December 14, 2018 By Fabian Odhiambo
Manchester City v Everton
Last Five Meetings: W2 D2 L1
Fab Says: City’s aura of invincibility was finally punctured at Stamford Bridge last weekend and with that they lost their hold of top spot in the league to Liverpool. However, they will want to bounce back in this lunch time kick off with a win to shift the pressure back to Liverpool. Everton on their part blew an early lead on Monday night at home to Watford and had to dig deep into stoppage time to rescue a point. It’s now over 2 months since the Toffees last won on the road and with their plucky recent form it’s hard to see them getting anything from a wounded Man City. The victory for City could be hard to come by, but it will come.
Bobo Says: City were brought back down to earth by an impressive Chelsea side. The come up against the inconsistent Toffees this match week looking to make amends for the loss last week. It will not be easy. The loss means that teams may not respect them too much anymore. However, City have the quality to bounce right back.
Crystal Palace v Leicester City
Last Five Meetings: W2 D1 L2
Fab Says: Two yoyo-ing teams square off at Selhurst Park and it’s difficult to pick a winner from both. I think it will be a match characterized by little invention and probably will be drawn.
Bobo Says: These are two teams that should be doing better in the league but can’t seem to find the consistency needed. The match seems evenly balanced but for some reason I think it will tilt towards an Eagles win.
Huddersfield Town v Newcastle United
Last Five Meetings: W2 D1 L2
Fab Says: Both sides haven’t won their last three matches with Huddersfield losing all three and Newcastle two. This only means that the significance of a win here to both teams is heightened. The Toon were gutsy in their home loss to Wolves and just couldn’t hold on having been reduced to ten men. If they can produce a similar level of performance and most importantly keep their heads, I think they’ll win.
Bobo Says: These are the two teams that have lost the most matches since the start of last season. This feels like those matches where both teams lose. Huddersfield should use the home advantage to at least get all the three points and I believe they will.
Tottenham Hotspur v Burnley
Last Five Meetings: W3 D2 L0
Fab Says: Spurs can cap off a fine week that started with an impressive win at Leicester followed by the draw at Camp Nou to book their place in the Champions League last 16, by picking off Burnley. Confidence is high and they should come out tops.
Bobo Says: Spurs are due a draw. This is it.
Watford v Cardiff City
Last Five Meetings: W1 D1 L3
Fab Says: It’s now 6 matches since Watford last won a match and it’s fair to say they are due. They were mightily unlucky on Monday night as only a last gasp peach of a free kick by Lucas Digne denied them the full haul of points at Goodison Park. Cardiff seem to save their best for their home fixtures and so you’d expect them to tread very cautiously in this one, playing in the hands of the hosts.
Bobo Says: Watford need a win and need it soon. The three points have been elusive. Cardiff got a win and a clean sheet in their last match and should be hoping that they can gain some momentum from that. This should make for an interesting match and I think it will probably end in a draw.
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Bournemouth
Last Four Meetings: W0 D1 L3
Fab Says: It’s one win in five for Bournemouth and two in the same period for Wolves, so neither side is in the best of form. Both of them are very progressive in their play though and so it should be quite the spectacle. Can a winner be found? Maybe not.
Bobo Says: Bournemouth have come off a run of tricky fixtures that they did well to hold their own though did not get any points. They will feel that with the quality they have and the consistency of their top players, they can win.
Fulham v West Ham United
Last Five Meetings: W2 D0 L3
Fab Says: In this London derby the home side has won in each of the last five encounters so just maybe home comforts could be the decisive factor. West Ham has won the last three, scoring nine goals and so are a good bet to buck that trend. But then again, I think after a tough run of fixtures The Cottagers are due a break.
Bobo Says: A derby that seems quite tasty on the books. Fulham will look to get going under a new manager and get the win in this important fixture. West Ham have the quality to get the result but I think Fulham will be the better side.
Brighton & Hove Albion v Chelsea
Last Three Meetings: W1 D0 L2
Fab Says: Chelsea will be buoyed by that impressive win over Man City and should probably swat aside any kind of resistance the The Seagulls might put up.
Bobo Says: Chelsea players should be high on confidence and they will believe that they can beat any side that comes their way. It will be difficult for Brighton to stop Chelsea but I think they just might.
Southampton v Arsenal
Last Five Meetings: W1 D1 L3
Fab Says: September 1 is the last time Southampton registered a win and surely that kind of statistic cannot be healthy for any team. To say the task ahead of Ralph Hasenhüttl as he oversees his first home match at St. Mary’s is daunting is pretty much doubling down on the understatement. The problem for the Austrian is that his opponents for the day haven’t lost since August. I just can’t see them stopping Arsenal, even if the Gunners especially in defense are bogged down by injuries and suspensions.
Bobo Says: The Saints at St. Mary’s has always been a tricky fixture for Arsenal. It is not a match that Arsenal have historically been good in. Hasenhüttl will be looking to come at Arsenal with quick, counterattacking football and this will probably expose Arsenal’s still rather frail defense. However, Arsenal should have the quality… and the new found grit to get the win.
Liverpool v Manchester United
Last Five Meetings: W1 D3 L1
Fabian Says: The old enemies meet again and their predicaments couldn’t be more apart. Liverpool are high flying, solid, top of the table and dreaming to end a 28-year old wait for the title. United are bland, colourless and very much in situ, just watching as other rivals take long strides past them. On form you’d expect Liverpool to win, but there’s just something about grudge matches that awakens Jose Mourinho especially when he’s considered the underdog. He has played spoiler for Liverpool at Anfield before and he can well do it again and take immense pride from it. Also, how sharp will Liverpool be after that exertion at home to Napoli in midweek?
Bobo Says: Fun Stat: Liverpool’s attacking trio of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah are all yet to score or make an assist in a PL match for Liverpool against Manchester United in a total of 855 minutes. Liverpool have the great advantage here but Mourinho knows how to approach such matches (most of the time) and there will be a lot of pressure on Liverpool too. Still, I think Juergen Klopp will get this one right this time to keep the lead.
Here’s what our AI thinks:
|Crystal Palace||2||Leicester City||2|
|Huddersfield Town||1||Newcastle United||1|
|Fulham||2||West Ham United||1|
|Brighton & Hove Albion||1||Chelsea||2|
MW16 panned out like this:
|Bournemouth v Liverpool||2-1||1-2||0-4|
|Arsenal v Huddersfield Town||4-1||3-0||1-0|
|Burnley v Brighton & Hove Albion||1-0||1-2||1-0|
|Cardiff City v Southampton||2-1||2-2||1-0|
|Manchester United v Fulham||2-2||2-0||4-1|
|West Ham United v Crystal Palace||3-1||1-1||3-2|
|Chelsea v Manchester City||1-3||1-3||2-0|
|Leicester City v Tottenham Hotspur||2-1||1-2||0-2|
|Newcastle United v Wolverhampton Wanderers||2-1||1-2||1-2|
|Everton v Watford||2-1||2-1||2-2|
Fab’s lead is slashed to 8 points by Bobo’s rally, 212-204.