Premier League Preview And Predictions: Liverpool To Kick On?

Premier League

This week we take a look a some of this weekend’s Premier League fixtures, including a huge game for Everton who travel to Nottingham Forest, and two big rivals who go head to head, when Liverpool face Man United.

This Week’s Premier League Fixtures

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

Take a look at my predictions for last week’s Premier League games, which also featured Liverpool!

Man City v Newcastle

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Man City are getting back on track after a difficult few weeks. After dropping points against Nottingham Forest, in a game they really should have won, they travelled to face Bournemouth, in a game where they were expected to win, and by a few goals. City certainly delivered, racing to a 3-0 lead before half time, and scoring a forth shortly after half time.

City then faced the same issue they have all season, a lacklustre final 15 minutes, in which they conceded to a Jefferson Lerma goal, and could have conceded a few more. Foden was the standout player in this game, creating seven chances, scoring and assisting Haaland, in what was an impressive performance by the young Englishman.

City then turned their attention to the FA Cup, in which Phil Foden continued his good run of form. He scored twice in another routine City win, this time against Bristol City of the Championship. With players like Grealish, Mahrez, Foden and Silva all performing in recent weeks, it is getting difficult to predict who Guardiola will start with.

City need to keep their pace up. Arsenal are back to winning ways again, and have a relatively easy tie this weekend. They cannot afford to drop any more points in this title race. They are already 5 behind, if they fall any further behind it is hard to see them catching up with Arsenal.

Newcastle will feel hard done by at the moment. They suffered at the hands of Liverpool with two kick fire goals, and their misery continued when Nick Pope got sent off. They then travelled to Wembley for the Carabao Cup final against Man United, which saw Loris Karius forced in goal for the suspended Nick Pope.

Newcastle started brilliantly. They were constantly on the front foot and they look extremely dangerous going forward. It looked like it was a case of when, not if, Newcastle scored. United stepped their game up and scored from a corner through Casemiro, and then 6 minutes later Marcus Rashford scored, putting United 2-0 up and leaving Newcastle fans bewildered.

Come full time, it was the same old story for Newcastle. Creating a lot of chances, yet hardly seeing any of those chances be on target. They had 15 shots against Man United and only saw 2 on target. In comparison, United had 14 shots, and landed 10 on target. Goals are becoming an issue for Newcastle, and they need to step their game up in front of goal. They have already dropped out of the top 4, they have not won in their last 4 Premier League games, and Liverpool and Fulham are hot on their heels, waiting to overtake them.

City are coming into this fixture at the perfect time. This is going to be a difficult game for them no matter what, but Newcastle have not won in their last 4 Premier League games, they are struggling to score, and they still wounded from their cup final loss. City are in form, Foden is performing out of his skin recently, and Haaland is sat on 27 goals for the season. City are not the most solid at the back, and I do think Newcastle will score, but I think City will win here.

Prediction: Man City 2 – 1 Newcastle

Brighton v West Ham

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Brighton seem like they have dropped off in recent weeks. They dropped points in their draw against Crystal Palace, and lost at home against fellow high flyers Fulham. But looking at the table, they have games in hand compared to every team above them. If they win their 3 games in hand that they have over the top 4, they will sit 1 point behind Spurs in fourth.

De Zerbi has performed wonders at Brighton. He took an already over performing team, and has pushed them even further, to the point where they are considered contenders for a European spot. There are rumours that if Chelsea do sack Graham Potter that he could be a likely replacement, and it would be interesting to see if Brighton drop off if he left.

They are exciting to watch, Brighton, but in recent weeks their free scoring side has been stumbling. They have only scored twice in their last three games, compared to the 9 goals they scored in the 3 games before that. They certainly need to be working harder in these areas, as teams are starting to set up more defensively against them.

West Ham pulled off a massive win last week against Nottingham Forest that hauled them out of the bottom three. They hosted a Forest side who, despite being poor away from home, are hard to beat and have started to not concede many goals. Yet West Ham put in what was probably the performance of their season so far, running out 4-0 winners.

It was an even game overall, yet West Ham made their chances count, scoring all 4 in the last 20 minutes of the game. Danny Ings looks like a brilliant signing from a West Ham point of view. If you get the ball to him in the right positions, he guarantees you goals. If he continues like this, West Ham should be safe. All the other sides at the bottom are struggling to score, so they really put a statement out with this win.

The only issue for West Ham, is they’re involving in the Europa Conference League. The knockout stages start for West Ham on the 9th March, meaning they will start playing on Thursday nights. The fixtures are going to come thick and fast for them, and it will be interesting to see whether they prioritise safety in the Premier League, or advancing in the Conference League.

This is an intriguing tie that could really go either way. If Brighton click up front, they could win comfortably, but if West Ham perform how they did against Nottingham Forest, they could easily go home with another 3 points. A score draw could be on the cards here, and West Ham will be happy with that.

Prediction: Brighton 2 – 2 West Ham

Nottingham Forest v Everton

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Forest took a step back last week. After some impressive results and some defensively solid performances, they let themselves down against West Ham. They collapsed late in the second half an conceded 4 times in the final 20 minutes. They only sit 4 points above the relegation zone now, and a performance like that could knock their confidence a lot.

Another issue Forest are facing at the moment is scoring goals. In their last 6 games, they have scored 4 goals, 3 of those coming from Brennan Johnson. Forest were never going to be the most prolific side in the league this season, but they really need to start firing more often, otherwise they are going to find themselves slipping back down towards the relegation zone again.

This is another great chance for Forest to put some much needed space between them and those sides in the bottom 3. They have tended to pick up points against most of the teams around them and at the bottom of the table, and 3 points here could strengthen their position, and increase the gap between them and the Championship.

Everton have had a disastrous week. After dragging themselves out of the relegation zone with a win against Leeds, they have lost back to back games and now find themselves 18th, level on points with Bournemouth, who also have a game in hand. Dyche has a job on his hands here, the defensive approach has not worked in the last two games. Are Everton’s defence strong enough to keep them in the league?

It is not just the defenders that need to be looked at. In their last 6 games, Everton have scored twice, both goals coming from defenders. Something is not working in their attacking phases. Yes, Dyche relies on his defenders to contribute with goals from set pieces, but it has been almost 600 minutes since an Everton midfielder or attacker has scored. Those are worrying signs for a team in the bottom three.

After losing to Aston Villa 2-0, they took on league leaders Arsenal, and found themselves 2-0 down before half time, conceded twice in 6 minutes. In the second half, Arsenal continued to dominated and Everton conceded twice in 9 minutes to lose 4-0. The only positives that Everton can take out of that game were that despite only having 27% possession, they matched Arsenal’s shots on target. If they were a bit more defensively solid, they could have come away with a point here.

This is a big chance for both sides to get some much needed points on the board. Both sides are coming into this on the back of 4-0 losses, but Forest are much stronger at home than they are away, so we could see a completely different performance from them here. Dyche will most likely go back to basics in training, and will set up defensively in this game. This should be a very close encounter, and it could be 1-0 to either side, but I can see Forest just edging this one.

Prediction: Nottingham Forest 1 – 0 Everton

Liverpool v Man United

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What a game we have in store this weekend. One of the oldest rivalries in the Premier League. There is so much history behind this game, and neither side lets anyone down when they face each other. They give their all on the pitch, and it is always an attacking, entertaining encounter.

Liverpool have improved in the Premier League lately, and are now looking likely to somehow scrape a finish in the top 5. A few weeks ago it looked likely that Liverpool would be finishing outside of the top 6, but now they sit 6 points behind Spurs in 4th, with a game in hand to play. But they face a stern test here against a United side that is in incredible form at the moment.

Liverpool have come on massively in recent weeks. Since their 3-0 loss against Wolves, they have no conceded a goal in the league, and have only dropped points in one game. They beat top 4 hopefuls Newcastle at their own ground, running out 2-0 winners, and last week they scored twice in the last 20 minutes to beat Wolves 2-0. Their upturn in form could not have come at a better time with them coming up against United, as this will test whether they are good enough to finish in the top 4 or not.

Watching Liverpool against Wolves, it was like the Liverpool of old coming back. They were first to near every ball, constantly on the attack, and broke quickly with meaning, constantly looking like a threat. We have not seen this from Liverpool lately, and it was a joy to watch again. Darwin Nunez is looking more and more confident each week, and if they can get him firing constantly, Liverpool will be a massive force.

In the Champions League, it is a different story for Liverpool. They faced Real Madrid at Anfield, at look at 2-0 lead after just 15 minutes, putting them in a very commanding position in the tie. But the Liverpool defence went into meltdown and collapsed. Two goals from Vinicius Jr took Madrid in level at half time, Militao put Madrid ahead 2 minutes after the restart, with Benzema scoring a brace to give Madrid a 5-2 aggregate lead, with Liverpool travelling to the Bernabéu in the next leg. Barring a miracle, which we know Liverpool are capable of, Liverpool are effectively out of the Champions League with that result.

Man United look so strong at the moment, and have done since ten Haag arrived. In the league, they beat Leicester 3-0 last time, with Marcus Rashford continuing his scored record with a brace, with Sancho adding the third, continuing his impressive form since returning to the team.

In the Carabao Cup final, United showed a different side to their game. They were dominated for the first 20 minutes by Newcastle, but they stayed strong defensively, held on, and took their time, and eventually their chances came. They took the lead through the ever impressive Casemiro, and then double that lead minutes later through Marcus Rashford. They continued to dominate the game after this, and tested Loris Karius time after time, but no to avail. They breezed to the final whistle, winning the Carabao Cup.

Take a look at my preview and prediction for that Carabao Cup final there!

Just how far can this United side go? They sit 11 points behind league leaders Arsenal, but with a game in hand, meaning they can reduce that gap to 8. They are still in the FA cup, hosting Fulham in the quarter finals, and they play Real Betis in the round of 16 of the Europa Leauge. They could potentially still win 4 trophies this season, although the Premier League could be too much to ask for this year.

United will be facing the same issue as West Ham. Europa League football means playing on Thursday nights, and their involvement in the FA Cup means they will be facing a very congested fixture list. An injury to Marcus Rashford or Casemiro could seriously derail their season. United will want to win everything, and give it their all in all competitions, but is their squad strong enough to handle it?

This is a massive game for both sides, a win for United continues their good form, and puts pressure on City and Arsenal to win their games as well. A win for Liverpool could push them closer to the top 4, and continues their recent revival in the Premier League. This game could go any way imaginable. I believe that if both sides turn up, United will still shade this, purely based on form, and the defensively lapses that Liverpool showed against Real Madrid.

Prediction: Liverpool 1 – 2 Man United

Brentford v Fulham

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This is a huge game against two of the surprise sides of the season. Nobody would have expected Fulham to be pushing for a top 6 spot, and nobody would have expected Brentford to perform as well as they have done. Both sides have done brilliantly, and they have their managers to thank for that. It will be interesting to see how this one plays out.

Brentford are such a tricky side, especially in the league and when playing at home. They have drawn both their last games, against different kinds of opposition. They travelled to Arsenal and managed a draw, when everyone expected Arsenal to win. They then drew at home against Crystal Palace, when people were expecting Brentford to come away with an easy 3 points. It is this kind of unpredictability which makes so Brentford so hard to call this season.

Brentford are not in any cup competitions, and can solely focus on the Premier League, unlike most of the sides above them, which can play into their advantage. Their fixture list will not be congested, players will have a long enough rest time so that they are fit each week, and this could play into Brentford’s hands in this last third of the season.

Fulham on the other hand, have also done brilliantly. Tipped as one of the sides to go straight back down, they have proved everyone wrong and are currently 2 points behind 5th place Newcastle. At the start of the season, most Fulham fans would have been happy staying in the Premier League, never mind a top half finish, a potential European spot would have been a dream for them.

Fulham, like Brentford, are so hard to call at the moment. They beat Chelsea, then go and lost to Spurs and Newcastle. They beat Brighton away, then draw at home against Wolves. The main thing is that they are picking up points. 7 points out of a potential 9 in their last 3 games has given them a great chance of achieving that top 5 finish.

Fulham’s success this year is largely, in part, due to the form of Mitrovic. The past few seasons he has played Premier League football, he has not impressed. This time around, he looks a completely different player, and is one of the surprises of the season. He sits on 11 goals for the season, and he will be hoping to add plenty more before the season ends.

This game is another one that could go either way. Brentford are brilliant at home and are hard to beat, but Fulham will be no pushover. Fulham, if results go their way, could end up in the top 5 with a win. I think this will end in a draw, both sides are brilliant, and it will be a fascinating game to watch.

Prediction: Brentford 1 – 1 Fulham

Other Predictions

  • Arsenal 3 – 0 Bournemouth
  • Aston Villa 1 – 1 Crystal Palace
  • Chelsea 0 – 0 Leeds
  • Wolves 0 – 2 Tottenham Hotspur
  • Southampton 0 – 2 Leicester

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