Premier league Preview And Predictions: Midweek Title Decider?

Premier League

We take a look at this week’s Premier League games, including a huge, potentially title-deciding, game between Man City and Arsenal, and a huge game at the other end of the table, when Southampton host Bournemouth.

Take a look at last week’s Premier League predictions here!

This Week’s Premier League Fixtures

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

Leeds v Leicester

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This is a massive game for both sides. Both are fighting against relegation, neither side are in good form, and they are both desperate for a vital 3 points. A win for either side here could give them the confidence to stay up.

I am worried for Leeds. It is frightening how shocking they have been lately. In their last 3 games, they have been battered by Crystal Palace and Liverpool, both in front of their own fans, and last week they travelled to Fulham and lost 2-1, and did not even manage to score their own goal.

The result keeps Leeds in 16th, just a single point above the relegation zone. They have 6 games left to rescue their season, and they have the perfect chance to kickstart their fight for survival here, against another team down there with them. Leeds has shown time and time again this season they have enough to stay up. They can create goals, they can dig in deep when they need to, and they can grind out wins, they just need to rediscover this again before it is too late.

Leicester, on the other hand, picked up a timely first win under new boss Dean Smith. They ran out 2-1 winners at home against Wolves, coming from behind to secure the 3 points. It was a much better performance for Leicester than we have seen in recent weeks. They created a plethora of chances and registered 8 on target.

They deservedly won this game, and those 3 points have hauled themselves out of the relegation, but only on goal difference. It is a good start, but they need to continue this. All it takes is for Everton to sneak a point somewhere and they drop back in. Dean Smith has clearly instilled some confidence in them, and this will be crucial going forward.

This is a massive game for both sides, and I expect both to treat it as such. Leeds usually attacks these games, they do not sit back and try to hit their opponent on the break. It all comes down to how Leicester approach the game. If they come into this game and start making mistakes, Leeds will breeze past them. Leicester will be buoyed by their result against Wolves, and their second-half performance against Man City, and if they play like that, they will pick up another 3 points here. Overall, I think Leicester may edge this one.

Prediction: Leeds 1 – 2 Leicester

Nottingham Forest v Brighton

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Nottingham Forest could not take full advantage of Liverpool’s poor defending in their game against them at Anfield. They ended up losing 3-2, dropping them down to 19th in the league table. It was a much better performance from them, as they are typically dreadful away from home, but if they can take their performance from this game into their remaining few, then they will have a chance of staying up.

Gibbs-White had his best performance of the season, grabbing a goal and an assist, and former Liverpool defender Nico Williams scored against his former club. Forest has been struggling to score as of late, but this may give their players a boost, knowing they can score twice away against a top 6 team.

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Time is running out for Forest. 1 win could haul them out of the bottom 3, but their recent form is so poor. They are 11 games without a win now and have lost 4 on the bounce. It is worrying form for them, especially considering that other teams are picking up wins here and there. They need to get back to winning ways, and fast.

Brighton bounced back from their disappointment against Spurs with a good away win against Chelsea. They came from behind early on, with goals from Danny Welbeck and Enciso securing the win. It was a good win for The Seagulls, one that puts them 8th in the table, sitting 2 points behind Villa in 6th, and 7 points behind Spurs in 4th, with games in hand to play.

Their FA Cup semi-final against Man United ended in disappointment. They managed a 0-0 draw after extra time, and Solly March missed his penalty, sending Man United through to the final, after winning 7-6 on penalties. The result will dishearten Brighton slightly, but they did well to get to the semifinals in the first place.

Brighton really needs to push on now, to try and secure a spot in the top 6, and push for that last spot in the top 4. They need to be playing in Europe next season, they deserve to. They have been brilliant to watch all season, and it will be very interesting to see how they build on the team in the transfer window, and how they perform next season.

Brighton should have this in the bag. They will come up against a resilient Forest side, but Forest cannot afford to sit back and defend. They need to attack Brighton from the start. If they do not, they might as well go down now. They need to fight for their position in the Premier League next season, not sit back and hope other teams do not pick up points. Brighton should be too strong for them here though.

Prediction: Nottingham Forest 1 – 3 Brighton

Man City v Arsenal

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This is the one everyone has been looking forward to all season. The potential title decider. Whoever wins this will surely go on to lift the trophy at the end of the season. City looks relentless, but Arsenal is without key players and are dropping points. This should be one of the games of the season.

Man City have chosen the perfect time to hit a good run of form, and it seems to have come at the same time it does every season. They are unreal in the last third of the season, and their recent results show this. City blew Leicester away in their last game, racing into a 3-0 lead after just 25 minutes.

City also advanced into the semifinal of The Champions League, drawing at Bayern Munich 1-1 in the second leg, running out 4-1 winners on aggregate. They have set themselves up a massive semifinal showdown with Real Madrid, who eliminated them from the competition in miraculous fashion last season.

They also earned a spot in the final of the FA Cup, with a 3-0 win over Championship side Sheffield United, with Mahrez scoring a hat trick. They will face either Brighton or Man United in the final. City’s fixture list is full. Pep has already come out and said that his players are exhausted, and they have given themselves an extra 3 games to play in cup competitions, and have 8 games remaining in the Premier League, with a potential Champions League final to add to that.

Fatigue and injuries could be something City have to contend with during the run-in. They have some difficult games left in the league, and they will not be able to drop points. Pep needs to rotate his team and keep his key players fit and injury free.

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What on earth is happening with Arsenal at the moment? That draw against Liverpool seems to have destroyed their confidence. Since that game, they have played West Ham, where they took a 2-0 lead within the first 1-0 minutes, only to draw 2-2, whilst missing a penalty at 2-1.

They then played Southampton at home, a game everyone expected them to breeze past. They come up against a, surprisingly, resilient Southampton side. Despite Arsenal having 25 shots, they only registered 6 on target. Carlos Alcaraz got Southampton off to the perfect start, scoring within the first minute, and former Gunner Theo Walcott doubled that lead 13 minutes later.

Martinelli pulled one back after 20 minutes, but Caleta-Car restored Southampton’s two-goal cushion after 66 minutes. Arsenal looked destined for defeat, they threw everything at Southampton but they kept resisting. They got another goal back in the 88th minute to set up a grandstand finish, and they duly delivered. Bukayo Shaka slotted into an empty net in the 90th minute, rescuing an unlikely point for the home side.

In the end, it is a good point for Arsenal, but realistically, it is a disaster. They are 5 points clear of Man City at the moment, but City has two games in hand. If City wins these they go top. This puts so much pressure on this game for Arsenal. They have to win it if they want to reclaim the top spot, a draw is not good enough anymore.

A few weeks ago, this would have been such a difficult game to call. But now, with Arsenal’s recent results, I think City may take full advantage. Rob Holding is struggling in this team, and it would not be a surprise to see Haaland target him specifically. It will not be comfortable for them, but I think City will win here.

Prediction: Man City 2 – 1 Arsenal

Southampton v Bournemouth

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Will Southampton be happy or disappointed with that result? After being 2-0 and 3-1 up against the league leaders, away from home, they came away with a point. If you offered Southampton a point at the start of the game, they would have ripped your hand off. But you cannot be 2 goals up, twice, and throw it away like that.

They went too defensive. Alcaraz was the best player on the pitch in the first half, and he got taken off at half-time. They need to have more confidence, they needed to attack Arsenal whilst they were bleeding. Going defensive and holding on to that lead was the worst thing they could have done.

They need to put that game behind them now. They sit 4 points behind Leicester in 17th, with 6 games to go. They need to pick up a win, to give them a bit of a confidence boost. One win could turn their season around, it gives them the hope that they can stay up, and they might go on a run of positive results and find themselves out of the bottom 3. But they need to start here, with a win.

Bournemouth will have been ecstatic with their stoppage-time winner against Tottenham Hotspur the other week. I have said for weeks, players like Ouattara will make the difference in regards to them staying up or not, and he certainly helped his team claim a massive three points in that game.

Dominic Solanke had the game of his career, getting a goal and 2 assists. Bournemouth has needed their strikers to be firing all season, and they have chosen the perfect moment to start. This result, especially away from home, will certainly give Bournemouth confidence going forward.

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That is until they played West Ham. Despite the controlling possession and creating a lot of chances, they were blown away by The Hammers as they raced into a 2-0 lead after 12 minutes. Declan Rice and Pablo Fornals made sure of the three points, making it 4-0 by the 72nd minute. After such a good performance against Spurs, Bournemouth really let themselves down here at home.

They sit 5 points above the relegation zone, so they are not out of the woods yet. Another win or two and they will be virtually safe, but they could easily get sucked back into the relegation zone if they start playing as they did against West Ham.

This is a huge game for both sides. If Southampton wins, it could put them 1 point from safety. If Bournemouth wins, it could mean Premier League football next season. Southampton needs to come out of the traps here, as they did against Arsenal, with the intent of blowing Bournemouth away and winning the game. I think Southampton might make the survival race a bit more interesting here with a rare win.

Prediction: Southampton 1 – 0 Bournemouth

Tottenham Hotspur v Man United

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What a blow to Spurs’ chances of a top 4 spot, and what a horrific performance from them against Newcastle. After losing to Bournemouth, Spurs really needed to travel to Newcastle and get a positive result. Instead, they conceded 5 times in the opening 21 minutes. They blew Spurs away, and defensively, they looked like League 2 team, let alone a team pushing for the top 4 in the Premier League.

The result leaves Spurs 6 points off Man United and Newcastle in 4th and 3rd respectively, and both sides have games in hand on them. It is looking more and more unlikely that they will achieve that 4th spot. To make matters worse, if Liverpool wins their game in hand, they will push Spurs down to 6th, with Villa 2 points behind them.

Spurs need to book their ideas up, or they will end up missing out on European football altogether. Their drop-off has been unbelievable. They look certain of a top 4 spot earlier in the season, and now it looks like they will be coasting towards a 7th or 8th place finish. They have tough games coming up, with Man United and Liverpool to come, this is a defining moment for their season.

Man United beat Forest last week 2-0, with goals from Antony and Dalot securing a comfortable three points. They have been on a good run as of late. They have won their last 4 games in all competitions, all without conceding a goal. They are picking up valuable points when the teams below them are dropping them, which is ideal for their Champions League qualification dreams.

They also advanced to the final of the FA Cup, where they will local rivals Man City. They beat Brighton 7-6 on penalties, after drawing 0-0 during normal and extra time. It was a fairly even game, with both sides registering 15 shots, with United having 6 of those on target. They held their never and set up another chance for silverware at the end of the season, which Ten Haag will be delighted about.

They now need to focus on cementing their spot in the top 4. This is a perfect game to do so in as if they beat Spurs, they will be 9 points clear of them. At that point, the race is surely over. United will not drop that many points between now and the end of the season. If Spurs win, it does make the race more interesting. I just think, especially after the Newcastle and Bournemouth game, Spurs will not be able to cope with United going forward. Away win here.

Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 1 – 3 Man United

Other Predictions

  • Wolves 1 – 2 Crystal Palace
  • Aston Villa 2 – 0 Fulham
  • Chelsea 0 – 1 Brentford
  • West Ham 1 – 1 Liverpool
  • Everton 0 – 2 Newcastle

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