The Analyst's Notepad - Premier Predictor Gameweek 6

Fretting over your Premier Predictions? Keen for the inside tip on how to dominate your private leagues this weekend? Simply fancy a free beer?

Read on and feed your mind with our statistical guide to the smart calls to make this weekend.

Southampton vs Bournemouth

Bournemouth two weeks running? At least their appearances on Sky are becoming more consistent than their form on the pitch.

History gives the Cherries the perfect excuse to follow up an excellent win last weekend against Everton with an abject defeat against their “can they be our rivals please?” rivals, Southampton.

The omens don’t look great – the Saints have never lost at home to Bournemouth in the Premier League, whilst Eddie Howe is still searching for his first win career win in the blood curdlingly-named ‘New Forest Derby’.

That said, a result isn’t beyond them. Callum Wilson is in the kind of form that will probably see Man United linked to him soon given that he is (a) English and (b) a striker whilst Ryan Fraser continues to be Scotland’s greatest gift to the world since that woman who yelled at her bairns for not flushing a poo.

When Southampton do something it good it will probably involve Nathan Redmond - the Alpine Klopp’s most productive player since he started yodelling on the South Coast. Just look at the rascal go!

Where the Saints do have the edge however, is that Ralphy H knows his arse from his elbow when it comes to organising a backline. Eddie Howe, it seems, is still confused as ever about the whole concept and isn’t helped by a chunky injury list.

Bournemouth will look to play attacking, passing football - Southampton will press the living daylights out of them meaning this game should be open and, dare I say it, better entertainment on a Friday night than the soaps.

Southampton to give their season another shot-in-the-arm and get their fans dreaming of a finish as high as 13th by beating Bournemouth 3-1 here.

Leicester City vs Spurs

Tottenham are a mixed bag this season, no? Utterly mesmerising for about 23 minutes against Crystal Palace last weekend to throwing away a two-goal lead in Europe during the week - maybe the Poch forgot to lock them in a team meeting for 90 minutes in the build-up to the trip to Greece?

Leicester are fresh off the back of a trip to Old Trafford where many expected them to turn over United and maintain their claim to be this season’s outsiders for a European finish. It didn’t quite turn out like that, did it?

Leicester don’t usually beat Spurs at home, having won just once in six since moving to the King Power. That said, Tottenham are rotten on the road at the moment (their last domestic away win came back in January) and are coming into this after a morale sapping trip across the continent.

Not scoring any of the four goals last week will have annoyed a certain Harrold Kane no end but he needn’t worry too much. Leicester are his favourite team to play, having humped in a bakers dozen against them in the Premier League to date. At the other end, the likewise ample-chinned Vardy likes a bit of Spurs too. The Premier League footballer most likely to own a souped up Citroen Saxo has netted three games in a row against the Lillywhites, including this jaffer.

Spurs are struggling to find rhythm this season – injuries are a factor, whilst Poch having to re-learn how to integrate new signings could be another. Leicester, on the flip side, look like a team that know how they are going to play and have belief in what they can achieve (must be Brentan’s motivational tapes they go to sleep listening to).

Leicester to stop Spurs winning away from home once again by nicking this one 2-1. I can imagine Jamie Vardy sprinting into some space left by one of Tottenham’s shocking options at right-back and James Maddison curling a free-kick past Hugo Lloris who was a bit flat-footed (shock).

Newcastle vs Brighton

*checks agreement* - ah well, it says here I do have to cover this.

Well, Jurgen Klopp was full of compliments about Newcastle number nine Joelinton after the Reds stopped him scoring at Anfield last week. Klopp thought he was excellent, or at least as excellent as a player with one goal in five and a 30% shots on target accuracy can be.

Steve Bruce has got Newcastle into exactly the kind of shape most people expected - awful to watch and not particularly effective. His opposite number, Graham Potter, has quickly turned Brighton into a side in his own image - quietly quirky and never likely to threaten anyone really.

All both teams really need to focus on this season is finding at least three teams worse than them so they don’t get relegated - however, Brighton will be eyeing this one up as three points they should be getting.

Potter’s men have not lost against the Magpies in the Premier League and have only lost twice in the last ten against them. Neal Maupay is taking to the life in the top flight like a Seagull to water, whilst Pascal Gross looks back to his best after injury plagued year last term.

Anyway, you know how there is always one match a weekend you can use to get brownie points with the family for honourably not watching? This is it. Cash in.

In need of some hard proof? Newcastle have the lowest xG rating in the division and only Crystal Palace have created fewer big” chances this season whilst Brighton have scored just 8 in their last 14.

Newcastle 0 - 1 Brighton, but boy will it be awful to watch.

West Ham vs Man United

Do we live in a world where United are almost closer to West Ham in terms of quality than they are Man City? I think you’ll find we are, yes.

If it were City heading to the Athletics Stadium, even with -3 fit central defenders, you’d still be expecting them the to knock in the better part of four against the Hammers - it’s just what they do down there.

But, United? Not quite as easy to predict and far less fluent in front of goal.

Here’s a stat I like - since the start of last season, eight teams have conceded more goals than West Ham but none have given their opponents as many high-quality chances as the Hammers have. What does that tell me? Their keeper must be bloody good - and Fabianksi is probably the most underrated shot-stopper in the top-tier. I mean, having played for Swansea before hand, he got a lot of practice.

Most good things at United this season are coming through Marcus Rashford - the United player involved in more positive actions for OGS than anyone else.

Now, the tactics - if United approach this game the same way that they did against Leicester (protecting the central areas in front of the back four better than they have done all season), then they will win. If they don’t, and by that I mean if Paul Pogba makes a miraculous recovery and gets selected in the middle, then West Ham’s fluid attack will cause United all kinds of problems and we could see another dent in Solsjkaer’s bus.

United to do enough, just – 1-2. Rashford to win and score another penalty and Harry Maguire to clump home from a set piece.

Chelsea vs Liverpool

Two teams licking particularly salty European wounds. One team having to play the kids and realising they’re alright. The other, boasting the most settled starting XI in the league, already has a five-point lead in the title race.

Common sense says Liverpool, obviously - but let’s add just a smidgen of credibility to that before we knock off for the week. Chelsea have won just once in the last nine Premier League clashes with Liverpool. Liverpool have won more Premier League matches in a row than at any other point in their history. The mere thought of Kurt Zouma attempting to keep pace with Sadio Mané is giving me a migraine. MASON MOUNT IS CROCKED AS HELL.

It doesn’t look good for Chelsea at all, especially when you also remember that they haven’t got as far as teaching the kids how to defend and Liverpool are just a little bit good in attack.

How can Chelsea stop Liverpool? Well, they can forget playing three-at-the-back first of all - Liverpool, typically, love facing that in the Premier League. They might also want to find a way of getting Ngolo Kante on the pitch even if he just lays in front of the defence and helps Jorginho. A phone-call from Frank to his old gaffer Carlo might also be a wise idea.

This match will tell us whether Lampard has got anything interesting to offer as a coach tactically. Chelsea fans might not want to know the answer.

Chelsea’s children to earn themselves a detention by losing by four at Stamford Bridge. Sadio Mane to bring up his 50 for Liverpool, Mo Salah to pass to him exactly three times in 87 minutes.

Chris Darwen
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All Images - PA. Stats via WhoScored.

Chris Darwen is a long-suffering Luton Town fan and the editor of Total Football Analysis Magazine - a monthly digital magazine bringing you the very best in tactical analysis and scout reports.


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