Score Predictor

Following an up and down week for Darren, I’ve taken over Predictor duties for the week and I’m not afraid to admit that I’m gunning for the gig full-time! Sure, I only got four correct results last week and three of them where the easiest predictions I’ll make all season (Liverpool at Sunderland, Chelsea at home to Newcastle and Arsenal at home against Stoke City) and am currently nowhere near the top of any of my mini-leagues, but that’s neither here nor there. Darren got five correct results with three correct scores and outperformed me to an absurd degree, so maybe take my advice with a pinch of salt.

This week’s fixtures see Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea all play away from home, while Manchester City and Arsenal provide the clash of the round. There are valuable points to be won this weekend and the best bet is in taking a few risks.

Favourites

Chelsea have been consistent favourites in every game they’ve played this season and an away game at a Wilfried Bony-less Swansea City is no exception. With 92% of you backing the away win; the numbers suggest it’s going to take something epic from Gary Monk and Bafetimbi Gomis to earn a point at the Liberty Stadium this weekend, but we’re not so sure. Swansea City have already beaten Arsenal at home this season and will surely be playing with a point to prove having lost their star player first to the African Cup of Nations and then to Manchester City. The 4% backing Swansea in the game will be collecting hard earned points should they win. The same percentage believes a draw is on the cards in South Wales.

Even though Tottenham Hotspur bucked their status as the heaviest favourites of last weekend’s fixtures by losing away at Crystal Palace in Alan Pardew’s first league game as coach of the South London club, a massive 89% of you believe they’ll take care of business at home to Sunderland on Saturday. Only 3% of you believe Gus Poyet’s team can win at White Hart Lane, while 8% of you think a draw is on the cards, but what percentage of you think potential debutant Jermain Defoe can make a goalscoring Premier League return against his former club? Goals are what Sunderland really need and as one of the most lethal finishers in English football history, could Defoe provide the spark on Saturday?

Another team that couldn’t make their status as heavy favourites count last week, 85% of you are expecting Manchester United to take care of business away at Queens Park Rangers on Saturday. Harry Redknapp’s team are massively reliant on strong home form keeping them in the Premier League this season as the West London club have so consistently failed in games away from Loftus Road, but only 5% of you think the Charlie Austin inspired side can do the job this weekend. How Manchester United bounce back from their home defeat to Southampton on Sunday will tell us a lot about Louis van Gaal’s team this season, but Rangers are well placed to spring a surprise.

Close Calls

You guys have struggled to make a call on Burnley’s home fixture against Crystal Palace with 46% of you opting for the draw. Sean Dyche’s team continue to surprise opponents by matching the requisite spirit and work ethic with moments of inspiration and commendable commitment to working the ball and have made their home form count for a lot in the first half of the season, but Crystal Palace, Alan Pardew in tow, are something of an unknown entity. Without Mile Jedinak and Yanick Bolasie, arguably their two best players, the South London side took maximum points against Spurs last weekend and will be riding that high all the way to Turf Moor, which explains just how hard it is to pick this game. 33% of you think Burnley continue their strong home showings with a win and 21% think the ‘New Palace’ take all three points.

Another two teams we’ve all struggled to pin down this season, Leicester City welcome Stoke City to the King Power Stadium on Saturday. There is a lean toward the more established Premier League team to win the game, with 44% of you picking Mark Hughes’ side, but the draw at 32% tells the bigger story. Leicester City have circled the bottom three since the very earliest weeks of the season and have rarely (one home game against Manchester United aside) looked like a team capable of beating the drop, but your lack of faith in Stoke City as an away team has given the home team a good shout at collecting a point. 24% of you believe Nigel Pearson’s team will go one better than that by winning the game.

What Do We Think?

Desperate to out-perform Darren this week, I’m worried that I’m backing too many draws, but I’ve got a couple of away wins that can seriously affect my weekend, so here’s hoping.

Saturday

15:00: Aston Villa 0 – 2 Liverpool

15:00: Burnley 1 – 1 Crystal Palace

15:00: Leicester City 1 – 1 Stoke City

15:00: QPR 1 – 2 Manchester United

15:00: Swansea City 1 – 3 Chelsea

15:00: Tottenham Hotspur 3 – 1 Sunderland

17:30: Newcastle United 2 – 2 Southampton

Sunday

13:30: West Ham 2 – 0 Hull City

16:00: Manchester City 1 – 2 Arsenal

Monday

20:00: Everton 2 – 2 West Bromwich Albion

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