Mark Young reckons West Ham, Watford and Tottenham can spoil the New Year party for Liverpool, Man City and Everton but that Louis van Gaal will be celebrating. Does Arsenal Ladies defender Jemma Rose agree?
West Ham United 1-0 Liverpool
The first Premier League fixture of the New Year is in the early kick-off at the Boleyn Ground between West Ham United and Liverpool on Saturday.
Slaven Bilic’s side are unbeaten in six games but recorded a first win in that run over Southampton on Monday. The league is very up and down this season and I expect that to continue this weekend as the Hammers could make it a miserable start to 2016 for Jürgen Klopp.
The Reds defeated Sunderland thanks to Christian Benteke’s winner on Wednesday but I reckon it will be that scoreline in reverse here.
Jemma Rose’s Prediction: West Ham United 1-2 Liverpool
Leicester City 3-1 Bournemouth
Eddie Howe’s men suffered their first defeat since the start of November at Arsenal, which is good going considering their huge injury list. But Claudio Ranieri’s team will fancy their chances against the Cherries.
While the story of the season, Leicester City, have failed to score in two games, they bounced back from their Anfield blip by drawing with one of the league favourites, Manchester City.
With Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez in the team, the Foxes are always a threat and they have a great opportunity to get their title challenge back on track here.
Jemma Rose’s Prediction: Leicester City 2-0 Bournemouth
Manchester United 1-0 Swansea
Manchester United and Swansea meet at Old Trafford on Saturday with both hoping that 2016 brings more joy than the previous 12 months.
It was their rivals, Swans, who inflicted United’s first defeat of the season back in August and are now unbeaten in their last three games under caretaker boss Alan Curtis.
Louis van Gaal is under serious pressure, having failed to win since beating Watford two months ago. But I reckon United will start the New Year with a narrow victory here and give their under-fire manager some breathing space.
Jemma Rose’s Prediction: Manchester United 1-1 Swansea City
Watford 1-1 Manchester City
Watford are this season’s surprise package: sitting ninth in the table and only six points off of a top-four spot, which is remarkable for a newly-promoted club.
The star men have been 14-goal Odion Ighalo and club captain Troy Deeney, who have sparkled together all season long. Contrastingly, City have failed to win an away game since beating Crystal Palace in September.
Manuel Pellegrini will be hoping his men begin 2016 with renewed vigour but with City struggling for away form and Watford full of confidence, I expect them to drop points on Saturday.
Jemma Rose’s Prediction: Watford 0-3 Manchester City
Everton 2-3 Tottenham Hotspur
The positives for Everton boss Roberto Martinez are that Romelu Lukaku has grown into the striker Chelsea were too impatient to wait for, while Gerard Deulofeu and Ross Barkley have been tormenting defences.
But the Toffees will face a tough time against in-form Tottenham. Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen have combined to form the best defence in the league, with only 15 goals conceded. And after a slow start, Harry Kane is proving he is no one-season wonder whilst Dele Alli has been a revelation.
The hosts have been spectacular to watch in recent weeks, with 17 goals in their last four home games, but they’ve struggled to keep a clean sheet and only won one of those matches. I reckon Sunday’s game could prove to be another goal-fest but that Spurs will just edge it.
Jemma Rose’s Prediction: Everton 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur
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