Premier League Preview: Gameweek 14

Listen to Episode 5 (published 29th November) of The Hit Row Z Podcast – now on iTunes – subscribe and share!

A bonus round of midweek Premier League fixtures is just what you need to pick yourself up after a another difficult Monday, although sadly I can’t guarantee satisfaction for all twenty sets of fans. Nevertheless, here’s my Premier League Preview for Gameweek 14.

Crystal Palace v West Ham
The only match on Tuesday is a massive one – Tony Pulis takes his place in the home dugout at Selhurst Park for the first time against a Hammers side fresh from sealing Martin Jol’s fate at the weekend. Both sides lie three points and three places away from the dreaded dotted line, with West Ham in the more favourable 15th position going into the game. Pulis may well hope to spend in January, but until then he will have to make the most of what he has. Palace fans will certainly help create a vibrant atmosphere with new hope, after only amassing four points in their last ten league games. Allardyce and his men are sure to have other ideas.

An energetic 2-1 win for Crystal Pulis.

Arsenal v Hull
Four points clear at the top going into December must have Arsene Wenger feeling Christmassy already but Steve Bruce’s Hull are more than capable of an upset if Sunday’s win over Liverpool is anything to go by. The Tigers have been the surprise package out of the three promoted sides despite four defeats in their last six. The Gunners have continued to look unstoppable with returning World Cup hopeful Theo Walcott looking to push for his first start in the league since September.

I fully expect Arsenal’s formidable run to continue with a 2-0 victory.

Liverpool v Norwich
Brendan Rodgers finds his side seven points adrift of league leaders Arsenal and after the weekend’s double blow of a defeat and a serious injury to star man Daniel Sturridge, he will be eager to bag all three points to allay any fears that the wheels to their excellent start to the campaign have come off. Chris Hughton watched his side battle well against a spirited Crystal Palace side and claim a vital three points, but the Canaries will be up against it at Anfield and will not have let themselves get too carried away. Rodgers will eye two very winnable home games over the next few days as his ticket back into the title race.

3-1 home win.

Man Utd v Everton
David Moyes faces his former side in Wednesday night’s stand out fixture, however wouldn’t have expected to be trailing the visitors at this point in the season. Martinez’s men are by no means flattering to deceive and their attractive, ruthless brand of football has won plenty of admirers. Wayne Rooney led the line with excellent effect against Spurs, and he may have to continue, with Robin van Persie’s return still uncertain.

With Everton on such resilient form, I can see them leaving Old Trafford with at least a point, 1-1.

Southampton v Aston Villa
The Saints have finally proven themselves mortal after back to back defeats against Arsenal and Chelsea, but will see the visit of Aston Villa as an ideal opportunity to prove their form has been no fluke. The Midlands outfit lie in relative comfort in mid table, despite only notching one win in their last seven, and they could really do with Christian Benteke recapturing his form from last season if they have any hope of penetrating a still sturdy Southampton defence.

I’m calling a very tight 1-0 win for Southampton, in a game which will see very few clear cut chances.

Stoke v Cardiff
Both these sides shipped seven goals between them at the weekend and both have equally been profligate so far in the league, with less than a goal per game tarring their respective seasons. Another unfortunate similarity is that Stoke and Cardiff find themselves hovering precariously above the bottom three, making a win in this six pointer extremely vital for Mark Hughes and Malky Mackay. However, more pressure will be on the Potters to shore up their defence in front of a home crowd growing increasingly frustrated and nervous.

This has 0-0 written all over it.

Sunderland v Chelsea
Gus Poyet’s influence at the Stadium of Light has been negligible so far as the Black Cats still find themselves in 19th position and five points away from relative safety. Their unimpressive defensive displays will have Mourinho licking his lips at the prospect of his Chelsea side scoring three goals for the third consecutive game. The support backing the home side has played its part in victories over Newcastle and Man City in recent weeks, and their voices will need to be heard if they have any hope of staving off the visitors’ attacking might.

Chelsea to steal all three points with a second half winner, 2-1 win to the Blues.

Swansea v Newcastle
The televised game on Wednesday sees the Swans host a Newcastle side in search of a fifth straight win. Michael Laudrup’s men will most likely line up without their preferred strike partnership of Michu and Bony due to injury, although neither have really kick started their campaigns so far. The home side have experienced an inconsistent run of late and will want to secure a home victory to ease any threat of being dragged into a relegation battle as early as the Christmas run-in.

I can see an exciting score draw being played out at the Liberty Stadium, 2-2.

Fulham v Tottenham
It had been coming, but now Rene Meulensteen has the unenviable task of stopping a run of five straight defeats and to restore confidence in a side desperately seeking a win. Andre Villas-Boas will be pleased with a draw against Man Utd, however he too will be using any means necessary to snatch all three points as he sees the proverbial vultures circling overhead. Roberto Soldado continues to struggle, while Erik Lamela struggles to secure a starting place. It may be time AVB started looking at a change of strategy if he is to win over the board, the fans and the media, however you feel he may have to first win over his players again if he is to successfully steer Tottenham closer to the top of the league.

Another tight fixture, but one that reaps a 1-0 for the travelling Spurs.

West Brom v Man City
The last midweek game, certainly alphabetically, sees hosts West Brom attempt to pick themselves up from a disappointing display at St James’ Park on Saturday. Steve Clarke claimed his side were worthy of a draw, however with Chris Brunt’s thumping drive past Tim Krul the only shot they managed on target all night, you wonder if he was watching the same match. Man City have chalked up 16 goals in their last four league outings and will view this encounter as a chance to correct their glitched away record.

I think they will. 3-2 win for Pellegrini’s men.

Listen to Episode 5 (published 29th November) of The Hit Row Z Podcast – now on iTunes – subscribe and share!

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