Tottenham choked, what a surprise, I should have seen it coming, but in my defence the opposition, Arsenal, is usually pretty spineless. That aside, every other big team won comfortably, while Everton continued their malaise and Burnley keep up their featherweight amongst the heavyweight’s act. This weekend’s big game is Chelsea vs Liverpool at Anfield, which was the setting for one of the most memorable moments of recent years, as Steven Gerrard fell over and cost Liverpool the title (oops, ha, ha, ha). Apart from that the rest of the big teams have easy games, except Burnley, who have a tricky little game against the perennially inconsistent Arsenal. Here is how I see week 13, going down:
West Ham vs Leicester
If David Moyes is the answer then you are asking the wrong question: something that West Ham fans are about to get a brutal education in this year. I would be amazed if he lasted the season and three managers in a year is normally a recipe for relegation: it’s a long time since West Ham were boasting about their Champions League prospects! Leicester, on the other hand, has recovered from their shaky start, meaning that there is only one winner in this one: 3-1 Leicester.
Crystal Palace vs Stoke
Two teams that are doing pretty badly this season, and if I were to be blunt, (fuck it I will be blunt): they have been shit. Palace really has been woeful and if you exclude their inexplicable defeat of Chelsea, then they would have just one-point, while Stoke has huffed and puffed, but done very little, apart from the traditional victory against Arsenal. This game has all the makings of a turgid tight affair, with a 1-1 draw the most likely result.
Manchester United vs Brighton
Another also ran for Mourinho’s mob to dispatch with ease, their last such game, before a tricky run that takes them away to Watford and Arsenal, both unpredictable teams, ahead of a mouth-watering clash against City. They should and will beat Brighton pretty comfortably with 3-0 being the most likely score.
Newcastle vs Watford
One team can’t attack (Newcastle), the other can’t defend (Watford): so, the question that needs to be answered in this game, is does rock beat scissors or paper beat rock? As an optimist I am hoping that the cavalier Watford, beat out the dour Newcastle, meaning that I fancy it to end up 2-1 to them. (so, expect Newcastle to grind out a 1-0 win with a 90th-minute goal, from a center-back!).
Swansea vs Bournemouth
Oh, Swansea, Swansea, Swansea, I had so much faith in you at the start of the season: a young team, who had narrowly avoided the drop last year and invested well. How wrong I was: the men from Wales can’t by a point, their only win of the season having come against Palace, who everyone beats (unless they play in blue). I still kind of want Swansea to do well, but don’t think that they will: 2-1 to Bournemouth.
Tottenham vs West Brom
Everything was there for Spurs: they have better players than Arsenal, were in better form and the whole footballing world expected them to win. Surprise, surprise they went and did a Tottenham: I am frankly disappointed in myself for buying into the hype and expecting them to show up in a big game, in hindsight it was obvious that they would lose. While West Brom were abject against Tottenham, with old reliable Tony Pulis seemingly heading towards the exit door soon (heading, I am funny sometimes)! Tottenham will probably score a hatful in this game, but it doesn’t change the fact, that when it really matters they choke: 4-0 Tottenham.
Liverpool vs Chelsea
Chelsea vs Liverpool at Anfield, such mixed memories: there was the beautiful Steven Gerrard slip, when he cost Liverpool the title, by giving the ball to Demba Ba; but then there was that outrageous ghost goal in 2005. One thing’s for sure, the games between the two clubs are usually pretty good and always controversial, while the who is the most passionate manager battle on the sidelines, will also be an amusing sideshow. Neither team is especially good at defending at the moment, although our defense has improved immeasurably since Kante has returned. If we get our best eleven out on the field then we will win 3-1: because Hazard and Morata are better than Mane, Salah, and Coutinho. But we have a habit of not getting our best eleven out and if Fabregas is playing in midfield without Kante, then we are doomed!
Southampton vs Everton
This will be a poor game, played by two average teams, who aspire to much bigger things: unfortunately, both are a long way off. Everton, got the unwelcome tag of being just the second team to not beat Palace this year, last weekend, while Southampton lost 3-0 to Liverpool and are among the league’s lowest scorers. Since both teams and managers really need a win, you can almost guarantee that it will end up in a draw, with 1-1 being the most likely score.
Burnley vs Arsenal
The mighty Burnley go marching on and are level on points with their opponents, Arsenal, making them without question the fairytale story of this season. Arsenal, of course, managed to get a surprise victory and clean sheet against Tottenham at the weekend, without a doubt their best result of the season. This means that it will all come crashing down on them, against little Burnley, given their lack of consistency and spine, which means I am plumping for a 2-1 Burnley win.
Huddersfield vs Manchester City
The chances of Huddersfield beating City are about as good as Alistair Cook stepping out and making a swashbuckling run a ball century on Thursday, rather than his usual dull offering: ie. Close to zero. Still, they did manage to upset Manchester United, but I can’t see any other result than a comfortable 4-0 City win.