Cardiff City v Tottenham Hotspur, the predictions

Tuesday 1 January 2019

  • 17:30 Cardiff City v Tottenham Hotspur
  • Referee: Kevin Friend
  • Assistants: Stuart Burt, Matthew Wilkes
  • Fourth official: Simon Hooper

The prediction we’ve thought might well come true with regards to Tottenham is that once they move to their new home stadium they will have a problem.   That’s nothing to do with Tottenham as such, but rather to do with the fact that most clubs on moving grounds have a problem.  It was a pattern that began in the 1990s with Middlesbrough moving and being relegated.  Stoke, Bolton, Derby, Sunderland, Wigan, Reading, Southampton, Hull, and Leicester all followed.

Of course not everyone goes down when they build a new ground – especially if they are funded from the public purse such as Manchester City and West Ham United; but it can happen.

This is not to say that Tottenham will end up being relegated next season, but it is a sign that moving ground can cause a bit of a wobble.

And I wonder if we have seen a little bit of that, even before the new stadium is opened, with Tottenham Hotspur.  Looing at their results of late what we see is…

02 Dec 2018 Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur L 4-2
05 Dec 2018 Tottenham Hotspur v Southampton W 3-1
08 Dec 2018 Leicester City v Tottenham Hotspur W 0-2
15 Dec 2018 Tottenham Hotspur v Burnley W 1-0
23 Dec 2018 Everton v Tottenham Hotspur W 2-6
26 Dec 2018 Tottenham Hotspur v AFC Bournemouth W 5-0
29 Dec 2018 Tottenham Hotspur v Wolverhampton Wanderers L 1-3

A wonderful run of wins in the league (cup games have been omitted from the above) and then suddenly the wobble on 29 December, after scoring 11 goals in two games.  Of course I am not sure when the actual start date is for the new ground, but it must be sometime soon, surely.

For this game, Cardiff at home are not fairing well, but given their aspirations at the start of the year maybe that is to be expected…

This is the home table…

Club P W D L F A GD
Pts
9 AFC Bournemouth 10 5 2 3 16 14 2 17
10 Watford 11 5 1 5 16 18 -2 16
11 Leicester City 10 4 2 4 12 10 2 14
12 Wolverhampton Wanderers 10 4 2 4 12 13 -1 14
13 West Ham United 10 4 1 5 14 16 -2 13
14 Cardiff City 10 4 1 5 13 20 -7 13
15 Fulham 10 3 3 4 12 19 -7 12
16 Burnley 10 3 1 6 12 20 -8 10
17 Southampton 10 1 6 3 11 15 -4 9

Four wins one draw and five defeats so far at home, and they are facing Tottenham, whose away form seems to suggest that they are just relieved not to be playing at Wembley.  This is Tottenham’s away form…

1 Tottenham Hotspur 11 9 0 2 25 12 13 27
2 Liverpool 10 8 2 0 21 5 16 26
3 Chelsea 10 7 1 2 19 8 11 22
4 Manchester City 10 6 2 2 18 7 11 20

Nine wins, two defeats and scoring over two goals a game while letting in just one – that is quite something for an away form.

So can Tottenham pick themselves up after a home defeat?  Certainly if that away form is something they are very conscious of.

The biggest worry for Cardiff must be that their overall form in December could have been better…

04 Dec 2018 West Ham United v Cardiff City L 3-1
08 Dec 2018 Cardiff City v Southampton W 1-0
15 Dec 2018 Watford v Cardiff City L 3-2
22 Dec 2018 Cardiff City v Manchester United L 1-5
26 Dec 2018 Crystal Palace v Cardiff City D 0-0
29 Dec 2018 Leicester City v Cardiff City W 0-1

Just two wins to report, both by 1-0, both against teams that looked possibles for defeat.

If Cardiff were to win, that would certainly put the worries into the Tottenham camp just before the move away from Wembley.  But for the moment I’ll go with a 0-2 to Tottenham.

Arsenal v Fulham: the predictions

Arsenal’s problems last season were not with their home form, where they were by and large terrific, but away.   And this season, although the away form has been better overall, the home form has held up.

Here is the home form league table…

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Liverpool 10 9 1 0 27 3 24 28
2 Manchester City 10 9 0 1 35 9 26 27
3 Arsenal 10 7 2 1 20 9 11 23
4 Chelsea 10 6 3 1 19 8 11 21
5 Tottenham Hotspur 9 6 0 3 18 9 9 18

Just one defeat at home, and that at the very start of the season when the new manager was still getting used to his team and the new arrivals.   Arsenal are not scoring at home in the way that Liverpool and Manchester City can, but they are knocking in an average of two goals a game – better than everyone in the league except the top two in the table above.

Only three teams have a home defence tighter than Arsenal – Chelsea and Liverpool as shown above – and surprisingly Crystal Palace who have scored five and let in eight at home.  Not a particular goal fest at Selhurst.  I wonder what the season ticket holders make of it all.

Fulham away are a different kettle of fish…

16 Southampton 10 2 1 7 10 21 -11 7
17 Cardiff City 10 1 2 7 6 18 -12 5
18 Huddersfield Town 10 1 2 7 8 21 -13 5
19 Burnley 10 1 2 7 7 21 -14 5
20 Fulham 10 0 2 8 6 24 -18 2

No wins, two draws and eight defeats, scored six and conceded 24.  So under one goal a game scored and 2.4 conceded per away game – the lack of wins is not surprising.

Arsenal in December have not been the team that went 22 games undefeated earlier, and they have an urgent need to regain their confidence.   The return of injured defenders might help, but above all they will know that after the Liverpool defeat they need to keep the fans onside.

The table below shows league games only…

Date Game Res Score
02 Dec 2018 Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur W 4-2
05 Dec 2018 Manchester United v Arsenal D 2-2
08 Dec 2018 Arsenal v Huddersfield Town W 1-0
16 Dec 2018 Southampton v Arsenal L 3-2
22 Dec 2018 Arsenal v Burnley W 3-1
26 Dec 2018 Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal D 1-1
29 Dec 2018 Liverpool v Arsenal L 5-1

Three wins, two draws and two defeats is not of the best, but in this match Arsenal are facing a side in real trouble… although there are signs of life…

02 Dec 2018 Chelsea v Fulham L 2-0
05 Dec 2018 Fulham v Leicester City D 1-1
08 Dec 2018 Manchester United v Fulham L 4-1
15 Dec 2018 Fulham v West Ham United L 0-2
22 Dec 2018 Newcastle United v Fulham D 0-0
26 Dec 2018 Fulham v Wolverhampton W D 1-1
29 Dec 2018 Fulham v Huddersfield Town W 1-0

The two draws helped steady the ship and then came the very welcome win against Huddersfield.  But Huddersfield are in as much trouble as Fulham, and I am not sure there is enough of a revitalisation for the club to hold Arsenal.

Overall Arsenal have scored 42 to Fulham’s 18 in 20 games which makes me think that even an Arsenal still shaken from the defeat at Liverpool should make it through 2-1 at the very least.

 

 

Everton v Leicester: the predictions

Tuesday 1 January

12:30 Everton v Leicester City
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Assistants: Stephen Child, Lee Betts
Fourth official: Anthony Taylor

Everton are currently 8th in the table when it comes to home matches only…

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Liverpool 10 9 1 0 27 3 24 28
2 Manchester City 10 9 0 1 35 9 26 27
3 Arsenal 10 7 2 1 20 9 11 23
4 Chelsea 10 6 3 1 19 8 11 21
5 Tottenham Hotspur 9 6 0 3 18 9 9 18
6 Manchester United 9 5 3 1 17 12 5 18
7 Brighton and Hove Albion 10 5 3 2 15 11 4 18
8 Everton 10 5 3 2 18 15 3 18

Five wins, three draws and two defeats but with only just having achieved positive score in the goal difference.  They sit alongside Tottenham and Manchester United who both have a home game in hand.

Leicester are in ninth place in the away games table with a creditable four wins, two draws and four defeats and a goal difference of minus one.

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Tottenham Hotspur 11 9 0 2 25 12 13 27
2 Liverpool 10 8 2 0 21 5 16 26
3 Chelsea 10 6 2 2 18 8 10 20
4 Manchester City 9 5 2 2 16 6 10 17
5 Arsenal 10 4 3 3 22 21 1 15
6 Wolverhampton Wanderers 10 4 3 3 11 10 1 15
7 Manchester United 10 4 2 4 20 19 1 14
8 West Ham United 9 4 2 3 13 12 1 14
9 Leicester City 10 4 2 4 12 13 -1 14

So neither team is knocking in the goals in their respective tables: Everton 1.8 to 1.5 per game and Leicester 1.2 to 1.3 per game.

Everton’s run in the Premier League has been poor of late…

Date Game Res Score
02 Dec 2018 Liverpool v Everton L 1-0
05 Dec 2018 Everton v Newcastle United D 1-1
10 Dec 2018 Everton v Watford D 2-2
15 Dec 2018 Manchester City v Everton L 3-1
23 Dec 2018 Everton v Tottenham Hotspur L 2-6
26 Dec 2018 Burnley v Everton W 1-5
29 Dec 2018 Brighton and Hove Albion v Everton L 1-0

Their one success in December being a thumping of a Burnley side whose manager committed team suicide by claiming that his team would not be able to win anything because the refs are all against them!  A bizarre thing to do.

Leicester have slightly edged this side of things in December – and as above we are looking here at Premier League matches only.

Date Game Res Score
01 Dec 2018 Leicester City v Watford W 2-0
05 Dec 2018 Fulham v Leicester City D 1-1
08 Dec 2018 Leicester City v Tottenham Hotspur L 0-2
15 Dec 2018 Crystal Palace v Leicester City L 1-0
22 Dec 2018 Chelsea v Leicester City W 0-1
26 Dec 2018 Leicester City v Manchester City W 2-1
29 Dec 2018 Leicester City v Cardiff City L 0-1

For Leicester the Cardiff result looks out of context from the rest, one presumes that they simply thought it would all be too easy after those two sensational results against Chelsea and Manchester City.

But given the closeness of the home and away results shown aabove I think the recent form could hold sway here and I’d go for a Leicester win.

 

Southampton v Manchester City: the predictions

Starting as usual with our look at the home and away form of the two clubs, Southampton have only won one game at home

Club P W D L F A GD Pts
16 Fulham 9 2 3 4 11 19 -8 9
17 Southampton 9 1 5 3 10 14 -4 8
18 Newcastle United 10 2 1 7 7 15 -8 7
19 Burnley 9 2 1 6 10 20 -10 7
20 Huddersfield Town 10 1 2 7 4 14 -10 5

However that was just recently and it was against Arsenal.

Manchester City on the other hand we might expect to have an excellent away form and yet…

Club P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Tottenham Hotspur 11 9 0 2 25 12 13 27
2 Liverpool 10 8 2 0 21 5 16 26
3 Chelsea 9 6 1 2 18 8 10 19
4 Manchester City 9 5 2 2 16 6 10 17
5 Arsenal 9 4 3 2 21 16 5 15

In fact Manchester City’s away form is only slightly better than Arsenal’s this season, and yet last season Arsenal had a terrible away form, that was the prime cause of them not qualifying for the Champions League.

However, Manchester City have only conceded six goals away from home while Southampton have conceded over twice as many at home.  That would seem to indicate that this will be the moment that Manchester City’s wobble will be over.

Southampton have had two wins of late in the Premier League

24 Nov 2018 Fulham v Southampton L 3-2
01 Dec 2018 Southampton v Manchester United D 2-2
05 Dec 2018 Tottenham Hotspur v Southampton L 3-1
08 Dec 2018 Cardiff City v Southampton L 1-0
16 Dec 2018 Southampton v Arsenal W 3-2
22 Dec 2018 Huddersfield Town v Southampton W 1-3
27 Dec 2018 Southampton v West Ham United L 1-2

With that win over Arsenal and then against struggling Huddersfield it is possible that the club thought they were on the way, but a home defeat to West Ham put a dent in that.

December has not been the best of months for Manchester City however, at least when it comes to the League:

01 Dec 2018 Manchester City v AFC Bournemouth W 3-1 Premier League
04 Dec 2018 Watford v Manchester City W 1-2 Premier League
08 Dec 2018 Chelsea v Manchester City L 2-0 Premier League
15 Dec 2018 Manchester City v Everton W 3-1 Premier League
22 Dec 2018 Manchester City v Crystal Palace L 2-3 Premier League
26 Dec 2018 Leicester City v Manchester City L 2-1 Premier League

Three defeats in the league all season and they have all come in the last four games.  What is more in the last four games Manchester City have conceded eight goals.  That hardly seems many but that is over half of all the league goals they have conceded in 19 games.  It really has been an implosion.

But can Southampton make the most of this?

Southampton has scored 20 and let in 35 all season so far.  Now 35 goals conceded in 19 games is a little bit on the high side – only Cardiff, Burnley and Fulham have done worse.  As for goals scored, despite their recent woes Manchester City are the top scoring team with 51 in 1 games making 2.68 goals per game.

The last time Southampton beat Manchester City was on 1 May 2016 – the result was 4-2.  Since then there has been one draw on Man City’s own ground, and then four straight City victories.  The last on 4 November was a home win for Man City by six goals to one.   Could Southampton really reverse that?

The City bad run will finish sometime, and I suspect that finish will come with another Man City win in this game, to get them rolling along once more.  They might also do some serious buying in the transfer window to expand their squad, which in terms of the 25 is one of the smallest in the league.

Recent Predictions

 

Totteham Hotspur v Wolverhampton: the predictions

If Tottenham do have a weakness it is at home as this league table based only on home matches shows

Club P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 10 9 0 1 35 9 26 27
2 Liverpool 9 8 1 0 22 2 20 25
3 Arsenal 10 7 2 1 20 9 11 23
4 Chelsea 10 6 3 1 19 8 11 21
5 Tottenham Hotspur 8 6 0 2 17 6 11 18

Even if Tottenham won both their home games in hand they would still only be third in the table, and winning both those home games is by no means certain.

Plus they have a problem: they will at some stage move to the new stadium, and unless they overthrow all historic prescedents that will give them some further issues.

It is not that they are bad at home thus far – not at all – but they are not operating at the level of the top two, which is where they aim to be.

As the table below shows they are in fact operating brilliantly away from home.  And this table shows why they certainly ought to win this match with ease for Wolverhampton are very much a mid-table away side

Club P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Tottenham Hotspur 11 9 0 2 25 12 13 27
2 Liverpool 10 8 2 0 21 5 16 26
3 Chelsea 9 6 1 2 18 8 10 19
4 Manchester City 9 5 2 2 16 6 10 17
5 Arsenal 9 4 3 2 21 16 5 15
6 Manchester United 10 4 2 4 20 19 1 14
7 West Ham United 9 4 2 3 13 12 1 14
8 Leicester City 10 4 2 4 12 13 -1 14
9 Watford 9 3 3 3 11 10 1 12
10 Wolverhampton Wanderers 9 3 3 3 8 9 -1 12

Three wins, three draws and three defeats with just eight goals scored and nine conceded does not give one the feeling that this team can defeat a team which has won six and lost two at home scoring 17 and conceding six.

Indeed since their defeat to Arsenal away from home Tottenham have regained their form in the league…

05 Dec 2018 Tottenham Hotspur v Southampton W 3-1
08 Dec 2018 Leicester City v Tottenham Hotspur W 0-2
15 Dec 2018 Tottenham Hotspur v Burnley W 1-0
23 Dec 2018 Everton v Tottenham Hotspur W 2-6
26 Dec 2018 Tottenham Hotspur v AFC Bournemouth W 5-0

Form can’t get better than that, not least with 11 goals in the last two games.  True Wolverhampton have not been doing too bad in the last five…

05 Dec 2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers v Chelsea W 2-1
09 Dec 2018 Newcastle United v Wolverhampton Wanderers W 1-2
15 Dec 2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers v AFC Bournemouth W 2-0
21 Dec 2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers v Liverpool L 0-2
26 Dec 2018 Fulham v Wolverhampton Wanderers D 1-1

And their defence looks solid, so they might well reduce Tottenham down from the five and six level, both because they are a defensive team and Tottenham are at Wembley, but even so anything other than a clear Tottenham victory by two goals or more would be a great surprise.

Other predictions…

 

Fulham v Huddersfield Town: the predictions

Fulham have not only moved off the bottom of the League but also bottom of the League when we just look at home games

Home games only

Pos Club P W D L F A GD Pts
14 Cardiff City 10 4 1 5 13 20 -7 13
15 Crystal Palace 9 2 3 4 5 8 -3 9
16 Fulham 9 2 3 4 11 19 -8 9
17 Southampton 9 1 5 3 10 14 -4 8
18 Newcastle United 10 2 1 7 7 15 -8 7
19 Burnley 9 2 1 6 10 20 -10 7
20 Huddersfield Town 10 1 2 7 4 14 -10 5

Two wins, three draws and four defeats is not terrific, but it is an improvement.  And just 11 goals at home in nine games is not great but it is better than five teams around them.

Huddersfield Town have only won one game all season, and are already three points away from safety.  But away from home they are not in the bottom three, just as Fulham are not in the home games table.

Away games only

14 AFC Bournemouth 9 3 0 6 11 19 -8 9
15 Brighton and Hove Albion 10 2 1 7 7 16 -9 7
16 Southampton 10 2 1 7 10 21 -11 7
17 Huddersfield Town 9 1 2 6 8 20 -12 5
18 Burnley 10 1 2 7 7 21 -14 5
19 Cardiff City 9 0 2 7 5 18 -13 2
20 Fulham 10 0 2 8 6 24 -18 2

So a team that has won two out of nine at home against a team that has won one out of nine away.   A team that has conceded 19 goals at home against a team that has scored 20 goals away.

The only factor where there is any light between the two is goals – 11 for Fulham at home and 8 for Huddersfield away.  Is that enough to give a home win?  In such a battle at the bottom it could be.

However there is one other factor where the teams can be separated:  The head to head.

If we travel back to 1994, there is only one Huddersfield win…

Date Game Res Score Competition
19 Mar 1994 Fulham v Huddersfield Town D 1-1 Division 2
23 Oct 1999 Huddersfield Town v Fulham D 1-1 Division 1
07 May 2000 Fulham v Huddersfield Town W 3-0 Division 1
04 Nov 2000 Fulham v Huddersfield Town W 3-0 Division 1
14 Apr 2001 Huddersfield Town v Fulham W 1-2 Division 1
08 Nov 2014 Fulham v Huddersfield Town W 3-1 Championship
21 Mar 2015 Huddersfield Town v Fulham W 0-2 Championship
22 Aug 2015 Fulham v Huddersfield Town D 1-1 Championship
16 Jan 2016 Huddersfield Town v Fulham D 1-1 Championship
29 Oct 2016 Fulham v Huddersfield Town W 5-0 Championship
22 Apr 2017 Huddersfield Town v Fulham W 1-4 Championship
05 Nov 2018 Huddersfield Town v Fulham L 1-0 Premier League

And it is not just that Fulham almost always win but also a look at the scores.  In the last three meetings there has been 10 goals for Fulham against two for Huddersfield.

This really does make it look like a Fulham win.

However there is just one more issue…

If we look at the league table

Pos Club P W D L F A GD Pts
17 Cardiff City 19 4 3 12 18 38 -20 15
18 Burnley 19 3 3 13 17 41 -24 12
19 Fulham 19 2 5 12 17 43 -26 11
20 Huddersfield Town 19 2 4 13 12 34 -22 10

three teams are slipping behind.  Can any of them make up the difference a push Cardiff down rather than themselves?  My view is that Burnley have committed suicide (see the last Burnley review) but I suspect one of the other two will make a recovery – and if either win in this round of games that could be the starting point.

I’m going for Fulham, although not by much.

See also

Brighton v Burnley: the predictions

Saturday 29 December

Brighton v Everton
Referee: Andy Madley
Assistants: Simon Long, Mick McDonough
Fourth official: Andre Marriner

Brighton have a decent enough home record, and can fight back at home as was shown in their game against Arsenal

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 10 9 0 1 35 9 26 27
2 Liverpool 9 8 1 0 22 2 20 25
3 Arsenal 10 7 2 1 20 9 11 23
4 Chelsea 10 6 3 1 19 8 11 21
5 Tottenham Hotspur 8 6 0 2 17 6 11 18
6 Manchester United 9 5 3 1 17 12 5 18
7 Everton 10 5 3 2 18 15 3 18
8 AFC Bournemouth 10 5 2 3 16 14 2 17
9 Brighton and Hove Albion 9 4 3 2 14 11 3 15

Everton however are struggling to show that they are anything but a middle ranking team when it comes to away form… two wins, three draws and four defeats – the exact reverse of the Brighton results at home.

11 Newcastle United 9 2 4 3 7 11 -4 10
12 Crystal Palace 10 3 1 6 12 17 -5 10
13 Everton 9 2 3 4 13 14 -1 9
14 AFC Bournemouth 9 3 0 6 11 19 -8 9
15 Brighton and Hove Albion 10 2 1 7 7 16 -9 7
16 Southampton 10 2 1 7 10 21 -11 7
17 Huddersfield Town 9 1 2 6 8 20 -12 5
18 Burnley 10 1 2 7 7 21 -14 5
19 Cardiff City 9 0 2 7 5 18 -13 2
20 Fulham 10 0 2 8 6 24 -18 2

The goals however are fairly similar.  Brighton at home have 14 for and 11 against, while Everton away have 13 scored and 14 against.   All this suggests Brighton might just edge it, but if so only by one go.

Here are Brighton’s recent games at home in the Premier League

27 Oct 2018 Brighton and Hove Albion v Wolverhampton W 1-0
24 Nov 2018 Brighton and Hove Albion v Leicester City D 1-1
04 Dec 2018 Brighton and Hove Albion v Crystal Palace W 3-1
16 Dec 2018 Brighton and Hove Albion v Chelsea L 1-2
26 Dec 2018 Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal D 1-1

That is a good run, with just one defeat to Chelsea thus far.  Everton’s last five in the league look like this

28 Oct 2018 Manchester United v Everton L 2-1
11 Nov 2018 Chelsea v Everton D 0-0
02 Dec 2018 Liverpool v Everton L 1-0
15 Dec 2018 Manchester City v Everton L 3-1
26 Dec 2018 Burnley v Everton W 1-5

Yes it was a fine win against Burnley but after a very poor run, and I can’t see Brighton giving up the ghost as Burnley did.   The stupidity of the Burnley manager coming out and saying that their team were always discriminated against by referees is revealed here – the team believe they can’t win because the manager has as good as said it.  What on earth did he expect?

So I take that as an oddity, and the result looks like a Brighton win to me.  The only chance of anything else by way of a result is a 1-1 draw.

Matchweek 20 the full list

Saturday 29 December

Brighton v Everton
Referee: Andy Madley
Assistants: Simon Long, Mick McDonough
Fourth official: Andre Marriner

Fulham v Huddersfield Town
Referee: Kevin Friend
Assistants: Matthew Wilkes, Andy Garratt
Fourth official: Chris Kavanagh

Leicester City v Cardiff City
Referee: Simon Hooper
Assistants: Richard West, Derek Eaton
Fourth official: Mike Dean

Tottenham Hotspur v Wolves
Referee: Stuart Attwell
Assistants: Stephen Child, Neil Davies
Fourth official: Lee Probert

Watford v Newcastle United
Referee: Roger East
Assistants: Harry Lennard, Simon Beck
Fourth official: Paul Tierney

17:30 Liverpool v Arsenal
Referee: Michael Oliver
Assistants: Stuart Burt, Simon Bennett
Fourth official: Jonathan Moss

Sunday 30 December

12:00 Crystal Palace v Chelsea
Referee: Craig Pawson
Assistants: Ian Hussin, Eddie Smart
Fourth official: Andre Marriner

14:15 Burnley v West Ham United
Referee: David Coote
Assistants: Peter Kirkup, Daniel Cook
Fourth official: Martin Atkinson

14:15 Southampton v Man City
Referee: Paul Tierney
Assistants: Constantine Hatzidakis, Scott Ledger
Fourth official: Lee Probert

16:30 Man Utd v AFC Bournemouth
Referee: Lee Mason
Assistants: Marc Perry, Adrian Holmes
Fourth official: Mike Dean

Watford v Chelsea: match predictions

Watford have been having a poor run, but have suddenly come out of it in the last couple of results…

Date Game Res Score Competition
03 Nov 2018 Newcastle United v Watford L 1-0 Premier League
10 Nov 2018 Southampton v Watford D 1-1 Premier League
24 Nov 2018 Watford v Liverpool L 0-3 Premier League
01 Dec 2018 Leicester City v Watford L 2-0 Premier League
04 Dec 2018 Watford v Manchester City L 1-2 Premier League
10 Dec 2018 Everton v Watford D 2-2 Premier League
15 Dec 2018 Watford v Cardiff City W 3-2 Premier League
22 Dec 2018 West Ham United v Watford W 0-2 Premier League

Now of course neither Cardiff nor West Ham are top six teams, but even so it required a pick up in form by Watford to get those two victories, scoring five goals.   Indeed add in the Everton game and we have seven goals scored by Watford in the last three Premier League games.

And in fact when we look at Watford’s home form they are in the top half of the table

Pos Club P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 10 9 0 1 35 9 26 27
2 Arsenal 10 7 2 1 20 9 11 23
3 Liverpool 8 7 1 0 18 2 16 22
4 Chelsea 10 6 3 1 19 8 11 21
5 Everton 10 5 3 2 18 15 3 18
6 AFC Bournemouth 10 5 2 3 16 14 2 17
7 Tottenham Hotspur 7 5 0 2 12 6 6 15
8 Manchester United 8 4 3 1 14 11 3 15
9 Watford 9 5 0 4 14 15 -1 15

In fact Watford have the same number of home points as Tottenham and Manchester United, although to be fair they have played more games at home.  The only thing missing is the solid home defence.  15 conceded at home is problematic.

Chelsea away from home are interesting…

Pos Club P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Tottenham Hotspur 11 9 0 2 25 12 13 27
2 Liverpool 10 8 2 0 21 5 16 26
3 Manchester City 8 5 2 1 15 4 11 17
4 Chelsea 8 5 1 2 16 7 9 16
5 Arsenal 8 4 2 2 20 15 5 14
6 Manchester United 10 4 2 4 20 19 1 14
7 Leicester City 10 4 2 4 12 13 -1 14
8 Watford 9 3 3 3 11 10 1 12

Five wins one draw and two defeats is pretty much par for a top six club away from home, and 16 goals against 9 shows they probably go into this game fairly confident of a win by 2-1.

Chelsea’s recent results however are also interesting…

Date Game Res Score Competition
05 Dec 2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers v Chelsea L 2-1 Premier League
08 Dec 2018 Chelsea v Manchester City W 2-0 Premier League
13 Dec 2018 Videoton v Chelsea D 2-2 Europa League
16 Dec 2018 Brighton and Hove Albion v Chelsea W 1-2 Premier League
19 Dec 2018 Chelsea v AFC Bournemouth W 1-0 League Cup
22 Dec 2018 Chelsea v Leicester City L 0-1 Premier League

We don’t need to worry too much about the Europa League game but two defeats in four Premier League games, with the team losing away to Wolverhampton and at home to Leicester suggest there is something not completely right.

When we come to the full league table, Chelsea’s expectation of a top four place and thus a return to the Champions League looks very possible – but not guaranteed.   They are unlikely, as things stand, to be caught by Manchester United (it would need a bad run by Chelsea to allow Man U to catch up) but there must also be a concern that Arsenal could overtake them

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Liverpool 18 15 3 0 39 7 32 48
2 Manchester City 18 14 2 2 50 13 37 44
3 Tottenham Hotspur 18 14 0 4 37 18 19 42
4 Chelsea 18 11 4 3 35 15 20 37
5 Arsenal 18 11 4 3 40 24 16 37
6 Manchester United 18 8 5 5 34 30 4 29
7 Watford 18 8 3 7 25 25 0 27

Chelsea’s victory over the 7th placed team is still likely, but it can’t be taken utterly for granted and there is an outside chance of a draw.  But a Watford victory would be a shock.

Burnley v Everton match predictions

For Burnley’s manager to blame his side’s defeat to Arsenal on the fact that referees favour the bigger clubs and won’t give his team penalties may have convinced some of the journalists that his team were hard done by, but doesn’t really explain the recent run of results…

Date Game Res Score Competition
20 Oct 2018 Manchester City v Burnley L 5-0 Premier League
28 Oct 2018 Burnley v Chelsea L 0-4 Premier League
03 Nov 2018 West Ham United v Burnley L 4-2 Premier League
10 Nov 2018 Leicester City v Burnley D 0-0 Premier League
26 Nov 2018 Burnley v Newcastle United L 1-2 Premier League
01 Dec 2018 Crystal Palace v Burnley L 2-0 Premier League
05 Dec 2018 Burnley v Liverpool L 1-3 Premier League
08 Dec 2018 Burnley v Brighton and Hove Albion W 1-0 Premier League
15 Dec 2018 Tottenham Hotspur v Burnley L 1-0 Premier League
22 Dec 2018 Arsenal v Burnley L 3-1 Premier League

Eight defeats one draw and one victory might be excused by having fixtures against Liverpool, Tottenham and Arsenal, in the last four, and Man City and Chelsea at the start of the run, but still the club has also been losing to Newcastle, Palace and Brighton.

Everton’s run across the same period shows the same gulf between the top clubs and those lower down the league…

Date Game Res Score Competition
03 Nov 2018 Everton v Brighton and Hove Albion W 3-1 Premier League
11 Nov 2018 Chelsea v Everton D 0-0 Premier League
24 Nov 2018 Everton v Cardiff City W 1-0 Premier League
02 Dec 2018 Liverpool v Everton L 1-0 Premier League
05 Dec 2018 Everton v Newcastle United D 1-1 Premier League
10 Dec 2018 Everton v Watford D 2-2 Premier League
15 Dec 2018 Manchester City v Everton L 3-1 Premier League
23 Dec 2018 Everton v Tottenham Hotspur L 2-6 Premier League

And here we notice that although they are losing to the clubs at the top of the table, they are only managing to draw with Newcastle and Watford.  The two wins have come against Brighton and Cardiff.

Burnley’s league results at home have not been reassuring

Pos Club P W D L F A GD Pts
16 Crystal Palace 8 2 2 4 5 8 -3 8
17 Fulham 8 2 2 4 10 18 -8 8
18 Burnley 8 2 1 5 9 15 -6 7
19 Newcastle United 10 2 1 7 7 15 -8 7
20 Huddersfield Town 10 1 2 7 4 14 -10 5

Two wins, one draw and five defeats with just nine goals scored in eight games, is not the home form of a team surviving in the top tier.

But they might take some hope from the fact that Everton away have an equally miserable position

Pos Club P W D L F A GD Pts
15 Southampton 10 2 1 7 10 21 -11 7
16 Everton 8 1 3 4 8 13 -5 6
17 Huddersfield Town 8 1 2 5 7 17 -10 5
18 Burnley 10 1 2 7 7 21 -14 5
19 Fulham 10 0 2 8 6 24 -18 2
20 Cardiff City 8 0 1 7 5 18 -13 1

Eight away games for Everton have given one win, three draws and four defeats, with eight scored and 13 conceded.

To combine those goals it is 5-9 at home for Burnley and 8-13 away for Everton.

Pulling it all together a draw looks the likely outcome and the chances of a goal fest are low.  Maybe the classic 1-1 is the most likely result.

The two clubs have met just eight times in the Premier League before this match, and it is four wins each so far, with not a PL draw between them.  That again suggests it might be time for one.   Burnley have actually had the better of things in the last four games, winning three and losing one, but when the main thrust of a manager’s post match commentary is the referee, that suggests to me, he’s running out of excuses.  It might be true, but it is not the best thing to say.  What motivation does that give to the players, apart from saying, you’ve got no chance, the referee is against you?

Brighton v Arsenal match predictions

Brighton have been erratic in the league and that is their defining characteristic this season.

From 25 August to 29 September they played six games – five in the league and once in the league cup (against Southampton).   They lost four and drew two.

Then starting on 5 October they won three in a row, two at home and one away.   Unlike the earlier games which had 22 goals in six games (3.7 goals a game), these three winning games contained just three goals (1.0 goals per game, obviously).

Next came two defeats away from home in the League, followed by a draw and two wins, and most recently three defeats.

These last three defeats on 8th, 16th and 22nd of December are interesting.  All three are in the Premier League:

Date Game Res Score
08 Dec Burnley v Brighton and Hove L 1-0
16 Dec Brighton and Hove  v Chelsea L 1-2
22 Dec Bournemouth v Brighton and Hove L 2-0

One goal to Brighton in three games (against Chelsea) and defeats to Burnley (!!!) and Bournemouth.  Maybe they don’t like teams that begin with B.

Of course Arsenal’s most recent adventures do not make particularly wonderful reading

Date Game Res Score Competition
16 Dec 2018 Southampton v Arsenal L 3-2 Premier League
19 Dec 2018 Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur L 0-2 League Cup
22 Dec 2018 Arsenal v Burnley W 3-1 Premier League

And Last season Arsenal lost away to Brighton at the end of a very depressing run of four games

22 Feb 2018 Arsenal v Östersunds FK L 1-2 Europa League
25 Feb 2018 Arsenal v Manchester City L 0-3 League Cup
01 Mar 2018 Arsenal v Manchester City L 0-3 Premier League
04 Mar 2018 Brighton and Hove  v Arsenal L 2-1 Premier League

But what of the home and away figures overall in relation to  the two teams…

Brighton are mid-table when it comes to home performances

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Manchester City 10 9 0 1 35 9 26 27
2 Arsenal 10 7 2 1 20 9 11 23
3 Liverpool 8 7 1 0 18 2 16 22
4 Chelsea 10 6 3 1 19 8 11 21
5 Everton 10 5 3 2 18 15 3 18
6 AFC Bournemouth 10 5 2 3 16 14 2 17
7 Tottenham Hotspur 7 5 0 2 12 6 6 15
8 Manchester United 8 4 3 1 14 11 3 15
9 Watford 9 5 0 4 14 15 -1 15
10 Brighton and Hove Albion 8 4 2 2 13 10 3 14

and although not relevant to this game Arsenal are second in this chart, although Liverpool hae two home games in hand and Tottenham, who are seriously trying to avoid playing at Wembley have three.

Away from home Arsenal are much stronger than they were last season, when the away form was their undoing.

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Tottenham Hotspur 11 9 0 2 25 12 13 27
2 Liverpool 10 8 2 0 21 5 16 26
3 Manchester City 8 5 2 1 15 4 11 17
4 Chelsea 8 5 1 2 16 7 9 16
5 Arsenal 8 4 2 2 20 15 5 14
6 Manchester United 10 4 2 4 20 19 1 14
7 Leicester City 10 4 2 4 12 13 -1 14

Four wins in the first eight away games for Arsenal is equal to their total for the whole of last season.

We can also see that Arsenal have a 20 to 15 goal tally away from home whereas Brighton are on 13 to 10 at home.  This suggests that Arsenal will go up against Brighton – and their division of goals between first and second half is very much stacked in favour of the second half.

What’s more there is Aubameyang – a top scorer now very much in form.  If we look for the top 20 scorers in the division right at the top we have Aubameyang with 20 goals, and the fastest scoring rate at 116 minutes per goal.  He’s knocked in 12 goals and just to round it off has 3 assists.

Brighton’s top may is Glenn Murray with 8 goals and no assists, coming in with a goal every 142 minutes.

Also in the top 20 is Alexandre Lacazette with 6 goals and 4 assists.

This looks to me like an Arsenal win.   Brighton do score at home so might get the one, but Arsenal are averaging 2.5 league goals per game away from home so I suspect it will be 1-2 to Arsenal.

 

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