Dan’s EPL Predictions
Luton 1-1 Chelsea
It’s huge for any club at the bottom to put together consecutive wins like the Hatters have just done.
Some of the best in the division have struggled to win at Kenilworth Road.
Luton can look at Chelsea and make a fair argument that they might not have the spirit or appetite for the scrap it takes to get three points at this ground.
Villa 2-1 Burnley
As expected, the pressure of a title bid and expectation to win every week caught up with Villa over Xmas.
Home to Sheffield United and 2-0 up at Old Trafford were golden opportunities that were not taken.
Burnley play a naive style where they won’t take advantage and will keep the game too open.
Crystal Palace 2-1 Brentford
Two teams looking nervously over their shoulders.
Managed by a 76-year-old I understand why Steve Parish needs a long-term plan at some point, but he knows under Roy Hodgson the Eagles stay up.
I’m more worried for Brentford as they are starting to concede soft goals.
The more they struggle though, the higher the asking price on Ivan Toney’s head.
His return in January should keep them up.
Man City 4-0 Sheffield United
With only 9 points, throwing away a 69th minute lead at home to Luton was a huge blow for the Blades.
Although I disagree with why he’s got the job and it’s the only way he is working in the topflight, Chris Wilder has improved Sheffield United by going back to basics.
That makes his tactics at the Etihad transparent.
He will simply park the bus and hope for the best.
The second half at Goodison on Wednesday was the response of Champions.
Wolves 3-1 Everton
Not just have Wolves won over Xmas but they are playing beautiful football with every player knowing their role.
In a few days I submit my review of 2023.
Is Gary O’Neil Manager of the year second only to Pep?
Notts Forest 0-1 Man United
How massive could Boxing Day prove to be for Ten Hag? We might look back at that second half at Old Trafford as the turning point.
You don’t win from 2-0 down if the players are not playing for the manager.
I’m still not sure which United show up so I’ll go for another victory despite not playing well.
Fulham 0-3 Arsenal
Reminds me of last season where we seem to be heading to Craven Cottage at a convenient time.
Fulham have done well to have 21 points on the board without a natural goal scorer and it seems to be now catching up with them.
They are starting to play like a team who are not sure they have that quality in the final third.
We could have played all night on Thursday and not scored. Every player just wanted too many touches.
Any team can have an off night, but we’ve got to get away from this idea that we cannot play at last season’s levels and yet win the League.
We have to improve dramatically to be Champions.
Spurs 1-3 Cherries
Spurs’ tactics mean they will always concede chances and therefore drop silly points.
They face one of the inform teams who, 10 points from safety, can play with zero pressure and enjoy their football.
Liverpool 3-0 Newcastle
Once a fixture that guaranteed entertainment.
If this were based on a couple of months ago, I would understand why the TV companies would want this as their first fixture of 2024.
Physically and mentally Newcastle look exhausted.
I think the Toon Army have told themselves so many times how tired they are, they have started to believe it.
West Ham 1-2 Brighton
Two teams whose small squads can’t cope with hectic schedules.
Yet the Xmas programme has been kind to Brighton.
They had a whole week to prepare for their last two games and have 4 days to prepare for West Ham.