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

EPL Predictions & Team News 28 - 29 Dec 2013

We are halfway through the festive fixtures faster than you can get through your leftover turkey, and it shows no sign of coming to a halt just yet with another full fixture list spread over the next two days. With some crucial matches at the bottom of the table, and at the top, Mourinho comes face to face with another one of his old back room staff from his previous Chelsea days. It’s certainly going to be an interesting last set of fixtures for 2013.

West Ham United v West Bromwich Albion – Saturday 28 December 2013 – 1245Ko

This is certainly not going to be pretty, and both sides are in an appalling run of form with one win each in their last ten EPL games.

The Hammers now find themselves deep in the relegation zone and will no doubt be thinking we are too good to go down, but as a club they should certainly know that is not true. They looked good at times against Arsenal and if they could have put away their chances after going one up, would have gone into this full of confidence.

The Baggies came from a goal behind to grind out a draw against Spurs on Boxing Day and will be thinking if they score first will have a good chance to take all three points.

Premier League Injuries: The Hammers look like they will be without James Collins and Ravel Morrison for this crucial six pointer, whilst Jussi Jaaskelainen may well be recalled in goal in place of Adrian. Shane Long is a big doubt for The Baggies.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 2-0
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Mo Diame

Aston Villa v Swansea – Saturday 28 December 2013 – 1500KO

Another two sides who seem to be void of all confidence at present and are letting themselves slip into the dogfight at the bottom of the table.

Villa were dreadful against Palace when slipping to a defeat and seem to be better away from home, but the way Swansea try and keep hold of the ball may actually help the way Villa set up to counter attack.

Swansea seem to be suffering from this seasons curse of the Europa Cup. It hasn’t really clicked for them in recent weeks and the Newcastle game apart, seem to be struggling for goals.

Premier League Injury News: Benteke again misses out through injury for Villa but he should return for their New Years Day fixture. Vlaar is also an absentee, but Westwood is available again after suspension. Laudrup will rotate The Swans side as much as possible but is still missing key players such as Michu and Vorm.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 0-0
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Brad Guzan

Hull City v Fulham – Saturday 28 December 2013 – 1500Ko

I must admit due to my nieces taking over my TV with a Wii on Boxing Day I missed the first quarter of the Hull game and was shocked to see Hull 2-0 up, but like a United side of old they showed some fighting spirit and you knew it was almost inevitable they would win once Smalling pulled one back.

Hull will be pleased to be at home again, and despite Fulham winning away at Norwich I just can’t see them picking up back to back wins and I’m sure they will be targeting their New Years Day’s clash with West Ham as more winnable.

Premier League Team News: Both sides go into this crucial fixture without their first choice goalkeepers. Hull are also with David Meyler and Alex Bruce will need assessing before Hull finalise their XI. Hangeland and Senderos are both out for The Cottagers but Berbatov could feature after a groin inury.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-0
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Jake Livermore

Manchester City v Crystal Palace – Saturday 28 December 2013 – 1500KO

With the top of the table already tighter than we’ve ever seen at this stage of the season, goal difference could well be king and City’s is already like having an extra point and I imagine they will be looking to add to this tally against a Palace side who were very worthy of their win away at Villa.

City rode their luck at times against Liverpool on Wednesday but will have been glad of the three points especially when carrying a few injuries like they are at present.

Premier League Injuries: Zabaleta should be fit enough to play back to back games for City despite being rushed back from injury early due to problems at left back. Defender Nastasic is also fit again which is a boost with Demichelis being injured. Dwight Gayle will continue on the bench despite his midweek winner for Palace who also have Chamakh available after suspension.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 3-0
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Alvaro Negrado

Norwich v Manchester United – Saturday 28 December 2013 – 1500KO

Boxing Day must have been very disappointing if you are a Norwich fan ( It was – Joe), they had a chance of putting themselves 8 points clear of the relegation zone, but after throwing away a lead against Fulham that gap is now only 3.

Chris Hughton will now be looking over his shoulder as 5 of the bottom 7 clubs have already parted company with their managers.

As mentioned earlier, United went behind against Hull, but once the comeback started you knew it was only going to go one way although they did look vulnerable again when they were reduced to ten men. They will be hoping to bully Norwich like they did earlier in the season in the League Cup.

Premier League Team News: Norwich will be without Michael Turner who is suspended for this one. Other players absent include Pilkington and Howson. United also have defensive problems with Rafael and Jones injured. Smalling may move to right-back with Vidic returning to the starting XI. Valencia is suspended.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-3
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Ashley Young

Cardiff City v Sunderland – Saturday 28 December 2013 – 1500KO

Well the sacking of Malky Mackay hardly came out of the blue, or out of the red as Vincent Tan would probably prefer the saying to be said.

They did look a shambles in the first half when conceding 3 to Southampton and need the boost a new manager can so often give if they are to avoid relegation this season. A loss in this one and they could find themselves in 19th place with Sunderland only one point behind them.

Gus Poyet has started to give Sunderland a style and shape now and he will have been delighted with his sides 3rd consecutive clean sheet when beating Everton on Wednesday.

Premier League Injuries: David Kerslake finds himself in temporary charge for this one and will recall Gary Medal who missed out on Boxing Day due to injury. Cornelius may also have a rare start for Cardiff. O’Shea is still a doubt for Sunderland who are already missing Brown through suspension.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-1
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Joey Altidore

Everton v Southampton – Sunday 29 December 2013 – 1330Ko

This game could be a cracker. Everton will be looking to bounce back from a surprise defeat to Sunderland, whilst Southampton ended their recent dismal run when emphatically smashing Cardiff.

Both sides will look to retain the ball and break quickly so I am hoping for an end to end open game here.

Premier League Team News: Suspension means both Gareth Barry and Tim Howard are unavailable for the home side, who also have doubts over the fitness of Kevin Mirallas. Southampton will see if Lovren has overcome a virus.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 2-1
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Romanu Lukaku

Newcastle v Arsenal – Sunday 29 December 2013 – 1330KO

This is a hard game to call, at first glance you would probably say Arsenal, but Newcastle come into this with 7 wins out of 9, and on the back of a stroll on Wednesday when they defeated a 9 man Stoke side 5-1. Arsenal however had a tough game away at West Ham and couldn’t relax until they scored their 3rd late on in the game.

Cabaye could be key for Newcastle, as with rumours The Gunners will go back in for him in the transfer market next month he will be surely want to impress Arsene Wenger at close quarters.

Premier League Injury News: Alan Pardew will have to decide whether Tiote comes straight back into his side after suspension or whether to keep with Ben Arfa who impressed against Stoke. Wilshere, Rosicky, Podolski and Koscielny could all return for The Gunners as Arsene Wenger looks to keep his side fresh. Ramsey will definitely miss out after getting injured against West Ham.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 2-2
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Yohan Cabaye

Chelsea v Liverpool – Sunday 29 December 2013 – 1600Ko

Mourinho has already seen off one of his old Chelsea backroom staff this season in AVB, but will come face to face with another in Brendan Rodgers this time round, and one suspects may find this challenge a little harder.

Chelsea ground a win out against Swansea on Wednesday, whilst Liverpool can perhaps feel a little hard done by when losing to City. Brendan Rodgers proved himself every part of a top clubs manager after the game when paranoia of the ref living in Greater Manchester got to him. He better hope today’s referee Howard Webb has never visited The Chelsea Flower Show!

Premier League Team News: The suspended Ramires is expected to be replaced by veteran midfielder Frank Lampard. Mourinho is also expected to rotate his defence with Cahill and Azpilicueta replacing Luiz and Cole. Victor Moses is ineligible to play for Liverpool against his parent club.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-0
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Oscar

Tottenham v Stoke – Sunday 29 December 2013 – 1600Ko

Spurs have dropped so many points at home this season that it is really starting to cost them. They now stand 5 points off the Champions League spots they targeted at the start of the season, and I suspect this gap will get bigger as the season goes on.

Stoke were on a good run of form before indiscipline cost them dearly at Newcastle on Wednesday, conceding 5 never looks good, but after having 2 sent off along with boss Mark Hughes made their loss even more depressing.

Premier League Team News: Kyle Walker is suspended for Spurs, but Paulinho is available again after his kick at Luis Suarez. Lennon, Dembele and Defoe are all injury doubts. Whelan and Wilson are both unavailable for Stoke after their midweek dismissals whilst Begovic is out for 6 weeks.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 2-0
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Christian Eriksen

There we have it, the full list and just a few day wait until we return on New Years Day!

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