Has everybody stopped working for the holiday season or is everybody actually really busy? The EPL is just getting warmed up while some of the other leagues on the continent wind down for a much needed break. Check all your fantasy teams and make sure you don’t leave an injured player in there because this is the time that squad depth plays a key factor (I’m looking at you, Wenger). We had the first matchday of December during midweek and we have another round of exciting fixtures this weekend. Who will be top of the table by Christmas? Who will be bottom? Let’s get on with it!
Recap of Scores from previous round (Matchday 14):
Manchester 2-1 Stoke City: United controlled this game but still needed goal-line technology and luck to win.
Leicester City 1-3 Liverpool: Liverpool gain some much needed momentum, albeit away at struggling Leicester.
Arsenal 1-0 Southampton: Plucky Southampton undone by late Sanchez winner. Arsenal with 3 valuable points.
Chelsea 3-0 Tottenham: Back to status-quo as Tottenham surrender meekly to yet another quality opponent.
Everton 1-1 Hull City: Two points dropped for an out-of-form Everton and a point gained for out-of-form Hull.
Sunderland 1-4 Manchester City: Aguero unstoppable, taking over the Suarez mantle for this season.
Lille 1-1 PSG: Yet another draw for PSG, yet they continue to be undefeated.
Matchday 15 is the first cluster of weekend fixtures for the month of December. Players will be picking up injuries this month and so it is key to follow closely. Newcastle host Chelsea this week, and it will be interesting to see if Newcastle can continue from their previous form. Chelsea have historically had no problems in this fixture and it could very well be a routine win for them. Liverpool host Sunderland, and it is worth pointing out that Sunderland have had some tough fixtures recently, with Chelsea, Manchester City, and now Liverpool back to back. Liverpool should be looking for their third win on the trot. Stoke City host Arsenal, and the Gunners will continue to be the Gunners. Will Stoke manage to secure a result? Will Arsene Wenger infuriate Arsenal fans further? Manchester City host Everton, and this will be an interesting fixture because City are now in top form and Everton have not being playing up to standard recently. Will Everton be able to motivate themselves and give City a run for their money? Tottenham host Crystal Palace, and if Tottenham don’t win, Spurs fans will be complaining all over social media. Southampton welcome Manchester United on Monday’s fixture, and this will be a real test of character for both sides in arguably the game of the weekend along with Man City v Everton. Over in the other notable fixtures of the weekend, the MLS Cup Final between the LA Galaxy v NE Revolution takes place and is one to look forward to. In Europe meanwhile, Fiorentina host Juventus, while Bayern Munich host Bayer 04 Leverkusen. Let’s get on with our predictions!
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Summary of Matchday 14:
Predictions tally for our Pundits:
Predictions tally for our Contributors:
The outstanding predictor for the midweek fixtures was a three-way tie between Mohaned, Daniyal, and Zee. Mohaned and Rishay are also tied for 2nd place overall, while Bernie continues to marginally lead. Who would’ve thought that all the scores would be so clustered at the top (with the exception of Alex and his pending slingshot up the charts). Rahim and Nahel had a quiet week but might spring into life at anytime, given that there are many games in which to capitalize by the end of the month.
Matchday 15 Predictions:
Games of the Week:
Bernie: LA Galaxy vs NE Revolution: I can’t contain my excitement. I love the MLS Cup. After the scenes in Kansas City I’m convinced that football is here in North America and it’s here to stay. The Galaxy have won two of the last three MLS Cups. They are so far the elite team of the game here in North America. The Revolution are the underdogs and I’m happy to see them in this position. In Lee Nguyen they have a very talented playmaker who looks capable of playing in Europe. Jermaine Jones’ return home is another great story. That being said this should be LA’s trophy. Robbie Keane is the new MVP and the obvious danger man. More importantly this is Landon Donovan’s last game in professional football. He’s the greatest (not best) player the league has ever had and he’ll have his fairy-tale ending. 2-1 LA Galaxy.
Alexander: Southampton v Manchester United: Southampton face a serious test here. They’ve played well in games against the ‘big’ teams so far this season but lost all of them, and haven’t won a league match since November 8th. In addition, Jack Cork has been ruled out for two months and both Tadic and Alderweireld went off injured against Arsenal. In United they face an opposition coming into their best form in two seasons, having picked up four wins in a row. Southampton will no doubt put in a creditable performance but their small squad is being stretched to the limit at the moment, and with the goals drying up recently for Graziano Pelle, it’s hard to look beyond the Red Devils this weekend. 2-0 Manchester United.
Mohaned: Fiorentina vs Juve: Fiorentina are at home, spanked Cagliari 4-0 in their last match, and Juve needed a late, late Pirlo winner in the Turin derby to sneak them past Torino. Mario Gomez is firing, Mati Fernandez is playing well, and Micah Richards is proving an able squad player. Despite all of that, Juve will win, because this is Seria A, and that’s how it goes. 1-2 Juventus.
Rishay: Manchester City v Everton: In last season’s fixture, Everton came into this one red hot and were unlucky to be on the losing end of a 3-1 scoreline due to City’s attacking masterclass. This time, form is out the window for Everton, as they have lost to Tottenham and drawn with Hull City coming into this one and will need to seriously pick themselves up. Mirallas has been doing well, but Everton have had lapses of concentration at the back. They will need to focus on “El Kun” this weekend because he has been sensational for some time now and carrying City on his back somewhat. Manchester City are looking confident at the moment and are the favourites. We could very well see the same scoreline as last year but with a very different story to the game. 3-1 Manchester City.
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