It’s gameweek 17 of the Premier League and Michael Owen is here to give us his latest tips and insights ahead of the action.
Brentford v Manchester United
Manchester United to win 2-1
I’m looking forward to this one, this should be a good game. That was a vital win for Brentford over Watford on Friday, and it should give the squad a big lift. It’s given Brentford some breathing space from the bottom three and twenty points is a good return at this stage of the season.
It wasn’t a great performance from United against Norwich but that’s two wins from two for Ralf Rangnick in the league and maybe more importantly, two clean sheets. I thought David De Gea was superb on Saturday and looked at his best.
This will be a test for United. Brentford’s pressing game can be awkward to play against, particularly with the home fans behind them. I think United will have just too much though, 2-1.
Norwich City v Aston Villa
Aston Villa to win 1-0
Norwich played well in spells against Man United. It was the same old story for them though, not putting the ball in the net. They had a few half-chances, but they could never get the final pass quite right. Comfortably the league’s lowest scorers, they desperately need to start scoring more.
It was obviously strange seeing Steven Gerrard in the visitors’ dugout at Anfield and although his side competed well, they didn’t really threaten Liverpool. However, I do think they were a little unlucky with a few decisions not going their way.
Norwich need points and will target them here, particularly with Dean Smith facing his old side. I think Villa will narrowly edge this though, 1-0.
Manchester City v Leeds United
Manchester City to win 4-1
City didn’t cruise to the win as they normally do, but that was a crucial win over Wolves on Saturday. It’s never easy playing a side who are so well organised, but they did enough to get the win. I’d expect a far more open game here.
Leeds will feel very unfortunate to have left Stamford Bridge with nothing. They did enough to get at least a point from that game. Nonetheless, they played some good stuff in the game and the second goal was a typical Leeds goal.
There’s bound to be goals in this one. Leeds are never the sort of side to just sit and play on the counter, they’ll try and attack. That will suit City here though and I can see them winning this by a few goals.
Brighton v Wolves
Brighton come into this game having seen their game against Spurs be postponed. I’d expect them to be up for this one, but they are up against a tough opponent.
Wolves don’t score many, only Norwich have scored less, but defensively they have been superb. Only the top three have conceded less than them and they looked very organised at the Etihad on Saturday. To have hung on for so long with ten men was impressive.
This looks like a draw to me; I’m going for 1-1.
Burnley v Watford
Burnley to win 1-0
It was yet another draw for Burnley at the weekend, that’s now four of their last five. It was a good point though against a strong West Ham side and Burnley could even have nicked it. If they keep playing like that, I’m certain the results will come.
Claudio Ranieri must have been gutted to lose that one against Brentford on Friday. It felt like a missed opportunity, particularly having led in the match.
What a massive game this is. A win for Burnley and they leapfrog Watford and get out the bottom three. I say it all the time, but I always trust Sean Dyche’s side in these big games and I can see Burnley narrowly edging this one, 1-0.
Crystal Palace v Southampton
Crystal Palace to win 2-1
I thought Palace were excellent against Everton. They kept the ball well and were always in control of the game. He’s been mentioned a lot, but Connor Gallagher keeps going from strength to strength and he’s developing into a very good player.
The pressure is growing on Southampton and Ralph Hasenhüttl. That was a poor showing at the Emirates in the defeat to Arsenal and they are falling closer towards the relegation zone.
A win for Palace will put a lot of breathing room between the two sides and I can see them getting it, 2-1 Crystal Palace.
Arsenal v West Ham United
This should be a good game. I never quite know what to expect from Arsenal. They were poor at Goodison last Monday and then cruised to the win against Southampton. This is a great chance for them though, a win here will see them jump above the Hammers.
Away trips to Burnley are never easy, but David Moyes will still be disappointed to have come away with just the one point. West Ham are still fourth, but the chasing pack is closing on them.
West Ham will be desperate not to lose this game and will try and keep things tight. I can see them frustrating Arsenal and getting a point here.
Leicester City v Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham to win 2-1
Leicester’s 4-0 thrashing of Newcastle was probably their best performance of the season. They moved the ball very well and some of their football was excellent. If they can keep that up, they’ll start to climb up the table.
Spurs now have two games in hand on all their rivals which might not be a bad thing. Conte will have had more time on the training ground with his side and I’d expect to see them well-drilled here.
I’m going for Spurs. They’ve shown signs of improvement under Conte, and this will be a statement win.
Chelsea v Everton
Chelsea to win 3-1
It wasn’t a brilliant performance, but Chelsea did enough to get the win over Leeds on Saturday. They aren’t playing well at the minute though and the form of the defence has got to be a concern for Thomas Tuchel.
The mood around Everton isn’t good at all. I thought that win over Arsenal last Monday might be the springboard for the club but that was a really poor performance against Crystal Palace. The pressure is very much on Rafa Benitez now.
Things aren’t going to get much better here for Rafa against one of his old sides. Chelsea’s defence has surprisingly been leaking goals, but I fancy them to get a few of their own, 3-1 Chelsea.
Liverpool v Newcastle United
Liverpool to win 3-1
Villa frustrated Liverpool for long periods at Anfield, but the win was all that mattered. They are really building up a head of steam and they’ll be eyeing a few goals here that’s for sure.
After that huge win over Burnley, I thought Newcastle had turned a corner. They haven’t. That was a disaster against Leicester and defensively they were shocking. Eddie Howe will be desperate to get to January and hopefully get a few more players in.
I can only see this going one way, 3-1 Liverpool.