With the calendar turning over to 2021 a wave of positivity floods over us again as we look to put 2020 behind us and start on fresh new beginnings, writes Gary Lemke. For many of us involved with the EPL and Superbru we can only hope there are more green arrows to look forward to, starting tonight.
Matches have been coming thick and fast over this holiday period and as we start the New Year it’s Liverpool and Manchester United who are Nos 1 and 2 on the table, and United in fact have a game in hand over their historic arch-rivals. Who would have thought that would be the case a few short months ago?
Those who have been watching our scoring trends will have been weathering a couple of storms when it comes to results. Some stats don’t lie, so factor this into your own scoring. Here are the most popular scoreline so far since the season started. Only six different scorelines have cropped up on more than four occasions.
1-0: 30 times
1-1: 22 times
2-1: 20 times
2-0: 16 times
3-0: 14 times
0-0: 12 times
4-1: 4 times
5-2: 4 times
3-2: 4 times
Into this next round we go. Here are my selections, feel free to agree/disagree or use to your advantage.
Everton 2 West Ham 1: The worry for me here is that Everton have won 4 in a row. Winning 5 in a row in this league is incredibly difficult. In their last 10 head to heads, Everton have won 4, West Ham have won 3 and there have been 3 draws. I’m going with Everton to sneak this though.
Man United 2 Aston Villa 0: Only Man City have conceded fewer goals than Man City and only Liverpool have scored more than United. The stage is therefore set to be a case of the United attack against the Villa defence. Villa are unbeaten in their last 5, while United’s unbeaten run stretches to 9 games.
Tottenham 3 Leeds 1: Leeds have scored 30 and conceded 30 goals are their games are never dull. Spurs haven’t won for 4 matches but might have picked good opponents here. The styles suggest Leeds will attack and Jose’s team will be able to sit back for periods and launch quick, damaging counters.
Crystal Palace 3 Sheffield United 0: The Blades are going down, having drawn 2 of their 16 games and sit rock bottom. But, they will still create the odd upset. This could be one, given Palace haven’t won in their last 5, and have drawn 3. But I think Palace will be too physical and if they can get an early goal might well be spurred on to get more.
Brighton 0 Wolves 1: Brighton haven’t won for 7 matches, while Wolves have only won 1 of their last 6. Originally I went for the draw but if this game gets to half-time at 0-0, which I think it might, then Wolves might just come on a bit stronger. The lack of home fans will work to their advantage.
West Brom 0 Arsenal 2: Just when we thought Big Sam was starting to work his magic with a draw at Anfield, Leeds hammered them 5-0. They’ve conceded 35 goals (5 more than next “worse” Leeds) and probably meet Arsenal at the wrong time, given the Gunners haven’t been great lately, but have gained confidence from their last 2 wins.
Burnley 2 Fulham 1: Important game for both, a six-pointer of sorts. Fulham have drawn their last 4 so something surely has to give one way or another. Burnley have won 3 of their last 5 and Sean Dyche is doing what he does best – get enough out of his side to make them tough to beat and move clear of the relegation zone.
Newcastle 0 Leicester 2: Steve Bruce felt the 0-0 draw against Liverpool is the start of better things for Newcastle but I’m not convinced. They remain the toughest side to call a result for in the League. I’m going for Leicester, despite them drawing their last 2 games. They’ve won 6 away from home and have a 7-3 win record against Newcastle in their last 10 League games.
Chelsea 2 Man City 1: The visitors are favourites and Chelsea’s recent form has been poor by their expectations. Interestingly, in their last 10 League games there hasn’t been a draw, with City winning 6 of them. Both are on 26 points but City have 2 games in hand and will fancy their chances here. But, I’m a Chelsea fan and live in eternal hope!
Southampton 1 Liverpool 3: Both West Brom and Newcastle drew with Liverpool in the past week, with the Reds dropping 4 points in the process against teams they’d expected to beat. Southampton’s own form has tailed off a bit and they’ve won only once in their last 10 League games against Liverpool. This could be quite an open game, which would work to the champions’ advantage.