Gameweek 17, like a lot of the gameweeks this season brought a couple of shocks. The most notable being Norwich beating Manchester United at Old Trafford, which has put LVG very much under scrutiny as the Man United manager. Gameweek 18 marks the start of the FPL cup which excites many managers including myself. Let’s see if this fantasy premier league gameweek can shock and excite as the others have before hand…
Stoke City vs Manchester United
Stoke since beating Manchester City have not really pushed on from that. They haven’t won since then, with a draw and a defeat to West Ham and Crystal Palace respectively. Manchester United are also on a bad run of form. They haven’t won in 6 games (league and cup), which for a title contender, is exactly not what they want. Their fans have expressed these opinions, booing them during and after matches.
Star Man – Anthony Martial (7.7m)
Scored against Norwich and may regain his form he had at the start of his United career.
Prediction – Stoke City 1-1 Manchester United
Aston Villa vs West Ham
Aston Villa are still rock bottom of the Barclays Premier League and are guaranteed to be bottom at Christmas, but are showing small glimmers that suggest they aren’t down and out already. This includes the great Jordan Ayew strike away at Newcastle where they could’ve quite easily won. West Ham are a team who have dropped off since their quick start and have registered a few draws in recent games and aren’t really showing that much class since the injuries to Payet and Lanzini.
Star Man – Jordan Ayew (5.5m)
Scored a great goal at Newcastle and has looked dangerous in other matches recently.
Prediction – Aston Villa 1-1 West Ham
Bournemouth vs Crystal Palace
Bournemouth have shocked many in the last couple of weeks. They have won 3 games in a row and don’t look like tiring. This run has shot them reasonably comfortably outside the relegation zone. Crystal Palace will be a very tough opponent for the Cherries as they also are in very good form. They are bouncing back off a 2-1 away victory at Stoke, they have also put away Newcastle and drew with Everton in recent games.
Star Man – Matt Ritchie (5.5m)
Ritchie has been electric for Bournemouth this season and will be their spark against Palace.
Prediction – Bournemouth 2-3 Crystal Palace
Chelsea vs Watford
Chelsea, having just sacked Jose Mourinho, are looking more like their old selves with their 3-1 home victory to a struggling Sunderland. They also might be more geared up by the announcement that Gus Hiddink will be their interim manager until the end of the season. Hiddink endured a reasonable amount of success in his first spell at the club. Watford will also come into this fixture hopeful as they are miraculously 1 point outside the Champions League places, which is extraordinary considering the position of other ‘bigger’ teams.
Star Man – Oscar (8.2m)
Looked a changed man against Sunderland and can continue his form he had last season.
Prediction – Chelsea 3-1 Watford
Liverpool vs Leicester City
Liverpool have not improved since Jürgen Klopp arrived and this was shown in the away defeat to Watford which saw them go down 3-0. A home game against Leicester is certainly not what they needed at this time of the season. Leicester have guaranteed themselves the top spot at Christmas, which has been greatly deserved, especially looking at some of their gutsy performances, like their one at Everton last week.
Star Man – Shinji Okazaki (5.6m)
Last week he proved that there is more to Leicester City than Mahrez and Vardy. Okazaki could become just as important in their push for a top 4 finish (or even the title)!
Prediction – Liverpool 1-3 Leicester City
Manchester City vs Sunderland
Manchester City are coming off a well fought 2-1 away loss to Arsenal. A positive to take from the game is that Sergio Agüero started. Sunderland are an almost certainty to go down if they don’t buck up their ideas and start winning games under Sam Allardyce. Despite winning the Tyne-weir derby, which by the looks of it every new Sunderland manager can, do so that result is not a great factor in Allardyce’s reign
Star Man – Sergio Aguero (13.0m)
Back from injury (again) possible triple captain option as he looked dangerous at times at Arsenal.
Prediction – Manchester City 3-0 Sunderland
Tottenham vs Norwich
After their home loss to Newcastle, Spurs needed to step up a gear and they certainly did so with their win away at Pochettino’s old club Southampton. Norwich last week caused one of the shocks of the season defeating Manchester United away from home, scoring 2 goals in the process. Against Tottenham however it will be a different kettle of fish.
Star Man – Moussa Dembele (5.3m)
Dembele has just come back from injury but dominated the midfield at Southampton.
Prediction– Tottenham 3-1 Norwich
Swansea vs West Brom
Swansea are still looking for their new manager, but may not need to look that far if their 2 results under Pep Clotet are anything to come by. An unlucky 2-1 defeat at Man City and a dominant draw at home to West Ham isn’t to be shied at. West Brom are coming off a 2-1 hone defeat to an in from Bournemouth side which saw them finish the game with 10 men.
Star Man – Andre Ayew (7.0m)
Just like his brother; looking dangerous in games recently.
Prediction – Swansea 2-1 West Brom
Newcastle vs Everton
Newcastle have been revived lately and have picked up 7 points from their last 3 games. However the easiest of them came last week against Aston Villa, where they failed to hold on to a lead and fell to a 1-1 draw to Remi Garde’s side. Everton are also coming off a below par result, albeit against table toppers Leicester, where they conceded 3, not for the first time as well this season.
Star Man – Aleksandar Mitrovic (6.2m)
Aside from the obvious (Lukaku etc) I believe Mitrovic may grab a goal in the form he’s in.
Prediction – Newcastle 1-3 Everton
Southampton vs Arsenal
Southampton are a team who have very much struggled in recent times a lot like West Ham, they started off well but have faded after a couple of poor performances which saw them drop points in the winnable games. For instance their recent 1-1 home draw to bottom of the league Aston Villa. Arsenal are placed 2nd in the league and flying at the moment. Most recently a 2-1 home victory to title rivals Manchester City.
Star Man – Theo Walcott (8.3m)
Scored against Manchester City and against his former club, he will cause them problems.
Prediction – Southampton 0-2 Arsenal
Written by Harry Clark