By: Alex Greenberg
If you read my last set of picks for the Premier League, and then subsequently watched the matches on Tuesday and Wednesday, you’re probably laughing at me. I said Manchester United and Newcastle would play a boring game. Instead they played to a 3-3 tie in what was one of the most exciting games of the season so far. I claimed Manchester City and Everton would provide a feast of goals for viewers, but that one ended 0-0. I got the Watford-Southampton scoreline right, but I should’ve said 2-0 to Saints instead of to Watford. I predicted a comfortable win for Tottenham, but the only comfortable thing from the entire game was Robert Huth’s winning header…HOW DID HE HAVE SO MUCH SPACE?!
I’m putting those poor predictions behind me, you should too. Saturday, Sunday, and Monday once again bring us a full slate of Premier League action, and there is so much to play for. Here are my picks for this weekend’s games.
(All times EST)
Sunderland at Tottenham (7:45 AM)
This is a must win game for Tottenham. Spurs have put themselves in a good position to capitalize off the struggles of Chelsea, Liverpool, and Man United. They’re in the coveted fourth place, but there are other Champions League suitors hot on their tail. Sunderland are still in the relegation zone, and Champions League contenders need to beat up on teams in the bottom three. Spurs will be up against a familiar face in Jermain Defoe, who scored a hat trick for Sunderland against Swansea. Defoe is a Tottenham legend, and Tottenham legends have a knack for scoring against Tottenham, but Spurs should win or will be massively disappointed.
Sunderland 0-2 Tottenham
Everton at Chelsea (10 AM)
These teams love a draw at the moment. Three of Chelsea’s four last matches have ended in stalemate, while Everton have tied their last two in the Premier League. Chelsea have improved since Mourinho was fired, but they still have an air of uncertainty surrounding their defending. I see another tie here for both teams before they start spending in the January transfer window.
Crystal Palace at Manchester City (10 AM)
Crystal Palace are so desperate for a striker that they are reportedly thinking of signing Togolese mercenary Emmanuel Adebayor, now that’s desperation. These days Adebayor can be seen on SnapChat lounging around at one of his many homes in Africa. City didn’t score in their last game, and they’re too good to be held in check for two matches in a row. Man City win comfortably and look to keep pace with Arsenal in the race for the title.
Crystal Palace 0-3 Manchester City
West Ham at Newcastle (10 AM)
West Ham, now in fifth place, sit only a point behind Tottenham in the table. The Hammers have started to show consistency this season and haven’t lost since they were beaten by Spurs 4-1 on November 22nd. Newcastle have been putting their best foot forward against teams at the top of the table, and I think they’ll get another result here. West Ham are due for a loss, and Newcastle’s new signing Jonjo Shelvey will be hungry to jump right into the action. Also he looks like Voldemort, and last time I checked there were no wizards in West Ham’s defense.
West Ham 1-2 Newcastle
West Brom at Southampton (10 AM)
Both of these teams put forth impressive showings last week. Southampton won for the first time in a while as they dominated Watford at St. Mary’s. West Brom tied with Chelsea by fighting back from two deficits to equalize. The edge in this one goes to Tony Pulis and West Brom. On the road they will be set up to restrict space and to strike on counters and set pieces. I foresee an ugly win for West Brom, but has winning ugly ever stopped Pulis before?
West Brom 1-0 Southampton
Norwich City at Bournemouth (10 AM)
Two of the newly promoted teams square off in match that will play a pivotal role in the relegation battle. Norwich and Bournemouth are both just above the relegation zone, and both have dreams of pushing up a bit further in the table and avoiding a relegation battle all together. Bournemouth get a crucial three points here partially because of their new signings. Benik Afobe will prove that he can make the transition from the Championship to the Premier League, mid-season, while continuing to score goals.
Norwich 1-3 Bournemouth
Leicester City at Aston Villa (12:30 PM)
Leicester are like that kid who tries to sit at a new lunch table in an effort to make friends. United, Arsenal, City, Tottenham and Liverpool are all at the table just hoping that Leicester gets up for a second so they can give his seat to someone else. But Leicester stays put and even starts to make fun of the other members of the table. In a last ditch effort to get Leicester to leave the table, the big boys of the league throw Aston Villa at him. You know, Aston Villa, that kid who is constantly sneezing and projecting germs everywhere they go. The hope is that Villa will infect Leicester or at least vomit on them and force them to run crying out of the cafeteria. But it’s more likely that Villa slip and fall before even the table, causing the entire Premier League to laugh at them some more.
Leicester 2-0 Aston Villa
Manchester United at Liverpool (9:05 AM)
These teams are both slightly down on their luck. Liverpool can’t defend or stay healthy, and United can only either defend or attack, depending on the day. Roberto Firmino scored two goals in the 3-3 tie with Arsenal, but Wayne Rooney is also coming into form for United. If Rooney plays well, United win. He’s had a down season, but there’s still a quality footballer in there, despite Rooney now balding for a third time after previous hair procedures. I think England’s all time leading goal scorer will drag his United team to a victory at Anfield.
United 2-1 Liverpool
Arsenal at Stoke City (11:15 AM)
Olivier Giroud has scored three goals in Arsenal’s last two games, and was man of the match in the Liverpool game. Arsenal fans have been begging for a new striker for so long, but they’ve probably got one good enough to win the league with already. It’s too bad that Giroud is one of the most unlikable characters in the Premier League. Stoke have the attacking firepower to trouble an Arsenal defense that looked very poor against Liverpool. I’m hoping Stoke pull it out, but it will more likely be the gooners.
Arsenal 3-2 Stoke City
Watford at Swansea City (3 PM)
Watford’s loss to Southampton was very unlike Quique Sanchez Flores’ team. They only had one shot on target the entire game as striking partners Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo were snuffed out. Swansea let Sunderland put four goals past them last week, but a big part of that was because of Kyle Naughton’s questionable sending off. A little less damage for Swansea this week, but Watford are the better team and will win.
Watford 2-1 Swansea City