This Weeks Premier League Match Previews & Predictions

By PaulT

Well after the double game week and the big scoring exploits of Hazard, Higuain and Aguero, we are back with another preview of GW26 which will be another vital one in the world of FPL. Liverpool have fallen back to 2nd place behind City whilst the race to beat the drop sees hapless Huddersfield fall to near the point of no return. Lets dive in and see what we have in store this week…..

Fulham v Manchester United

In the early game on Saturday, Ranieri’s men welcome resurgent United to Craven Cottage. The visitors continued their great upturn of form since their change of coach with a 1-0 win last time out at Leicester, taking Ole to 9 wins in 10 games in charge. Fulham fell to a 2-0 defeat at Palace and that means they are on a run of 5 defeats in their past 6. Whilst United come into this one as strong favourites, it does kick off a tough run of games on the horizon with League, Cup and Champions League all in the next few weeks. They cannot afford to take Fulham lightly though, so expect a strong showing here. For Fulham, Fosu-Mensah is unavailable against his parent club, and deadline day signings Markovic and Nordtveit are not ready for this one. Bryan and Christie are available again after injury. United have no new injury concerns, Smalling and Rojo are back in full training and could return here. With PSG ahead in midweek, there could be some shuffling of the pack here.
Prediction FUL 1-2 MNU

Crystal Palace v West Ham United

At Selhurst Park, the Hammers come across the capital to take on a Palace side thankful for their win against Fulham last week. That was their first win in four and it allowed them to move four points clear of the relegation zone and give themselves a little breathing space in the race to avoid the drop. However, they can’t rest on their laurels here and can move to within three points of West Ham with victory and secure just a fourth home win of the season. West Ham’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool saw their winless run extend to four games, but at least ended a three-match losing streak, during which they were dumped out of the FA Cup by Wimbledon. On the road, they are stuck on a three-match losing run, but they are unbeaten in their last four visits to Selhurst Park. For Palace, Zaha should return after his ban, and mean last weekends scorer Schlupp misses out. After an eye-catching cameo last week, Batshuayi may have to settle for a spot on the bench again. West Ham have had Arnautovic working all week without any problems and he could replace Chicharito up front. Nasri still needs to recover from injury and is expected to miss out this weekend.
Prediction CRY 1-0 WHU

Huddersfield Town v Arsenal

Next up, the side propping up the table welcome Emery and his Gunners to the John Smiths Stadium as they look to claw themselves to safety. Huddersfield are mired on a 12-match winless run and sit a full 13 points from safety. The problems that have dogged them all season are still apparent as they still struggle to hit the net. Arsenal were well beaten at the Etihad last time out, and that saw them drop out of the top 5. They will be heavy favourites here even though the Terriers will give their all in front of their home fans. Siewert welcomed some key players back last week as Mooy and Billing both started the 5-0 defeat at Chelsea after overcoming knocks. Both should continue in the midfield here. Hogg has also resumed training. Expect Mounie to start in place of Mbenza. For Arsenal, Holding and Sokratis both miss out for Arsenal but Emery has confirmed Mustafi is available on Saturday. Both Koscieleny and Aubameyang have been fighting illness this week but should both make the XI by Saturday.
Prediction HUD 1- 3 ARS

Liverpool v AFC Bournemouth

Anfield will be bursting at the seams as the Reds look to get their title tilt back on track here against Eddie Howe’s Cherries side. The disappointing 1-1 draw at West Ham on Monday meant that Liverpool were in danger of falling to 2nd, an outcome duly delivered after City won on the other side of the city on Wednesday. They are expected to bounce straight back her as they have lost only one of their last 10 meetings with Bournemouth, and have won three of their last four home meetings with the south coast side. Indeed, Howe’s side have been woeful on the road of late, losing seven successive away league matches, including last weeks reverse at Cardiff. You would expect them to struggle again here. Klopp will be encouraged as Wijnaldum, Henderson and Alexander-Arnold have handed Liverpool a triple boost after returning to full training. After misfiring in the last few games, we may see some rotation to the front 3 that has been so successful in this one. For the visitor, Clyne is ineligible to play against his parent club, so Daniels should start at left-back and Solanke could lead the line against his former club in the continued absence of Wilson.
Prediction LIV 4-0 BOU

Southampton v Cardiff City

St Marys is next on the list as Hassenhutl’s men taken on a Cardiff side who had an emotional win at home last weekend. The Bluebirds are still reeling from the Sala tragedy, but reacted in the best way in winning 2-0 against Bournemouth. That result ended a four-match winless run but away from home, they have won just the once in the Premier League this season and that run may continue on Saturday. Southampton were pegged back for a draw by Burnley’s injury time penalty last week, but their manager admitted after that a draw was probably a fair result. That extended their unbeaten run in their last five in the Premier League and it leaves them two points above Saturday’s opponents. The home side should see Long back into the starting line up to replace the injured Ings, whilst Valery could return in defence. Lemina and Obafemi will both miss out here. Cardiff may name the same XI that started Saturday’s win, but Warnock may recall Camarasa if he can prove his fitness. Paterson should continue in attack.
Prediction SOU 1-1 CAR

Watford v Everton

At Vicarage Road, 2 sides who are in not the best form meet as Silva brings his current charges to London to meet his former side. Watford’s 0-0 draw with Brighton last time out made it one win from their last seven and leaves them four points behind Wolves in seventh. Their early season form has seemed to desert them and Gracia will be happy to be welcoming an Everton side who appear to be matching their downward curve. Losing 3-1 to Wolves and 2-0 to City in midweek mean it’s now three wins in 13 for the Toffees, and pressure is building on their manager to turn things around. Injuries to Success, Pereyra, Prodl and Femenia mean that all sit this one out so Gracia may field the same side for the 2nd game in a row. Doucoure is still struggling also but could feature. Silva is expected to make changes to the XI that started against City as he rested some key players. Expect the likes of Coleman, Sigurdsson, Richarlison and Bernard all to return to the fold. Jagielka and Mina are still out.
Prediction WAT 2-2 EVE

Brighton & Hove Albion v Burnley

The late kick off on Saturday takes us to the south coast to see Dyches men take on the Seagulls at the AMEX. Brighton’s 0-0 draw with Watford extended their winless run to five matches and they now sit just five points from safety. The Seagulls will be looking nervously over the shoulder before too long if results don’t start to pick up. A late penalty against Southampton last weekend saw Burnley extend their unbeaten run to six league matches, but they have drawn their last three. Their good form has lifted them out of the relegation zone, yet they are just two points above 18th-placed Cardiff. This really is a match that could see one of these 2 pull away from the bottom. Brighton may bring in Jahanbakhsh after he was back on the bench after his Asian cup exertions. Stephens and Izquierdo could return to training ahead of Saturday’s match, though this match may come too soon for the pair. The visitors will have Gudmundsson and Brady available if required, while Lowton has also returned to training. Crouch came off the bench to good effect on Saturday but may have to stay there from the start here.
Prediction BHA 1-1 BUR

Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City

Sunday starts at Wembley as Pochettino’s men look to stay in touch at the top as they welcome the Foxes to the Home of Football. This fixture produced a 5-4 goalfest last year, but it would be highly unlikely to be repeated. Tottenham have twice left it late to earn all three points in their last two league outings to push them back to within five points of Premier League leaders Liverpool. They will have to rely on those above them dropping points but whilst they are 3rd favourites they are still in the race. Leicester’s 1-0 home loss to Manchester United amped up the pressure on head coach Puel He has now overseen a five-match winless run in all competitions but they have made a habit of upsetting the top six this season, recently beating both Manchester City and Chelsea. Son netted the late winner last week and he may lead the line dropping Llorente to the bench for the home side. Rose could return at fullback, meaning a reshuffle at the back. Leicester will likely bring in Tielemans to replace Gray in the side, with Maddison moved to the right. Amartey and Albrighton are both ruled out.
Prediction TOT 2-1 LEI

Manchester City v Chelsea

Super Sunday sees another massive match at the Etihad, with Pep’s league leaders welcoming Chelsea in a dress rehearsal for the League Cup Final. City moved back to the top of the Premier League table on Wednesday night as they overcame Everton 2-0, building on their demolition of Arsenal last weekend. However, they may start this clash in second depending on the outcome of Liverpool v Bournemouth on Saturday. Chelsea returned to form last weekend, breezing past Huddersfield by 5-0. The up and down nature of Sarri’s side has been a frustration for both manager and fans in recent weeks, but their talent is evident and a repeat of their 2-0 win over these opponents earlier in the season could be seen again. Guardiola is again without Bravo and Kompany, whilst Mendy should return to the bench at least. Rotation should be seen here, with the likes of De Bruyne and Sterling returning to the XI. Chelsea will likely go with the same starting side as last week, Hazard and Higuain shining and hoping to carry their side here. Rudiger for Christiansen might be the only change.
Prediction MNC 3-1 CHE

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Newcastle United

The weekend ends on Monday night at Molyneux, and 2 sides in good form come together as Nuno takes on Rafa. Wolves maintained their good form with their fourth win in their last five with a 3-2 win over Shrewsbury to secure their place in the next round of the FA Cup. In the Premier League, they’ve won their last three to pull clear of the teams chasing a top-seven finish. Newcastle were brought crashing back down to earth following their 2-1 win over Manchester City as they fell to a 1-0 loss at Tottenham in Saturday’s early kick off. The Magpies have now failed to win in four on the road, a run that includes three defeats. Wolves could be without Jota after he sustained a knock in the 3-1 win at Everton last week and will be assessed. Traore would likely come in to support Jimenez up top. Vinagre has been struggling with a virus so is doubtful here. Newcastle should be able to welcome their new record signing as Almiron has been granted his work permit and should be part of the squad that travels to Molineux on Monday night. Muto has returned following the Asian Cup and is an option for Benitez, but they are still without the likes of Shelvey and Ki.
Prediction Wol 1-2 NEW

So there we have it, a wealth of talking points and battles ahead and the FPL rollercoaster is et to be off and running again. Al aboard, scream if you want to go faster!!!

Until next week……..



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