Premier League Week 15 Preview
Let the Festive Madness Begin
With sleigh bells starting to ring and temperatures falling it’s time for Premier League players to knuckle down for what is a mouth-watering period of fixtures for fans, punters and football tipsters alike. Here are some of the highlights in December’s first wintery portion of English top-flight action.
Swansea V Leicester, Saturday 05/12/15 at 15.00 GMT
The contrast between these two sides couldn’t be more stark. Whilst the Foxes continue to dazzle all with their attractive brand of attacking, and ultimately successful football under the stewardship of Claudio Ranieri, Garry Monk’s Swansea are in free-fall, and the young boss finds himself under intense pressure following last season’s relative success. Jamie Vardy is of course the man in the spotlight as he seeksto continue an already record-breaking run of scoring in 11 consecutive matches, whilst the home side are simply searching for points – it’s four games without a win now for the Welsh side, and they are already a whopping fifteen points behind their visitors. It’s a sign of how quickly things can change in the Premier League. Last season Swansea finished 8th while only a late season run rescued Leicester, who eventually finished 14th, a full 15 points behind Saturday’s hosts– that’s a thirty point shift in fortunes in just six months. Swansea won this fixture 2-0 last time out, and will need a huge improvement to secure the same score-line this time around. These two sides have conceded 40 goals between them already this campaign, so top football tipsters could be casting an eye at the over / under market to see if any valued is offered. The home side have no fresh injury concerns, while the away side will be without Ritchie De Laet who has an ankle knock.
Swansea 2.75, Draw 3.30, Leicester2.50
Newcastle V Liverpool, Sunday06/12/15 at 16.00 GMT
Two more sides with contrasting fortunes and coming off the back of amazingly different results. The Magpies were abysmal in their 5-1 defeat at Palace last time out, while Liverpool were sensational in their 1-6 hammering of Southampton at St Mary’s in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday night. Jurgen Klopp has already established an aura of optimism on Merseyside that Steve McClaren could only dream of emulating on Tyneside – indeed it’s been nothing but doom and gloom for the Geordies so far this season and they currently sit in 19th, two points from safety. This match has produced some epic encounters down the years – who could ever forget Liverpool’s two epic 4-3 wins at Anfield in 1996 and 1997? Recent games at St. James’ Park have been difficult to call to say the least. Working back from last season, the last seven results read 1-0, 2-2, 0-6, 2-0, 3-1, 1-5, 0-3 – an emphatic Liverpool win on Tyneside is not an unusual occurrence, and with spirts low in the home camp while the visitors are riding a wave of Klopp-induced optimism and have Daniel Sturridge back playing – and scoring – again, top football tipsters could be predicting a repeat. The home side have as many as ten players on the treatment table, while the Red will hope Philippe Coutinho has recovered from a hamstring strain.
Newcastle 5.50, Draw 4.00, Liverpool1.57
Everton V Crystal Palace, Monday 07/12/15 at 20.00 GMT
Two in-form sides go head-to-head at Goodison on Monday night as ninth-placed Everton, unbeaten in four, face seventh place Crystal Palace, who have won two of their last three, including last weekend’s resounding 5-1 thrashing of hapless Newcastle. Everton have scored 14 in their last four, while Palace won on their last trip to Merseyside just four weeks ago – a surprise 0-1 win over Liverpool denting Jurgen Klopp’s otherwise unblemished record. In Gerard Deulofeu, Wilfried Zaha and Yannick Bolasie, three of the quickest wingers in the Premier League will be on show, although it is one of the surprise statistics of the season so far that a Crystal Palace striker has yet to notch this campaign. That certainly hasn’t been the case for the Toffees – front man Romelu Lukaku is the division’s second highest scorer (10) and football tipsters will certainly be considering the big Belgian, as well as England’s electrifying talent Ross Barkley, when picking a winner in this one. James McCarthy is a doubt for the home side with a groin injury, while both Bakary Sako and Dwight Gayle are unlikely starters for the away side.
Everton 2.00, Draw 3.50, Crystal Palace3.60
Full weekend fixtures
Stoke V Man City, Saturday at 12.45 GMT
Arsenal v Sunderland, Saturday at 15.00 GMT
Man Utd v West Ham, Saturday at 15.00 GMT
Southampton v Aston Villa, Saturday at 15.00 GMT
Watford V Norwich, Saturday at 15.00 GMT
West BromV Tottenham, Saturday at 15.00 GMT
Chelsea V Bournemouth, Saturday at 17.30 GMT
All odds courtesy of Bet365 and correct as of 20.00 GMT on Thursday 3rd December.
By: Steven Paget