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

EPL Team News & Predictions 11 - 14 Jan 2014

David Moyes must be so happy with the fact that Sam Allardyce exists this week! United have had an awful start to the year, first losing at home to Spurs, then back to back cup defeats to Swansea and Sunderland. However it is another United in West Ham who have taken all the column inches this week, after two laughable defeats and the pressure is now inevitably on Big Sam. Can he avoid the sack this week by pulling something out the bag in Cardiff?

Hull City v Chelsea – Saturday 11 January 2014 – 1245Ko

It looks like Hull are about to complete the signing of Jelavic from Everton at the time of writing, and if he starts his Tigers career the way he started and ended his Toffees one, Hull should safely be in the EPL for at least another season. However if he starts his career on Humberside like the rest of his time in the blue half of Liverpool, they may find themselves in trouble.

The subject of misfiring strikers brings us neatly onto the opposition for today, Chelsea. Jose seems to have turned his attention back to Rooney, whether this is a genuine attempt to lure the player south or just an attempt to unsettle United ahead of their upcoming meeting, perhaps only Mourinho knows!

Premier League Injuries:  A virus has run havoc through the Hull dressing room this week, literally leaving Steve Bruce up the creek without a paddle. As many as 10 players have suffered the effects at some point but most should be fit. Lampard and Ivanovic are out for a month for The Blues, who are also unlikely to be playing De Bruyne as his future at Stamford Bridge seems less than secure.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-2
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Eden Hazard

Cardiff City v West Ham United – Saturday 11 2014 – 1500KO

Without a doubt the game of the day, and anrelegation battle where all sets of eyes will be on the managers for very different reasons.

Cardiff have of course appointed a new gaffer in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and we welcome him back to the Premier League. He will be looking to build on last week’s win in the cup away at Newcastle and heap more pressure on Big Sam who can ill afford another defeat. It is probably a cliché to say at the very least you expect his sides to be strong and organised, but anyone who had the misfortune to watch either of this week’s cup exits will realise organisation wasn’t very apparent in The Hammers line-up.

West Ham also signed Roger Johnson from League One Wolves this week on the basis that he was tall, not cup-tied and had experience in the top league. In hindsight, after his debut Michael Johnson may have been a better shout as he also ticks all those boxes!

Premier League Injury News: New signing Wolff Eikrem looks likely to be amongst the subs for The Bluebirds after signing from Dutch side Heerenveen this week. He will be joined on the bench by ex-Hammer Craig Bellamy. West Ham seem to be putting all their eggs in one basket and naming Andy Carroll amongst the substitutes for this one. O ‘Brien is out but Tomkins returns. Adrian may continue in goal despite conceding 11 goals this week.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 2-1
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Peter Whittingham

Everton v Norwich– Saturday 11 January 2013 – 1500Ko

I think a few people expected Everton to maybe slip up in the FA Cup last week whilst at home to QPR, but they keep surprising people and are now starting to look quite formidable. Maybe not quite Champions League places, but certainly for the minor places and entry to next seasons Europa League.

Norwich seem to have slipped under the radar a little bit in the past few weeks, picking up the odd point here and there, but they really need to start winning games rather than drawing them if they are to keep their heads above water.

Premier League Team News: Everton will be hoping both Barkley and Baines overcome niggles to start. Stones and Alcaraz are expected to continue in defence with Jagielka and Distin both injured. Fer is available for The Canaries after suspension but the list of unavailables includes Howson, Tette, Pilkington and Turner.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 2-0
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Ross Barkley

Fulham v Sunderland – Saturday 11 January 2014 – 1500KO

A match of equal importance as the Cardiff v West Ham fixture, but one which is unlikely to get anywhere near as much coverage in the press.

Fulham, go into this one buoyed after a crucial win last time out in the league over West Ham, whilst Sunderland are still looking to climb off the foot of the table. And if they show the endeavour they did against Manchester United in the league cup, they have a very good chance of jumping above both West Ham and Palace.

Premier League Team News: Fulham welcome back the trio of Hangeland, Richardson and Stekelenburg for this crucial game, but Bryan Ruiz looks to have played his final game with Betis being his likely destination. Johnson may start for The Black Cats after impressing in midweek.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-1
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Wes Brown

Southampton v West Bromwich Albion – Saturday 11 January 2014 – 1500KO

The last time these managers would have come face to face would have been in the sunnier location of Spain in La Liga, so at least the non-English speaking new ‘Head Coach’ of The Baggies will have a friendly face to look at.

Pepe Mel takes over a West Brom side who have been steadied in the last few weeks and are four league games without defeat, Southampton on the other hand suffered their biggest defeat of the season on New Year’s Day against Chelsea and Mauricio Pochettino will be hoping to have a few players back to try and end a recent downturn in form.

Premier League Injuries: Boric will return to The Saints goal after missing the last six weeks with a hand injury. Wanyama is still suffering from a shin complaint and Osvaldo is suspended. Jones and Popov are still out for The Baggies.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 2-0
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Jay Rodriguez

Tottenham v Crystal Palace – Saturday 11 Janiuary 2014 – 1500KO

Spurs have certainly been positive since Tim Sherwood took over, and perhaps the defeat they suffered in the cup against rivals Arsenal will help in the long run. Sherwood’s preferred 4-4-2 formation should work fine against Palace as they should be able to control the passing and the tempo of the game, something they couldn’t do at The Emirates.

Palace surprised me in the Cup away at West Brom last Saturday. I honestly didn’t think they would have enough to go away from home and win but they did! I still think home form is the key to their survival this season but can they upset the odds again away from Selhurst?

Premier League Team News: Spurs welcome back a host of players including Townsend, Holtby and Sigurdsson. MLS bound Jermain Defoe is also fit again after a hamstring complaint. Crystal Palace are carrying a few knocks to unspecified players at the moment but Cameron Jerome should return.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 3-1
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Roberto Saldado

Manchester United v Swansea – Saturday 11 January 2014 – 1730Ko

As I mentioned in my opener it really has been a horrible start to the year for United, and you do wonder whether things will get worse before they get better. They currently sit 5 points behind Liverpool who occupy the last Champions League spot and if they throw away any more points at home that gap will soon become unassailable.

With Swansea only 4 points above the drop zone what would they give for a second successive weekend win at Old Trafford? With no wins in their last six league games, gaining anything will be looked upon as a great result.

Premier League Team News: United are without both Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie for this fixture. Ferdinand, Jones, Young and Nani are also out, adding to David Moyes problems. The Swans also have a lot of players missing including de Guzman, Dyer, Pablo, Michu and first choice stopper Vorm.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 2-0
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Danny Welbeck

Newcastle v Manchester City – Sunday 12 January 2014 – 1405KO

Newcastle were probably my surprise side of the first half of the season,  they sit 6 points above Southampton who had an absolute flyer and have just gone about their business with the minimum of fuss. They do have to be careful though, they’ve lost to Cardiff and West Brom in their last two fixtures. Have the wheels started to come off a little?

If the wheels have started to fall off the last thing you want to be doing is facing a rampant Manchester City side.  They were every bit as good as West Ham were awful when hammering them in midweek. I thought they might struggle in the absence of Aguero, but Negrado has looked unplayable at times, and Dzeko as usual continues to chip in with his fair share of goals.

Premier League Injury News: Krul and Cabaye should return to Newcastle’s starting XI after being rested for the FA Cup last weekend to allow injuries to heal. Defensively though they will be missing Santon, Debuchy and Coloccini. City will be hoping Yaya Toure has overcome an ankle knock that forced him off in midweek. Aguero has also retuned to training this week but won’t be risked.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-3
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Edin Dzeko

Stoke City v Liverpool – Sunday 12 January 2014 – 1600Ko

Stoke will look back at their first half of the season and think we did OK. At times they have been a very good side, playing some attacking football which perhaps doesn’t fit in with what you would consider a Mark Hughes side to play. The rest of the time they have struggled to find the net and have looked very ordinary.

If Liverpool were to look back they will think, we’ve done excellent, we were top the table at Christmas and that included the first 6 weeks of the season without our best player. However the Christmas period has just taken the gloss off those first 19 fixtures, and they will need to get something out of away games like these if they are to get to the promised land of Champions League football. Something in turn which will help them hold on to Suarez.

Premier League Injuries: Jack Butland may make his first Premier League start with Begovic injured and Sorensen struggling with an Achilles problem. Huth is a doubt. Danny Sturridge is back for The Reds who will be without Daniel Agger for a month.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-2
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Luis Suarez

Aston Villa v Arsenal – Monday 13 January 2014 – 2000Ko

I’m sure we all remember the reverse of this fixture on the opening day of the season. The knives were out for Arsene Wenger as he had failed to invest in the summer. Christian Benteke was on the top of his game and Villa looked solid after their youngsters were a year older. How times change!!

Wenger was proved right on his waiting policy, Benteke is morphing into Emile Heskey and Villa are crying out for experience. Will lightning strike twice in this fixture? I very much doubt it!

Premier League Team News: Villa will be hoping the extra couple of days rest will allow Vlaar, Baker, Agbonlahor and Guzan all to be fit. Walcott will be out for the remainder of the season for The Gunners after injuring a knee against Spurs. Oxlade Chamberlain could be a like for like replacement though after overcoming his own serious knee problem. Giroud is also fit again to lead the line.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 3-1
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Mesut Ozil

There we have it, back to normal, The Premier League! Let us know what you think below and give us your own predictions.

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