Premier League Preview: Gameweek 15

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Storms-a-brewing as we look ahead to the weekend’s fixtures. We enjoyed a deluge of goals in midweek with 33 scored altogether. Will there be more leaky defen…sorry enough with the puns – here’s my Premier League Preview for Gameweek 15.

Man Utd v Newcastle
Both sides suffered an end to their respective unbeaten runs on Wednesday and go into Saturday’s live lunchtime game hoping to avoid back to back defeats. The hosts will line up without Rooney or van Persie, out through suspension and injury, and Pardew will eye an opportunity to take at least a share of the spoils back up to the North East. After Bryan Oviedo’s second strike in as many games at Old Trafford, the stadium is far from a fortress and David Moyes desperately needs three points to silence the disgruntled home support.

I don’t see a repeat of last season’s 4-3 win for Man Utd, but I can see the Reds stealing a 1-0.

Crystal Palace v Cardiff
Only one defeat in their last four games with only one goal conceded. Hardly relegation form and if Palace can maintain the momentum they gained on Tuesday night after beating a disappointing West Ham side, Pulis may have finally stopped the rot at Selhurst Park. He’ll have to pit his wits against Malky Mackay’s Cardiff, who have claimed six points out of their last six league outings.

It’s a second six pointer in a row for both sides, which is enough to convince me of a hard-earned 1-1 draw.

Liverpool v West Ham
Luis Suarez left Liverpool fans, and indeed fans of football, drooling after his 10/10 performance against Norwich in the week after a sumptuous four goal haul and an assist to boot. West Ham should be quaking in their boots as they fail to arrest a slide towards the relegation zone with only eight points picked up in their last ten games. Allardyce will begrudge the continuing absences of Reid, Carroll and Vaz Te, while his star midfielder Ravel Morrison is out through suspension after an unnecessary and aggressive push in the face of Palace defender Joel Ward.

With Suarez on this form he is simply unstoppable and I can see the Hammers struggling from the off. 2-0.

Southampton v Man City
Manuel Pellegrini picked up his first away victory since mid-October against West Brom, although City made it difficult for themselves after conceding two late goals in the final five minutes on Wednesday night. The Saints were on the wrong end of a 3-2 scoreline as they find themselves plummeting after an impressive start. Expect Mauricio Pochettino to tighten up his once impregnable defence after leaking eight goals in their last three games, although it may already be out of their control, with the visitors’ scoring 40 goals in the league so far this term.

2-1 away victory for Man City, who apply the pressure on Arsenal and Chelsea.

Stoke v Chelsea
Stoke could do with a masterclass in goalscoring, although a visit from free-scoring Chelsea might not be exactly what Mark Hughes had in mind. Mourinho’s men have notched 12 goals in their last four games, however they face a Stoke side who have shipped the same number of goals as Man Utd and only one more than Liverpool. Even so, the Potters remain closer to the dreaded dotted line than they do the top half and three points is going to be unlikely in this one.

A 1-0 away win keeps the Blues in the title hunt.

West Brom v Norwich
Both teams felt the brunt of title chasers in the week and will be keen to bounce back although the Baggies have only one win to their name since September, which will be worrying Steve Clarke. The Canaries sit one point below them and Hughton will need to employ some bolder tactics in a relatively winnable game for the away side.

Another six pointer, and I can see the home fans enjoying a 2-0 win.

Sunderland v Tottenham
Two foreign managers in trouble, although Andre Villas-Boas was rescued on Wednesday thanks to a late winner by Lewis Holtby, overturning a 1-0 deficit. Could this be the turning point in Spurs’ season? Gus Poyet will hope not, whose side slid back down to the foot of the table despite a brave performance against Chelsea. Poyet will be heartened, but a defeat is a defeat and with five points separating them from West Ham in 17th, his attempt to avoid relegation may be over by Christmas.

Neither team has found goals easy to come by this season – 0-0 draw at the Stadium of Light.

Fulham v Aston Villa
A fantastic win against Southampton took Paul Lambert’s men up into the top half of the table for the first time in a month. Villa’s winner almost mirrored the manner in which Fulham lost their midweek derby against Spurs and many fans are wondering whetherRene Meulensteen has the necessary man management skills to turn the permanently dropped heads of his players. A home win against Lambert’s men wouldn’t be a complete shock, although the visitors will be up for it.

I’m calling a 2-1 win for Villa at Craven Cottage.

Arsenal v Everton
The second Superb Sunday fixture is set up to be a classic. A breathtaking Arsenal host an Everton side still holding aloft the fresh scalp of Chief Moyes. Bryan Oviedo has been a sensation since replacing the injured Leighton Baines, but with world superstar Nicklas Bendtner now banging them in for the league leaders, Martinez will have to be cautious…Seriously though, this will be the Spaniard’s biggest test of the season and he’ll most likely be already settling for a point at the Emirates.

Sadly, I don’t think they’ll get one. 2-1 win for the ever impressive Gunners.

Swansea v Hull
Jonjo Shelvey made the headlines on Wednesday for all the right and wrong reasons. The bald crusader’s late strike consigned the Toon to their first defeat in five games, although I find it worrying that his natural instinct towards anybody standing within two feet of him is to initiate a significant headbutting motion. Nevertheless, it was a much-needed win for Michael Laudrup who now faces a Hull side who have only won two games in their last eight in the league. Bruce needs to chalk up some points if he wants to avoid sliding south after being leapfrogged by the Swans in midweek.

I expect Swansea to continue where they left off and record a 2-0 win in, this, the return of MNF.

Listen to the latest Hit Row Z podcast (published 4th December) out now on iTunes – subscribe and share!

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