Preview from England (week 22)









Tottenham Hotspur (4th) Vs Sunderland (18th) Our view is: Sunderland are looking like a totally different team!!! They have claimed yet another win under fat Sam but Can they now back it up is the huge question. They come up against a Spurs outfit who are still smarting from a late loss to Leicester on Wednesday night.  Spurs are well aware Tottenham Hotspur old-boy Jermain Defoe will pose when Sunderland visit White Hart Lane on Saturday. Defoe scored 138 times in 357 appearances across two spells with Spurs. The prolific 33-year-old helped Sunderland stave off relegation last season, and is doing his best to repeat the trick this term, with five goals in his last two BPL outings inspiring Sam Allardyce’s side to back-to-back wins over Aston Villa and Swansea City. Sunderland now sit just one point behind 17th-placed Swansea, and Spurs should be wary of Defoe’s  crafty, magical talents. Also for the visitors Jack Rodwell returned to action from the bench at Swansea following a hamstring problem but fellow midfielder Sebastian Larsson (knee) and defender Younes Kaboul (hamstring) remain sidelined. Spurs midfielder Mousa Dembele (ankle) will hope for further minutes on the field after returning as a substitute against Leicester, but England midfielder Ryan Mason (ankle) is still out alongside Clinton N’Jie (knee).

Spurs (from): Lloris, McGee, Vorm, Alderweireld, Davies, Dier, Fazio, Rose, Trippier, Vertonghen, Walker, Wimmer, Alli, Bentaleb, Carroll, Chadli, Dembele, Eriksen, Lamela, Onomah, Son, Townsend, Winks, Kane.

Sunderland (from): Mannone, Pantilimon, Stryjek, Brown, Coates, Jones, Matthews, O’Shea, Van Aanholt, Yedlin, Bridcutt, Buckley, Cattermole, Gomez, Johnson, M’Vila, Rodwell, Borini, Defoe, Fletcher, Gooch, Graham, Lens, Toivonen, Watmore.

Match Appointments
Mike Dean Assistants: S Bennett, E Smart Fourth Official: C Pawson

Match Facts
    – Tottenham Hotspur have won eight and lost none of their last 11 Barclays Premier League matches against Sunderland.
– The scores have been level at half time in 10 of those 11 matches, with Sunderland ahead in the other.
– Christian Eriksen has scored in all three of his league appearances against the Black Cats.
– Sam Allardyce won seven of his 12 BPL matches against Spurs as Bolton Wanderers manager, but has won just four of 11 with other clubs.
– There have been three goals scored in the opening five minutes of the last three top-flight meetings between Sunderland and Spurs.
– There have been six goals netted in the final 10 minutes of the last six matches between the two clubs.
– After being unbeaten in their first eight home league matches this season (W4 D4 L0), Spurs have lost two of their last three at White Hart Lane (W1 D0 L2).
– Jermain Defoe has scored five times in his last two BPL matches, as many as he did in previous 22 appearances in the competition.

AFC Bournemouth (16th) Vs Norwich (15th) Our view is: We really should have interviewed Gary O’Neil from Norwich as he will be watching from the stands. That toolbag got himself stupidly got himself sent off and condemned Norwich to a 3-1 spanking by the hands of Stoke city. Norwich and Bournemouth have struggled to bring the quality in the past few weeks, but we have a feeling The Cherrys will bring the bacon home this week. They have bought well in the January Window and look to be playing slightly better than their opponents this week. Look for Itrube to bring the style people. Cherrys 2-1 Winners!!

No squads currently available:

Match Appointments
Robert Madley Assistants: M Perry, M McDonough Fourth Official: G Scott

Match Facts
    – Norwich City are unbeaten in their last six meetings with AFC Bournemouth across all competitions (W3 D3).
– Norwich have won their last two away trips (in all competitions) to AFC Bournemouth by a 2-1 scoreline after conceding the first goal.
– AFC Bournemouth have claimed just one point when trailing in the Barclays Premier League this season, a league-low.
– Norwich are the only top-flight side yet to keep a clean sheet away from home in 2015/16.
– No team has scored more goals in the opening 15 minutes of BPL matches this season than AFC Bournemouth (six goals, level with Stoke City).
– The Cherries have won just one of their last seven home league matches (W1 D3 L3).
– Benik Afobe (32) is one of only four current BPL players to have scored 30+ league goals since the start of last season, alongside Harry Kane (32), Odion Ighalo (33) and Sergio Aguero (34).
– AFC Bournemouth have scored the greatest share of their goals from outside the area this season of any BPL side (26% – six of 23 goals)

Chelsea (14th) Vs Everton (11th) Our view is: Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink has told his players ahead of the visit of Everton they cannot afford to drop more points at home if they are to have any chance of finishing in the top four of the Barclays Premier League. The champions are unbeaten in the league since Jose Mourinho left the club last month but only two of those five matches have been wins, with the other three draws, including Wednesday’s contest at home to West Brom, which ended 2-2. As a consequence Chelsea remain 14th in the table and are 12 points adrift of fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur going into the clash with Everton at Stamford Bridge. Everton come into the game four points better off than Chelsea and on the back of a solid 0-0 draw at Manchester City but Phil Jagielka still sees the need for improvement after winning once in eight league matches. “In the second half [at City] we let ourselves down a little bit on the ball,” he said. “Thanks to some good defending and fantastic goalkeeping, we managed to keep it at 0-0. “The games are going to come thick and fast now, we have got Chelsea away on Saturday, so it will be an interesting couple of weeks or so. Last week we called Everton the fruit bowl and against City the showed a fair bit of banana, let’s hope they can continue it here.

“Eden Hazard and Radamel Falcao of Chelsea are both out with groin injuries, while the visitors will check on Steven Naismith (hamstring) and Tom Cleverley (calf). Seamus Coleman (calf) and James McCarthy (groin) are unavailable for Everton. We say 2-2 DRAW

Match Appointments
Mike Jones Assistants: M Mullarkey, P Kirkup Fourth Official: A Taylor

Match Facts
    – Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 20 Barclays Premier League matches against Everton at Stamford Bridge (W11 D9).
– The Blues have won the last two home matches against Everton 1-0, with goals scored in the 89th and 90th minute.
– No side has lost more points from leading positions this season than Chelsea (12 – level with AFC Bournemouth and Newcastle United). They only dropped 15 throughout 2014/15.
– Roberto Martinez has lost on all six BPL trips to Stamford Bridge as an opposition coach.
– Chelsea are unbeaten in the league since Jose Mourinho’s departure, but have only won twice (W2 D3 L0).
– Everton have lost just one of their 10 top-flight away matches this season (W3 D6 L1).
– Chelsea have conceded 31 times in their opening 21 matches this term, their highest total in a BPL campaign at this stage.
– Ross Barkley has provided more top-flght assists than any other English player this season (seven).

Manchester City (3rd) Vs Crystal Palace (7th) Our view is: City blew on Everton’s house but just couldn’t blow it over. Not even a last gasp dive from Raheem Stirling could save the Citizens. Manuel Pellegrini’s team were frustrated on Wednesday in a goalless draw against Everton at the Etihad Stadium, where visiting goalkeeper Tim Howard excelled and City winger Raheem Sterling was denied what appeared to be a strong penalty claim under a challenge from John Stones in stoppage time. Leaders Arsenal were held to a 3-3 draw by Liverpool at Anfield, while Leicester City beat Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 to draw level on 43 points with the Gunners at the summit.City lie three points further back in third place and England midfielder Delph says the frontrunners slipping up unexpectedly has become a common theme in 2015/16. Palace themselves have endured a drop-off from their impressive early season form, with a 1-0 loss to bottom side Aston Villa on Tuesday marking their fourth consecutive BPL match without scoring.

A raft of injuries to forwards have not helped The Palace to turn around this slump, with Yannick Bolasie (hip) and Dwight Gayle (hamstring) still sidelined. As for City, Centre-back Eliaquim Mangala (hamstring) striker Wilfried Bony (calf) and midfielder Fernandinho (muscle strain) missed City’s game against Everton and will be assessed, while Vincent Kompany (calf) and Samir Nasri (hamstring) are long-term absentees. We say karma will hit city for their daylight robbery of Palace earlier in the year, Palace winners 1-0

Manchester City (from): Caballero, Hart, Wright, Clichy, Demichelis, Kolarov, Mangala, Otamendi, Sagna, Zabaleta, De Bruyne, Delph, Fernandinho, Fernando, Navas, Roberts, Silva, Toure, Zuculini, Aguero, Bony, Iheanacho, Sterling.

Crystal Palace (from): Hennessey, McCarthy, Speroni, Dann, Delaney, Hangeland, Kelly, Mariappa, Souare, Ward, Cabaye, Guedioura, Jedinak, Ledley, Lee, McArthur, Mutch, Puncheon, Sako, Williams, Zaha, Campbell, Chamakh, Wickham.

Match Appointments
Jonathan Moss Assistants: A Holmes, A Garratt Fourth Official: M Clattenburg

Match Facts
    – Manchester City have won nine and lost just one of the last 10 meetings with Crystal Palace in all competitions.
– Yaya Toure has scored in four of his last five matches against the Eagles.
– Man City have won their last six home matches against Crystal Palace in a row, including all four played at the Etihad Stadium.
– Crystal Palace have failed to score in four of the last five Barclays Premier League matches against the Citizens.
– Connor Wickham has scored three goals in three league appearances against Man City.
– The Citizens last failed to score in successive home BPL matches in November 2010 (a run of three fixtures without a goal).
– Crystal Palace have kept just two clean sheets in their last 16 league away matches and have conceded exactly one goal in each of the other 14 away trips in this run.
– Sergio Aguero has not scored in any of his three BPL matches against Crystal Palace. He has scored against 24 of the 28 different opponents he has faced in the competition (also failed to score versus Leicester City, Burnley and Bolton Wanderers).

Newcastle (19th) Vs West Ham (7th) Our view is: Slaven Bilic believes West Ham United need to be wary of the attacking quality of Newcastle United when they visit St James’ Park in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday. West Ham are just a point outside the top four having eased to a 3-1 win over the Cherrys on Tuesday and can have reason for confidence of recording a fourth-straight top-flight win.

The London club, who are unbeaten in their last nine matches, had little difficulty in seeing off Newcastle 2-0 in the reverse fixture back in September.However, the corresponding fixture from last season harbours fond memories for Newcastle, whose 2-0 home win on the final day secured survival. And the Tynesiders, who are a point behind 17th-placed Swansea City, should enter this contest in high spirits having come from 2-0 and 3-2 down to draw 3-3 with Manchester United in midweek. As we said mid week, the harder Newcastle make it for themselves the worse they are. Keep it simple, get Jonjo fit (stop eating pies) and play with some swagger at home inform their mental crowd!!! We say upset 2-1 Newcastle

Newcastle United (from): Darlow, Elliot, Coloccini, Dummett, Janmaat, Lascelles, Mbemba, Aarons, Anita, Colback, De Jong, Gouffran, Marveaux, Sissoko, Tiote, Wijnaldum, Mitrovic, Perez, Riviere, Toney.

West Ham United (from): Adrian, Randolph, Spiegel, Collins, Cresswell, Demel, Henry, Jenkinson, O’Brien, Ogbonna, Oxford, Reid, Tomkins, Amalfitano, Antonio, Cullen, Kouyate, Moses, Noble, Obiang, Payet, Song, Jelavic, Lee, Valencia, Zarate.

Match Appointments
Neil Swarbrick Assistants: S Ledger, J Brooks Fourth Official: L Mason

Match Facts
    – West Ham United have won just one of their last 12 Barclays Premier League away matches at Newcastle United (W1 D5 L6).
– The Hammers have failed to score in three of their last four trips to St James’ Park in the BPL.
– Newcastle have not scored in five of their last seven league encounters with West Ham.
– Dimitri Payet has scored or assisted more goals for West Ham this season across all competitions than any other player (six goals, five assists).
– The Hammers are the only top-flight side yet to concede in the final five minutes of a match this term. No side have scored more than them in this period (five – level with Manchester City and Crystal Palace).
– Since losing 2-0 at Newcastle on the final day last season, West Ham have lost just twice in away league matches (W5 D4 L2).
– All eight of Georginio Wijnaldum’s goals for Newcastle have been scored at St James’ Park.

Southampton (12th) Vs West Brom (13th) Same points 27: Our view is: Two clubs still running the risk of being drawn into the Barclays Premier League’s relegation battle will look to take a decisive step in the right direction when West Bromwich Albion visit Southampton on Saturday. The inconsistent Saints have won only two of their last 11 matches in all competitions, although they showed what they are capable of when at their best by thrashing title contenders Arsenal 4-0 last month and Southampton saw off Watford 2-0 at home on Wednesday, goals from Shane Long and Dusan Tadic helping to ease some of the pressure on manager Ronald Koeman. West Brom have made progress in their own attempts to climb away from trouble in recent weeks, winning successive league games at The Hawthorns against Newcastle United and Stoke City before holding Chelsea to a 2-2 draw away from home even after falling behind twice away from home.

That sequence sees them head to St Mary’s Stadium in 13th place, level on 27 points with their hosts, who are 12th courtesy of their superior goal difference. We say 2-2 Draw.

Southampton (from): Forster, K Davis, Gazzaniga, Stekelenburg, Bertrand, Caulker, Cedric, Fonte, Martina, McCarthy, Targett, Van Dijk, Yoshida, Clasie, S Davis, Mane, Wanyama, McQueen, Ramirez, Reed, Romeu, Tadic, Ward-Prowse, Juanmi, Long, Pelle.

West Bromwich Albion (from): Foster, Lindegaard, Myhill, Rose, Chester, Dawson, Evans, Gamboa, McAuley, O’Neil, Olsson, Pocognoli, Brunt, Fletcher, Gardner, Gnabry, McClean, McManaman, Morrison, Sessegnon, Yacob, Anichebe, Berahino, Lambert, Nabi, Rondon.

Match Appointments
Martin Atkinson Assistants: S Burt, L Betts Fourth Official: S Attwell

Match Facts
    – West Bromwich Albion have earned just one win in their last five Barclays Premier League meetings with Southampton (D2 L2).
– There have been just three goals scored in the last five league meetings between West Brom and Saints.
– Of fixtures that have been played at least 10 times in the BPL, only Bolton Wanderers v Southampton (1.17) has a lower goals per match than Southampton v West Brom (1.27).
– Southampton last won and kept a clean sheet in three successive BPL home games in April 2015.
– Eight of Shane Long’s 10 league goals for Southampton have been scored at St Mary’s Stadium
– These two sides have both netted a league-high nine headed goals this term.
– Dusan Tadic has fired in a league-high 100 open play crosses this season

Aston Villa (20th) Vs Leicester City (2nd): Our view is: Sing the roofs down people, Villa have a win FINALLY!!!! however Remi Garde is keen for Aston Villa not to get carried away ahead of Saturday’s clash with Barclays Premier League high-flyers Leicester City after they finally claimed a first win under the Frenchman. Garde’s maiden victory as manager of Villa came on Tuesday as a mishap from Crystal Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey handed them a 1-0 success, ending a 16-match winless streak in all competitions. Villa remain eight points adrift of safety and are huge underdogs to claim a second-straight win versus a Leicester side level on points with leaders Arsenal at the top of the table. The Foxes had a huge away win against Spurs on Wednesday and will be keen to put Villa to bed early. Let’s just hope it’s not lights out for Villa too early!! Foxes win 3-1

Aston Villa (from): Bunn, Guzan, Bacuna, Clark, Crespo, Hutton, Ilori, Lescott, Okore, Richards, Richardson, Senderos, Gil, Gueye, Grealish, N’Zogbia, Sanchez, Sinclair, Veretout, Westwood, Agbonlahor, Ayew, Gestede, Kozak.

Leicester City (from): Schmeichel, Schwarzer, Benalouane, De Laet, Fuchs, Huth, Morgan, Simpson, Wasilewski, Albrighton, Drinkwater, Dyer, Hammond, Inler, James, Kante, King, Mahrez, Dodoo, Kramaric, Okazaki, Ulloa, Vardy.

Match Appointments
Roger East Assistants: D Cann, G Beswick Fourth Official: M Oliver

Match Facts
    – Leicester City came from two goals down to win for only the second time in their Barclays Premier League history in the reverse fixture earlier this season.
– Aston Villa have won only four of their 19 BPL encounters with Leicester (D8 L7), but they have won three of the last four at Villa Park (W3 L1).
– The Foxes have kept three league clean sheets for the first time since May 2015. They have never kept four consecutively in the BPL.
– Aston Villa are looking to win back-to-back league matches for the first time since May 2015, both of which were home fixtures.
– Leicester have already claimed two more points this season (43) than they throughout the entirety of 2014/15 (41).
– Aston Villa have scored just five first half goals in this campaign, a league low. They have not scored earlier than the 40th minute in a top-flight match since September (against Leicester).
– The lowest points total for a BPL side after 21 matches and still avoid relegation is 12 points set by West Bromwich Albion in 2004/05. Aston Villa have 11 points.


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