The Premier League features another set of matches this weekend, and we’re getting to that stage of the season where every game is massive. Arsenal and Manchester City are locked in a fascinating title race, and Man City picked up a massive result yesterday.
Arsenal have got to get into the Champions League – it’s been six seasons. They haven’t won the Premier League title since 2004, and they’re in an unfamiliar place at the moment. Manchester City will also have to focus on the UEFA Champions League, and we still have a long way to go in the Premier League.
.@ErlingHaaland extends his lead at the 🔝 of the @Castrol Golden Boot rankings 💪 pic.twitter.com/6ABI8M9oAb
— Premier League (@premierleague) February 16, 2023
The top-four race is now a battle between Tottenham, Liverpool, and Newcastle for one place. If Chelsea get on a roll and win six on the trot in the Premier League, they’re definitely in it as well.
Brighton and Brentford are two teams that are doing phenomenally well, and I can’t talk highly enough about these two sides. Here are my predictions for this weekend’s round of Premier League matches.
Aston Villa vs Arsenal
This is a huge game. This is a must-win match for Arsenal, and they have to bounce back. If they lose or draw this game, I don’t know how they’re going to turn it around. It’s not the worst game in the world for them – I can think of worse places to visit this weekend.
Aston Villa were doing things right, but they’ve gone bang-wallop-crash all of a sudden and have conceded seven goals in just two games. This game will pit Unai Emery against Arsenal, and he’ll be out to stop them.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Arsenal don’t win this game. They’re making mistakes and they looked nervous against Manchester City. Pep Guardiola was able to bring on Phil Foden in the second half. Arsenal, in contrast, brought on Fabio Vieira.
This won’t be like the Everton game. Aston Villa are going to play better football – they’re not going to kick Arsenal around and resort to long balls. This could play into Arsenal’s hands, and I think they should be able to win this game.
Prediction: Aston Villa 0-2 Arsenal
Brentford vs Crystal Palace
Brentford have been absolutely outstanding, and they aren’t getting the credit they deserve. They don’t sell their players. Brighton have parted with Bissouma and Trossard for massive amounts of money. Brentford’s players, on the other hand, never leave and don’t get sold either.
Crystal Palace are in a dodgy situation at the moment. I thought they were very fortunate against Brighton, and they’ll need to be careful this season. I don’t see anything but a Brentford victory this week – they’ve been very good so far.
Prediction: Brentford 2-0 Crystal Palace
Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Bournemouth
Wolves are a good team, and I think they’re in a false position. Julen Lopetegui is a top manager, and it’s unbelievable that Wolves have managed to appoint a manager like him.
I think Wolves will be safe if they win this game, and I don’t think they’ll go down anyway. Bournemouth did well the other day but will have their work cut out for them. Wolves are a dangerous team to play against and can beat anybody on their day.
Prediction: Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0 Bournemouth
Brighton & Hove Albion vs Fulham
Brighton and Fulham are two sides that are doing unbelievably well at the moment. I’d fancy the winner of this game to get into Europe, and that’s phenomenal for both teams. They’re on 35 points each in the Premier League table but Fulham have played two games more than Brighton and will need the win more than their opponents.
Fulham needed a brilliant goal from Willian to get the better of Nottingham Forest last week. I’m expecting goals in this match, and I think Brighton hold the upper hand this weekend.
Prediction: Brighton & Hove Albion 2-1 Fulham
Everton vs Leeds United
This is a massive game, and Sean Dyche has a job on his hands. This is a bigger game for Everton than it is for Leeds. Sean Dyche had two free hits against Arsenal and Liverpool, and I’m not sure they’ll cope when they’ve got to win a football match.
I’m not sure how Leeds haven’t managed to find a manager yet. They’re one of the biggest clubs around, and they’re playing in the Premier League! They’ve been offering up to a hundred grand a week, and they still can’t find a manager.
I watched Everton the other night, and they’ve got nothing up front. They’ve got to come and chase this game. I’ve seen them do it twice this season, and they’ve failed on both occasions. This is not a chasing team, and they don’t have the attack to win this game with only one player up front.
If Everton sit back and work out a set play, they’ll have a chance this weekend. Leeds dominate matches and can’t score goals, but I do see them running over Everton in this game.
Prediction: Everton 2-1 Leeds United
Chelsea vs Southampton
Chelsea haven’t got a number nine. They were outstanding from box to box against Borussia Dortmund, but they couldn’t score a goal. It doesn’t matter how much you spend and how many players you buy – you’ve got to put the ball in the back of the net. That’s always been the name of the game.
Southampton are also yet to find their manager, and that’s unbelievable for a Premier League. Chelsea will find their feet in the Premier League sooner or later, and they should be able to win this game.
Prediction: Chelsea 3-0 Southampton
Nottingham Forest vs Manchester City
Manchester City might rest a few players in the Premier League because of next week’s Champions League match, but Nottingham Forest are a decent team at home. This is a game where City need to stamp their authority. They can rest their players when they face teams like Bayern Munich later on in the season. They need to play a strong team here.
Jack Grealish scored a brilliant goal yesterday, and he’s now occupying positions that he wasn’t getting into last season. When he joined the club, he wasn’t getting to the far post. He’s now in there, and it’s paid off. This is what happens at Man City – as soon as their players get what the manager wants, they score loads of goals.
Nottingham Forest will sit back and defend, and they’ve got pace on the counter with Brennan Johnson. I think Man City will tire Forest out in the end, and I don’t see how they don’t win this game.
Prediction: Nottingham Forest 0-3 Manchester City
Newcastle United vs Liverpool
This is a massive game. Liverpool are back to their high-tempo style of play, and they’re closing down very well. Some of their players played very well against Everton. They’re not at their best yet, but they’re getting there.
This is such a hard game to call. Liverpool are in for a big few days – and they’ll face Real Madrid after their Premier League game against Newcastle. The Champions League is their last chance to win a trophy. A draw here doesn’t really help them, to be honest. They’ll need to win this match.
Cody Gakpo looked like a different player after he scored his goal. As a professional footballer, if there’s one thing you can bottle up and keep forever, it’s confidence. After Gakpo scored his goals, he was steaming past players. I’d play him this weekend alongside Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah.
Newcastle are a solid team, but they’re not winning many football matches. If Liverpool win this game, they’ve got every chance of making it into the Premier League top four. I think this game will end in a draw – it suits Newcastle, but it doesn’t suit Liverpool.
Prediction: Newcastle United 1-1 Liverpool
Manchester United vs Leicester City
What a game! This is a match where there will be goals. We’re seeing a different Leicester team now. They’ve got all their players fit. If you played Leicester City four weeks ago, it was a foregone conclusion. Now, they’re flying!
Manchester United will have to do without Casemiro and Eriksen. If you look at United’s team against Leeds last week, it’s evident that Ten Hag is putting a lot into the Barcelona game. With Arsenal losing again yesterday, United are suddenly in it again.
Marcus Rashford seems revitalised. He was doing it before he fell out of form, and he wasn’t confident last season. Man United were not very good against Leeds, but it always felt like they were going to win. Bruno Fernandes also seems a different player now.
121 – Marcus Rashford is back to his best and thriving under Erik ten Hag. Rashford is averaging a goal every 121 minutes under ten Hag; his best minutes-per-goal ratio under any Man Utd manager in his career (21 goals in 2541 minutes). Connection. pic.twitter.com/hmnPgilcTT
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 16, 2023
I think Antony will take some time to get going. We’ve seen it with Grealish, who was playing in the Premier League every week. People say that Antony doesn’t have the end product, but he takes the ball up the pitch – if you’re a defender, you won’t like what he does. I think Antony’s under the impression that he’s got to do a trick to impress everybody – that’s not the case. He’s coming into the Premier League from a lesser league and he’s playing for the biggest club in the world. Antony will take his time and learn.
At the moment, I’d go with Antony, Rashford, and Jadon Sancho up front. It’s tricky with Alejandro Garnacho because he’s an impact player. When he starts, he struggles sometimes. It’s difficult to come on as a substitute and catch up with the pace of the game, and he’s very good at that.
This is going to be a proper test for Manchester United. Leicester have got nothing to lose and they’ll look to wreak havoc. United do not have Casemiro in their midfield, and Leicester could run through them a few times. Man United are very good going forward and I do see them scoring goals, but I think Leicester will cause them a few problems.
Prediction: Manchester United 2-2 Leicester City
Tottenham Hotspur vs West Ham United
Tottenham did pretty well against AC Milan and they kept the scoreline down to 1-0. They were never going to win that game, if I’m being honest. If Tottenham could play against City every week at home, they’d be all right. They’d sit back and play on the counter.
West Ham are a pretty good team and on their day, there’s not a lot between these teams. Both these sides are a bag of rebels. In a game like this where Tottenham need to go and get a win, you don’t know what you’re going to get. They could win this game by a 3-0 margin or play out a draw, and no one would be shocked. It’s a pundit’s nightmare. I would be shocked if they lost, however, because they set up to avoid defeat in Premier League matches.
Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 West Ham United