VAVEL's Gameweek 14 Premier League Predictions
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It’s the Amazon Prime Gameweek 13 with the streaming giant showing all of the matches in midweek. It comes off the back of the least predictable set of Premier League results since Gameweek 4. None of the proverbial top-six were able to win a match! It sets us up nicely for the first midweek round of the Premier League season. 

It's also worth mentioning that fans are slowly returning in non-tier 3 areas. This is a positive step. However, with London set to go into tier 3, a large number of clubs will be once again playing behind closed doors. 

All games are on Amazon Prime Video

Game of the week

Liverpool vs Tottenham Hotspur: Anfield, Wednesday 20.00

Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur both slipped up at the weekend as they looked to continue their momentum, but could this be an early battle for the title?

The Reds were very fortunate to escape with a point against relegation threatened Fulham. Despite their lengthy injury list, Liverpool had been soldiering on in a remarkable fashion. They thumped Leicester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers, opponents that looked like they could potentially cause some damage to their depleted squad. But there have also been some poor performances and results along the way, most recently at Craven Cottage. 

Jose Mourinho had been blessed with the Midas touch in recent weeks but his team’s draw against Crystal Palace was perhaps a dose of reality for the Portuguese. Spurs started brightly, forcing Vincente Guaita into several excellent saves before they took the lead. However, they sat back in the second-half and were made to pay as Jeffrey Schlupp bundled home after Hugo Lloris spilled Eberechi Eze’s free-kick, 

The title winners in the past three seasons have amassed point totals of 99, 98 and 100. That barometer is ridiculous! It’s quite clear that this bar will be much lower in a season that is unlike any other. Unpredictability is rife throughout the world of football. That is partly why we have seen a number of teams accepting a point instead of chasing a victory. 

Son Heung-min adores the big occasion. Often, Spurs look to spring the counter attack and the South Korean can burst clear of high defensive lines. Nonetheless, it’s tough to see the Londoners winning at Anfield because you have to go back to April 23 2017 to recall the last time that Jugren Klopp was beaten in the league on home soil, a 2-1 loss to Crystal Palace

Prediction: 1-1 

Tuesday

Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Chelsea: Molineux, 18.00

The loss of Raul Jimenez is already taking its toll on Wolves. The Mexican has suffered a fractured skull and doubts still remain about how he will be able to return to the football field. He often engages in physical tussles and aerial duels; such actions will not be recommended after he has recovered from his severe head injury. 

Chelsea are going from strength to strength. This season, Frank Lampard has benefited from squad depth and he has been able to rest key players without too much damage. The Blues have had injuries to Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic but the likes of Timo Werner, Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham have helped to fill the void. Their recent defeat to Everton shouldn’t hamper momentum too much. It’s a strange old season and they have remained consistent throughout it. 

Nuno Espirito Santo has tried to add more goals to his team by switching to a back-four but the transition has left them looking more vulnerable defensively. They have also looked particularly blunt in recent matches. Nuno has rarely encountered difficult periods in his time at Molineux but, with the fixtures coming thick and fast, it’s not looking too appetising at the moment. Wolves are struggling and this is a very tough game to try and turn the tide. 

Prediction: 0-2

Manchester City vs West Bromwich Albion: Etihad Stadium, 20.00

Pep Guardiola took a leaf out of the Mourinho playbook in Saturday’s match at Old Trafford. Manchester City recorded their sixth successive clean sheet in the stalemate against Manchester United but his team were slow, passive and seemed focused on not giving anything away. Of course, their attacking DNA should return against West Bromwich Albion, an opponent who will simply look to sit deep and defend. 

The Baggies haven’t managed to build on their first victory of the season against Sheffield United. A good start against Crystal Palace quickly unfolded after Matheus Pereira’s red card and Albion collapsed to a 5-1 home defeat. This was then followed by a 2-1 loss against their fellow strugglers, Newcastle United. The odds have always been truly stacked against them so sacking Slaven Bilic would be very harsh. However, with every negative result, the speculation surrounding the manager’s position continues to rise. 

This is the ideal match for City. Defensively, West Brom have struggled to keep up their resolve. The likes of Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva will relish the prospect of trying to unlock potential doors; both players didn’t feature in City’s match against United and Guardiola will probably give them an opportunity here.

Prediction: 3-0 

Wednesday 

Arsenal vs Southampton: Emirates Stadium, 18.00

Mikel Arteta cannot believe what is unfolding. He started the season on the back of two trophies and optimism was high. Now, it’s quite the opposite. The Gunners cannot find the net and, defensively, the system isn’t working. How has he gone from hero to zero in just three months? Well, reports suggest that the young manager has now incredibly lost the faith of the dressing room after looking in complete control when the season started. The idea that he has fallen out with David Luiz is astonishing because it was Arteta, himself, who worked incredibly hard to get Luiz a contract extension with the club. The club are at an all time low! 

Southampton swatted away Sheffield United at St Mary’s and they are fourth in the league. Danny Ings is back from his injury and the early season struggles are now very much a thing of the past. Perhaps Arteta can seek inspiration from Ralph Hasenhuttl in terms of handling intense adversity. The Southampton manager was on the brink after an embarrassing 9-0 loss to Leicester. However, since then, Hasenhuttl has remarkably transformed the fortunes of his club. He kept calm, adjusted his tactical setup, and turned everything around. 

Arsenal might actually benefit from a progressive Saints team that wants to play high up the pitch, or they might capitulate! One imagines that they will offer up more space in behind than the rigid Burnley team did. At the same time, Ings and Che Adams will be smelling blood against a defence that is at sixes and sevens. 

Prediction: 1-3 

Leeds United vs Newcastle United: Elland Road, 18.00

Marcelo Bielsa has an excellent record on the road but his Leeds United team are struggling in their home matches. Leeds have taken a point against Man City and Arsenal but their only home victory of the season came in a thrilling 4-3 win over Fulham. 

Newcastle United keep on plugging away. Miguel Almiron rifled home the quickest goal of the Premier League season as Steve Bruce’s men put West Brom to the sword. It was another important victory for the Newcastle manager, as he battles hard against the criticism of many Newcastle fans. Bruce’s style of football is widely disliked and many fans feel that he is a manager who cannot bring the club forward. 

It is a battle of styles: attack versus defence. Leeds will not compromise defensive solidity as they seek to press high, score goals and entertain any viewers. Newcastle are the opposite. They will sit deep, soak up pressure, and hope that the likes of Callum Wilson can be clinical with opportunities that come his way. 

Prediction: 2-0

Leicester City vs Everton: King Power Stadium, 18.00

Leicester put in their best home performance of the season against Brighton & Hove Albion. James Maddison was back to his best, scoring a brace, and Jamie Vardy ran rings around their opponent’s defence. The resounding 3-0 victory was a combination of excellent attacking play and feeble Brighton defending but Brendan Rodgers will have been happy with his team’s efforts. Rodgers has managed his busy schedule excellently, managing to qualify for the knockout stages of the Europa League whilst maintaining a strong position in the league. They throw in some poor performances but that is to be expected. 

Everton showed tremendous defensive discipline in their 1-0 victory over Chelsea. They took full advantage of Edouard Mendy’s early error, taking an early lead from Gylfi Sigurdsson’s penalty kick, before sitting back and holding firm. The wheels looked to be falling off for Carlo Ancelotti but he will hope that he has found a temporary solution to his team’s struggles. He will want to place a focus on defensive resilience with attacking efficiency at the other end.

This Leicester team has had more ups than downs but they are still akin to a yoyo. It’s really tough to predict what we will see from the Foxes. Everton’s confidence will be sky high but, deep down, they know they cannot play how they did against Chelsea every week. 

Prediction: 1-1

Fulham vs Brighton & Hove Albion: Craven Cottage, 20.00

Fulham were fantastic against Liverpool. They grew into their match against Man City, the week before, and Scott Parker’s group built upon those positives against the Champions. Parker has been brave in his selection, dropping Aleksandr Mitrovic, the club’s most likely goalscorer, because he simply doesn’t do enough outside of getting goals. The manager feels like his team benefits from having players who are mobile and technically sound and is willing to compromise Mitrovic’s predatory instincts for the greater good of the team. 

Graham Potter looked to be steering the Brighton ship back on course, winning impressively at Aston Villa before deservedly taking a late point against Liverpool. But the Seagulls have faltered in recent matches, slipping up in the South Coast derby with Southampton before getting resoundingly thumped by Leicester. It’s a tough season to build momentum for everybody. 

This is a different kind of match for Fulham who will now be expected to win against a fellow struggler. Brighton will welcome Tariq Lamptey back and his inclusion adds another dimension to their attack. Both teams aspire to play good football and, if they were to go down, it would probably be due to a lack of ruthlessness in front of goal. 

Prediction: 1-1 

West Ham United vs Crystal Palace: Olympic Stadium, 20.00

It was a quick response for West Ham after their disappointing defeat to Man United, coming out on top in a challenging encounter with Leeds. David Moyes is still without the excellent Michail Antonio but Jared Bowen and Tomas Soucek can provide attacking threat in their different respective ways. Bowen is technically excellent and Soucek is a colossus in the air. 

Crystal Palace, like Newcastle, are a team that can quickly dissatisfy its supporters. Their style of football can be rather negative and, when they lose, it can be rather soul destroying. It’s even worse when they have the craft and quality of Wilfried Zaha and Eze on their books! 

David Moyes and Roy Hodgson are managers that think about their defensive structure first. Neither team has enjoyed a stalemate this season so perhaps this is the time, especially with the fixtures beginning to pile up. 

Prediction: 0-0

Thursday

Aston Villa vs Burnley: Villa Park, 18.00

Aston Villa are finding much more joy on their travels than at Villa Park. It’s tough to note why. Perhaps, on home soil, they feel more obliged to take the game to opponents. While capable, the likes of Jack Grealish and Ollie Watkins are lethal options on the counter attack. That being said, their late win against Wolves was a touch on the fortunate side. The match felt like a stalemate for the most part but it was their opponents who were creating the better openings. 

What a result for Burnley at the Emirates. They certainly got their luck. Arsenal were starting to turn the screw in, after the interval, but Granit Xhaka then inexplicably got himself sent off. Even at ten men, Arsenal didn’t look like they would necessarily concede but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang headed then headed the ball into his own net! Nonetheless, Burnley deserved their fortune. They defended doggedly and put a great deal of effort into the match. 

It’s quite remarkable how Burnley pick up points. They sit deep and soak up pressure but they can’t kill teams on the counter because they don’t have any pace to do so. Getting the ball into the final third and scoring goals can be a real effort. Still, the Clarets will be full of confidence and will fancy their chances. At this moment in time, though, this Villa team looks far more capable than Arsenal so it will be a tough ask for Sean Dyche’s players to make it two wins out of two. 

Prediction: 1-1

Sheffield United vs Manchester United: Bramall Lane, 20.00

At this current stage, no team in Premier League history has made a worse start to the season than Sheff United. It’s truly remarkable. Their flat, uninspiring performance at Southampton was indicative of a team that has simply lost its way. Strikers don’t look like they can score. The defence doesn’t look like it can keep a clean sheet. Confidence and morale is at rock bottom. 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have been pleased with the defensive resolve shown after the disappointing Champions League loss to RB Leipzig. Man City were probably narrow favourites in the derby at Old Trafford but the midfield diamond was able to stifle the midfield threat of Guardiola’s team. It wasn’t spectacular, but Solskjaer will hope to build on that point with a series of victories. 

People are saying this will be a demolition but this is modern day Man United. You don’t know what to expect! The Blades can certainly match the heart and desire of their opponents, whose efforts seem to turn on and off like a tap. But it’s tough to look beyond a team that have won every single away match this season. 

Prediction: 1-2

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