Correct Score prediction preview
Burnley vs. West Ham
Two sides with very different ambitions for the rest of the season do battle at Turf Moor as 18th-placed and relegation-threatened Burnley take on West Ham, still in fourth and hanging around in the Champions League conversation.
The story of this match is unquestionably injuries, with West Ham missing almost an entire defence (Aaron Cresswell, Kurt Zouma, Benjamin Johnson, Ryan Fredericks and Angelo Ogbonna) while The Clarets are missing their hugely impressive new signing Maxwel Cornet in addition to Ben Mee, Phil Bardsley, Dale Stephens and Ashley Barnes.
After three games without a win, West Ham got back on track last weekend with a hugely impressive 3-2 victory over the-then league leaders Chelsea. I do have reservations about their defence though after six league games without a clean sheet and with such influential defenders missing.
The Hammers have seen both teams score in 11 of their 15 (73%) league games this season, one of the highest rates in the league you’d suspect they’d be vulnerable to conceding again here.
Burnley ended a run of five games without defeat in losing to relegation rivals Newcastle last weekend, a result that is a true bodyblow to their survival hopes. Missing Maxwel Cornet, in particular, will be a huge loss.
However, four of their past six games have been a draw and they’ve drawn seven of their 14 league games so far. I think given West Ham’s injury woes, they should be able to find the net and grab a point, especially considering that The Hammers have a tough Thursday night game against Dinamo Zagreb to play first.
Verdict: 1-1, AOD
Leicester vs. Newcastle
The injury situation at Leicester is crazy and they could potentially be without ten players this weekend. Wesley Fofana, Ricardo Pereira, Jannik Vestergaard, Ayoze Perez, Ademola Lookman, Kelechi Iheanacho, Daniel Amartey, Vontae Dalay-Campbell, Filip Benkovic and James Justin are all in doubt for this Sunday’s clash at the time of writing.
That is before their hugely stretched squad have to travel to Napoli for a very difficult Thursday night Europa League clash which will only make things harder. Could things be even worse by the weekend?
The Foxes have won just won of their last six league games and the pressure is mounting on Brendan Rodgers. Ordinarily a fixture against Newcastle would be a welcome opportunity but considering Leicester’s injury situation and that The Magpies are coming in off the back of their first win of the season last weekend, things may not be so simple.
Eddie Howe, not famed for his defensive organisation, led Newcastle to not only their first win but their first clean sheet of the season against Burnley. With 30 goals conceded from 15 games, they simply have to continue improving defensively if they are to stand a chance of staying up.
That is easier said than done against the likes of the in-form James Maddison and Jamie Vardy but I do fancy Newcastle, whose confidence must be increasing, to take advantage of beleaguered Leicester and claim a win here, albeit whilst conceding.
Leicester have conceded exactly one goal in five of their 15 league games so far and I think that could be the case again against an improving Newcastle.
Verdict: 1-2, 1-3, AOA
Crystal Palace vs. Everton
Two of the sides with the weirdest form in league face-off at Selhurst Park as Crystal Palace host Everton.
Patrick Vieira’s Eagles find themselves down in 14th after three straight losses and it’s very difficult to know what sort of season they’re having. With just two losses from their opening 12 games, including impressive wins over Man City, Spurs and Wolves as well as draws against West Ham, Leicester and Arsenal it seemed as though The Eagles were a force to be reckoned with.
Yet they have lost a number of points to late goals and their three recent losses following the injuries to James McArthur and Joachim Andersen show a squad with a strong first XI and not much depth. That isn’t ideal over the busy festive period.
It is defensively where the Eagles have struggled, particularly from set pieces, yet they’ve been strong going forward with their 19 league goals more than Tottenham, Arsenal and Wolves, all of whom are above them in the table.
Everton pulled off an incredible late comeback win against Arsenal on Monday, scoring twice in the final 11 minutes, to end a run of eight league games without a win, including six losses. Yet that horrific run, which seemingly had led Rafa Benitez on the brink, came after them claiming 13 of the 18 available points in their first six fixtures.
The Arsenal win came at Goodison Park though, where four of their five victories have arrived so far, and they definitely find life harder on the road. Of their seven away fixtures so far they’ve won one, drawn one and lost five, scoring just six times but conceding 12.
With Palace having players returning for injury, Everton still missing a few and The Toffees grim away form, I don’t reckon they’ll fancy the long trip to a buoyant Selhurst Park and I reckon Palace can nick this one whilst probably conceding in an exciting game.
Verdict: 2-1, 3-1, AOH
Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid
The Madrid Derby rounds off the pool and rarely have Los Blancos had it so easy at the summit of La Liga. With Barcelona languishing down in seventh and defending champions Atletico ten points off the pace in fourth, Real Madrid’s closest competition is currently Sevilla who are eight points behind them with a game in hand.
Real Madrid are in terrific form in the league six straight wins, no losses in eight and just one all season. Atletico have only lost twice but they draw far too often (five from 16 games) and one of their two defeats came at home to Mallorca last weekend, not ideal preparation.
Without beating about the bush I simply don’t see Real failing to win this. They have been almost unstoppable at the Bernebeu so far this season, winning five and drawing two of their seven games. There is a distinct chance that Atletico set up to try and avoid defeat but if Real score first, they should win.
Real have only scored more than twice on one occasion in their last ten matches, whereas Atletico haven’t conceded more than two in the league all season. Therefore I’d expect a narrow Real win.
Verdict: 1-0, 2-0, 2-1
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