WE'VE joined forced with renowned punter James Cantrill (@JimmyThePunt) to set-up and share our Colossus Predictor selections ahead of the weekend.
Southampton vs Leicester
The Saints and the Foxes form is like chalk and cheese coming into this one. No side has gathered fewer points since the turn of the year then the hosts (ten) while only the Manchester clubs have racked up a greater tally then the visitors (33).
Iheanacho will be licking his lips at the prospect of facing a side that has shipped 39 goals in 2021 and whilst I do expect Brendan Rodgers side to get the job done with relative ease on Friday evening, I am going to err on the side of caution here as it is the first game of the weekend.
Selections: Draw, Leicester
Crystal Palace vs Man City
Saturday’s action commences in the capital as Crystal Palace welcome Manchester CIty to Selhurst Park in the early kick-off. The visitors got the job done at the Le Parc des Princes thanks to a leaky wall, however, I would expect Roy Hodgson’s side may be a little bit more stubborn here.
Although the Eagles have proved to be precarious opposition for City in the recent past, Pep Guardiola’s men have not struggled against the EPL’s bottom eight this campaign. In their 12 league games against them this season, they have won eleven, drawn one, scored 31 and conceded just thrice.
Selection: Man City
Brighton vs Leeds
The table does not lie, a few Brighton fans may have a case to go against this old cliche. They currently sit in seventh on 34 points but according to Understat’s xPTS table the Seagulls should occupy fifth spot on 55 points, two points away from a UCL spot.
However, the reason the data sweethearts languish so far adrift of where they should be is because of their well documented shortcomings in front of goal. Graham Potter’s side have scored just 33 goals this campaign but have generated an xG just shy of 50.
Leeds have played 16 games against sides in the bottom half, of those fixtures they have won 11, lost five and generated a goal difference of 15. In fact, 79% of their 14 top flight victories this season have come against sides in the bottom half, interestingly though they have not drawn any of these games.
Therefore, despite the fact that Brighton have drawn the most games of any side in the league I am going to avoid that result here.
Selections: Brighton, Leeds
Chelsea vs Fulham
Fresh from an invaluable midweek draw at the Alfredo Di Stéfano Stadium in the UCL, Chelsea welcome Fulham in the EPL as their pursuit of a spot in the top four continues. Since Thomas Tuchel’s reign at Stamford Bridge began back at the end of January, no side has conceded fewer goals (eight) and only the Champions elect Man City have won more points!
Even though the Cottagers head to Stamford Bridge boasting an incredible away record in 2021- played nine, lost one- I cannot see past a result for the hosts here.
Everton vs Aston Villa
Everton were bolstered for their trip to the Emirates in their last fixture by the return of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Andre Gomes, Fabian Delph and Yerry Mina, all of whom featured as the Toffee’s returned from the capital with three points.
Whilst the hosts have struggled for form throughout the season, Carlo Ancelotti will no doubt benefit from having this quartet back in the frame as he looks to guide his side to their fifth game without defeat.
Aston Villa- unsurprisingly- have struggled without Jack Grealish. In the 22 league games their captain has featured in, the Villains averaged 1.6 points per game but in the nine games they have had to play without him they have averaged 0.90.
Selections: Everton, Draw
Newcastle vs Arsenal
Sunday’s EPL action commences in the Northeast as Arsenal head to St James’ Park. A quintessentially Steve Bruce-esque performance saw his side snatch a point in injury time at Anfield despite the fact that the Magpies generated less then a third of the xG that Liverpool did.
Nevertheless, it was a point that moved NUFC nine points clear of the drop and all but mathematically guaranteed that they will play in the Premier League next season.
The hosts have always struggled against the Gunners, they have only won one of their last 19 bouts with them! However, given how last week went I am not going to put all my eggs in an away victory here.
Selections: Draw, Arsenal
Man Utd vs Liverpool
The big six clashes have rarely lived up to the hype this campaign with the majority featuring very little action. In fact there have been 26 clashes between the big boys so far this campaign, 61% have seen two or fewer goals, seven have ended as draws and just under a quarter have ended 0-0.
Three of these sides' last five head to heads have ended all square and Liverpool have edged the other two. This fixture is a really tough one to call but with Man Utd in Europa League action on Thursday I think I am going to have to side with the visitors here.
Selections: Draw, Liverpool
Spurs vs Sheffield United
As has been the case for the majority of the season, Sheffield United travel down South with a key core chunk of their squad ruled out. Jack O’Connell, Billy Sharp, Oliver McBurnie and Chris Basham could all miss the remainder of the season.
The Blades will be boosted by the nearing return of Sander Berge- who put in a MOTM performance vs Spurs when the sides met last season- however, this clash probably comes too soon for the Norwegen international.
As for the hosts, their interim boss Ryan Mason has no further injury concerns, Harry Kane passed a late fitness test and is expected to lead the line here. Spurs have only lost once- vs Brighton- in their domestic bouts with sides currently occupying the bottom eight.
Selections: Spurs, Draw
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