WE'VE joined forced with renowned punter James Cantrill (@JimmyThePunt) to set-up and share our Colossus Predictor selections ahead of the weekend.
Arsenal vs Everton (Friday 20:00)
This weekend's Premier League action commences in London Town as ninth-placed Arsenal welcome eight-placed Everton to the Emirates on Friday evening. Fresh from their withdrawal from the proposed Super League, the hosts may still harbour hopes of Champions League qualification despite the fact that they currently sit nine points adrift of fourth placed Chelsea.
Carlo Ancelotti’s men might have something to say about that and victory could see them move to within two points of the domestic holy grail with the sides above them still to play.
The Toffees boast an impressive away record this campaign, taking 30 points from 15 fixtures. In their ten games against the traditional big six they have won five, drawn two and lost three. On the road they have bested Liverpool and Spurs, they drew at Old Trafford and their only defeat came via Chelsea.
With this in mind I fancy the vastly more experienced Ancelotti to have the edge over Aerta here. That being said, have err on the side of caution by taking the draw as well.
Selections: Draw, Everton
Liverpool vs Newcastle (Saturday 12:30)
Newcastle head across the Pennines to Anfield for Saturday’s lunchtime kick off. Unsurprisingly, in a pretty dismal campaign, the Reds record against the bottom six is poor. They have faced these clubs eleven times with their only victories coming against basement boys Sheffield United (two) and the seven nil thumping vs Palace.
However, Newcastle are equally poor away from home- especially against the more threatening sides- as their contain and counter approach usually capitulates before the interval. Their five visits to the big six have yielded a solitary point as they have scored just two goals and shipped 11.
Furthermore, with star man Allan Saint-Maximin a doubt here it makes finding an excuse to oppose the Champions even more tricky.
West Ham vs Chelsea (Saturday 17:30)
West Ham and Chelsea head into the weeknd level on points as they battle it out for fourth spot giving this London Derby a bit of a twist. Both sides come into this fixture in fine fettle, however, neither side are without their issues.
The hosts are missing several key men with Declan Rice, Michail Antonio and Craig Dawson all absent. Aaron Cresswell and Authur Masuaka also face late fitness tests. As for the visitors, their midweek 0-0 draw was overshadowed by their plans to join the Super League.
Thomas Tuchels side have only scored one goal in their last three games- during which time they have registered just eight shots on target – therefore, if they are going to beat the Hammers their best chance could lie keeping a clean sheet.
This is a feat that they have managed in 80% of the Bavarian’s reign and with the hosts missing the spine of their team I am going to side with the visitors here, that being said this is a tricky game to call.
Selections: Draw, Chelsea
Sheffield United vs Brighton (Saturday 20:00)
Saturday’s final top flight fixture pits Sheffield United against Brighton. The hosts boast an impressive record against the Seagulls- from their current tenure amongst the English elite- having drawn twice and won the other fixture. However, with the Blades currently languishing ten points adrift at the bottom of the table I cannot see them extending their unbeaten run to four games.
In stark contrast to their opponents, Brighton have it all to play for. Victory here could move them ten points clear of the drop. Therefore, it is hard to see past the visitors here
Wolves vs Burnley (Sunday 12:00)
The first of Sunday’s three EPL bouts begins at noon as the Wanderers welcome Burnley to the Molineux. Staggeringly, not every encounter between these sides since they were founded have ended with honours shared even. That being said, four of the last seven have, three of which ended 1-1 (this correct score is 6/1 with Bet365).
Following three defeats on the spin, the Clarets have slumped dangerously close to the dotted line. Therefore, Sean Dyche will be keen to get whatever he can from this game which could set up a drab affair.
Whilst it is worth noting that the hosts have won their last two fixtures, they are meandering towards mid table abyss and with very little on the line for Nuno Espirito Santos he could very easily get nothing from this game.
Selections: Draw, Burnley
Leeds vs Manchester United (14:00)
The fierce rivalry between Leeds and Manchester United was reignited back in December when these sides met in the Premier League for the first time in 16 years. Lancashire embarrassed Yorkshire that day as the Red Devils thumped Marcelo Bielsa’s boys 6-2. However, with revenge on the minds of the Yorkshiremen we might have a much closer contest on our hands at Elland Road on Sunday.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer collected the majority of the plaudits that day for some savvy tactics, central to which was drawing Leeds’ lynchpin- Kalvin Phillips- out of CDM to expose an otherwise fragile defensive unit. However, he is not the first manager- nor will he be the last- to poke holes in the tactics of the EPL’s innovative new boys.
Leeds have played ten games against the big six and won just once, however, it is worth noting that they fare considerably better at home then they do away. They have duelled with Man City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool in West Yorkshire and drawn every game.
You cannot overlook Man Utd's incredible domestic record on the road this campaign- played 16, lost none- however, since the turn of the year Ole’s side have drawn five as all bar two of their games have seen two goals or fewer. Therefore, if the visitors are going to edge this one it will be by a fine margin which is why I have taken the draw and an away victory here.
Selections: Draw, Manchester United
Manchester City vs Tottenham (Sunday 16:30)
Ryan Mason securing the interim job at his boyhood club is perhaps the only wholesome thing to come out of an otherwise dreadful week for football.
The 29-year-old- who was forced to retire due to a serious head injury- tenure got off to a great start as a late Son Heung-Min penalty ensured Spurs secured all three points vs the Saints. However, this weekend's League Cup Final is an entirely different proposition as leads his side against the champion-elect without the club's talisman Harry Kane, potentially.
Unlike Mason, this is not Pep Guardiola’s first final as a manager. In fact, the Spaniard has led his sides to 15, winning 14 of those, highlighting his pedigree. With him at the helm, City have secured three titles in this competition.
Given the magnitude of this clash I am going to err on the side of caution here also covering the draw.
Selections: Man City, Draw
Aston Villa vs West Brom (Sunday 19:00)
The final fixture of the weekend is an all Midlands affair between Aston Villa and West Brom. Given the hectic schedule the hosts extra day rest may pay dividends here in what is traditionally a very tight affair. Over the past decade, these sides have played 18 times, a third have ended all square and 75% of either side's victories was by a one goal margin.
Given the fact that Villa have only lost one of their five games against teams from the Midlands so far this season I am going to side with them here.
Selections: Aston Villa, Draw
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