Premier League Preview: Gameweek 12

After an international break in which we learned that Portugal have a slightly better one-man team than Sweden do, the Premier League returns. Which means, of course, so does my Premier League Preview. Here are my predictions for Gameweek 12.

Everton v Liverpool
What a way to lift the curtain on the weekend’s fixtures – the Merseyside derby always promises a tempestuous affair as two of the season’s most impressive managers lock horns in the BT Sport lunchtime kickoff. Roberto Martinez has watched his side serve up two consecutive goalless draws in the league, and a third would be deemed a good result against his Welsh counterpart. Brendan Rodgers’ side ran rampant against a crumbling Fulham team two weeks ago and will be hoping for another world class performance by Luis Suárez.

I can see a high-octane 1-1 draw playing out at Goodison Park.

Arsenal v Southampton
Arsene Wenger failed to match the point Mauricio Pochettino took away from Old Trafford and the Frenchman will be keen to bounce straight back and recapture title-winning form once more. At the start of the season, this may have been a home banker, however the South Coast side have proven they deserve their third place league standing after plenty of tactically astute performances so far this year. The new-look Saints will have international fatigue to contend with as they prepare for a trip to the Emirates, and it may catch up with them on Saturday.

2-1 victory for the Gunners.

Fulham v Swansea
Martin Jol has managed to evade the dreaded axe, however anything but a home win against fellow strugglers Swansea may see new ‘Head Coach’ René Meulensteen usurp the current Fulham boss. Michael Laudrup was denied his first win in the league for a month in Gameweek 11 thanks to a 96th minute penalty against Stoke but will see an opportunity against a Fulham side deficient of confidence.

In a game that could genuinely go either way, I see the Swans taking all three points back to Wales – 2-0.

Hull v Crystal Palace
Two promoted sides, who have fared very differently since making the step up to the top flight, clash in what will be the City of Culture in 2017. Steve Bruce may not have quite as cultured a squad compared to other clubs in the league, however he has been getting the most out of his relatively unglamorous players as they occupy a steady mid-table position. Tony Pulis, who is hotly tipped to take over at Crystal Palace, is unlikely to be in place in time for the trip to the East Riding of Yorkshire, but the former Stoke man should add solidity to what has been a shambolic defence so far this season.

I expect a spring in the step of Palace, who will come away with a hard-earned 1-1 draw.

Newcastle v Norwich
‘Giant-killing’ Newcastle will have to learn how to beat a bottom half team again as they prepare to host a stuttering Norwich side. Chris Hughton returns to the North East and can probably expect a better reception from the home support than from his own travelling fans who have yet to see the on-pitch return from expensive summer signings. A win for Pardew and his men will see them, at least temporarily, leapfrog Man City, which has, at least temporarily, silenced the manager’s harshest critics.

I don’t expect the Geordies to disappoint me on my birthday weekend, 3-1 victory and Cisse to grab a long-awaited goal off the bench.

Stoke v Sunderland
Mark Hughes’ side will want to carry on the never-say-die attitude from the Swansea game into this early six pointer at the foot of the table. Sunderland, likewise, can ride off the back of a well-battled result after slaying the dragon that was Man City, however their away form is certainly something Gus Poyet needs to be seriously worried about.

Neither team is finding goals easy to come by, and I think a single goal for the Potters will be enough to sink the Black Cats. 1-0.

West Ham v Chelsea
In a week where the conversion work of the Hammers’ new stadium got underway, they face a Chelsea side who may require some renovation of their own as they hope to snatch their first league victory in almost a month. West Ham will be without key defender Winston Reid, and Eto’o is expected to start for the away side as Torres nurses a groin injury.

I think Chelsea will find their form again and for the home side to display growing impotence up front. 2-0 to the Blues.

Man City v Tottenham
The support act for Superb Sunday this weekend arguably overshadows the 4pm main event as AVB’s Spurs travel to the Emirates. Both teams lie outside the top five, and both have their own struggles. Spurs are drastically struggling for goals, even after throwing the kitchen sink at Tim Krul, and Man City are horribly inconsistent, having already lost four games so far this season. Weighing up concerns on each side, I expect City to find the fluid form that has led them to display merciless performances when they have collected three points.

2-0 home win.

Cardiff v Man Utd
Red versus red in the Welsh capital and the visitors have finally started to find their fluency under Moyes. The Bluebirds are fluttering dangerously close to the dotted line zone and are in for a tough afternoon’s work against a side now back in the title race. Malky Mackay already has one Manchester scalp this year in the Premier League and will be gunning for a second as his own position continues to remain precarious.

Moyes to oversee a comfortable away win, 3-0.

West Brom v Aston Villa
‘MNF’ is back! Huzzah! This time will see a fiercely contested derby game, finishing the weekend as it begun. Both Midlands sides enjoyed positive results in Gameweek 11 and only a goal separates them as they occupy positions slap bang in the middle of the table. If fortune favours lower half teams this weekend, the losers of this fixture could find themselves a lot closer to the dotted line zone as their respective 10th and 11th places would suggest so expect an open and end-to-end contest.

It’s a tough fixture to call, but given West Brom have only lost two of their previous ten league fixtures, I fancy them to narrowly claim victory and local bragging rights. 2-1 to Steve Clarke’s men.

Comments

  1. StephenW says:

    You mentioned Hull being City of Culture 2017 but failed to make a joke or snide comment. This seems like a glaring omission on your part, very disappointing.

    Looking forward to Shitty vs Spurs, although Spurs aren’t banging them in I just can’t see either side keeping a clean sheet. 3-2 for me, which way i don’t know
    Also can’t see Chelsea keeping a clean sheet at West Ham, or United scoring 3 at Cardiff.
    Was sorting my Sun dream team transfers, looking through Chelsea results trying to find a pattern to their winning/losing, it seems as far as selection goes Mourinho doesn’t even know who will play so predicting their form is impossible to me

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