Saturday, February 18
Villa now has lost two straight while conceding seven. The Villans are relatively comfortable mid-table. They’re still conceding at home.
The Gunners are in their worst run of the season. They’ve scored just twice in their last three, despite having the second most goals on the season. They need goals. They need a win. Anything but a win would bring back ghosts of seasons past. This is a big game. It’ll be interesting to see if Arteta rotates to get some life back into the team.
Prediction: Aston Villa 0 - 2 Arsenal
Brentford vs Crystal Palace
Brentford hasn’t lost since October 23rd! Palace hasn’t won since December 31st.
Brentford has won the last three home fixtures by a combined 8-1 scoreline. The Bees are playing well on both sides of the ball. They are sitting outside of any European spot, but in this form they will keep pace.
Palace needs to turn losses into ties, and ties into wins. Over the last five, the Eagles have tied three and lost each of the others by a single goal. They are in games, but can they make the big plays (and avoid the big mistakes) needed to keep themselves safely mid-table?
Prediction: Brentford 2 vs 1 Crystal Palace
Brighton vs Fulham
At the beginning of the season, no one would have predicted that this game would be massive for these two teams looking to move into the top five!
Brighton is playing with confidence. The Seagulls haven’t lost in 2023, and with two games in hand, they are pushing up the table.
I continue to be impressed by the fight that Fulham brings each week. The Cottagers need results to keep pace, and this will be a big test for them. Late fitness tests could have a big impact on their lineup and chance of success.
Prediction: Brighton 2 vs 1 Fulham
Lack of goals will concern the Blues. The new arrivals have made a difference in play, but that play has yet to turn to the wins that fans hoped for.
Southampton has lost nine of ten. That is rough a run. The Saints are near the bottom for both goals for and against. It’s a recipe for relegation, and it’s just the tonic Chelsea needs to move up the table.
Prediction: Chelsea 3 - 0 Southampton
Both teams have new managers but similar struggles. Leeds is only a point ahead of Everton, the two teams straddling the drop zone threshold, so this is a huge game.
The win over Arsenal was thought to be the Toffees’ turning point, but then they lost 2-0 to Liverpool, looking like a return to normal. They haven’t scored more than one goal since October 22, losing seven of ten since.
Leeds isn’t much better, not winning since November 5 despite scoring a few more goals.
Prediction: Everton 1 - 1 Leeds
Nottingham Forest vs Man City
Forest has climbed out of the cellar, but the cellar door is far from closed. This is a much more settled team, not bleeding goals like early in the season after Niakhate’s injury.
City’s win against Arsenal was impressive. The Citizens showed real moments of quality that reminded us why they are defending champions. Pep loaded the squad with midfielders who pressured defensively up and down the field while still being able to transition into quick attack. They look dangerous, very dangerous. With a Champions League game midweek, I expect some rotation.
Prediction: Forest 0 - 3 Man City
Wolves vs Bournemouth
With three wins from four, Wolves have clawed their way out of the relegation zone. They are far from safe, but those three wins match the total they had before the new year. They will find encouragement from their recent goal scoring bonanza, five in two games, after scoring a grand total of 12 before that this season.
Prospects are less encouraging for the Cherries, who haven’t won since mid-November. During that stretch, they’ve been shut out four times while scoring just twice. It’s looking bleak.
Prediction: Wolves 2 - 0 Bournemouth
Recent seasons’ script is flipped here, as Newcastle sits fourth while Liverpool lingers mid-table. Newcastle has but a single loss this season, conceding just 13 goals — that’s eight fewer than the second best defense. It’s a remarkable record (in case you’re wondering like me, 15 goals is the record for least conceded. 2004-05 Chelsea holds this.)
But... that one loss was to Liverpool. Only Liverpool and City have scored more than once against Pope and his defense. Liverpool’s win against Everton was much needed. The goals were their first two after being shut out three straight.
Prediction: Newcastle 2 - 1 Liverpool
Sunday, February 19
United has earned way up to third in the table. The Red Devils are scoring, not shut out since Newcastle held them scoreless in October. A top-four spot is theirs to lose at this point. It seems as though sometimes addition by subtraction is a real thing, as they’ve found a different form since CR-7 left. Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes are both playing with confidence.
Leicester has won two in a row, each while scoring four, making it ten goals in three games. The two wins have catapulted the Foxes away from the tight relegation battle, but they’re not out of it.
There could be goals here.
Prediction: Manchester United 3 - 1 Leicester
It’s anyone’s guess as to which Spurs team shows up. Will it be the 1-0, grind it out for a win team? The concede four goals for a loss team? The scoring juggernaut team that puts four past the opposition? That inconsistency is what finds them in 5th.
West Ham’s inconsistency makes Spurs’ look like a stable squad. I suppose since they haven’t lost in three games it’s a good run of form. The Hammers are in a fight. They need points.
Prediction: Spurs 2 - 0 West Ham
Let the games begin! Join in the chat below!