May 12, 2023 7:08 pm
We take a look at this week’s Premier League actions, including crunch matches for Leeds and Southampton, who host Newcastle and Fulham respectively, whilst elsewhere, Villa has a chance to leapfrog their opponents, Tottenham Hotspur, into 6th place.
This Week’s Premier League Fixtures
Leeds v Newcastle
Aston Villa v Tottenham Hotspur
Chelsea v Nottingham Forest
Crystal Palace v Bournemouth
Man United v Wolves
Southampton v Fulham
Brentford v West Ham
Everton v Man City
Arsenal v Brighton
Leicester v Liverpool
Leeds v newcastle
Leeds really is in trouble. They had a free hit against Man City last week, with nobody expecting them to get anything out of the game. Allardyce took the pressure off his players by claiming he was one of the best managers in the league and set his team up to hurt City where they could.
As expected, Man City raced into a 2-0 lead, with Gundogan scoring twice within the first 27 minutes. Haaland had enough chances to score 6 or 7 himself but missed his chances over and over throughout the 90 minutes.
Leeds held on, typical of an Allardyce side, and did get a goal back late on into the second half. With 5 minutes to go, substitute Rodrigo halved the deficit, and gave Leeds fans the belief they could get something out of the game.
Alas, the final whistle came and went, and despite there being plenty of positives for Leeds, their position is very precarious now. With results going against them, they dropped down into 19th place, and now sit 2 points away from safety, with just 3 games remaining. It is nearly panic stations for Leeds now.
Newcastle will feel hard done by in their game against Arsenal. The game was an even contest, which was to be expected, especially with Newcastle playing at home. But an early Ødegaard goal settled Arsenal into the game.
Newcastle had their chances, and it could have been a different story. Had Murphy’s early effort hit the back of the net rather than the woodwork, and had the referee not overturned a penalty for Newcastle, they could be blown Arsenal away in the first 15 minutes.
Fabian Schär put the result beyond doubt as he directed the ball into the back of his own net, with Arsenal running out 2-0 victors. Fortunately for Newcastle, Man United also lost their game, and so they remained in 3rd place, but have allowed Liverpool to cut the gap even more now.
A few weeks ago, this would have looked like a comfortable win for Newcastle. But after Leeds’ second-half performance against Man City, this tie could be much more interesting. I do think Newcastle will have too much for Leeds to handle, but it will not be easy for them, Allardyce knows how to set a team up to frustrate the opponent.
Prediction: Leeds 1 – 2 Newcastle
Aston Villa v Tottenham Hotspur
Aston Villa have been one of the stories of the season, going from a team lingering around the relegation spots to a team challenging for a spot in the top 6 under a new manager. Their revival this season has been nothing short of incredible.
Their league position could have been even better had they managed to get past a resurgent Wolves side, who have been performing brilliantly at home. But, despite dominating possession, Villa found it hard to create chances.
Villa did restrict Wolves also, as they only had two shots on target, but the home side took the lead after just 9 minutes, with Toti’s first goal for the club. It was a tough one to take for Villa, losing on derby day, especially when they cannot afford to drop points if they want a spot in the top 6.
The team Villa was trying to overtake, Spurs, got their first win under interim manager Ryan Mason, labouring to a 1-0 win at home over a resurgent Crystal Palace side.
The win was not entirely comfortable. Both sides struggled to create chances on goal, and it took until stoppage time in the first half before we saw the first, and only, goal of the game. The goal was Kane’s 209th, moving him ahead of Wayne Rooney in the all-time top scorers chart.
The football on display was poor. The longer the game went on, the more scrappy it seemed to get. Tottenham Hotspur could not get a foothold in the game, and had Kane not scored in stoppage time, we could have had an utterly drab 0-0 on our hands.
Both sides will need to be much better when they meet at Villa Park if either side wants to take the 3 points home. Both sides need to be better going forward, and more confident in front of the goal. With Kane, there is always a chance that he will create something out of nothing, which we have seen him do many times throughout his career. This should end as a score draw.
Prediction: Aston Villa 1 – 1 Tottenham Hotspur
Southampton v Fulham
It really is do-or-die time for Southampton now. With 3 games to go, and only 9 points left to play for, they need to win all of their games, rely on Everton or Leicester losing all their games, AND hope that Leeds and Leicester do not pick up enough points to keep them safe. The odds are looking very slim.
They had a great chance last week to try and put some points on the board when they came up against Nottingham Forest. It was a good chance to try and close the gap between themselves and another relegation rival, but it was one they did not take.
Taiwo Awoniyi scored twice within 3 minutes to give Forest a 2-0 lead after 21 minutes. Southampton then showed something that had been lacking all season, a bit of fight. Carlos Alcaraz pulled one back 4 minutes later, but Morgan Gibbs-White netted from the penalty spot in the 44th minute, sending The Saints in at halftime 3-1 down.
Southampton looked like a different side in the second half. They looked so confident going forward and looked like they would score every time they attacked. Lyanco powered a header home just 6 minutes after the restart to give Southampton a dream start.
They continued to probe and press, but Danilo restored Forests’ two-goal lead in the 73rd minute. James Ward-Prowse netted a 96th-minute penalty, but it ultimately meant nothing, as Southampton slumped to yet another agonising defeat.
Fulham were back to their best, but also displayed their worst, in a topsy-turvy match against Leicester at Craven Cottage. Fulham eventually ran out 5-3 winners but had to hold their nerve towards the end of the match.
Things got off to a flying start, with Willian and Vinicius netting within the first 20 minutes, and Tom Cairney adding a third shortly before halftime. Cairney started the second half just 6 minutes after the interval, scoring his second of the game, and Fulham’s fourth.
Harvey Barnes pulled one back for Leicester shortly after, but Willian grabbed his second of the game with 20 minutes to play. A James Maddison penalty may have sparked chances of an unbelievable comeback for The Foxes, but it was too little too late. Harvey Barnes did manage to score in the 89th minute to reduce the deficit even further, but the game was already lost by that point.
Fulham are going to need to be a lot more solid defensively in their next few games. The attacking football on display was brilliant, but it left them so open at the back, especially on the counter-attack.
I think Southampton have gone. They have been gone for a long time, but there was a slight chance of survival, but I think that has diminished now. They are relying on too much to go in their favour. An away win here, will see The Saints relegated to The Championship.
Prediction: Southampton 0 – 2 Fulham
Everton v Man City
Who would have expected that from Everton? A five-star performance from them, just when they needed it the most, against a high-flying Brighton side. The most impressive thing about that 5-1 win for Everton, was how easy everything looked for them. It did not look like a fluke, it looked like everything was finally starting to click for them.
Stat-wise, it looks like Everton were lucky. 5 shots on target, and 5 goals, they barely had any of the ball, only seeing 22.3% of it, and having half as many touches as Brighton did. But the result was anything but lucky.
Everton attacked with purpose. They took their time where they needed to, they did not try to rush balls up top, and their wide players stuck to their roles, and drove them up the pitch. Dwight McNeil had his, arguably, best game in an Everton shirt, as did Doucoure, both netting a brace.
They need to build on this now. They will find it much harder against Man City, but their tails will be up now. The Goodison Park crowd will be raucous, and the players need to respond. This is a free hit for them here, but if they play like they did against Brighton, they may have half a chance.
Man City are on an incredible run right now. 21 games unbeaten in all competitions. Their last loss was back in February against Tottenham Hotspur. Even getting a positive draw against Real Madrid at The Bernabeu. This side really is special, and when they are on a roll, it is so difficult to stop them.
Their match against Leeds was a difficult one. They raced into a 2-0 lead within the first half hour of the game and then switched into second gear. Haaland should have put the game to bed multiple times but did not, and they could have paid dearly had Leeds been more adventurous after pulling one back late on.
Against Real Madrid, City were unbelievable, especially in the first 20-30 minutes. They absolutely dominated the game and could have been 2 or 3 goals up. Madrid scored with their first shot on target, and they grew into the game from there.
City did not back down, and they got themselves back into the game with an absolute rocket from De Bruyne. Pep decided to not make a single substitution in the game, meaning we could see a heavily rotated side against Everton here, but with City’s squad depth, it will still be a strong lineup nonetheless.
Everton’s result against Brighton makes this a hard one to predict. City is a juggernaut at the moment, but if any team had the nerve and ability to put a surprising stop to their run, it would be Everton. I want to stick my neck out and predict Everton to get a shock point, but I think City will be too much for them.
Prediction: Everton 0 – 3 Man City
Arsenal v Brighton
Arsenal picked up a vital win in what was always going to be a difficult game for them. They beat Newcastle 2-0 to keep the pressure on Man City, cutting the gap to just a single point, albeit Man City have a game in hand.
That is the most important thing Arsenal can do now, apply the pressure, and force City to win all their games. City does have some difficult games away against Brighton and Brentford between now and the end of the season, with Champions League football to play as well, as an FA Cup final to think about.
There is a debate at the moment as to whether Arsenal’s season will be considered a success or not if they finish second, but do not win a trophy. I think it represents a massive step forward for the club, considering their positions in the last few seasons, and it gives them something to build on.
However, after being top for so long, and being knocked out of the cup competitions when realistically they could have fielded stronger sides to progress further, it would be hard to not be disappointed.
Brighton suffered a big shock in their game against Everton. They lost 5-1 to the relegation-threatened side, dealing a big blow to their hopes of finishing in a European spot. In a game where Brighton would have been expected to win comfortably, they completely capitulated.
This is just one of those games where nothing seems to go your way. Every team has those throughout the season, and Brighton now needs to put that behind them and carry on, but it is a very difficult game for them to do that in.
This is a must-win for Arsenal, as all their games are now, but Brighton needs these points as desperately as Arsenal do. It should make for an enthralling game, and hopefully, Brighton do not play how they did against Everton. I do think Arsenal will come away with the 3 points here though.
Prediction: Arsenal 2 – 0 Brighton
- Chelsea 2 – 0 Nottingham Forest
- Crystal Palace 3 – 1 Bournemouth
- Man United 2 – 0 Wolves
- Brentford 1 – 1 West Ham
- Leicester 1 – 3 Liverpool