The English Premier League is known across the world for its tasking peculiarities, when others are preparing for the holiday, the Queen’s league is just resuming epic business, the blue half of Manchester has practically sealed the title as early as December, hey, someone stop Pep Guardiola, this is not Bundesliga! Manchester City became the first team to win 14 straight games in the same season, usurping Arsenal and most recently Chelsea did; what a team, what a spirit, unplayable, defensively sound, compactly disciplined and aggressively offensive, one big question... who will stop them?
Last round was full of draws, some predicted, some unexpected, but massive relief for Paul Clement who led his team to victory for the first time in a very long time, they managed a late goal against Alan Pardew’s Westbrom and that could be the turning point, Leicester’s resurgence deserves attention now, the team is now ticking, three goals past Newcastle means a lot to their climb as they are now comfortably reaching for the big guns, bar the horrendous start, with this current form they should be mixing it with the top six, they are recent champions remember? It was nice to see smiles on the wrinkling face of David Moyes, the Scot rolled back the Everton years to deliver a dirty blow on Chelsea’s title defence, one that is now effectively over, with confidence and early guts, Westham firmly took charge and Chelsea never got back into the game, Conte’s line up was responsible for parts of it, squad rotation is needed but how did Fabregas get the nod to start up front when Batshuayi and Pedro were on the bench? Zappacosta for Moses might pass as a precautionary plan but why leaving it too late to be amended? Take nothing away from Westham, inspired by the lively Masuaku, it’s time for them to rise and up next for them is Arsenal.
Arsenal went to St. Mary’s needing a result to banish the ghosts of Manchester United but their first-half showing, as recently usual showed nothing of strong intents to win, poor to say the least as they now prefer to chase games when it would have been easier to close games early, they did rally at the end to steal a point, thereby losing a massive opportunity to close down on teams above them who all dropped points over the weekend. Westham look like a team that is hungry and willing to take risks, the form of Marco Aurnatovic against Chelsea showed a return to glory days for the London Stadium fans, with Arsenal’s shameful away form, the Hammers can dream. Burnley are just a point behind Arsenal after stringing wins together, the good works of Sean Dyche continues with yet another win over the weekend, Watford were at the receiving end at Turf Moor, now they host Stoke, an equally stubborn outfit, the discipline of Burnley, though a bit depleted following injuries to first-team players may come handy here as marginal errors will be punished.
Everton are away to Newcastle, Sam Allardyce was once at Newcastle, been a while though but he sure has a thing for hurting his old clubs, not just that, Newcastle have plummeted while Everton are on the rise, managing to stop a free scoring Liverpool attack at the weekend Merseyside derby explains their new grit at the back, considering how freely they shipped goals in the past, but for Newcastle, Rafael Benitez must halt the rot, it’s getting out of hand, the early season form has disappeared and they now lose every time they file out, the latest being the late own goal conceded at home to the Foxes. Tottenham returned to winning ways in the league albeit in an emphatic manner, Stoke City obviously didn’t get the memo until the second half, a Ryan Shawcross own goal seemed like a fluke at halftime with the Potters still looking like being in it, a flurry of early second half goals took the sails out them and Tottenham went on to hammer five before Shawcross again scored at the other end, joining the long list of players who scored at both ends in same games, Tottenham are home to Brighton on Wednesday , Chris Hughton’s side weren’t quite up to it at Huddlesfield on Saturday, as they lost 2:0 in a battle of midfield; Wembley must not be too big for Brighton if they want a result, Tottenham won’t be very polite on them, they must be brave.
As widely heralded, the Manchester derby swung the way of the visitors who are now almost certain to land the title in May or maybe as early as February if they continue like this, the heroics of David De Gea couldn’t save the red devils as it did against Arsenal a week before, with everyone falling deep to defend, it wasn’t very easy for Lukaku to manage clearances as he had a hand in both City goals, how United set up to play was very obvious, cutting off passes and nipping every City attacks in the bud early, but the sleek City midfield will always find a way, credits to United, they kept their discipline till they were opened up, had Lukaku being potent upfront he’d probably have made amends but it wasn’t to be. The Masterclass of Pep Guardiola deserves a mention, he took his time, narrowed down to the final third and made sure his fullbacks are always at needed ends every time, they are away to Swansea City this time, tricky but nothing should go wrong. The other half of Manchester, the wounded half to say the least will look to bounce back with Bournemouth at Old Trafford, talking Bournemouth, the Cherries rallied from a losing position to earn a point away to Crystal Palace, Jermain Defoe scored a goal of epic beauty, full volley from absolutely nowhere.
Liverpool are home to West Brom, the Baggies lost at Swansea, making this a game they must fight for, but how much of concentration do they have in their armour with Sallah, Mane and Firminho running at them? the days of Alan Pardew aren’t yet known with any form of identity but there is nothing looking positive for the visitors here. Chelsea are home to Huddersfield, the Blues must right the wrongs here as the new boys also look to build on what they achieved over the weekend. This brings us to the part where we have to deliver our takes for the seventeenth time this season, with tricky ties everywhere it becomes even more difficult but someone has to do it. Here’s our expert’s opinion on the midweek games in England!
Burnley vs Stoke
Betting Prediction: Burnley to win or draw
Crystal Palace vs Watford
Betting Prediction: Watford to win or draw
Huddersfield vs Chelsea
Betting Prediction: Chelsea to win
Newcastle vs Everton
Betting Prediction: Newcastle to win or draw
Southampton vs Leicester
Betting Prediction: Draw
Swansea vs Manchester City
Betting Prediction: Manchester City to win
Liverpool vs Westbrom
Betting Prediction: Liverpool to win
Manchester United vs Bournemouth
Betting Prediction: United to win
Tottenham vs Brighton
Betting Prediction: Tottenham to win
Westham vs Arsenal
Betting Prediction: Arsenal to win
Strictly the writer’s opinion
Written by @komptrolla
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