Charlie Nicholas’ midweek Premier League predictions are out, so we take a look at what scores he has given for each fixture.
He’s already correctly predicted Tottenham to beat West Ham 2-0, however got the scoreline wrong for Leicester’s 0-0 bore draw with Brighton, Charlie went with 3-1 to the Foxes. Eek.
MAN UTD v SHEFFIELD UTD
He said: “I think I mentioned in the build-up to the Sheffield United vs Aston Villa game that the Blades had done so well and did not need the break. Jack O’Connell was out, but John Fleck came back, but it did not seem to matter.
“Sheffield United were in a rhythm – a rhythm that got them into the top six and even higher. When you break that, and this is not their fault, you have to readjust and find that rhythm again. Sometimes it is hard to find.
“When you get that mould, which was graft, quality and unpredictable overlapping wing-backs with service, it is hard to stop. All the real hard work was done but they need to find their pattern again if they are to get into Europe. They have been disrupted massively.
“Manchester United were the better team against Tottenham but not did not play overly well. Their best time of the game was when Paul Pogba came on. Marcus Rashford looked sharp, and now Ole Gunnar Solskjaer probably has to play Pogba.
“David de Gea has been put under some scrutiny, but I said a couple of months ago that he was no longer a top class goalkeeper, the way he was performing.
“Wolves and Chelsea both got wins and Manchester United are hanging in there currently, and they have to prove they are good enough to make the top four. Anthony Martial will turn up and get on the scoresheet.”
SCORE PREDICTION: Man Utd 2-0 Sheffield Utd
NEWCASTLE v ASTON VILLA
Charlie said: “Not only have I complimented Steve Bruce at every opportunity, but I cannot remember the last time Newcastle won 3-0.
They only needed to get Joelinton into a position where he can score and sometimes that is all it takes. You did feel sorry for him, and it is uncomfortable when you watch them and the fans are getting on his back.
“Steve Bruce has probably worked with him as well as others on having some belief, that if you get into the right areas, you will score. They are the most important goals and you need to be in the areas where it matters. Joelinton got in amongst it and in and around these areas where the opportunities may arise.
“Surely the worry disappears with the fans not being there and the high demands that they make sometimes. The players may have become more courageous. The best strikers miss chances but they are always back for more, and this is what builds and instils confidence.
“I thought Aston Villa did well against Chelsea and thought they were going to prove me wrong again. Chelsea did not even work for it and the equalising goal was a shambles defensively for Villa.
“Jack Grealish is still playing his part. If you have to play two forwards, play two. If you disrupt the shape and take risks, do it.
“Newcastle are sitting sweet and there will be a takeover sooner or later. I do not see enough Villa players wanting to get on the ball and making things happen.
“Perhaps John McGinn or Conor Hourihane should get in behind, but the wide men are not delivering and have to do more. Dean Smith will play with the same system and it is just not enough.”
SCORE PREDICTION: Newcastle 2-1 Aston Villa
NORWICH v EVERTON
He said: “Everton had a result in the fact Andy Robertson was out. They lined up to block the wide areas. Everton probably should have won the game, they had the chances.
“Carlo Ancelotti has done a better job than what I thought, and all of a sudden they can go one point behind Tottenham and Crystal Palace with a win, and within just three points of Sheffield United.
“I did think Norwich had gone, but they will have a go again. They were well beaten defensively [against Southampton], but they are trying to play and get themselves out of danger. This is another scenario where they must go all-out, but Everton will pick them off.
“Back to front, the shape just does not seem right with Everton. There is not enough in those attacking areas, but this will be the game where Norwich will be compounded to Championship football next season.”
SCORE PREDICTION: Norwich 1-3 Everton
WOLVES v BOURNEMOUTH
Charlie said: “This will be a continuation of the power, balance and refreshing look that Wolves have. They were patient at West Ham, but you saw immediately with the counter-attack and link-up of Diogo Jota and Raul Jimenez, how much of a threat they can be.
“Pedro Neto scored off the bench but Adama Traore will start. They have the lovely midfield of Joao Moutinho and Ruben Neves, and they are strong at the back, so this should be a comfortable victory.
“I did not see much of Bournemouth but what I did see made me think they looked a bit dejected. There is not enough going for them at front and they can be punished. I am sticking with Wolves for the top four and they will give it a good go. Everybody seems to be fit again, but Traore coming off the bench was just madness. He will start and cause problems.”
SCORE PREDICTION: Wolves 2-0 Bournemouth
LIVERPOOL v CRYSTAL PALACE
He said: “I felt that Robertson just missed out [against Everton], so he will be fit for this one which will be a result, considering James Milner’s injury concern.
“Crystal Palace do really well in differing games and can be awkward. It was a fine result for them against Bournemouth. Wilfried Zaha’s tricks and skill can agitate teams and he will be a handful, but after Manchester City’s return, Liverpool will be keen to get going again.
“They know they will win the Premier League, but they will want to put it to bed for the fans and get over the line. It does not matter where they win it, City still have to go to Chelsea, but they will win it to make sure the most of the strain is off.
“It will be a comfortable night, but because there are no fans urging them on for more, they will get their fitness up, get themselves in front and then shut up shop to get the job done.”
SCORE PREDICTION: Liverpool 2-0 Crystal Palace
BURNLEY v WATFORD
Charlie said: “I did not realise the contract situation Burnley left themselves in. We knew City would beat them, but how bad is it? The youngsters were on the bench. Has Sean Dyche done that in a certain way?
“Injuries are also a concern, especially for their two most prominent strikers. They are not under pressure in 11th, but it will annoy Sean Dyche in the way they got beat.
Have Burnley got enough? What is in it for them? What is their drive to get there? There are some good guys in the dressing room who have not signed contracts, which may disrupt them.
“Watford may get a result here, they earned a point against Leicester – most of the results went their way, so they will fancy their chances. I think Watford will nick this. They will open the relegation battle wide open again.”
SCORE PREDICTION: Burnley 1-2 Watford
SOUTHAMPTON v ARSENAL
He said: “Norwich were poor but Southampton impressed – they are much better away than they are at home, but what a season Danny Ings is having. Nathan Redmond’s movement and pace is excellent, and he is good with two feet. Is this the time for Redmond to really kick on? He has always been troublesome and should be doing this much more.
“I thought Emiliano Martinez did well when he came on, but tell me any goalkeeper who could play behind this back four?They are left so exposed. Martinez slightly got it wrong for the last goal but did not play badly at all. I cannot work out where a result is coming from for Arsenal at the minute.
“Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looked more lively, and I do like Alexandre Lacazettte but he was out of sorts. He has to earn the right to play and he is not doing enough. Nicolas Pepe scored a great goal but is not doing enough either. Eddie Nketiah will probably get a nod again and I do not have a problem with that.
“How do you work it out for Arsenal? The defence is poor – Mikel Arteta left Kieran Tierney out, but he does need games to get fit. He needs games to get confidence, but how do you get that in this defence? He has been brought into this.
“I do not know what his midfield selection is. Matteo Guendouzi is a talent but he needs experience with him, while Dani Ceballos is good on the ball but not without it, and we are in an absolute mess at the minute. We do not usually get something at Southampton and the top four is long gone, but I would be grateful for yet another draw, just to get a point on the board.”
SCORE PREDICTION: Southampton 2-2 Arsenal
CHELSEA v MAN CITY
Charlie said: “We always knew Phil Foden was the real deal in terms of talent. People kept suggesting he should go to Germany or elsewhere, but why? He is, in time, going to be David Silva’s replacement, and a good one at that. He must learn the other side of the game though.
“He does remind me of Jack Wilshere. A sweet left foot, superb in tight situations and hard to knock off the ball, while being precise with his passing.
“It was the injuries that finished Wilshere at the top level, but what Jack was not able to do that Foden was able to do is being able to work under a coach that is requiring you to learn differing positions. Foden is being taught the Andres Iniesta role, yet he scores two against Burnley playing in a wide left role.
“You have to make runs in behind, creating space down the left for Silva or Oleksandr Zinchenko, and he did just that. He is creating space without the ball and then you will gradually get the ball.
“Pep’s ways of workings are brilliant, and Foden is learning all the time. You saw the delight on his face after the game – he knows he has it and City know they have the right guy and he is the one who can be trusted.
“This may start the Manchester City rebuild for back-to-back titles again. They do have a replacement and he is one of their own. He is playing in and around Kevin De Bruyne, who is one of the best in the world, and all of these cup competitions they are building for will help his progression. I see a big improvement here and City will reap the rewards.
“Chelsea came back well with energy and enthusiasm against Aston Villa, especially with the youngsters, but you can still see that they have problems defensively. You can get at them. Billy Gilmour was left out, as we know what N’Golo Kante can do.
“Chelsea will be a handful going forward, and if City don’t win, Liverpool will will more than likely win the league as a result, but I think it is looking like Liverpool having to go to City to win it. I will go for a narrow City win here.”
SCORE PREDICTION: Chelsea 1-2 Man City
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