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

EPL Team News & Predictions 18 - 20 Jan 2014

The transfer window has yet to hot up, unless you are a Hull City fan who have managed to bring in two proven Premier League forwards who should both slot in well to their system. And the story which has made the back pages most this week is about Southampton’s Chairman leaving.

On the pitch, it is tight between the top three who all managed to rise to the top of the table this weekend, whilst the bottom 11 are now only separated by 6 points. Apart from the Chelsea/Man United game there are no fixtures that really get the pulses racing but all are now going to be crucial.

Sunderland v Southampton – Saturday 18 January 2014 – 1245Ko

The League Cup run from Sunderland seems to have done wonders for the team’s confidence and a large 4-1 away win at Fulham last week finally saw them off the foot of the table. Things are looking up for the Black Cats at present with Adam Johnson currently thriving. They will be looking to take advantage of the off-field shenanigans of Southampton although a Chairman leaving shouldn’t really cause too many ripples should it? Especially with the manager reaffirming his position.

Premier League Team News: Gus Poyet has no new injury worries as his side go looking for their 4th home win on the bounce in all competitions. Osvaldo is still suspended for The Saints who are also still without Wanyama
Premier League Betting Prediction: 2-1
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Wes Brown

Arsenal v Fulham – Saturday 18 January 2014 – 1500KO

The Gunners managed to ground out a win away at Villa on Monday that saw them climb back to the top of the table, but apart from a two goal burst they weren’t anywhere near their fluent best and perhaps more worryingly Ozil is starting to look a little out of form.

Fulham on the other hand will be hoping to take confidence from a solid midweek win in the cup over Norwich and forget about last week’s home trouncing from Sunderland. However their away form is patchy to say the least.

Premier League Team News: Tomas Rosicky will wear a Phantom of The Opera style mask to protect a broken nose suffered at Villa last week, which was the third time this season that Arsenal have had to sub a substitute. No other team has done it so far this season! Arteta, Vermaelen and Ramsey are still out. Darren Bent may start for Fulham after his scoring start in midweek.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 3-0
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Jack Wilshere

Crystal Palace v Stoke – Saturday 18 January 2013 – 1500Ko

It’s not often you hear Stoke were involved in an 8 goal thriller, but they were against Liverpool last week and looked good going forward, however they were ripped apart at the back and will be pleased Palace don’t have the firepower of Luis Suarez.

Tony Pulis will come up against his old side for the first time since leaving them in the summer and is sure to get a good reception from both sets of fans. His current charges are bottom of the table again, but a win here could see them climb to the lofty heights of 15th and only 2 points behind todays opposition.

Premier League Team News: Cameron Jerome is ineligible to face his parent club and Bolasie is a doubt. Dikgacoi and Thomas are also out through injury. John Gudetti who signed on loan for Stoke from Man City will feature at some point, unlike Kenwyne Jones who is being disciplined after refusing to play against Liverpool last week.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-1
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Julian Speroni

Manchester City v Cardiff City – Saturday 18 January 2014 – 1500KO

Are Manchester City currently the best team in world football? A bold statement from Blackburn Rovers boss Gary Bowyer who saw his side blown away in a cup replay at the Etihad in midweek, but with their firepower they certainly have the ability to beat anyone and a goal in this fixture will see them bring up 100 goals in all competitions so far this season.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer travels to the blue half of Manchester with his side sliding into the bottom three after a poor home defeat to West Ham.

Premier League Team News: City will ring the changes after their midweek cup win with Toure, Silva and Kompany all expected to return. Jovetic is also nearing full fitness after a lengthy absence.  Mutch and Taylor are missing for the away side.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 3-1
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Sergio Aguero

Norwich v Hull City – Saturday 18 January 2014 – 1500KO

The pressure is certainly back on Chris Hughton with Norwich winless in 6 in the league and they crashed out of the FA Cup to a Fulham side that clinically put away its chances on Tuesday night.  This is one of those games that will have a lot of pressure and if Hull start the game well Carrow Road will certainly be a nervous place.

As I mentioned in my opener Hull have managed to bring in two strikers with Premier League goals and experience in. They both look like they will fit into the Steve Bruce mould as well. Shane Long will run all day for you and never give up, whilst Jelavic certainly knows where the net is.

Premier League Team News: Norwich be delighted to welcome back both Tettey and Pilkington to a side that will also be strengthened by the signing of Gutierrez from Newcastle. Turner and Howson are still out injured though.  Jelavic should start up front for Hull who are likely to have Long on the bench. Brady is still struggling to be fit though with a groin problem.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-0
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: John Ruddy

West Ham v Newcastle – Saturday 18 January 2014 – 1500Ko

Big Sam certainly played his get out of jail card last week when they managed to win away in Cardiff, his side have failed to win back to back Premier League games since they returned to the top flight last season, and after losing Guy Demel to concussion and James Tomkins to suspension they will be light at the back again and will always give players like Remy a chance.

First off, it was wrong but for some reason Alan Pardew telling Pelligrini to ‘Shut his noise’ really amused me. I think it was the fact I hadn’t heard that phrase for at least 20 years!  What will he do next start stroking his chin and saying ‘Jimmy Hill’ if someone is lying or maybe start a game of Bundles? Anyway I think this could work in his favour as the press focus has all been on him this week and his side could slip under the radar as they’ve actually now lost 3 on the bounce.

Premier League Team News: Nolan and Tomkins are suspended whilst Demel is injured after a spell in hospital with concussion. Carroll will continue his rehabilitation from the bench. Pardew is expected to name the same side that lost to Manchester City last weekend on his return to Upton Park.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-2
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Loic Remy

Liverpool v Aston Villa –Saturday 18 January 2014 – 1730KO

The SAS partnership of Suarez and Sturridge looks good on paper with 32 goals between them already, but the vast majority of these have been with only one of them on the pitch together at the same time, but with both fit they may now have the opportunity to play together a little more.

Villa will be looking to build on their second half performance against Arsenal where they hassled and rushed their opponents and really gave it a go. Benteke scored an old fashioned diving header, which hasn’t been seen at Villa Park since Andy Gray was in his prime!

Premier League Team News: Sturridge is expected to return to the starting XI for The Reds, who have also added Sakho and Allen to the squad. New loan signings Holt and Bertrand will feature for Villa who are without defender Nathan Baker.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 2-1
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Luis Suarez

Swansea v Tottenham – Sunday 19 January 2014 – 1330Ko

The Swans are now without a win since the 4th December, a run that takes in 7 games and on paper they are unlikely to beat a Spurs side that have won 4 out of their last 5.

Since they won the League Cup back in March, The Swans league form has been appalling but perhaps the attacking openness of the opposition here will let them play their way out of trouble.

Premier League Team News: Swansea’s injury list is a never ending story but Lamah and Vorm could both return to the squad. De Guzman, Michu, Pablo, Canas and Dyer are all out. Sandro and Townsend both return for Spurs after a month out but Paulinho and Vertonghen are both still out.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-1
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Ashley Williams

Chelsea v Manchester United – Sunday 19 January 2014 – 1600Ko

In the reverse of this fixture earlier in the season Jose Mourinho went to Old Trafford and set his stall out to get a 0-0 draw and achieved his goal. But the boot is on the other foot for this one and this is a must win for Chelsea if they are to keep pace with City and Arsenal.

With Rooney and Van Persie both again missing through injury, it will certainly limit United’s attacking options although an extended run in the team is helping the development of Danny Welbeck. He has all the attributes of a top striker and his pace and power could certainly put pressure on the Terry/Cahill partnership at the back for Chelsea.

Premier League Team News: Return signing Matic goes straight into the Chelsea squad after arriving this week from Benfica. Lampard is also fit again after a calf injury. Rooney and Van Persie will both return to full training next week but this game has come too early for them.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 3-2
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Fernando Torres

West Bromwich v Everton – Monday 20 January 2014 – 2000Ko

This will be a good chance to see what sort of football Pepe Mel intends to stamp on West Bromwich Albion, by all the reports I’ve read he likes to get the ball down and break quickly in a similar sort of brand to which Pochettinho has brought to Southampton. If he does manage this we could be in for a good game as we are well aware that fellow Spaniard Roberto Martinez likes to get his sides playing a similar way.

Premier League Team News: West Brom are short on attacking players after Long’s sale and with Sessegnon and Anichebe both struggling with niggles.  Popov and Jones are also unavailable.  Everton will bring in Aiden McGeady straight into the squad after signing a permanent deal from Spartak Moscow. Barkley is out for up to 6 weeks with a toe injury.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-1
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Steven Pienaar

That’s about it for this week. Remember there are no league fixtures next weekend due to FA Cup 4th round, but we do have a full midweek list. I wonder if we will have the same managerial line-up!

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