Premier League Preview and Predictions: Another Tough Test For Liverpool

Premier League

We take a look at the 6 games being played over Tuesday 4th and Wednesday 5th of April, where Liverpool has another big test, this time against Chelsea, and Nottingham Forest will look to continue their revival as they travel to fellow strugglers Leeds.

Take a look at my preview and predictions for last week’s fixtures here!

This Week’s Premier League Fixtures

Bournemouth v Brighton
Leeds v Nottingham Forest
Leicester v Aston Villa
Chelsea v Liverpool
Man United v Brentford
West Ham v Newcastle

Leeds v Nottingham Forest

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Leeds was humbled by Arsenal last week. After winning a feisty encounter against Wolves 4-2 previously, they were brought crashing back to earth with a heavy 4-1 loss at The Emirates. It was never going to be a game they were expected to win, or even get a point out of, but Leeds may have surprised people with their performance in the first 30 minutes.

Leeds could easily have been 1 or 2-0 up before Gabriel Jesus netted from the penalty spot, as Arsenal looked sluggish at the back. The longer the game went on without Leeds scoring, the more it looked like Arsenal would get back into the game and win it. It was typical If Leeds can perform how they did in the first 30 minutes against Arsenal for the rest of the season, they should find themselves picking up more than enough points to avoid relegation.

I do believe Leeds will be safe, but it all depends on how they perform against the teams around them. They have players good enough to hurt the teams in the top half of the table, and at times, their football is good, they just need to be more consistent with it. One or two more wins for Leeds could effectively see them safe.

What on earth happened in Forest’s game last week? Despite only having 27.6% possession, they restricted Wolves to have just one shot on target from the 8 they created. Forest themselves managed 17 shots with 7 on target, despite hardly seeing the ball. Brennan Johnson got back on the scoresheet, and he played brilliantly throughout. When he performs, Forest usually gets something out of the game.

In true Forest fashion, however, they did slip up in the end and dropped 2 points. Wolves managed to score, through Podence with his 6th goal of the season, and with Wolves’ first, and only, shot on target. It will feel like 2 points dropped for Forest rather than 1 point gained. They deserved the win, but, like many other times this season, they came away without it.

Nottingham Forest’s issue all season has been scoring goals, and Brennan Johnson needs to be more consistent here. He is their top scorer with 8 this season. He needs to be hitting 10-15 goals this season for Forest to avoid relegation comfortably, and this is a game where he can continue his goal-scoring run in. Their away form is terrible, but with the defensive incapabilities that Leeds shows on a consistent basis, Forest has a chance here.

Leeds should have this game in the bag. On their day, they are brilliant going forward and can hurt any team. Forest is poor away from home, and can never seem to pick up 3 points. Forest will try to stay solid, and hit Leeds on the break, but their lack of goals is a concern here. If Leeds can score early on, it should be plain sailing for them, but the longer they do not score, the more chance Forest have of sneaking a result.

Prediction: Leeds 2 – 0 Nottingham Forest

Chelsea v Liverpool

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A massive game involving two sides who are not only massively underperforming this season, but they also had an absolute horror result in midweek. A game against two sides who have won nothing this season, Liverpool with no chance of winning anything, and Chelsea relying on the Champions League for the chance of a trophy.

Chelsea was not entirely woeful against Aston Villa during the weekend. They managed 27 shots compared to Villa’s 5 and had 8 on target compared to Villa’s 2, but Villa made theirs count, and that has been the difference for Chelsea this season. They do not have a real, recognised, out-and-out striker who can score more than 20 goals a season. This is something that should have been rectified in the summer, let alone the January transfer window. It is really started to bite them where it hurts now, especially since that result dropped them into the bottom half of the table.

A finish outside of the top 6 would represent a disaster of a season for Chelsea, let alone a bottom-half finish. If they do finish the season in mid-table, do the Chelsea board stick with Graham Potter? Or do they bring in someone with a few trophies to their name, a household manager who can get the best out of their current players? It would be a shame if Potter were to be sacked, but it is a results business, and he is struggling to get anything at the moment.

The most alarming statistic about Chelsea this season is that they have not beaten a single team in the top half of the table (excluding the reverse fixture against Aston Villa, who leapfrogged Chelsea after their win at Stamford Bridge the other day). A team who were expected to finish in the top 6 at least, not winning a single game against a top-half team, is inexcusable. This is something that needs resolving if Chelsea has any hopes of finishing in the top half of the table.

Liverpool did not fare any better at the weekend, though their opponents were slightly more difficult. They endured what, in the end, was a difficult game against Man City at The Etihad. Liverpool did open the scoring, with Salah scoring against Man City for the 4th time this season, but it went downhill from there. Alvarez, De Bruyne and Gundogan all had relatively easy tap-ins, and Grealish finished the rout with a smart finish, condemning Liverpool to a 4-1 defeat.

For weeks Liverpool’s defence has come into question, and they did again today. Yet, the attacking side too seemed nonexistent. After Salah opened the scoring in the 17th minute, Liverpool did not manage another shot on target for the entire game. They only managed 4 shots in total as well. They were run ragged by a City side who were without 2 of their most inform players, in Foden and Haaland.

It is going to be a difficult ask for Liverpool to break into the European spots now. A few weeks ago it looked possible, but now, they are back down into 8th, 5 points behind 5th-placed Newcastle, with some of the teams above them having a game in hand. Like Chelsea, a finish outside of the top 6 would represent a disaster of a season for Liverpool, but it is the outcome that is looking more and more likely each week.

This could go either way depending on which side turns up and which does not. Chelsea cannot seem to pick up a win, but Liverpool is the exact same. This could easily be a goal fest, or finish a bore 0-0. Liverpool does usually turn up against the big teams, but they were rolled over by Man City last week. Chelsea on the other hand, cannot beat a team in the top half of the table, and I expect this run to continue. Both teams scored, but an away win here.

Prediction: Chelsea 1 – 2 Liverpool

Man United v Brentford

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Man United really suffered the other day against Newcastle. They were second best from start to finish, and never really got going. United only managed a single shot on target, which, considering the form of Rashford, is diabolical. They could not handle the pressing from Newcastle, their passing was sloppy, their attacking play was poor, and Weghorst large ineffective for the whole game.

United signing Weghorst did not make sense to me. For a club like United, who have seen Cavani and Ronaldo both leave that season, they should have been looking at spending a large amount of money on a striker who would come in and hit the ground running, netting 20 goals minimum for the season. Instead of that, they signed Weghorst on loan from Burnley, who only scored 2 goals the last time he played in the Premier League. Goals are not entirely an issue for United, but they really could have done with a striker who contributes.

United are in poor form at the moment, and at the wrong time. Since the Carabao Cup final win against Newcastle, they have not won a game. They have lost against Newcastle and Liverpool and drew against bottom-of-the-table Southampton. Newcastle leapfrogged United with their win, meaning United have now slipped down to 4th, with Spurs hot on their tail. They cannot afford to slip up now.

Brentford thrilled in their previous game against Brighton, partaking in a breathtaking 3-3 draw at The Amex. This game showcased the talents of both sides and also demonstrated their defensive issues, which in Brentford’s case came as a surprise. They took the lead 3 times on this occasion and were pegged back each time, which is uncharacteristic of a usually solid Brentford side.

As good as the scoreline for Brentford seemed, the stats tell a completely different story. Brighton dominated the ball, with Brentford only having 27.8% of the ball. Brighton created so many chances, registering 33 shots, with 15 of those on target, but Brentford still managed to come away with something. Was Brentford lucky? Probably yes, but they took their chances and came away with a point against a tough Brighton side.

Ivan Toney was once against on the scoresheet, taking his tally to 17 for the season. I would be very surprised if some other clubs did not enquire about him in the summer, but there will be a big price tag on the Englishman’s head. He suits Brentford so well, and if they can build on a top-half finish, and improve the squad to challenge for a spot in the top 6, there is no reason why Toney should not stay.

A few weeks ago I thought this would have been a relatively simple game for United to win, yet considering their current form, I think Brentford might sneak a win here. Brentford will have to be better defensively here than they were against Brighton, but United have not scored in 3 games now. I am going to go with a surprise away win.

Prediction: Man United 0 – 1 Brentford

Other Predictions

  • Bournemouth 1 – 2 Brighton
  • Leicester 0 – 2 Aston Villa
  • West Ham 1 – 1 Newcastle

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