Liverpool to ease to victory in the Merseyside Derby; West Ham edge Brighton: Premier League Matchday 14 Predictions

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Newcastle v Norwich

The opening midweek game sees Norwich travel north to Newcastle in a massive game in the relegation battle. Eddie Howe will see his next two games (Norwich and Burnley at home) as pivotal. If they don’t start picking up points soon, their much anticipated January shopping spree may prove too little too late. Norwich did well to get a point against a good Wolves side last time out and Dean Smith feels an ever smarter appointment by the day. This one will be tight.

Prediction: Newcastle 1-1 Norwich

Leeds United v Crystal Palace

It was strange to see Leeds grinding out a result against Brighton in their last game rather their gambling for victory—as is so characteristic of Bielsa’s side in recent years— but it is indicative of where they are currently. The swashbuckling, high energy football just isn’t clicking and Leeds have a difficult run coming up.

Palace won’t be easy and will be disappointed to come away from their recent home game against Villa with nothing. It should be interesting to see how either team presses in this one as both sides often opt for a front footed approach. Zaha scores and Palace win.

Prediction: Leeds 0-2 Crystal Palace

Southampton v Leicester

Leicester visit Southampton on Wednesday night. The Foxes are having a strange season; new dawns precede disappointing defeats again and again. They looked good against Watford though and a caffeinated Vardy continues to score with regularity. Southampton plod on like a loyal cart horse, sneaking a point here and there to stay hidden in the invisible zone of lower mid-table and the concluding moments of match of the day. It would be remiss of me to predict anything of interest in this.

Prediction: Southampton 0-0 Leicester

Wolves v Burnley

Burnley were unable to clear snow from their pitch last weekend and so come into this one rested. It won’t change their no doubt defensive game plan. Wolves’ resurgence this season continues to go somewhat under the radar but they could struggle to break through the huge rested limbs of the Clarets backline.

Prediction: Wolves 0-0 Burnley

West Ham v Brighton

David Moyes’ side were beaten by slick City in the Sunday afternoon snow. Brighton were playing at the same time in a dull fixture against Leeds. Down in the balmy south, there was rain rather than snow. Graham Potter’s side have struggled for results lately but looked full of confidence at the weekend. That said, West Ham go on and on and on and I think they’ll win it late.

Prediction: West Ham 2-1 Brighton

Watford v Chelsea

Ranieri’s Watford side are highly unpredictable. One week they’re smashing four past an opponent, the next they find themselves drubbed. They face an angry Chelsea, a red faced overheated Chelsea, frustrated by their recent inability to take all three points against an impotent Man United side. The Blues have, however, been pretty consistent at dispatching the “smaller clubs” and they should be fine again here.

Prediction: Watford 0-3 Chelsea

Rafa Benitez bigstockEverton v Liverpool

Everton’s last victory was eight games ago in mid-September and it was against Norwich so doesn’t really count. Liverpool have scored more than any other side in the Premier League and are playing brilliant attacking football. A Merseyside derby win would get Benitez out of a spot of bother but it won’t happen on his first time facing his old club as a toffee.

Prediction: Everton 1-3 Liverpool

Aston Villa v Manchester City

This is an interesting one. Villa are purring under Gerrard with two wins from two but Man City are showing no signs of slowing down. Pep’s sky blue machine eases ever onwards, sliding through the season relentlessly, dissecting opposition like a hot knife through quince jam. Slick City yet again.

Prediction: Aston Villa 0-2 Manchester City

Tottenham v Brentford

The level at Tottenham is ‘not so high’ according to their new coach Antonio Conte—but it should be high enough to beat their London rivals at home. The Bees steadied the ship with a much needed win over Everton but haven’t had consecutive top flight wins since 1946. The wait continues.

Tottenham 3-1 Brentford

Manchester United v Arsenal

Although they were better (could they be worse?) against Chelsea last time out, Man Utd really were fortunate to escape Stamford Bridge with a point. Their home fixture this week against Arsenal is big because they’ve been dragged into the top four brawl. United remain strong favourites to finish in the Champions League places but a number of London clubs (Spurs, Arsenal, West Ham) will be murmuring quietly in dimly lit corridors about their own possibilities of qualifying for Europe’s top competition next season.

Arteta’s side has been competent in recent weeks, being good enough to secure a string of positive results without playing with particular attacking fluency. I expect Lacazette to return to the starting line up in Manchester as Arsenal missed an attacking fulcrum for large stretches against Newcastle in their last game. This one should be tight.

Prediction: Manchester United 1-1 Arsenal