Last updated on November 15th, 2015 at 12:08 pm

EPL Predictions 28 - 29 Jan 2014

We are back with a full midweek fixture list, and if I’m being honest some of these fixtures would have made for a perfect Super Sunday, but who am I to complain about getting to put my feet up in front of the TV two nights in a row!

Off the pitch this is also the last set of fixtures before the transfer window closes, it is starting to hot up a little after a quiet start, and will with Mata moving north from London is this the start of another silly few days? I can imagine these fixtures are a bit of a distraction for some managers desperate to do deals.

Manchester United v Cardiff City – Tuesday 28 January 2014 – 1945Ko

Both these clubs have been busy in the market over the last couple of days with some relief at United as they have managed to bring in some real quality in Juan Mata who was outstanding at Chelsea for the previous two seasons.  It certainly makes them an attacking threat to behold when all their forwards are fit. Rooney, Van Persie, Mata, Welbeck and Januzaj can all be fantastic on their day, but for me their problems stem a little further back.  Old father time has caught up with the heart of the defence and I really can’t see Smalling ever reaching the required standard to be a regular and the centre of midfield also looks below quality you see at the other top 6 clubs.

Like so many other managers Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has gone back to what he knows, firstly bringing in Fabio from United, a player he managed in the a reserve team player a few years ago. The signings of Kenwyne Jones and Wilf Zaha are perhaps slightly more inspiring after Fabio’s less than impressive stint at QPR last season. Jones is a handful on his day and Zaha will be looking to show everyone he has the class to play regularly in the Premier League.

Premier League Injuries: Mata is eligible to make his debut for United, and could be joined in the side by Rooney and van Persie who are back in training. Fellaini has also recovered from a broken wrist. None of Cardiff’s Premier League signings are available and Taylor and Cowie remain injury problems for The Bluebirds.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 2-0
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Adrian Januzaj

Norwich v Newcastle – Tuesday 28 January 2014 – 1945KO

Every time you think Norwich are going to drop down into the relegation zone they seem to pull a result out the hat from somewhere. Admittedly going into the season they would have had Hull at home as a home banker but when the pressure is on, they really are the important results come May.

Newcastle fans look like they have seen the last of Yohan Cabaye, who seems to be off back to France for near on £20m, in today’s market I think PSG have got themselves a pretty good deal there.  Cabaye was outstanding in Newcastle’s last outing at West Ham and will leave a big hole in their side.

Premier League Team News: Gutierrez is unavailable for Norwich against his parent club, whilst The Canaries are also without Turner and Howson. Newcastle are themselves without Coloccini and Cisse but Debuchy is available after suspension.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-1
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Moussa Sissoko

Southampton v Arsenal– Tuesday 28 January 2014 – 1945Ko

Both of these sides had it relatively easy in the cup last weekend and had a chance to rotate their squad a little, although The Saints squad is still a little thin on the ground and this hasn’t been helped by the club imposed suspension of Dani Osvaldo for a training altercation with Fonte. And there was us thinking it was a defenders job to tackle??. I’m not sure what is happening with football when a ‘fancy dan’ forward is head-butting and punching a centre-back. Surely this should be the other way around!

Arsenal are keeping their cards close to their chest if they are going to bring in another forward. Draxler from Schalke seems to be the big rumour doing the rounds, but that deal might be dependent on the German side re-signing Lewis Holtby from Spurs which to me seems like a stumbling block!

Premier League Team News: The Saints look like welcoming back Wanyama for the first time in seven weeks after a leg injury, but Rickie Lambert is a doubt. Lovren and Rameriz are both out for the foreseeable future after suffering ligament damage. Arsene Wenger may use the return of Arteta and Ramsey as an opportunity to rest Jack Wilshere.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-2
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Mesut Ozil

Swansea City v Fulham – Tuesday 28 January 2014 – 1945KO

Both of these sides of these sides lived to breathe another day in the FA Cup, Fulham scraping a draw against Sheffield United despite making a full eleven changes to their starting line-up, and The Swans recording a morale boosting win at Birmingham. They will be hoping to take their new found (and so far short lived) winning mentality into the league where they have now gone 8 games without one. A win for Fulham could realistically take them up to 15th in the table whilst a loss could see them fall all the way to the bottom.

Premier League Injury News: Swansea have ex Liverpool player Ngog available after signing on loan from Bolton. Shelvey, Dyer and de Guzman could all feature as well after overcoming injury.  Expect Fulham to make 10 changes from the side that drew with Sheffield United on Sunday. Amorbieta and Riise are there main injury concerns.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-0
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Ashley Williams

Crystal Palace v Hull City – Tuesday 28 January 2014 – 2000KO

The reports coming out of Selhurst Park at present all seem to be very negative, with Tony Pulis seeming to be increasingly frustrated with how the transfer window is progressing. The club have apparently been unwilling to meet the wage demands of Crouch and Etherington from his old club Stoke, whilst David Moyes was unwilling for Wilf Zaha to come back to London for a loan spell with his former side.

Hull will be looking at the table and thinking 4 wins from our last 16 games will be enough for us to fight another year in the league, they also managed to give some squad players some match time on Sunday when they overcame Southend in the cup.

Premier League Team News: Thomas and Dikgacoi are out for the home side along with Jonny Parr who suffered a concussion at the weekend. Shane Long is expected to make his Hull debut alongside fellow new-boy Jelavic in an attacking looking formation.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-1
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Marouane Chamakh

Liverpool v Everton – Tuesday 28 January 2014 – 2000Ko

In recent years this game has been important for little more than city bragging rights, however you have to feel that both these sides are in a 4 way scrap with Tottenham and Manchester United for the last Champions League place.

Liverpool certainly do have the upper hand over their neighbours in these fixtures, and are unbeaten against them in the last 13 fixtures going back to 1999. Given the last 3 – 3 was one of the games of the season and this fixture also has a habit of producing red cards, 20 have been shown since the Premier League started, we should be in for a stonker!

Premier League Injury News: Joe Allen has a hamstring strain and looks like sitting out the derby alongside Johnson and Sakho. Flanagan is fit however. The Toffees are without Oviedo who suffered a double leg fracture in their 4-0 stroll at Broadhall Way on Sunday whilst Coleman, Barkley and Pienaar are still out through injury. New 6ft 8” loanee Lacina Traore could make his debut from the bench after being short of match fitness.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 3-2
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Luis Suarez

Aston Villa v West Bromwich Albion –Wednesday29 January 2014 – 1945KO

It doesn’t quite have the sting of a Villa v Brum derby but there is little love lost between these two sides. Villa somehow find themselves in the top half of the table but are only 6 points from the drop-zone, whilst The Baggies are 2 points worse off themselves.

Villa Park hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for the home side so far this season, and with Pepe Mel’s sides liking to play quick counter-attacking football this game could be very close.

Premier League Team News: Agbonlahor is doubtful for Villa as he tries to overcome a foot injury he suffered against Liverpool. Grant Holt is expected to take his place. The Baggies have a few niggles but nothing major.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 0-0
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Ben Foster

Chelsea v West Ham United – Wednesday 29 January 2014 – 1945Ko

Another derby fixture and this time it is West meets East, with the venue of course London. The Chelsea players strutting around Sloane Square whilst the West Ham players dine on Pie, Mash and Liquor in a greasy spoon on the docks. That is certainly the way these two have gone about the transfer window so far anyway. The Blues have brought in Matic and Salah for the best part of £40m, whilst The Hammers have used the loan market to bring in Wolves’ Roger Johnson as well as two Italian Internationals on loan. However the internationals in question aren’t of the quality of Pirlo and Balotelli. Think more Franny Jeffers and Seth Johnson.

Premier League Injury News: Chelsea have no new injury problems ahead of the derby, but new signing Salah is not expected to play. West Ham have Nolan back from a four game suspension and new loanees Nocerino and Borriello could feature from the bench. Joe Cole has a groin injury so wont face his old club.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 4-1
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Eden Hazard

Sunderland v Stoke – Wednesday 29 January 2014 – 1945Ko

The revival under Gus Poyet is well and truly underway, a win in this one should take them out of the relegation zone and on top of that they’ve qualified for a Wembley final after the most amazing closing stages of a cup game I’ve ever witnessed. Being two minutes away from defeat, before taking the lead then conceding again was remarkable, but then the penalty shoot-out after was a thing of beauty for any neutral. At least they had a relatively easy cup tie against Kidderminster Harriers to get their minds focussed on this crucial game.

A win for the Black Cats will take them only a point behind Stoke who are in free fall with only one point in their last 5 league games.

Premier League Team News: The Black Cats are at near enough full strength for the potential 6 pointer and are only without long term absentees Cuellar and Westwood. Stoke will still be without Etherington, Huth and Wilkinson. Pennant has also been released.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-0
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Lee Cattermole

Tottenham v Manchester City – Wednesday 29 January 2014 – 1945Ko

The form of Spurs under Tim Sherwood has been somewhat of a revelation, they are unbeaten in the league since AVBs last fixture on 15 December and the only blips are cup defeats to rivals West Ham and Arsenal. This however will be a big test especially as the reverse of this fixture earlier in the season saw City put 6 past them.

City breezed past West Ham last Tuesday in the second round of the League Cup, before suffering a scare at fortress Etihad against Watford who moved the ball around City with ease in the first half. Second half however and normal service was resumed, especially with Aguero grabbing himself a cheeky hat-trick.

Spurs fans will be worried that the class of City’s midfield will make their own redundant, in similar fashion to the Cup match with Arsenal at the start of January. Perhaps Sherwood will look to play 5 in midfield to bulk up, but one at top my not go down well with the home fans.

Premier League Team News: The home side welcomed back a host of players in a behind close doors friendly at Upton Park last Thursday and Townsend, Paulinho, Sandro and Vertonghen could all return. The in-form Negredo is missing for City who are also without Nasri.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-1
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Emmanuel Adebayor

So now you can sit back and enjoy these fixtures as well as a no doubt entertaining ‘Jim White’ transfer deadline day on Friday night. Not sure I’d want to be a Sky Sports outside Broadcast presenter when they go round the grounds to see what deals are being done with it being a Friday! Stoke Fans are normally the most drunk on a weeknight from memory, let alone a weekend!!!

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