It’s gameweek 19 of the Premier League and Michael Owen is back to give us his latest tips and insights ahead of the action.
West Ham 2-1 Southampton
West Ham v Southampton
West Ham have also had a short break in the Premier League, and recently had a couple of disappointing results, most notably the defeat to Arsenal, where they didn’t really turn up. Still, they are in the top four race and a week or so off should recharge the batteries.
Southampton haven’t won since the start of November and the mood around the squad can’t be good. They’ve blown leads to Leicester, Brighton and Crystal Palace in that time and the pressure is mounting. They are well-coached and always stay in games, but I’ve worried about the quality in this side all season.
I can see West Ham getting back to winning ways here. 2-1 to the Hammers.
Tottenham 2-0 Crystal Palace
Tottenham Hotspur v Crystal Palace
Slowly but surely, Antonio Conte is putting his stamp on this Spurs side. They look more organised already and the whole atmosphere around the club seems better. There’s more energy and optimism and he’s given the place a real lift.
Crystal Palace are having a good season and Patrick Vieira will be pretty happy with the start his side has made. With a huge clash to come against Norwich next week, could they take their eye off this one?
This looks like a routine win for Spurs. They haven’t been scoring many but they’ll have more than enough here. 2-0.
Norwich 0-2 Arsenal
Norwich City v Arsenal
After a good start to his tenure, Dean Smith has seen his side struggle in their last few games. The one positive I suppose, is that this the last of the harder games for him. Norwich’s next few after this are more winnable and will go a long way in determining their future.
Arsenal continue to get better and better and are possibly the ones to beat for that 4th spot. Every time I watch them it’s the youngsters who take my eye, Saka, Smith Rowe and Odegaard. I also really like what I’m seeing from Martinelli in recent weeks. He’s got great energy; his movement is fantastic, and he seems to have a knack for scoring goals. Trust me, you can’t buy that!
This should be comfortable for Arsenal. I’m predicting a 2-0 away win.
Man City 4-1 Leicester
Manchester City v Leicester City
It looks like Man City are taking control of this title race to me. Liverpool will look to keep pace with them but the form that City are in, they’ll take some stopping. Defensively they look so solid, mainly because teams just don’t get the ball against them. The likes of Joao Cancelo and Rodri just get better and better every time I watch them and De Bruyne looks like he’s getting back in form.
Things aren’t quite right with Leicester at the minute. They’ve been inconsistent all season but to be fair, they’ve been desperately unlucky with injuries. They were superb in that 4-0 win over Newcastle in their last, but how will they perform here?
I can only this going one way. Leicester might nick a goal, but City will win. 4-1.
Aston Villa 1-1 Chelsea
Aston Villa v Chelsea
I’m delighted to see Steven Gerrard do so well at Villa. He’s a huge presence and a big character, he looks to have galvanised Villa. The likes of Watkins and McGinn are beginning to find their form again since he took charge. Villa aren’t far off the top eight and I wouldn’t rule them out for that.
Chelsea are in their worst form of the season and possibly since Thomas Tuchel took charge. With just one win in their last four, they find themselves six points off Man City, which even at this stage of the season, is a big hurdle.
More dropped points for Chelsea will make it difficult to win the league. I can see this Villa side frustrating them and getting a point. I fancy a 1-1 draw.
Brighton 1-0 Brentford
Brighton v Brentford
After such a promising start, Brighton are now without a league win since the middle of September. There’s only been a few defeats in that time, but they can’t keep drawing games. I think Graham Potter is an excellent coach and he organises them brilliantly at the back, but they are beginning to resemble Brighton of last season. Last season, too many draws almost got them relegated. They are in a good position now, but it’s still a concern.
Four points from their last two games has given Brentford some breathing space after a difficult run of fixtures. Considering the high-pressing style they play, a rest for a couple of weeks will have done what is a relatively small squad some good.
I’m not expecting a classic here that’s for sure! I think Brighton will finally get back to winning ways with a 1-0 win.
Newcastle 1-2 Man United
Newcastle Utd v Manchester Utd
This is one of my favourite fixtures and St James’ Park will be noisy for this one. Newcastle continue to struggle, mainly at the back. I’ve said all season that I don’t worry about the goals in this side, Callum Wilson is a natural goal scorer, but they need to improve defensively. They’ve been in a difficult run of fixtures though, and things will get easier from now.
I’m very interested to see how Man United perform. There’s been some signs of change from the new boss in terms of pressing and how he wants them to play. He’s had some time with the squad to get more of his ideas across and it will be fascinating to see how they play.
With the home fans behind them, I can see Newcastle scoring. I don’t trust them at the back though and United will score a couple of their own. 2-1.