Premier League 16-17 Week 20 Review
The first full round of fixtures in 2017 through up some big results at both ends of the table. We award ourselves 1 point for each correct result and add another point for a correct score. At the end, our overall score will be out of 20.
Monday 2 January 2017
Prediction: 1-1 draw
The fixtures began with the most boring match as neither Middlesbrough nor Leicester did anywhere near enough to get a goal. Leicester’s wait for an away win this season continues but they have maintained their 6 point gap from the relegation zone. Boro saw more of the ball but could only create one shot on target. They’re still 2 points behind their opponents but have a more favourable set of fixtures coming up including Watford, West Ham and West Brom. Leicester host Chelsea next before tricky away games against Southampton and Burnley.
Prediction: Everton to win 2-0
This proved to be one game too many for Southampton after having the least amount of recovery time between their last few fixtures. They managed to hold on until the 73rd minute when the floodgates opened. Substitute Enner Valencia got the ball rolling when Romelu Lukaku’s header rebounded to him. He was then fouled by Maya Yoshida for a penalty that Leighton Baines put away. Lukaku rounded it off by firing in off Tom Davies’ pass in the 89th minute. Everton have now taken 7 points from their last 3 games and are looking good in front of goal. They’ve scored at least twice in 5 out of their last 6 games and remain ‘best of the rest’ in 7th. Southampton have lost each of their last 3 games but remain in the top 10 on goal difference. After their FA Cup and EFL Cup fixtures, they travel to face Burnley.
Prediction: Manchester City to win 3-0
Burnley missed a huge opportunity to cause an upset after playing most of this game against 10 men. Fernandinho was sent off after just 32 minutes for going in two-footed on Johan Gudmundsson. City made it through to half-time and then bought on Sergio Aguero in an effort to take the game to Burnley. The opening goal came from an unlikely source though. Gael Clichy found space and curled the ball into the far corner with his weaker right foot. Aguero then left his mark with a finish from a ridiculously tight angle despite Burnley having 2 players on the line. Ben Mee pulled one back via the underside of the bar with 20 minutes to go but City shut up shop to take an impressive win. Burnley still haven’t won away from home this season and it appears to be affecting the players’ mentality in these games. They should have capitalised with an extra man for so long but seemed too content to hold on for a draw. They are still 12th though and 8 points from relegation while City have climbed back into the top 4 and are back within 2 points of 2nd-placed Liverpool.
Prediction: Liverpool to win 1-0
We expected this to be close but Sunderland didn’t hold anything back and fought hard for an important point. It looked like business as usual when Daniel Sturridge headed in after 19 minutes. However, Jermain Defoe equalised from the penalty spot just 6 minutes later after a foul by Ragnar Klavan. Liverpool retook the lead in the 72nd minute through Sadio Mane but he went from hero to villain when a free-kick struck his outstretched arm to give Sunderland another penalty. Defoe stepped up again and took his league tally to 11 goals for the season. He also became the 4th player in Premier League history to reach 10 goals in 10 different seasons. The point means Sunderland are now only a point behind Crystal Palace and safety from the drop zone. Liverpool meanwhile are still 5 points behind Chelsea after only closing the gap by a point.
Prediction: West Brom to win 2-1
Mike Phelan’s short tenure as Hull manager came to an end after only 3 draws and 6 defeats in their last 9 league matches. The game started off well for the Tigers with Robert Snodgrass’ goal giving them a half-time lead. After another promising half, they completely collapsed with Chris Brunt headed in from a corner just 4 minutes into the second half. The Baggies then took the lead through Gareth McAuley’s powerful header and James Morrison secured the result 11 minutes later. This defeat was Hull’s 8th away from home in a row but it seems harsh that Phelan was dismissed without even getting a transfer window to sort the squad out. They are back at the bottom of the league but still only 3 points from safety. West Brom continue to get results in the winnable games and remain comfortable in 8th, 4 points ahead of Bournemouth.
Prediction: Manchester United to win 3-2
This game was ruined as a contest after 15 minutes. West Ham had started very well but Sofiane Feghouli was wrongly sent off for a foul on Phil Jones. We know it was wrong because it has already been rescinded. They managed to hold on until half-time but the lack of attacking threat allowed United to sacrifice Matteo Darmian for Juan Mata. He got on the end of Marcus Rashford’s pullback to break the deadlock in the 63rd minute. There was more controversy as Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored an offside goal that wasn’t spotted. You could argue it balanced out his unfairly disallowed goal against Middlesbrough though. West Ham really looked like they were taking the game to United before the red card. Instead, they’ve suffered 2 straight defeats without scoring a goal and have fallen to 13th in the league. United have won their last 7 league games and are unbeaten in 13 in all competitions. After their FA Cup and EFL Cup fixtures, they have a huge game against Liverpool.
Tuesday 3 January 2017
Prediction: Arsenal to win 2-0
Despite the Liverpool and Chelsea results, this game goes down as the most exciting in this round of fixtures. Bournemouth had already stunned Liverpool in a 4-3 win at home and were on their way to embarrassing Arsenal. Within 20 minutes, they were 2-0 up thanks to Charlie Daniels and a Callum Wilson penalty. Ryan Fraser made it 3-0 in the second half with a shot that nutmegged Petr Cech. Arsenal looked down and out until the 70th minute when Alexis Sanchez pulled one back with a diving header. It was game on 5 minutes later as Lucas Perez volleyed in. Simon Francis received his marching orders with 8 minutes to go but it looked like Bournemouth were going to hold on. Then in the 92nd minute, Olivier Giroud headed in Granit Xhaka’s cross to rescue a point. Arsenal have dropped out of the top 4 after taking just 7 points from their last 5 games and are now only 2 points ahead of Manchester United. Bournemouth have gone from conceding 3 in consecutive games to scoring 3 in consecutive games and remain well-placed in 9th.
Prediction: Crystal Palace to win 3-0
After the most exciting game comes the biggest upset. Swansea hadn’t won away from home in their last 8 attempts but will have impressed new manager Paul Clement with this performance. They led just before half-time as Alfie Mawson headed in Gylfi Sigurdsson’s free-kick. Wilfried Zaha looked to have rescued a point with his volley in the 83rd minute but Angel Rangel of all people got the winner 5 minutes later. It means Sam Allardyce has only taken 1 point from his first 3 games as manager of Palace and he has a tough trip to West Ham next. Swansea managed to move off the foot of the table and to within a point of their opponents and safety. However, their next 3 league games are all away and against Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea. Things are going to get worse before they can get better.
Prediction: Stoke to win 1-0
After taking just 2 points from their last 5 games, Stoke recorded a much-needed win to lift them from 15th to 11th in the table. They didn’t play particularly well but it was enough to overcome a Watford side ravaged by injuries. The quality of Charlie Adam’s left foot made the difference as he set up both goals either side of half-time. First, his corner was hooked in by Ryan Shawcross and then his low whipped cross was finished by Peter Crouch. Crouch is now just 2 goals off a landmark 100 in the Premier League. Watford offered very little in return and 1 point in their last 5 games has seen them fall down to 14th in the league. They have a chance to end this rut at home to Middlesbrough next while Stoke have a tough match away to Sunderland.
Wednesday 4 January 2017
Prediction: Chelsea to win 1-0
Chelsea couldn’t extend their winning run to a record-equalling 14 matches whilst Dele Alli continued his scoring streak for Spurs. His 2 headers either side of half-time, both well assisted by Christian Eriksen, mean he’s now scored 7 in his last 4 games. Spurs counteracted Chelsea by copying their 343 formation to essentially mark each man out of the game. Their goals came from Alli targeting Cesar Azpilicueta in the box. Not being a natural centre-back meant he was well beaten in the challenges for Eriksen’s crosses. Going forward, Chelsea had a promising spell in the second half but lacked the same fluency in their play that saw them accumulate the last 13 wins. They were going to lose eventually but are still 5 points ahead of Liverpool at the top of the table. Spurs moved up to 3rd with the win thanks to Arsenal dropping points. They’ve won their last 5 league games and will look to make it 6 at home to West Brom next. Chelsea travel to defending champions Leicester.
6 results, 0 correct scores
Total: 6/20 = 30%