in BPL visits to Villa Park. Only away at West Brom have they averaged more points per match in the competition, 2.5 (minimum five matches).
Mame Biram Diouf has netted five goals in his last seven league appearances.
Bournemouth v Watford
Last five meetings: W1 D2 L2
Fabian: Seems like all of Bournemouth’s leading lights are being dimmed by injuries. You wonder how the goals will come by. Watford on the other hand don’t score much, but they also don’t concede a lot either. Will be closely contested.
Fridah: The Cherries have an arsenal of injuries. Max Gradel, Tyrone Mings and star striker Callum Wilson are missing and it makes it all the tougher. Watford are good away from home but I back the Cherries for this one.
Match facts: Watford have been defeated once in their last 12 away league matches (W8 D3), netting two or more goals 11 of those fixtures (26 goals in total).
The Hornets have posted the lowest chance conversion rate in the BPL this season (7.9% – five goals from 63 shots).
Manchester City v Newcastle United
Last five meetings: W3 D1 L1
Fabian: I don’t know. I’m indeed tempted to pick a Newcastle win to make it three losses on the bounce for the Citizens…for the fun of it. But then again, nope.
Fridah: Newcastle almost did it last weekend but they showed their real character when they could not hold on. I don’t think that they have what is required to stop the Citizens they could make them drop two points.
Match facts: Newcastle United (W15 D2), their longest run without defeat against a single opponent in the competition.
Man City have netted two or more goals in each of their last 14 BPL encounters with the Magpies (39 scored in total).
Norwich City v Leicester City
Last five meetings: W2 D1 L2
Fabian: It’s a Leicester game so all I see is plenty of entertainment and goals for either side.
Fridah: It will be interesting to see how Leicester respond to their first loss of the season. Norwich are a good and stable unit and it will be hard to break them down. Both have good players and this should be an entertaining match.
Match facts: Jamie Vardy has scored seven goals in his last eight BPL appearances, including in each of his last four (five goals).
Wes Hoolahan has provided a league-high five assists so far this season, while he has had a hand in six of Norwich’s 11 BPL goals in 2015/16 (one goal, five assists).
Sunderland v West Ham United
Last five meetings: W1 D2 L2
Fabian: Time is running out for the Black Cats but unfortunately they face probably the league’s best travelers this season in the Hammers. Could be a dark day for Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
Fridah: Sunderland are the worst team in the PL by far. I don’t know what the problem is in Wearside. However, I think they’ll cause an upset against the Hammers.
Match facts: West Ham have never won four consecutive away matches in the same BPL season. The last time they did it in a single top-flight campaign was in 1985/86.
West Ham players have made four errors leading to goals in the league this season; more than any other team (Two from Aaron Cresswell and one apiece from Mark Noble and Carl Jenkinson ).
Chelsea v Southampton
Last five meetings: W2 D2 L1
Fabian: Should be an encounter high on intensity with plenty of chances for either side. The Saints have revived while Chelsea are still yo-yoing around, trying to find themselves. Only they might find themselves on the receiving end of a focused Southampton performance.
Fridah: The Blues have been poor. This will be another tough test for them. The Saints are getting back to their best but they are not at the level that they were last season so it will be tougher on them still. However, they are on a rising curve. The same cannot be said of Chelsea.
Match facts: Both league meetings between these clubs last season ended with a 1-1 score line, with all four goals coming in the first half.
No side have allowed their opponents more shots on target in the BPL this season than Chelsea (45), while Southampton have allowed the fewest (17).
Everton v Liverpool
Last five meetings: W0 D4 L1
Fabian: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his future at Liverpool and he may not have lost in the derby, but there’s just something going for the Toffees this season. They don’t fear anyone. Scary for a team as brittle as the current Reds side.
Fridah: A point or more for Liverpool would make Rodgers happy. Anything less than a win will disappoint Martinez. However, it is a derby and Daniel Sturridge is back. Still fancy Everton to get the win though.
Match facts: Everton have gone nine league matches without a victory against their neighbours Liverpool. They have not gone 10 without a victory against the Reds since 1984 (a run of 11 matches).
This fixture has seen the most red cards shown in Barclays Premier League history (20); four more than any other match in the competition.
Arsenal v Manchester United
Last five meetings: W1 D2 L2
Fabian: Bouncing back has been the recurring narrative for Arsenal this season and yet again that ability will be needed to erase the wretched memories of the midweek embarrassment v Olympiakos. United are not exactly firing on all cylinders but seem to be doing the business of winning games. A stern test then…for the both managers.
Fridah: Tough game for the Gunners. Anything less than 3 points and there’ll be a real crisis. It will be interesting to see how the defense deals with Anthony Martial and Juan Mata especially if Laurent Koscielny is absent. Still think that Arsenal will somehow manage to beat the league leaders and go level on points.
Match facts: Arsenal’s win rate of 24% against Manchester United in the BPL is their lowest versus any team in the competition.
Wayne Rooney scored his first Barclays Premier League goal (October 2002), his first league goal for Man Utd (October 2004) and his 100 BPL goal (January 2010) against Arsenal.
Swansea City v Tottenham Hotspur
Last five meetings: W0 D0 L5
Fabian: About time the Swans reminded us why they were the flavor of the month for August. Spurs come off a Thursday night draw at Monaco and for that reason I think the Welsh side have the slightest of advantages.
Fridah: Swansea have a poor record against Tottenham. They have been in some poor form lately while Tottenham are on a good streak. However, I think that the Swans will have a good game. Swansea are due a win.
Match facts: Spurs have won their last seven league matches against Swansea City. They have never won eight consecutive matches against one opponent in BPL history (also seven against Man City between December 2004 and December 2007).
Spurs have won three consecutive league matches for the first time since February. They last won four in a row in January 2014, with the final match in that run coming at Swansea (3-1).
And here’s how the two fared during MW7
|Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City||1-3||1-1||4-1|
|Leicester City v Arsenal||1-2||1-3||2-5|
|Liverpool v Aston Villa||0-2||1-1||3-2|
|Manchester United v Sunderland||4-1||3-1||3-0|
|Southampton v Swansea City||0-0||2-1||3-1|
|Stoke City v Bournemouth||2-1||0-2||2-1|
|West Ham United v Norwich City||2-1||1-1||2-2|
|Newcastle United v Chelsea||2-3||2-1||2-2|
|Watford v Crystal Palace||0-2||1-3||0-1|
|West Bromwich Albion v Everton||1-0||2-1||2-3|
Fridah won the round by a point, Fabian is still in the overall lead 93-87.