Greetings Sporta fans another big weekend in the English Premier League.
Manchester United’s frustratingly inconsistent season continued before the international break as they ran out convincing 3-1 victors over Swansea at the Liberty Stadium just days after a dreadful 2-1 defeat in Fenerbahce.
This win made it three wins, three draws, and two defeats from their last eight matches in all competitions, whilst the Premier League has seen them win two, drawn three, and lose three of their last eight.
It doesn’t get much better at Old Trafford for Manchester United. They have only won three of their last seven games there in the league, which is an aspect of their game that they really need to improve upon if they are to live up to pre-season predictions.
Arsenal are a different story entirely. They have been excellent this season despite worries over their lack of summer spending. Their 4-3 defeat to Liverpool on the opening day of the season is the last time they tasted defeat, and their 1-1 draw against Spurs last time out made it 12 wins and four draws from their last 16 games.
Their major improvement this season has simply been their ability to break through opposition defence. They have scored an impressive 33 goals in their last 12 games in all competitions and have only failed to score in two of their 17 competitive matches this season.
Arsenal’s individual stars have been shining so far as well. Mesut Ozil has seven goals to his name in all competitions and Alexis Sanchez has notched six in the league alone. Five of Sanchez’ six league goals have come away from home as well, so he looks the best bet for our anytime goalscorer predictions at 7/5, providing he recovers from a minor knock picked up on international duty.
The visitors have recently enjoyed an uncharacteristically solid defensive display, but the last three games have seen them concede four goals. Manchester United, for all their troubles this season, have managed to score in 14 of their 18 matches this season and seven of their eight home matches.
Razak Predicts: United home win 2-1.
Watford went into their match against Liverpool before the international break full of confidence after a four match unbeaten streak had seen them steadily move up the table. Their confidence won’t be so high now though, as Jurgen Klopp’s side decimated them 6-0 to put a swift end to their run of good form.
The question now is if Watford can bounce back from such a heavy defeat. Overall they are in decent form with four wins from their last eight games and just two defeats. They have beaten the likes of Manchester United and West Ham during this run and sit in a very respectable 8th position. However, a 6-1 loss can have a drastic effect on the morale of players.
Fortunately for them they are coming up against another side pretty down in the dumps as far as the Premier League is concerned. Last season’s champions Leicester have only won three of their 11 Premier League games this season and sit down in 14th position.
Their 2-1 loss at home to West Brom last time out made it just two wins from their last seven in all competitions, and one of those was in the Champions League.
It’s quite clear that Leicester’s main focus lies with the Champions League, which is understandable considering this is probably the only time they’ll make it to the competition. They are top of their group and on the verge of qualifying for the knockout stages, but the sacrifice has been their domestic form.
Interestingly, three of their four Champions League games this season has been preceded by a Premier League defeat, and the one that wasn’t came following a draw. They are also winless in the Premier League away from home this season, with four defeats and one draw making for an horrendous record. Leicester have conceded an awful 14 goals in these five away days as well.
RAZAK PREDICTS: LEICESTER TO TAKE HOME 3PNTS 1-3.
Southampton suffered a shock defeat at the out of form Hull before the international break as they continued their recent inconsistent form. They have now won two, drawn one, and lost three of their last six games in all competitions, putting them 10th in the Premier League.
In fact, their league form is a bit worse at the moment. They have won just one of their last five and have fallen to back to back defeats for the first time since February. This is largely down to a collapse in their usually stellar defence. Southampton have now conceded in six of their last seven games, whereas before they had kept a clean sheet in six matches on the bounce.
This is terrible news for the Saints, because they’re coming up against the most lethal and in form attacking line up in the Premier League. Liverpool notched six against Watford last time out to make it 30 goals in their 11 Premier League matches so far. This has propelled them to the top of the table and puts them four goals ahead of second highest scorers Chelsea.
Liverpool’s hammering of Watford made it ten wins and two draws from their last 12 matches. They have scored at least two goals in nine of their last ten in all competitions as well, and their star players are well and truly performing at the moment.
Sadio Mane, Phillipe Coutinho, and Roberto Firmino all got on the scoresheet against Watford. They have now scored 16 Premier League goals between them this season, adding a further ten assists to make for a deadly trio of attackers. Mane has netted three in his last five games.
RAZAK PREDICTS: SOUTHAMPTON WIN 1-0.
Sunderland finally managed their first Premier League win of the season before the international break as they shockingly beat Bournemouth 2-1 away from home. This ended a ten match winless streak since the start of the Premier League season, with eight of those games ending in defeat and leaving them bottom of the table on goal difference.
The hosts are already six points adrift of safety in the league, and David Moyes needs to start building some decent form if they are to stand any chance of remaining in the top flight.
It was a predictable face that managed to grab the winner against Bournemouth. Jermain Defoe converted from the penalty spot to take his tally to six league goals this season, with the only other Sunderland player with more than a single goal to their name being attack minded full back Patrick van Aanholt.
Hull, despite some awful injury concerns casting doubt over their attacking and defending credentials, do have their star player back. Robert Snodgrass has recovered from injury and will be hoping to add to his four Premier League goals this season. Considering these two teams have kept just one clean sheet between them all season I think backing either Defoe or Snodgrass to score at 6/5 and 7/2 respectively is a good choice for our anytime goalscorer predictions.
Hull also managed an impressive victory last time round as they beat Southampton 2-1 at the KCOM. This ended a six match losing streak and an eight match winless streak in the Premier League, and it makes this tie a very interesting prospect.
Both teams have received a big boost in confidence with long awaited victories, but once again neither managed a clean sheet. Sunderland have conceded in 13 of their 14 games in all competitions this season and Hull have in 13 of their 14 as well.
RAZAK PREDICTS:SUNDERLAND WIN 1-0.
Crystal Palace slumped to their 4th consecutive defeat before the international break as a 94th minute winner from Burnley resigned them to a 3-2 loss. To be fair to Palace they had done pretty well to come back from two early goals from Burnley, but they slacked off in the closing stages and paid the price for it.
This followed on from defeats to Liverpool, Leicester, and West Ham, and despite their early season good form they have now won just one of their last seven in all competitions. This run of form is akin to that which they suffered last season, and fans of The Eagles will be hoping it doesn’t turn into a relegation battle.
One thing that is different from last season is their performances going forward. Last year they really struggled to find goals, but with Christian Benteke revitalising the attack, Crystal Palace have managed to score in eight of their last nine league games. It’s not just been the odd one goal though, they have netted a very impressive 16 goals in these matches.
The other end of the pitch is where there are problems though. They have conceded ten goals in their last three matches, which isn’t good news when you’re coming up against Sergio Aguero. The Argentine striker has scored eight league goals in nine appearances this season and has six in his four appearances away from home. He also netted two against Crystal Palace in January, so backing him to score anytime at 4/6 looks like the best bet for our anytime goalscorer predictions.
Manchester City’s dominance from the start of the season may have been replaced by worrying inconsistency, but they still have threat in abundance going forward. They have scored in all but one of their Premier League games this term and have 25 goals to their name in the league.
They certainly aren’t world beaters at the back though. Pep Guardiola has seen his side concede in ten of their last 11 games in all competitions and captain Vincent Kompany could once again be sidelined.
RAZAK PREDICTS: MANCITY AWAY WIN 1-3.
Stoke managed to extend their unbeaten streak to six matches before the international break as they drew 1-1 away to West Ham. This followed on from three consecutive victories against Sunderland, Hull, and Swansea and banishes their awful start to the campaign to memory.
This is certainly down to an improvement on the overall balance of the team. Prior to their turnaround they had conceded a dismal 14 goals in five games, whereas since their improvement they have conceded just four in six. This has coincided with an increased attacking output as well to make for an overall better team.
Stoke’s star players lie in midfield, with the likes of Joe Allen and Xherdan Shaqiri providing excellent play-making capabilities. This season they have been the ones finishing off chances though, with seven league goals between them. Both have scored two goals in Stoke’s last four matches, and with three of Joe Allen’s goals coming on home soil backing him to score anytime at 12/5 looks a good option for our goal-scoring predictions.
Bournemouth have been a little more unpredictable than their hosts though. Their 2-1 loss away to the previous winless Sunderland made it two wins, two draws, and two defeats in their last six matches.
Both of these defeats came in their last two games though, and both were against dreadfully out of form sides. The Bournemouth that turned up against Middlesbrough and Sunderland is a far cry from the one that hammered Hull 6-1 a month ago.
Away from home Bournemouth have really struggled at the back as well. They have conceded eight goals in their last three away days in the Premier League and haven’t kept a clean sheet in any of their six trips away in all competitions. Considering Stoke’s improved defence of late I think Bournemouth could struggle.
RAZAK PREDICTS: STOKE TO WIN 2-1.
Everton put in one of the worst performances in years before the international break as they were decimated 5-0 at the hands of a rampant Chelsea. This reverted them back to the poor form that has plagued them for the last couple of months and leaves people wondering how such a talented group of players can perform so badly.
They have now won just one of their last seven in all competitions, losing four of them and sitting 7th in the Premier League table thanks to their early season good form. It looks like the Koeman effect has worn off, and they’re back to disappointing the Goodison Park faithful like they did last year.
Everton do have undoubted talent though, and the most dangerous player for them is proving his worth despite his teams’ poor showings. Romelu Lukaku has netted seven Premier League goals so far this season and has three in his last five matches. Considering Swansea’s defensive issues, backing Lukaku to score anytime at 5/6 is an obvious choice for our goalscorer predictions.
Swansea appointed Francesco Guidolin on a permanent basis in the summer, but a terrible start to the season has seen him replaced by American Bob Bradley already. It hasn’t gone well for the new boss either though, indicating that this teams’ troubles can’t be pinned on the manager.
Since Bradley’s appointment Swansea have lost three and drawn one, taking their winless streak to ten matches in all competitions. Their last Premier League victory was on the opening day of the season against newly promoted Burnley, and since then they have lost eight and drawn two to leave them second from bottom in the table.
Away from home Swansea have lost four on the bounce now and conceded nine goals in the process. They have managed to score in all but one of their trips away though, which has made for some relatively high scoring matches. Three of their last four on the road have seen at least three goals scored, as have six of Everton’s last 12.
RAZAK PREDICTS: EVERTON TO WIN 1-0.
Tottenham Hotspur’s fantastic start to the Premier League season seems a very long time ago now. They managed to win five of their opening seven games and looked like they would be a force up the top of the table again this season.
However, as is so often the case with Spurs, the demands of top level European football seems to have taken it’s toll. They are currently on a seven match winless streak in all competitions, and although they are actually unbeaten in the Premier League their four consecutive draws looks a bit worrying.
Not only are Spurs in poor form at the moment, but they also have a crunch match in the Champions League coming up on Tuesday. They face Monaco away from home and currently sit 3rd in their group with two games left to play. It’s a must win match really, and one eye will certainly be on that fixture. The recently returned Harry Kane and the doubtful Christian Eriksen might not get a full 90 minutes as they look ahead to Tuesday.
This will come as good news to West Ham, who are trying to do the reverse of Spurs and forget about their dreadful start to the campaign. Last time out they managed a 1-1 draw at home to Stoke, bouncing back from a disappointing defeat at Everton and making it three wins, two draws, and one defeat in their last six games in all competitions.
West Ham still lie perilously close to the bottom three though, with their 11 point total putting them in 17th place and just one point clear of Hull. However, they are a team on the up at the moment, and I would expect to see them put some distance between themselves and the bottom three before long.
As far as goalscorers go I’m focusing on West Ham. Two of the biggest threats for Spurs are Kane and Eriksen, and both aren’t fully fit at the moment and might be substituted. Michail Antonio, who is West Ham’s top scorer, was once again employed as a wing back against Stoke and could find himself on the fringes of action. Instead I think backing Manuel Lanzini, who has scored two in his four away days this season, is the best option for our anytime goalscorer predictions. Odds of 5/1 for him to find the net make it extremely worthwhile.
RAZAK PREDICTS: TO Share the spoils 1-1.
Middlesbrough have made some significant improvements over the last month or so after enduring a very poor winless streak. They actually started the season with four points from their opening two games but then fell into a poor run of just two points from six games.
Their goalless draw at Arsenal indicated a shift was coming though, and they built on that performance with a 2-0 win over Bournemouth the following week. Before the international break they took a point away from home at Manchester City as well, so things are definitely looking up for the newly promoted side.
They could find it difficult on Sunday though. Last time out Chelsea hammered Everton 5-0 at Stamford Bridge to make it five wins from their last six games in all competitions. In the Premier League they have won five on the bounce, scoring a huge 16 goals and conceding none at the other end.
This has lifted Chelsea to 2nd in the Premier League and just one point behind Liverpool now. But with Manchester City and Arsenal just a point behind them they need to keep their good run of form going.
Diego Costa has been a major driving force behind their attacking play, but the Spanish striker is likely to miss out through injury on Sunday. However, Eden Hazard has shook off a minor injury and is just as important as Costa. The Belgian winger has netted seven Premier League goals this season and has scored in each of Chelsea’s last four league matches, so backing him to score anytime at 8/5 looks like the best option for our goal-scoring predictions.
RAZAK PREDICTS: CHELSEA TO WIN AWAY 1-2.
West Brom enjoyed a fantastic weekend before the international break as they beat Leicester 2-1 away from home, ending the Premier League champions’ 15 month unbeaten streak at home in the Premier League.
This also ended West Brom’s five match winless streak in the Premier League and took them to 11th position in the Premier League table. They have now won two, drawn three, and lost two of their last seven matches in the league, although at home they do struggle a bit.
The Hawthorns has seen just one win so far this season, with two draws and two defeats making up the remainder of the five results. They have managed to draw against Liverpool and Spurs to be fair, but they’ve just lacked that cutting edge required to win games.
Burnley have discovered that cutting edge recently, with a dramatic 3-2 victory over Crystal Palace last time out making it three games unbeaten for the pre-season relegation candidates. They have beaten Everton and drawn with Manchester United during this period as well, lifting them up to 9th in the table.
Away from home they haven’t been overly successful though. Their goalless draw with Manchester United gave them their first away points of the season after defeats to Chelsea, Leicester, and Southampton and a League Cup loss to Accrington Stanley.
Losing against these teams isn’t too much of a surprise given that many predictions had them struggling at the bottom of the table this season. However, they have managed just one goal in their five away days in all competitions and have conceded ten.
This will be good news for the West Brom attackers. Nacer Chadli and Salomon Rondon have been struggling with injuries recently but are expected back in action on Monday and will hope to add to their combined seven goals. As far as goalscorer predictions go I would recommend Nacer Chadli. Three of his four league goals have come at the Hawthorns this season and he has netted once every 83 minutes of play time, making odds of 9/4 for him to score anytime excellent value for money.
RAZAK PREDICTS: WESTBROM HOME WIN 2-1.