December 8, 2018 By Fabian Odhiambo
Bournemouth v Liverpool
Last Five Meetings: W1 D1 L3
Fab Says: Bournemouth got back to winning ways in midweek at home to Huddersfield after a particularly tough run of fixtures, but it gets tough again with the visit of title-chasing and unbeaten Liverpool. The Reds themselves recovered from a slow start at Turf Moor to collect all the points but will be hoping they don’t have to fall behind at the Vitality as this is a much sterner opponent. This is a difficult to predict match but I’m going with a thrilling home win.
Bobo Says: The Cherries come up against tough opponent yet again after a short break. They are the most exciting team outside the top six and this should make for a scintillating fixture. Liverpool struggled in their last match but still got the win. It will be tough at the coast but the Reds should just about make it.
Arsenal v Huddersfield Town
Last Three Meetings: W3 D0 L0
Fab Says: How Arsenal managed to bottle the lead twice at Old Trafford on Wednesday night remains a mystery. I guess it really is an ongoing rebuilding process. Then again you could say in the space of four days they’ve played against Spurs and Man United and collected four points out of six, and that’s by all standards a fantastic return. This is a match that Huddersfield themselves won’t be expecting to win. It’s probably a good time to hand your FPL armband to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Bobo Says: There are really no easy fixtures in the EPL but Arsenal will feel a bit relieved after playing Tottenham and Manchester United consecutively. Huddersfield have improved quite a bit but they are not there yet. Arsenal have the chance to get three important points and close in on the top three. This they shall do.
Burnley v Brighton & Hove Albion
Last Five Meetings: W0 D5 L0
Fab Says: Burnley need a win and fast, whereas Brighton are in a far comfortable position. That prevailing scenario only means that the home side will be flying off the traps and should get this win over the line.
Bobo Says: Brighton are looking bright of late. The sit pretty at 10th position with six wins from fifteen matches. It took them 26 matches to get to six wins last season so this is a great improvement. Burnley on the other hand are in a terrible state. They have allowed the most shots, most shots on target and are allowing their opponents the highest quality chances in the PL. For a team that was lauded for its defense not so long ago, this is shocking. Brighton will take advantage of this to get their consecutive away win.
Cardiff City v Southampton
Last Five Meetings: W2 D1 L2
Fab Says: The Saints may be under new management, but I doubt the famed new manager bounce will apply to them this soon. Ralph Hasenhuttl is no doubt an experienced and astute tactician and will in the long run improve Southampton, but on this occasion Cardiff start as favourites and will justify it with a win.
Bobo Says: Only 2 points separate the two teams with Cardiff just above Saints who find themselves in the relegation zone. Saints have not won a match in the last 9 attempts and this prompted a change of manager. Hasenhuttl is a good tactician but it may take a while to get the Saints marching on again. That said, I think Southampton can get at least one point here.
Manchester United v Fulham
Last Five Meetings: W4 D1 L0
Fab Says: Against Arsenal, United may not have necessarily played well, but they did react superbly. That kind of sums up what United has become under Jose Mourinho – a team that plays to counter the opponent rather than be proactive. But how do you play on the back foot against basement dwellers like Fulham even if they’re improving? It could be a very open game with Claudio Ranieri sniffing an avenue to collect at least a point if not three. United have played two consecutive 2-2 draws, so why not make it a hat trick?
Bobo Says: Mourinho is out there looking for his 50th win as Manchester United manager in his 92nd game as manager there. He will probably get it.
West Ham United v Crystal Palace
Last Five Meetings: W2 D3 L0
Fab Says: This is another London derby which I doubt Palace will be finding some joy in. The Hammers are in decent form and scoring lots of goals and will probably enjoy playing against their opponents. The Eagles just have to get a lot serious and stop blowing hot and cold.
Bobo Says: The Hammers have been getting some good results of late with 3 wins, one loss and a draw in the last five. Palace on the other hand have 3 losses, one win and a draw in the same time. West Ham have all it takes to win this but it is a derby and could go either way. The Eagles can soar to at least a point here.
Chelsea v Manchester City
Last Five Meetings: W2 D0 L3
Fab Says: Going by early season form this should have been a top of the table clash, but Chelsea have faltered somewhat and trail the visitors by 10 points. To be honest the Blues are fragile right now after that pasting at Wembley by Spurs and Wednesday’s capitulation at Molineux. City themselves had a minor scare at Watford and that should have jolted them to be really focused on this match knowing that a win at the Bridge will send a huge statement to their nearest rival, Liverpool. It should be a hipster paradise in West London at Sarriball goes toe to toe against Guardiolismo football, but City will produce a professional job and consign Maurizio Sarri to more misery.
Bobo Says: Sarri seems to be going through his typical self implosion similar to what happened at Napoli. He comes against a nearly flawless Manchester City team and I think the visitors will be too much for the Blues.
Leicester City v Tottenham Hotspur
Last Five Meetings: W1 D1 L3
Fab Says: The Foxes are starting to be gritty and solid and on home turf in front of a raucous crowd just might dazzle. The fourth US President James Madison is having a wonderful run in front of goal having come back to life reincarnated as a footballer and could well decide the outcome of this match. Heh! Spurs did well to banish their derby day demons by claiming a routine win at home to The Saints, but the trip to the King Power is more daunting and they don’t have a really good recent record against the hosts anyway.
Bobo Says: This is a difficult fixture for Spurs because Leicester are not so easy to beat at home and they offer more threat than Saints. The Foxes have a certain bite about them that cannot be ignored. Spurs look good though and they should be able to match the Spurs and possibly get all three points at this stadium.
Newcastle United v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Last Five Meetings: W3 D1 L1
Fab Says: After a good run of form Newcastle have collected just a point from their last two matches, though that was a very good point away at Everton, suggesting that maybe the heavy home defeat to West Ham was the anomaly. Wolves pulled off a minor miracle against Chelsea to arrest their slump and must be in a bullish mood heading to Tyneside. Question is, just how much did coming from behind to beat Chelsea take away from them? Could be a lot and that’s why I think they’ll run out of steam against Newcastle.
Bobo Says: The Wolves displayed some of that early season form and grit to get the three points against Chelsea. They meet a hot and cold Newcastle side and I think this gives them the opportunity to go on a winning run that could be vital to their stay in the PL. They certainly have the quality to come away with all three points.
Everton v Watford
Last Four Meetings: W2 D1 L2
Fabian Says: This is an unusual grudge match. Last season Everton tried to prise away then Watford manager Marco Silva, an effort that was successfully rebuffed by Watford who then reported Everton to the Premier League. Later Watford themselves would sack Silva after both he and the team lost focus. Eventually the Portuguese would get his dream move and Everton their man. Now as he welcomes his former charges to his new home on Monday night, no love will have been lost by either side. Methinks Marco Silva will have briefed his players on the significance of the occasion and they’ll no doubt go out fighting for him. Advantage Marco.
Bobo Says: Marco Silva and his star man Richarlison are playing hosts to their old friends so this match has some sort of spice in it. Watford do not boast of a good record against Everton and this will be important. Marco Silva should know how to navigate against his old employers for all the three points.
MW15 caught us wrong footed and so we convey a thousand apologies. That said, here’s how MW14 panned out:
|Cardiff City v Wolverhaampton Wanderers||2-1||2-0||2-1|
|Crystal Palace v Burnley||2-1||1-1||2-0|
|Huddersfield Town v Brighton & Hove Albion||1-0||2-0||1-2|
|Leicester City v Watford||2-1||3-1||2-0|
|Manchester City v Bournemouth||4-1||5-2||3-1|
|Newcastle United v West Ham United||2-0||3-1||0-3|
|Southampton v Manchester United||0-1||0-0||2-2|
|Chelsea v Fulham||2-2||2-2||2-0|
|Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur||3-2||3-1||4-2|
|Liverpool v Everton||2-1||1-2||1-0|
Fab’s lead is now into double figures at 11 points, 198-187.