Premier League Preview and Predictions: Kane v Haaland

Premier League

We look at this week’s Premier League fixtures, including a big top 6 clash when Spurs host Man City, and important games at the other end of the league when Nottingham Forest welcomes Leeds.

Take a look at my predictions for the previous round of Premier League fixtures here!

This Week’s Premier League Games

Chelsea v Fulham
Everton v Arsenal
Aston Villa v Leicester
Brentford v Southampton
Brighton v Bournemouth
Man United v Crystal Palace
Wolves v Liverpool
Newcastle v West Ham
Nottingham Forest v Leeds
Tottenham Hotspur v Man City

Brentford v Southampton

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Brentford is in fine form at the moment. They have won 4 out of their last 6 games in the Premier League, and have drawn the other 2.

Brentford is an example of a well-run football club. They have invested in and backed their manager, Thomas Frank. They have trusted players such as Ivan Toney to make the step up to the Premier League, and they are reaping the rewards from this now.

They sit in 8th, just 5 points behind Spurs in 5th, and they have shown time and time again that they can compete with the big teams. They are hard to beat, and on their day, and score a lot of goals.

Last time out they were held, however, to a 0-0 draw at Elland Road against Leeds. It was an even game, and a draw was probably the right result, but Brentford made it so difficult for Leeds to create chances.

Southampton is the complete opposite at the moment. It is so easy to create chances against them, and they look in real danger of going down if things do not improve.

It looked as if things might change after they beat Everton and they might pull themselves out of the relegation zone, but they then lost 1-0 against Aston Villa after VAR ruled a goal out for offside.

They then faced Newcastle in the semi-final of the Carabao Cup. They lost 1-0 in the first leg and again had a goal ruled out by VAR.

They then faced Blackpool in the FA Cup, winning 2-1, however, it was not exactly comfortable for them. Playing against a struggling Championship side it should have been an easy win for them, but Blackpool had more than enough chances to take the tie to a replay.

Southampton does have a chance to gain some confidence before this fixture when they take on Newcastle again in the second leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final, but I can not see them getting anything from that game.

I think this game will be too much for Southampton to handle as well. Brentford is on a high at the moment, and has an outside shot of a European spot, meaning they need to be picking up points every week. A home win here.

Prediction: Brentford 2 – 0 Southampton

Brighton v Bournemouth

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What a player Kaoru Mitoma is turning out to be. Each week he surprises everyone with his ability on the ball. He does not have to pace to run past most defenders, but relies on his skill instead, which makes it even more impressive. Brighton may have a big task on their hands keeping hold of him for next season.

That may not concern Brighton however, as they have recently sold Trossard to Arsenal, and Caicedo is now subject to bids from Arsenal and Chelsea. They lost Cucurella and Bissouma previously in the season, and Mwepu was forced to retire.

Yet the Brighton scouting team are finding gem after gem. Mitoma cost the club a reported £2.5 million, and look at what he has produced so far.

Last game, Brighton stumbled slightly and fell to a 2-2 draw against Leicester, where Mitoma scored, along with another gem Brighton has found in their youth system, Evan Ferguson.

Brighton returned to winning ways in the FA Cup, where they hosted Liverpool. Brighton has already taken 4 points from Liverpool this season, and have now knocked them out of the FA Cup, as Mitoma scored a brilliant goal in the 92nd minute, resulting in them winning 2-1.

Bournemouth really is in trouble now. They have slipped into the relegation zone, albeit on goal difference, but they cannot score at the moment, and they certainly cannot defend.

They did not have any cup action to worry about after getting knocked out by Burnley in the previous round, and they did stop their run of defeats with a 1-1 draw against Nottingham Forest.

Bournemouth has tried to rectify their lack of goals in the transfer window, by bringing in Bristol City striker Antoine Semenyo, who has scored 8 goals in the Championship this season.

The only issue is that he has not proven himself in the Premier League. They really needed a striker who either has Premier League experience or who they know will come into the club and hit the ground running. If Semenyo does, it will be an absolute bargain for them, with the reported fee being around £10 million.

Brighton should be too strong for Bournemouth here, and if Brighton turns up how they have against other teams this season, there could be a lot of goals too. Another easy home win here.

Prediction: Brighton 3 – 0 Bournemouth

Wolves v Liverpool

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After Wolves picked up a vital 3 points against relegation rivals West Ham, they had two very difficult games.

They first came up against Liverpool in the FA Cup replay, after drawing 2-2 with them in the original game. This time round they lost 1-0 from a Harvey Elliot goal, knocking them out in the process.

They then faced Man City in the league and were comfortably beaten 3-0 with Haaland getting all 3 goals. The issue now for Wolves, is whether they can bounce back from these back-to-back defeats or not.

I do believe Wolves have enough to stay up, but they need to be more solid against the big teams and set up to not get beat, as opposed to trying to win.

Liverpool really is enduring a horror season. They really do not have any chance of winning the Premier League this season, and even a Champions League spot is looking difficult for them to achieve. They were knocked out of the Carabao Cup by Man City in December, and have just been beaten 2-1 by Brighton to get knocked out of the FA Cup.

Liverpool’s chances of silverware this season hang on their performances in the Champions League, but if they play how they have been, they have no chance.

Last time out in the Premier League, Liverpool really struggled. Havertz had an early goal ruled out by VAR, and after that, Mykhailo Mudryk showed Arsenal what they were missing out on, toying with the Liverpool defence and creating chance after chance. He could be a massive player for Chelsea’s revival in the second half of the season.

It is worrying watching Liverpool at the moment. Their attacking players do not seem to link up well together anymore. Their ageing midfield is struggling to control goals, and their defence is suffering massively because of this.

This should be a game that Liverpool wins, and comfortably, but something is telling me that it will not be so straightforward for them. I do believe they will win here, but I would not be shocked if Wolves pull off a surprise win.

Prediction: Wolves 1 – 2 Liverpool

Nottingham Forest v Leeds

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Forest is still in great form in the league. In their last fixture, they managed to secure a late draw against Bournemouth, with Sam Surridge scoring with a few minutes remaining to make it 1-1, in a game where Forest also had a goal ruled out by VAR.

After this, Forests’ attention then turned to the Carabao Cup semi-final, where they welcomed Man United. This was always going to be a tough ask for them, and they succumbed to a 3-0 loss. Sam Surridge did have a goal ruled out by VAR, and it could have been a completely different game had the goal stood, but United looked comfortable throughout.

Forest does have the second leg to come before their game against Leeds. They travel to Old Trafford trying to eradicate a 3-0 deficit, which will be extremely hard for them to do. I can only see them losing this game too, meaning they come into their game against Leeds on the back of consecutive losses.

Leeds is a strange side at the moment. They either look defensively solid, or completely open. In their last 3 FA Cup games, they conceded 4 times against Cardiff over two games, and also conceded against Accrington Stanley. Their last game in the league was a defensively solid 0-0 against Brentford.

This is how Jesse Marsch wants to play. He wants to be attacking, he wants to outscore the other team. He does not believe in sitting back and defending, no matter the opposition, no matter the occasion, but it is not quite working for him at the moment.

They sit 15th in the Premier League but have not won any of their last 6 games in the competition, losing 3 and drawing 3. Worryingly for them, sides around them are picking up points also, with West Ham winning their last game, Wolves the game before that, and Bournemouth picking up a point.

One positive for Leeds currently is the performance of Wilfred Gnonto. He was a menace for the Brentford defence. His pace and trickery on the ball make him hard to defend against, and it is exciting to watch him play.

Leeds will need to keep him fit if they want to avoid a relegation fight. Players like him, Bamford, and new signing Georginio Rutter will make Leeds’ attacking play a joy to watch. If they keep solid at the back, these players will get them goals.

This could be a very entertaining game, or a bore 0-0 draw. With the way both Forest and Leeds play, I do hope we see some goals here, but I think these sides will ultimately draw.

Prediction: Nottingham Forest 2 – 2 Leeds

Tottenham Hotspur v Man City

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The last time these two teams played each other, we had an absolute classic on our hands. Spurs were poor for the entire first half, then scored twice just before halftime to give themselves a healthy 2-0 lead at the break. City came out in the second half and absolutely demolished Spurs, scoring twice just shortly after the restart, then taking the lead around the hour mark, wrapping it up comfortably with another late goal to win 4-2.

Spurs followed this defeat up with a tricky game against Fulham at Craven Cottage. They ran out 1-0 victors, with both sides having their chances, but Spurs looked much more comfortable, with their two-star men, Kane and Son, linking up together again, with Kane getting his 265th goal for Spurs, equaling Greaves’ record, and putting him one goal away from 200 Premier League Goals.

Spurs then continued their cup action, this time in the FA Cup away against Championship side Preston. The result was never really in doubt as they saw out the game comfortably 3-0, with new boy Arnaut Danjuma getting the third.

Spurs are becoming hard to call at the moment. They always seem to pick up points and then fall off for a few games. They typically fall off against the big sides, and they could do the same this weekend against Man City.

Man City on the other hand has continued their fine run of form after a few disappointing games. They beat Spurs 4-2, then moved on to a home game against relegation-threatened Wolves, who have been picking up points as of late.

However, Wolves caught Haaland in one of his goal-scoring moods as he got his 4th hat trick of the season. De Bruyne popped up with another assist. He and Haaland are starting to form a very good relationship up front together. Belgium’s passing ability really does suit the big man, and we will surely see a lot more of the partnership before the end of the season.

City then turned their attention to their FA Cup game at home against league leaders Arsenal, the first time these teams have met this season, and what a game it was. It really demonstrated the two attacking natures of both sides, Trossard doing brilliantly on his first start for Arsenal, with Ortega producing a few good stops.

There was an unlikely hero in this game for City, however, and that came in the form of the centre-back Nathan Ake, who produced a brilliant curling shot straight into the bottom right-hand corner, to give City a big win over their title rivals, and put them into the 5th round of the FA Cup.

Spurs do seem to be slowly turning a corner, they won a tricky away game, and then won comfortably in a game you would expect them to. City, however, has beaten Arsenal, which will give them great confidence going forward, and with Haaland scoring again, Spurs may slump to another defeat here.

Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 1 – 3 Man City

Other Predictions

  • Chelsea 1 – 1 Fulham
  • Everton 0 – 2 Arsenal
  • Aston Villa 2 – 1 Leicester
  • Man United 2 – 0 Crystal Palace
  • Newcastle 2 – 0 West Ham

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