The World Cup participants are all but confirmed, it's time to get back to Premier League football, with the game of the week being the North London Derby: the noble quest to decide which one of Tottenham or Arsenal, gains the crown of being London’s second-best team. Apart from that, the big teams all play smaller teams, in matches you would expect them to win, meaning that one of the North London lot, will lose ground in the race for fourth. Since neither of them is close to being good enough to put in a title challenge. Here is how I see that and the rest of Week 12 going down:
Arsenal vs Tottenham
The North London Derby is England’s annual game to decide the second-best team in London (with Chelsea, the only London team to win a European Cup, clearly being number one). All of Tottenham’s ‘injured’ England stars will mysteriously recover, although such an early kick-off after an International break, always has an effect. Both teams will be very up for it and there are normally plenty of goals between them. I am going to pick Tottenham because I genuinely believe that they are a better team than Arsenal, and they will prove it by going to their great rival’s stadium and winning 3-1.
Crystal Palace vs Everton
This is a massive game for both of these teams: Palace needs as many points as they can get, while if Everton wins, their wobble will be over and they will have pulled clear of the relegation zone. Unfortunately, neither team is very good, which makes it nigh on impossible to predict a result with any confidence, which is why I am going for a 1-1 draw, although I don’t do it with any confidence.
West Brom vs Chelsea
Ahh memories, in this fixture last year the mighty Michy Batshuayi, scored a scrappy goal in the 80th minute to confirm that Chelsea were champions. It may look like City is going to win it this year, but post beating Man United 1-0, Chelsea is probably the most legitimate of the other title contenders. West Brom, have seemingly lost the dependable stability that has made them such a Premier League staple: hovering dangerously above the relegation zone. Chelsea will win, 3-1, although all eyes will be on the mob from Manchester above us to see if they ever drop points.
Burnley vs Swansea
I am officially giving up on Swansea: all season, I have thought that they were better than their results suggested and every game they have let me down. Burnley have become specialists in 1-0 victories, which is exactly what they will get: 1-0 Burnley.
Liverpool vs Southampton
Liverpool is incredibly inconsistent and Southampton is the very definition of an average team, making this tricky to predict. In normal circumstances, I would fancy Southampton to frustrate Liverpool, because Liverpool drop points against teams that they should beat comfortably, however, as much as I want that to happen, I can’t bring myself to do it, because of how average Southampton is: 2-0 Liverpool.
Leicester vs Man City
Manchester City, suddenly have striking problems, with Aguero getting a mysterious illness on international duty and Gabriel Jesus limping off in Brazil’s friendly with England. Leading me to hope that they will revert back to the team which they were last year: one that creates lots of chances, but cannot stick it in the back of the net. However, this is more of a long-term dream, because they will beat Leicester 3-1.
Bournemouth vs Huddersfield
Bournemouth, have recovered pretty well from their patchy start and are now just one victory away from the midtable obscurity that most people predicted at the start of the season. Huddersfield, on the other hand, is traveling in the opposite direction and are the classic start well, end up relegated EPL team, filling the role that Hull performed so admirably last year. Bournemouth will be too good for them at home, winning 2-0.
Manchester United vs Newcastle
Mourinho and Benitez do not like each other, which will add a little more spice to a game where you would expect a comfortable home win. Man U had a poor October and it was all Mourinho’s fault, he set up his team too defensively against both Chelsea and Liverpool, that lead to crucial dropped points. Normally this would be understandable, but to even stay in touch with Manchester City this year, you pretty much have to win every single game. Man United will win, but their title challenge will falter if Mourinho doesn’t try harder to win the big games, 3-0 Manchester United.
Watford vs West Ham
West Ham stopped allowing Bilic to do his best Arsene Wenger impression, after they gave him the chop, although, if I was a West Ham fan (I would rather pass an infinite succession of large kidney stones than be one). I would be less than happy with David Moyes being named as his replacement. Moyes, who of course, managed to get Sunderland relegated last year, with some of the most direct football that anyone has ever seen and threatened to slap a female journalist. Still, perhaps they know their level and want to get relegated. Whatever the answer, Watford will win comfortably, because West Ham can’t score and they can’t defend: 3-0 Watford.
Brighton vs Stoke
Brighton is doing incredibly well, sitting eighth after 11 games, and I personally couldn’t be happier. It is very difficult to dislike them and everyone hopes that they stay up; apart from Crystal Palace fans. However, a game against Stoke will not get people’s pulses racing, from a viewing perspective, with a 1-1 draw being the most likely result.