Tricky calls as tired legs come into play

December 27, 2020

We dive straight into the next round of English Premier League fixtures, so mane sure to get your selections in before kick-off with the Crystal Palace versus Leicester game at 5pm (SA time) on Monday, writes Gary Lemke.

In this “Boxing Day” round I managed some success, including getting the draw between Leicester and Manchester United, the exact score between Manchester City and Newcastle (2-0) and also suggesting that “Chelsea would do a Chelsea against an Arsenal team that had gone winless for seven games”.

This next round is going to test tired legs, given it happens right on top of this one. 

Here are my predictions, feel free to let me know what yours are.

Crystal Palace 1 Leicester 2: Palace have been poor in their last two games, shipping 10 goals and they were desperately poor in the second half against 10-man Villa last time. At home, with Zaha and a more direct approach, I can actually see them scoring but Leicester have won 6 of their 7 away games.

Chelsea 2 Aston Villa 1: The visitors go into this game ahead of Chelsea on the table and the Blues have had a torrid “Christmas”, with 3 points from a possible 12, losing three games. However, there should be a reaction to the Arsenal “no show”, while Villa will be without key defender Tyrone Mings.

Everton 1 Man City 2: The hosts go into this round second on the log after another 4 straight wins, mirroring what they did at the start of the season. They followed that result up with a 2-2 draw against Liverpool, so will history repeat and they draw this one as well? I just have a feeling though that City are starting to find form and have the squad depth. A draw is as big as 4.50-1!

Brighton 0 Arsenal 1: Suddenly the Gunners are crowing again after beating Chelsea and they’ll expect to have turned the corner and start climbing the table. They weren’t as good as Chelsea were bad however and Brighton aren’t without a chance here. Their problem is scoring goals – they’ve scored 3 from their last 5 games.

Burnley 2 Sheffield United 1: Things have become desperate for the Blades who have now lost 13 of their 15 games. Burnley will be confident of picking up a massive 3 points at home and move further clear of the drop zone. At some stage the visitors will start on a mini-run of form, but they’re going down and they know it.

Southampton 1 West Ham 1: The Saints were disappointing in their goalless draw at Fulham and have now gone three games without a win. This was written before the Hammers played Brighton on Sunday but they had stuttered a bit before that, winning only 1 in 4 games. They’re a side more than capable on their night though.

West Brom 1 Leeds 2: This is a reunion of their Championship rivalry of last season. There wasn’t much to split them with Leeds winning 1-0 and this corresponding fixture ending 1-1. The visitors would seem more likely to win this, but the draw is something I’m tempted to go for before kickoff.

Man United 2 Wolves 1: United looked to have continued their march up the table before Vardy scored a late equaliser for Leicester on Boxing Day but they’ll fancy their chances of all the points here against Wolves. I would have gone for the draw but United have had over 24 hours more rest, after Wolves had to play the last game on Sunday night, against Tottenham.

Tottenham 1 Fulham 0: Spurs will have the more tired legs after playing Sunday night, while Fulham scrapped a draw against Southampton on Saturday. Don’t expect a vintage performance here from Tottenham, but they’ll still fancy their chances of winning this.

Newcastle 0 Liverpool 2: Newcastle had a “double-header” against Man City and Liverpool over this holiday period and very few would have expected them to come away with anything from those 2 matches. They lost 2-0 at City and I’m going for the same scoreline here against the log leaders.

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