EPL Predictions & Team News 30 Nov – 1 Dec
They used to say the only things certain in life are births, deaths and taxes, well I have another thing we can add to that list, and that is that a Spurs player won’t win ‘EPL Goal of the Month’ for November seeing as they’ve failed to net in the whole month, unless we include Sandros’ own goal!!
The other thing that seems like a certainty is that Ryan Giggs will go on and on. He will play his first match as a 40 year old the next time he takes to the pitch and if his performance is as good as his last in his 30’s against Leverkusen in midweek then the opposition will be in trouble.
Aston Villa v Sunderland – Saturday 30 November 2013 – 1500KO
With no early Saturday game this week due to European commitments we have 6 fixtures Saturday and this fixture probably sets the tone, they are going to be a little low on quality and all about grabbing the points.
Sunderland travel to Villa sitting back at the bottom of the table after going down two nil at Stoke last weekend, a cause which wasn’t helped by the sending off of Wes Brown. Villa are starting to head in the right direction now and a lot earlier than they did last season. A run of only two defeats in eight has helped put them on their way, and they’ve also found their scoring boots which is a big bonus. Coming back from a two goal deficit against local rivals West Brom on Monday also showed a lot of character and some risky subs by Paul Lambert.
Premier League Injuries: After coming from the bench and turning the local derby around on Monday both Weimann and Agbonlahor are expected to start for Villa. Luna is also available again after injury. The Black Cats have Wes Brown available after his red card was rescinded. Also available after suspension are Cattermole and Dossena.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 2-1
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Gabby Agbonlahor
Cardiff v Arsenal – Saturday 30 November 2013 – 1500KO
As both Manchester clubs have discovered, this trip down to South Wales is not as much fun as a trip to Barry Island and Arsenal will have to be at near top form if they are to walk away with maximum points.
Frazier Campbell has showed in the last few games that he has the pace to scare sides and with Medel snapping away in the middle of the park, whatever combination of midfielders Arsenal choose, they won’t have it their own way.
Premier League Injury News: Cardiff have the luxury of a fully fit side but may choose to remain unchanged from the XI that gained a point against United last weekend. Gibbs is fit again for Arsenal who will have been boosted by the return to training of Lukas Podolski.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-2
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: David Marshall
Everton v Stoke City – Saturday 30 November 2013 – 1500KO
A lot of Everton fans will be worried they have seen Leighton Baines pull on a blue shirt for the last time as he could be out until the new year with a broken big toe and old boss David Moyes will no doubt be sniffing around when the transfer window opens in January.
It will be interesting to see how they cope without the influential full-back who seems to create so much for them.
Stoke have an equally big hole to fill in their defence with the news that Rob Huth may require surgery, and they need to find a way to keep the momentum flowing which has seen them go undefeated in three games.
Premier League Team News: Everton seem to be struggling to find a left back to fill in for the injured Baines and may decide to put a square peg in that round hole and play centre-half Distin. Arnautovic joins Huth on the sidelines for Stoke.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-1
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Ross Barkley
Norwich v Crystal Palace – Saturday 30 November 2013 – 1500KO
These are the sort of games that will decide Norwich’s fate this season, not heavy defeats away at the big clubs. And I’m sure Chris Hughton will be very vocal in reminding his side of this fact.
They were very poor against Newcastle for a large proportion of the match and seem to be unable to string together two good halves at the moment, let alone two games.
Palace will be looking for another scalp on the road after a decent win last time out at Hull. New boss Tony Pulis takes charge officially for the first time but managed to get word down to the bench last week, that he didn’t want his new charges to sit back on their lead when they were reduced to ten men.
I also wonder how Super Kevin Phillips, feels sitting on the Palace bench with all the press going on about how it’s amazing a 40 year old can still get a game in the EPL. For the record he is 5 months older than Ryan Giggs!
Premier League Injuries: Norwich’s treatment room is a busy place at the moment with Pilkington and Snodgrass joining Van Wolfswinkel and long term absentees Tettey and Elliott. Tony Pulis will be without the suspended Bolasie for three games and may recall Jerome to the starting XI after working with him at Stoke.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 0-0
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Julian Speroni
West Ham v Fulham – Saturday 30 November 2013 – 1500KO
Certainly the fixture with the most riding on it, and one suspects it’s not going to be a game for the purists. Both managers played with a certain grit and determination during their younger playing days and that is going to very much be order of today’s play.
West Ham’s home form has been abysmal this season, they have already lost more at The Boleyn than they did all last year and not having a striker is hardly helping their cause. How they would love to bully Fulham into submission like they did in the 3-0 win in the corresponding fixture last year when Andy Carroll was unplayable.
Premier League Team News: Carlton Cole, who has a good strike rate against The Cottagers may force his way into the starting line up in a boost to shake The Hammers up a little. None of their injured players from last week are expected to be fit again yet, but Andy Carroll may get the nod to return to training next week. Hangeland should have recovered from nerve damage to wear the skippers armband, but there are doubts over the fitness of Berbatov who missed the last training session with a virus.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-0
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Mark Noble
Newcastle v West Bromwich Albion – Saturday 30 November 2013 – 1730KO
I’ve got to admit I have underestimated how good Newcastle can actually be, they’ve got themselves on a run and picked up 13 points out of 18. It is easy to laugh at their off-field problems or Alan Pardew’s unbelievable self-confidence, but when Cabaye is on form they can be a problem for any team in the division.
If Shane Long’s goals against Villa on Monday would have been scored by Lionel Messi or Ronaldo I’m pretty sure we would have heard a lot more about them, but they seemed to have almost been glossed over. The Baggies, even without Lukaku this season are a massive threat going forward especially since Sessegnon joined late in August and I can see this being a very open game.
Premier League Team News: Alan Pardew expects to name an unchanged side after last week’s win against Norwich although Debuchy is available after suspension. Sinclair and Ridgewell are still struggling for full fitness for The Baggies.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 2-1
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Yohan Cabaye
Tottenham v Manchester United – Sunday 1 December 2013 – 1200KO
Its advent calendar day, or are they just counting how many days that AVB will have left in charge?! His goal shy side face a United who are putting together a decent run and are now unbeaten in 11 games. He will also have to overcome a bit of history if he is to take 3 points, as Spurs have failed to beat United at The Lane since 2001 and only have one win against them in all competitions in the last 28.
United won’t be thanking the noisy neighbours for hammering Spurs last weekend, as they know the home side will be up to give the crowd a lift early on, and if Giggs does play today you can be certain that he won’t be offered the freedom of the park like Leverkusen offered him against a narrow Spurs side.
Premier League Injuries: After his first appearance in the league all season last week, Adebayor is a doubt with groin problems, Rose and Eriksen also miss out for the home side. United have the luxury of welcoming back Van Persie, Vidic and Fellaini after their midweek win but will have to decide on how best to integrate them.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 2-2
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Gylfi Sigurðsson
Hull City v Liverpool – Sunday 1 December 2013 – 1405KO
Hull have scored 9 times this season, which is half the number of Liverpool’s version of the SAS. This is even more surprising seeing as Suarez was suspended for the first month of the season, and may show us why Hull have gone back into their shell a little after a great start to the season. With games coming thick and fast over the next month they really need to work out a method for scoring if they’re going to stay afloat.
I mentioned last week that the Merseyside derby had the potential to be a cracker if they sides didn’t cancel each other out and it was certainly that, a great advert for the league.
Premier League Team News: Paul McShane tore a hamstring last week and is expected to be replaced by Alex Bruce for Hull, whilst Liverpool are expected to restore Sturridge to the starting XI. Flanagan will continue at left back after impressing last weekend.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 0-2
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Daniel Sturridge
Chelsea v Southampton – Sunday 1 December 2013 – 1610KO
So what Chelsea side are going to turn up this week? The one that comprehensively destroyed West Ham or the ones that meekly surrendered to Basle? If it is the former I can’t see how The Saints defence, even though it has been so solid this year will be able to keep tabs on the interplay between Oscar and Hazard as it seemed telepathic last week. I also got for the first time what John Obi Mikel is all about, as he let Lampard and Ramirez go wherever they wanted without ever getting overrun by The Hammers 6 man midfield.
Southampton are on a tough run of fixtures at the moment, they were unlucky against Arsenal last week and have to face Manchester City next week, with a midweek test against Villa thrown in for good measure, I guess we will see how good they really are after these examinations.
Premier League Injuries: Luiz and Etoo both miss out through injury, with Torres expected to start for The Blues. Jack Cork is expected to return for The Saints against his former side, whilst Gaston Ramirez will settle for a spot on the bench.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 2-0
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Oscar
Manchester City v Swansea City – Sunday 1 December 2013 – 1610KO
So before the Spurs game last week City had scored 3, then 5, then 7 in their previous home fixtures, hands up who thought the pattern was going to continue, especially after scoring in the first 16 seconds?
The home form is scintillating, and the problem is for an away side is you almost have to accept you are going to concede at least 1 goal at some point in the 90 minutes, and this is where Laudrup will have to earn his stripes as he is without his two stars he looks at for goals in Bony and Michu.
Premier League Team News: Vincent Kompany has started training again but will not be risked by City, who will decide between Hart and Pantilimon in goal. As mentioned above The Swans are without Bony and Michu as well as Angel Rangel.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 2-0
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Sergio Aguero
There we have it, all the weekends fixtures, but don’t forget we have a full schedule mid-week as well for all your footballing goodnesss!