We take a look at some of this week’s Premier League fixtures, including a chance for Arsenal to go 8 points clear against Crystal Palace, and two big games for relegation-threatened sides, when Leicester travel to Brentford, and Wolves host Leeds.
This Week’s Premier League Fixtures
Nottingham Forest v Newcastle
Aston Villa v Bournemouth
Brentford v Leicester
Southampton v Tottenham Hotspur
Wolves v Leeds
Chelsea v Everton
Arsenal v Crystal Palace
Brentford v LeicesterEmbed from Getty Images
Brentford bounced back to winning ways against basement boys Southampton, with a simple 2-0 win over The Saints. Despite only leading 1-0 for large parts of the game, the result was never really in doubt, as a typically solid defensive display ensured Brentford returned home with all 3 points.
Ivan Toney notched his 16th Premier League goal this season. Last season he managed 12, and he will be looking for at least 20 by the end of the season, and with the form he is in, he should easily achieve this.
Brentford now sit 3 points behind Newcastle in 5th place, and should they put a run of form together, they could easily catch up with them. Brentford has surprised everyone already this season, so they may as well achieve a European spot whilst they are at it.
Leicester looked like they were back after beating Aston Villa 4-2 and then Spurs 4-1, but since then, they have lost 4 games on the bounce, whilst only scoring a single goal during that time.
Their 3-0 loss against Man United could be overlooked, United were in great form and they were never expected to get anything from that game. The same goes for Arsenal when they lost 1-0. They then lost 1-0 against Southampton away from home, where they really should have been expecting to win.
In their last game, they lost 3-1 to a reinvigorated Chelsea. Patson Daka finally got on the scoresheet for Leicester, but they were woeful. If not for VAR, they could have been 2 or 3-0 down by the time they had scored. Wout Faes received a late sending-off to compound Leicester’s misery.
The fans are not happy with Brendan Rodgers. They have been sucked into a relegation battle, sitting above Bournemouth in 18th on goal difference alone. Do the board give Rodgers the rest of the season to turn it around? Or do they pull the trigger and give someone else a shot at keeping them up. A loss here could be Rodgers’ last game.
This game looks like it should be an easy win for Brentford. At home, they are formidable. They have not lost since their 3-0 defeat against Arsenal in game week 7. They are so solid and hit teams on the break with speed and power. Leicester is just so weak at the moment, they cannot score, cannot defend, and look like they are out of ideas. They really are in trouble now.
Prediction: Brentford 2 – 0 Leicester
Wolves v LeedsEmbed from Getty Images
This is a huge game for both sides. Whilst Wolves sit in 13th, they are only 3 points above the relegation spots. Leeds on the other hand, sits in 19th, 1 point away from safety. A result for either side here would be huge.
Wolves are becoming difficult to call in recent weeks. They got a brilliant win against Spurs the other week, with Traore scoring the only goal of the game and securing 3 points. Last weekend, they lost 2-1 against Newcastle and were fortunate that they did not concede more.
Wolves have not been a team to score a lot of goals, so they rely on keeping solid, getting to the odd goal here and there to win 1-0. Against Newcastle, they were terrible for the first half an hour, and could have been 2 or 3 down. They kept themselves in the game, however, and ended up equalised, with Hwang Hee-Chan scoring his first goal of the season.
The only positive for Wolves, is that they managed to hold on for so long. They kept it at 1-0, kept themselves in the game, and could have got a point out of it, if not for Almiron restoring Newcastle’s lead with 11 minutes to play. If a team comes at Wolves from the start, they struggle, but if they can survive an early onslaught, they are more than capable of winning.
Leeds played out a very entertaining 2-2 draw at home with Brighton, in which they came from behind twice to secure a point. Patrick Bamford got his second goal of the season 5 minutes before halftime.
Jack Harrison then went from villain to hero, scoring an own goal to give Brighton a 2-1 lead, and then going on to score in the correct net, notching his second goal of the season, and ensuring Leeds came away with a point.
A point has not done them any favours, however. It has kept up pace with the teams above them, but they need to be picking up all 3 points at this stage, and putting some distance between them and the drop. It is going to be a difficult few weeks for Leeds, but their Premier League survival hinges on it.
This game could go either way. If Leeds scores early, it puts the pressure on Wolves, and with their lack of goals, they may not find a way back into the game. But Leeds is not exactly in great form, and will not want to come into this game all guns blazing. I can see a score draw here, which will benefit Wolves more than Leeds.
Prediction: Wolves 1 – 1 Leeds
Chelsea v EvertonEmbed from Getty Images
Chelsea has now won back-to-back games in the Premier League for the first time since mid-October. Their form has been woeful and they rightfully sit in 10th place at the moment, but things could be looking up for Chelsea and they may slowly start to rise up again.
After beating Leeds 1-0, they travelled to Leicester for what could have been a tricky tie. They blew Leicester out of the park early on and should have been 2 or 3-0 up. VAR chalked off an early goal for them, but they remained focused and won 3-1 in the end.
A big positive for Chelsea in this game will be that Mykhailo Mudryk got his first assist of the season. After being largely unimpressive so far since signing in January, he had his best game in a Chelsea shirt, providing the assist for Kovacic’s goal. Chelsea will be hoping he can kick on from here, and add some much-needed creativity to their attacking threat.
Chelsea also advanced in the Champions League earlier this month, beating Borussia Dortmund 2-1 on aggregate. They now face Real Madrid in the next round, who knocked Liverpool out with an aggregate score of 6-2.
Everton took a huge step towards Premier League survival with a crucial 1-0 win at home against Brentford. Despite being dominated on the ball, Everton more than held their own against a team pushing for a European spot and fully deserved their win.
It was a quick start for Everton, scoring in the first minute of the game, with Dwight McNeil grabbing his third goal of the season. Everton had chances to extend their lead but failed to capitalise. However, they also defended resolutely, as a Sean Dyche side typically would, coming away with a clean sheet, and those all-important 3 points.
Everton now sits in 15th, one point above the relegation zone. They need to keep picking up points if they are to remain clear of trouble. There are teams below them in much worse form, but all it takes is one win for a few sides below them, and they fall straight back into the bottom 3.
Chelsea should really be winning this game. They have home advantage, are in relatively good form, and should now be high in confidence. Dyche thrives on these games however, he will set Everton up to be frustrating to play against. He will want the Chelsea crowd to grow restless with their team. I am going to go with my head here and predict a Chelsea win, but my heart says Everton will get something out of this.
Prediction: Chelsea 2 – 1 Everton
Arsenal v Crystal PalaceEmbed from Getty Images
Arsenal has had a rollercoaster of a week in all competitions. Arsenal made short work of Fulham, with their 3 first half goals securing all 3 points for The Gunners. The game saw Leandro Trossard make history, becoming the first player to get 3 assists in the first half of a game, playing away from home.
Trossard has been a brilliant signing, and he is proving his value already for Arsenal. He is so creative, and always looks like a brilliant player whenever he is on the ball. Arsenal will be hoping he can add a few goals to his game, on top of the assists, but nobody can complain about his performances so far.
Arsenal then saw themselves losing out on a potential piece of silverware, after getting knocked out of the Europa League by Sporting Lisbon. The tie was finely poised after an entertaining 2-2 draw away from home, and it looked as if Arsenal might progress when Granit Xhaka took the lead after 19 minutes.
Sporting Lisbon had other ideas, as Pedro Goncalves scored from the halfway line, lobbing the ball over a helpless Ramsdale. The tie went into extra time, which saw Manuel Ugarte sent off with 2 minutes to go. Sporting Lisbon held on to take Arsenal to penalties, and there were jubilant scenes in the away end when Martinelli missed his spot kick, ultimately knocking Arsenal out.
Crystal Palace has been awful lately. They too, like Trossard, have made history recently, becoming the first team in recent history to not register a single shot on target in 3 consecutive games in the Premier League. Their lack of goals has been a concern for weeks, and now they are not even creating chances.
They were slightly better when they played Brighton on Wednesday night, registering 3 shots on target from the 11 taken, however, none of these found the back of the net, meaning they have now not scored in their last 4 games. Brighton ran out 1-0 winners, with Solly March scoring the only goal of the game.
The fans have grown sick and tired of Vieira now, and the board have responded, sacking him just 1 day before their next game, meaning Paddy McCarthy, the U21’s coach, will take charge of their game against Arsenal.
Only time will tell whether or not this was the right decision, but something needed to be done. Their next appointment will be huge for them, as they are dropping closer and closer towards the relegation zone.
Despite the midweek heartbreak for Arsenal, this should be a straightforward win for them, especially considering they are at home. Their attackers are on fire, and their defence is typically solid, which will be an issue for Crystal Palace. On the other hand, Palace may benefit from the managerial change, and they could spring a surprise here. A comfortable home win for me here though.
Prediction: Arsenal 3 – 0 Crystal Palace
- Nottingham Forest 0 – 1 Newcastle
- Aston Villa 1 – 1 Bournemouth
- Southampton 1 – 1 Tottenham Hotspur