Week 18 Premier League Predictions: Todd's EPL Picks | Premier Soccer Chat

Week 18 Premier League Predictions: Todd’s EPL Picks

Here are my predictions for Match Day 18 of the English Premier League. Be sure to check out Week 17 Premier League Predictions and the Premier League Weekly TV Schedule for American audiences.

Time

Home

Score

Score

Away

Final Score

Saturday, December 22, 2012

7:45 am ET

Wigan Athletic

1

v

2

Arsenal

0 – 1

10:00 am ET

Manchester City

5

v

0

Reading

1 – 0

10:00 am ET

Newcastle United

1

v

2

Queens Park Rangers

1 – 0

10:00 am ET

Southampton

2

v

0

Sunderland

0 – 1

10:00 am ET

Tottenham

2

v

1

Stoke City

0 – 0

10:00 am ET

West Bromwich Albion

2

v

2

Norwich City

2 – 1

10:00 am ET

West Ham United

0

v

1

Everton

1 – 2

12:30 pm ET

Liverpool

2

v

1

Fulham

4 – 0

Sunday, December 23, 2012

8:30 am ET

Swansea

1

v

3

Manchester United

1 – 1

11:00 am ET

Chelsea

1

v

1

Aston Villa

8 – 0

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Wigan Athletic v Arsenal: Arsenal’s frustrating season simply continues to rollercoaster along. They keep showing flashes of brilliance, but mixed with so much frustration as well. Yes, they did win over the weekend and they did score 5 goals, but they were playing woeful Reading who also managed to tear into the Arsenal defense for 2 goals. Both goals came due to lapses in defense, which has been a recurring statement when discussing Arsenal (and many other EPL teams for that matter). This is probably the best time in the season for them to face Reading followed by Wigan. Wigan’s recent form has been indicative of their recent ability. They do have several players out injured, a few of whom could make their returns this weekend. However, even then I don’t think they will be able to beat Arsenal. This is a match that I see either going as an Arsenal win or a draw. This will depend largely on which Arsenal team shows up. They’ve been so mercurial this season that it’s hard to predict what they are going to do. As for Wigan, they have not been as solid as in recent seasons and seem to still be trying to find themselves. I’m going to pick an Arsenal win but wouldn’t be surprised by a draw.

Wigan Athletic (W, L, L, D, L)           Arsenal (D, D, L, W, W)

Manchester City v Reading: I’m giving City a big win here with the assumption that Mancini has finally figured out that they score more goals with Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez up front together. I don’t think there’s a whole lot more to say about this match. Manchester City hasn’t been outstanding this year, but they have been winning while Reading has been poor and looking worse and worse by the week. Final prediction: Manchester City win.

Manchester City(D, W, D, L, W)                Reading (L, L, L, L, L)

Newcastle United v Queens Park Rangers: I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict a QPR win. I’ve done this in the past and been burned by it every single time, but this is the one I finally get right. This is a match-up of teams heading in opposite directions recently. Newcastle has been hit by a string of injuries that seems to have destroyed their ability to play winning football. Demba Ba’s future is up in the air and this also seems to be affecting both his play and the team at large, although the bigger issue seems to be the loss of Yohan Cabaye. On the other side of the pitch is Queens Park Rangers who managed to go 16 matches without a win until last weekend’s defeat of Fulham. Harry Redknapp has been able to say he is undefeated with QPR (thanks to his cunning decision to sit in the stands during Rangers loss to Manchester United in his first weekend as manager). His man management abilities seem to have brought out the best in Adel Taarabt, but the change in personnel has been the bigger difference. By bringing back the core players at the club he’s started to instill a tougher mentality for the side as a whole. I’m going to be bold in this prediction and go with back to back wins for Queens Park Rangers. Newcastle just hasn’t looked good lately.

Newcastle United (L, L, W, L, L)                          QPR (L, D, D, D, W)

Southampton v Sunderland: Sunderland and Southampton seem to have swapped fortunes. Southampton started the season looking like a team doomed for relegation. Sunderland weren’t exactly flying out of the gates, but were putting in solid enough results to start. Nigel Adkins made changes to turn his side into a team pulling away from relegation while Martin O’Neill seems to be sticking with what obviously isn’t working. I suppose it’s somewhat unfair since he has been missing Phil Bardsley at the left back position and this has left a fairly massive hole for teams to exploit. With all that said I believe their fortunes will remain switched and by the weekend they will have swapped positions. I’m picking Southampton to win this win. I predict a 2 – 0 win, but there’s a chance it could be somewhat closer with Sunderland starting to find goals.

Southampton (W, W, D, L, W)          Sunderland (D, L, L, W, L)

Tottenham v Stoke: I would say that this will be a good test for Tottenham. They really should win this one. I amended my original Spurs 1-0 win by picking them as 2-1 winners. I have a feeling they will dominate most of the match, but score 2 goals in the second half followed by a nervy finish in which they give up a goal in the last 10 minutes. I could be way off, but this has been the script for most of the season. Jermain Defoe and Gareth Bale have been in form lately and, barring any horrible Stoke tackles resulting in an injury (always a possibility for them), they should both be a thorn in the side of the Stoke defense.

Tottenham (W, W, W, L, W)             Stoke (W, W, W, D, D)

West Bromwich Albion v Norwich City: West Brom just seemed to run out of steam in the last 4 fixtures. On the other hand, Norwich has been pushing their way up the tables with 2 draws and 3 wins in the last 5 with all 3 wins coming in a row. They are certainly the in-form side coming into this match. West Brom managed to hold off West Ham last week, but if they want to get back to winning they NEED to put away their chances better. I believe they will start to do so against Norwich, but I also think Norwich will do the same. I’m predicting an even match with a draw, although I also think this will be one of the more exciting matches to watch this weekend even if it is low scoring.

West Brom (W, L, L, L, D)                           Norwich City (D, D, W, W, W)

West Ham United v Everton: West Ham United losing Mohamed Diame will be the difference in this match. He has been the rock of their midfield and without him Everton will most likely boss the center of the pitch. This is going to be a great test of Everton’s strength to see how they do without Marouane Fellaini out there. They will also continue to be without Phil Neville, Kevin Mirallas, and Tony Hibbert, all out due to long term injuries. Everton hasn’t been winning many lately, but they have been doing enough to get results. I’m picking them to get a win on Saturday, or, at the very least, a draw. I think they have the strength needed to pick up a win against West Ham who are still somewhat inconsistent.

West Ham United (L, L, W, L, D)                Everton (D, D, D, W, D)

Liverpool v Fulham: Both of these teams have become the epitome of inconsistent form this season. Just when Liverpool starts to put together a good run with 2 wins in a row they go and lose 3-1 to Aston Villa, and at home no less! Fulham has shown sparks of brilliance this season and really looked good against Newcastle 2 weeks ago. Then they go and give QPR their first win of the season. Both teams have been so unpredictable that I fear to pick anything other than a draw, just to be safe. However, I am going to pick a Liverpool win. It will probably involve the typical domination of possession, but I don’t think Fulham has the speed necessary to get a good counterattack like most teams who have gotten results from Liverpool. Dimitar Berbatov prefers to hold the ball up and be their playmaker instead of quick paced counters. Liverpool might find it hard to score, but I still predict a 2-1 or 2-0 win for them.

Liverpool (D, L, W, W, L)                  Fulham (L, D, L, W, L)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Swansea City v Manchester United: I would say that this is a match that player availability won’t be a major issue. Manchester United will most likely miss Rafael the most, but they also have Chris Smalling and Phil Jones available to fill in. Shinji Kagawa could make his return, but I see him being used as a sub most likely with Cleverly and Carrick starting to click in midfield. For Swansea they will most likely still be missing Angel Rangel and Michel Vorm, but there is also an outside chance of one or both of them coming back for Sunday’s match. Vorm’s return would be pretty huge for them, if he was able to get back into the form he was in before being injured, and that’s a very big “if” considering how long he has been out.

I will admit that I’m having a difficult time with this one. Swansea has not been doing well lately with 2 losses in a row, but this could be deadly for Manchester United since a wounded animal is always dangerous. United has form on its side with 5 wins in a row in the Premier League, however, there is always the chance of a slip-up. Both teams have had the full week to prepare for this so training or tiredness should not be a factor. Manchester United’s biggest weakness continues to be in their defense. Michael Carrick is starting to do a better job as a holding midfielder, but he is still not the type of player to really shut down another team’s midfield. Someone is going to have to step up and shut down Michu if they want to have a clean sheet. I don’t think scoring will be an issue for United, but there is always the possibility of Swansea being able to score that one more goal than United can get.

In the end I’m predicting a Manchester United win. There is the chance of Swansea pulling off a draw to get a result, but this is the time of year where Manchester United always shifts into that next gear to push through the holiday season. I’m picking them to step up and set the stage for the second half of the season.

Swansea City (D, W, W, L, L)     Manchester United (W, W, W, W, W)

Chelsea v Aston Villa: Fernando Torres is starting to show signs of life, although perhaps me saying that will mean he will return to his slump yet again considering the last time I said this he followed up with 2+ months of frustration. This time will be different though now that Rafa is with him again. This is a match that I’m afraid of what to pick. Chelsea didn’t look as tired against Leeds in their midweek Capital One Cup clash as I thought they would. They seemed bent on showing everyone that they can win, albeit against a Championship team. I do wonder if playing such a full strength side will come back to haunt them over this Christmas season.

Aston Villa is a team that is starting to pull away from the relegation battle and show that they know how to play football and aren’t going to give up without a fight. They are a young team that will be dangerous throughout the year, a team that big clubs could slip up against. I think they will play a somewhat defensive setup with a quick counterattack. Christian Benteke has been a godsend for them and I see him getting on the score sheet on Sunday, or at the very least getting an assist. I’m predicting a draw, something like 1-1 or 2-2. I think there are goals to be gotten in this, but feel that Chelsea will be getting worn down by Sunday and Aston Villa can get a result.

Chelsea (L, D, D, L, W)            Aston Villa (D, W, D, D, W)

*W/D/L stats are based on the past 5 Premier League competitions

Let me know what you think. Do you think I picked them right? Any changes you would make?

Week 17 Premier League Predictions

Premier League Table

Premier League Fixtures

 

4 Comments Comments

    • I definitely underestimated Chelsea for this weekend. I thought they would have a tougher time considering their recent results and traveling.

      • True! Yet I figured they’d find a way to regroup. And since Aston Villa has been playing better lately I figure Chelsea can’t underestimate them!.

  1. I was thinking the same thing with Aston Villa, they certainly seemed to roll over, though full credit to Chelsea with the way they played.

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