The Premier League never disappoints. There is always a plot twist somewhere and I think Wolves loss, although predictable to some extent, was yesterday's shock result. With those fixtures done and dusted, we turn our attention to today's matches which sees 6 games playing in different stadia across the country. Below, I take a short insight into each game and what to expect while also giving my own predictions of the games. I'll be giving away SCR15 to anyone who can beat me in predicting the direct 1X2 (Win, Draw, Lose) results of the four games playing today. More on that below.
⚽️ Arsenal vs Bournemouth
Like the title and relegation race, the top four qualification is another three way race likely to go to the wire. Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea are all fighting for the last available UEFA Champions League qualification slot. Arsenal's win against Southampton over the weekend saw them move to fourth after United drew against Liverpool. Chelsea took up cup duties over the weekend meaning the Stamford Bridge side have a game to play.
Here, the Gunners will need another home win if they are to avoid slipping into fifth, assuming an injury stricken United can also navigate their tricky away tie against Crystal Palace. Not to discredit Bournemouth but playing at home and with a temporary, at least for now, stay in the top four requiring a win, I see little in the way of any other result. Arsenal have won 5 of the last 7 meetings between these two sides, losing once and drawing once.
Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 13 Premier League home matches, winning the last 7 home ties. Bournemouth are winless in three matches and have lost their last eight away league games. They have failed to score in five of their last six away league matches.
Prediction: Arsenal Win
⚽️ Southampton vs Fulham
Southampton will be looking to bounce back from the 2-0 loss against Arsenal over the weekend. Fully aware of Fulham's struggles on the road this season, the Cottagers are winless in 14 away games, drawing 2 and losing 12 games, Southampton will be confident they can win this tie. After Cardiff's loss last night, any positive result here will see Soton climb out of the bottom three. A priceless three points are up for grabs here.
Southampton have only lost two of their last seven Premier League matches but have only won twice in that spell. Fulham were comprehensively beaten by West Ham on Friday and remain eight points from safety. This is a huge relegation six-pointer between two of the bottom three and defeat here would all but end Fulham's hopes of avoiding the drop.
Prediction: Southampton Win
⚽️ Liverpool vs Watford
Liverpool's margin of error is very small at the moment having blown their lead at the top of the table. The Reds still top the pile but sit at just one uncomfortable point ahead of Manchester City. In retrospect, the draw against Manchester United, a fixture that was winnable, will feel like two points dropped rather than one point gained. In the wider look of things, this might or might not be the match in which the momentum shifted in City's favor.
Here, Jurgen Klopp's side welcome Watford to fortress Anfield knowing that anything other than a win might see them play catch up probably for the rest of the season. Liverpool's "engine", Roberto Firmino is doubtful to start here after injuring his ankle after an awkward misstep at Old Trafford. That makes the job all the harder.
Only the current top five have scored more away goals than Watford's 22 this season, while Liverpool have drawn back-to-back blanks and now scored more than once in just two of their last nine games in all competitions. Given their home advantage, Liverpool remain strong favorites but may need to keep another clean sheet to pick up all three points on Wednesday. Predicting a 1-0 here.
Prediction: Liverpool Win
⚽️ Crystal Palace vs Manchester United
Crystal Palace head into this game will be high on confidence after beating Leicester 4-1 over the weekend. Roy Hodgson's side are now unbeaten in their last six matches in all competitions. A trip to Selhurst Park is always a tricky affair and United will need to negotiate through this tie with big part of the starting eleven squad missing through muscle injuries.
Manchester United are still unbeaten in the Premier League under interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The former Red Devil has overseen 10 matches up until Sunday's 0-0 draw with Liverpool. United were forced to use all three of their substitutions in the first half against Liverpool and will be happy with the point they earned in that tie. United did, however, fall out of the top four as a result and will need to get back to winning ways here if they are to keep the pressure on fourth placed Arsenal.
Solskjaer has barely put a foot wrong as United interim manager but injuries are stacking up for the Red Devils and they play away to an in-form Palace side on Wednesday. A draw might play out here.
⚽️ Manchester City vs West Ham
Can West Ham manage to get anything positive against a City side bouyed by winning their first trophy of the season last weekend? City will be looking to keep the pressure on Liverpool and this looks just another of those 2-0/3-0 wins this City side grinds up regularly. Gameplan? Score an early goal, control the game's tempo then look to kill off the game.
Manchester City have won their last six competitive meetings with West Ham, scoring 24 goals in the process. Former City boss former boss Manuel Pellegrini is the man tasked with putting an end to this trend. The Chilean manager will be trying to cause an upset at his old romping ground that would dent his old club's title bid.
The visitors will certainly be buoyed by the fact that City had to come through 120 minutes at the weekend, picking up injuries to key players along the way. John Stones, Aymeric Laporte and Fernandinho were forced off with injuries, so defensively the Spaniard is short of options. Pep Guardiola has made it clear that the mounting absences are likely to have an effect on his side's performances.
At home anything but a win for the champions would still be a shock but the Hammers have posed problems for the Citizens at the Etihad in recent seasons and could do so once more.
Prediction: Manchester City Win
⚽️ Chelsea vs Tottenham
Everything at Chelsea at the moment looks like its one step away from a complete meltdown. The Stamford Bridge lost Sunday's Carabao Cup final to ensure questions about Maurizio Sarri's future at the West London club continue. Chelsea played well in a game that Sarri finally accepted to tweak his Sarriball concept. Chelsea pushed eventual Manchester City to extra time and spot kicks. The performance was, unfortunately, marred by a public show of rebellion by goalkeeper Kepa. Wary of falling behind the leading pack, this is a game Chelsea can ill afford to drop points.
On the other hand, Tottenham missed the opportunity to close the gap on the Premier League's top two after recording a shock 2-1 away loss to Burnley on Saturday. Spurs have only won one of their last six matches at Stamford Bridge in all competitions. However, Chelsea are not in great mood heading into this London derby. Chelsea manager Sarri will be desperate to get all the three points and stay in touch with Manchester United and Arsenal in the race to finish fourth. However, I am seeing this one playing out as a draw.
Give-Away Competition Rules
1. Competition winner must have beat my predictions for the games listed in this article.
2. Edited comments not allowed for simple reasons, if you must, delete the comment and make a new one.
3. In case of more than one winner, the first user to post the winning predictions will be chosen.
4. You must be following BetOnBlockchain here on Scorum
5. Ideally, the winner should use the winnings to make wagers of their choice BetScorum. This aimed at promoting the platform.
6. Winner to be announced on the next post.
7. Upvote ⚡️ post and leave your predictions in the comment section below. Remember to state the game alongside your predictions to avoid confusion. i.e Liverpool v Watford- Watford Win
Review of matches played yesterday, 26th Feb 2019, (find the original post here):
FT Cardiff City 0-3 Everton
FT Huddersfield Town 1-0 Wolves
FT Leicester City 2-1 Birghton & Hove Albion
FT Newcastle United 2-0 Burnley
As per the giveaway criteria in yesterday's post, two users @yoda and @sportitalia emerged as winners as they correctly predicted 3/4 results correctly.
Given the slight time difference in their comments, @yoda has been credited with SCR10 while @sportitalia has been credited with SCR5.
A big shout out to everyone who participated!