Midweek Preview – Wednesday Night Fixtures
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Posted by James Jones | Published on March 2, 2016
Following the first installment of the midweek games last night, we have another 5 Premier League fixtures to sink our teeth into tonight, with some massive games that could hinder the title challenge for a number of clubs.
Leicester City got held to a 2-2 draw at home to West Brom, despite trailing then regaining the lead, meaning they are currently only 3 points clear of Tottenham, and 6 points ahead of Arsenal with both teams set to play later this evening.
Last Nights Results:
Aston Villa 1-3 Everton Bournemouth 2-0 Southampton Leicester City 2-2 West Brom
Norwich 1-2 Chelsea Sunderland 2-2 Crystal Palace
West Ham vs Tottenham Hotspur
This local London derby will be the game to watch from a neutral point of view, for a handful of reasons, not just the rivalry. West Ham go into this fixture currently on their best home form in the Premier League, unbeaten since August 2015. While Spurs approach this game with a statistic which counters the last, unbeaten on the road since in their last 12 away games, dating back to August too.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side have also accumulated the most points from losing positions this season, so having said that it’s worth noting in the last three meetings between the two sides, there have been five goals netted in the last ten minutes. West Ham have only managed three wins in the last 17 Premier League fixtures against Tottenham, drawing three times and losing the other 11. In the last two times this fixture has been played at Upton Park, three Red cards have been issued.
Team News: Diafra Sakho should feature at some point, returning from a thigh injury this week. Sam Byram misses this game due to suspension, Michail Antonio expected to fill in at the back. Dele Alli is set for a late fitness test before kick-off after suffering an injury during the warm-up last weekend. Tom Carroll returns to the squad having recovered from his recent Achilles injury.
My Prediction: West Ham 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Stoke City vs Newcastle United
Going into this game Newcastle have had over two weeks to prepare for this game, after suffering an embarrassing 5-1 defeat against Chelsea. The only positive ex-England manager Steve McClaren could have taken from such a defeat, would have been new signing Andros Townsend finding the back of the net, scoring his first for The Magpies. Stoke City start the game 10 places and 15 points ahead of the visitors. A win could see Mark Hugh’s side leap-frog themselves into 7th place in front of Chelsea and Southampton. A win for Newcastle would be massive in regards to the current relegation battle, with two games in hand, and level on points with Sunderland and Norwich.
Stoke City have won four of the last five Premier League games against The Magpies at The Britania Stadium. McClaren’s side have only won two of their last 10 matches, keeping just one clean sheet. Newcastle’s away form in the Premier League has been a major downfall, scoring just 9 goals and conceding 48.
Team News: Newcastle will be without club captain Fabricio Coloccini who is suffering from a calf problem. Chancel Mbemba will also miss this fixture with a similar problem. Despite breaking his nose last week, Glenn Whelan is expected to start for Stoke. Marc Muniesa is expected to return to the starting line-up after missing the Villa game last week due to injury.
My Prediction: Stoke City 3-1 Newcastle United
Arsenal vs Swansea City
Suffering from back to back defeats by two very similar but very different teams recently, Arsenal will be looking to bounce back and get back into the title race. Arsene Wenger saw his team lose to Barcelona in the Champions League, then again to Manchester United’s youthful starting 11. Swansea City suffered a late defeat at the weekend to Tottenham, so will be aiming to claw some points back against an off form Arsenal outfit.
Arsenal have won eight of their last 12 home at The Emirates in the Premier League, but have failed to score in four of their last six matches in all competitions at home. In the nine league meetings between the two clubs, they share the record evenly with four wins each and a draw, half of those wins for The Swans coming at The Emirates. Only one of the last 26 goals in this fixture has been scored in the first half.
Team News: Arsene Wenger has said he’s thinking about resting Danny Welbeck for this game, Olivier Giroud expected to start. Santi Cazorla and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain remaining sidelined with long-term injuries. Swansea have no new injury worries approaching this fixture, but manager Francesco Guidolin is suffering with a chest infection and could stay at home to rest.
My Prediction: Arsenal 2-0 Swansea
Liverpool vs Manchester City
Liverpool fans will be looking for revenge from the Captial One Cup final, in which they lost 3-1 to their visitors this evening on penalties last Sunday. Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City will be in high spirits lifting the first major silverware in England this season. City go into this game on the back of back to back defeats in the league, seriously damaging their title hopes, a win tonight will ensure they’re still in the running along with Tottenham, Arsenal and league leaders Leicester City.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have only suffered two defeats in their last 6 outings, a penalty shoot-out in the cup final, and the 120th minute Angelo Ogbonna header in the F.A Cup. Manchester City have failed to win a game at Anfield in their last 12 visits. 34 goals have been scored in the last nine games these two sides have met, and not a single clean sheet by a keeper in that time.
Team News: Joe Hart will return to the starting line-up, despite cup hero Willy Caballero saving three penalties on Sunday. Yaya Toure could be a doubt, following a knock. Klopp will be without Lucas Leiva who has a muscle strain, and Mamadou Sakho had to be taken off on Sunday following a head injury so may not be risked, along with Daniel Sturridge possibly being rested following playing the full 120 minutes and suffering cramp.
My Prediction: Liverpool 2-3 Manchester City
Manchester United vs Watford
Louis Van Gaal’s Manchester United will be hopeful to capitalise on arguably his best week in charge as United boss. Following their progression in Europe league and defeating Arsenal with a major youth orientated squad. The main talking point, the man or should I say boy who grabbed the headlines by bagging two goals in five minutes, then sitting an exam two days later. Marcus Rashford single handily embarrassed Arsenal in the first half, following his impressive senior Manchester United debut in Europe a few days before, also bagging two goals.
Quique Sanchez Flores thinks they could spring an upset at Old Trafford, but Watford have lost the last 10 matches in all competitions aginst Manchester United. The Hornets have not been able to score a goal in five of the last seven Premier League match. Odion Ighalo’s goals seem to be drying up, scoring just one goal in eight Premier League appearances so far in 2016.
Team News: Anthony Martial should be fit to return to the first team line-up, although the recent form of Rashford may alter Van Gaal’s decison. Matteo Darmian and Chris Smalling are expected to return from njury and could feature in the sqaud. Flores has no new injury concerns, but admitted Etienne Capoue could be rested, saying he is suffering from fatigue.
My Prediction: Manchester United 2-1 Watford
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