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Football News: Premier League Match Preview Saturday 10th February 2018

Premier League Match Preview Saturday 10th February 2018
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Saturday 10th February 2018


Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal 12:30pm kick off


Moura (match fitness) doubt

Spurs are in good shape right now, not just in terms of having pretty much every player fit but they are also in good form going into this North London derby match. It has now been 8 games unbeaten in the league, as well as making progress in the FA Cup, confidence is high and they have a Champions League tie against Juventus to come midweek to look forward to. Added to that they have Arsene Wenger's comments needling at their diving in the previous match to drive them on for revenge for their loss in the away game.
Most important player: Christian Eriksen. The Dane makes Spurs tick on a good day.


Cech (calf injury) late fitness test
Monreal (illness) slight doubt
Welbeck (muscular injury) late fitness test
Cazorla (plantaris injury) out

Even a win for Arsenal will leave them sat in 6th behind Spurs as the season enters the final straight and with Man City next up for the Gunners. Have the January arrivals given them enough of a push that they can move themselves back into top 4 contention? It is certainly not entirely out of the question that they can make it into the top 3, if they can just find some consistency.
Most important player: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. A lot is resting on the shoulders of the Gabonese international this season.


Defining Battle: how will the Spurs defence cope with the new look Arsenal attack? The Arsenal midfield and defence are still the same one that is often cut through by opponents but that attack is a new challenge. Do they drop deep and deny space, making it more difficult to attack, or do they risk their usual high press and leave gaps in behind where Arsenal can quickly release Aubameyang?


Editors' Predictions:
Ed002 - 3-1
Ed003 - 2-2
Ed004 - 3-2
Ed007 - 2-0
Ed018 - 2-2
Ed025 - 3-1
Ed033 - 1-1


Everton v Crystal Palace 3pm kick off


Funes Mori (fitness) major doubt
Coleman (illness) slight doubt
McCarthy (broken leg) out
Baines (calf strain expected return 24th February) out
Stekelenburg (groin injury expected return 10th March) out

With 31 points banked already, you would expect Everton to be able to easily get enough points to avoids relegation but they are making heavy weather of it. Just one win in the last eight is a real problem Toffees as the points rate they are scoring at would only see them reach 40 points on the final day. Will Allardyce be able to keep the fans onside if it gets that close to the wire?
Most important player: Theo Walcott. Palace's defence is suspect and Walcott can exploit it.


Zaha (knee injury expected return 10th March) out
Kelly (hamstring injury expected return 5th March) out
Speroni (knee injury expected return 7th April) out
Sako (broken ankle expected return 18th August) out
Schlupp (MCL injury expected return 5th March) out
Dann (ACL injury) out
Puncheon (PCL tear) out
Loftus-Cheek (ankle injury) doubt
Wickham (ACL injury) doubt

The recovery has slowed a little recently, with Palace not winning in three and still not safe from relegation. Roy Hodgson has to once more pick up his players for a big push in their survival battle. Their slight lead could so easily crumble away to nothing if they are not careful. With the loss of Zaha to injury, they will need someone else to step up in the way he has done.
Most important player: Mamadhou Sakho. The return of the French defender could not come at a better time for the Eagles. They need strong characters to beat the drop and he is very much a character.


Defining Battle: the key for Everton is stopping the crosses coming in as Palace are without the skills of Zaha and Sako, who are both capable of conjuring something from nothing. Without them, their main hope of scoring is Benteke or Sorloth, both at their best as the targets for crosses.


Editors' Predictions:
Ed002 - 2-0
Ed003 - 1-0
Ed004 - 2-1
Ed007 - 3-1
Ed018 - 1-1
Ed025 - 1-1
Ed033 - 1-0


Stoke City v Brighton & Hove Albion 3pm kick off


Jese (fitness) slight doubt
Fletcher (knock) slight doubt

The new manager bounce lifted Stoke out of the relegation zone initially under Paul Lambert, but they have slipped back in again now and they are looking increasingly like a team with no real hope of survival. So much of what they do is put on Shaqiri's shoulders but the Swiss is too inconsistent to build around with any real certainty.
Most important player: Badou Ndiae. The Senegalese midfielder can be the driving force to lift the Potters.


Skalak (ankle injury) out
Brown (ACL injury) out
Locadia (hamstring injury) slight doubt
Sidwell (back injury) out

After looking dead and buried, the Seagulls have suddenly given themselves hope with their win over the Hammers last weekend. A win over Stoke would suddenly put daylight between the 2 sides and put them in a position that gives them a decent size lead to hold onto.
Most important player: Gaetan Bong. The left back has been a key player for Brighton recently.


Defining Battle: this is the kind of game after talked up as a relegation 6 pointer, as a good result is vital for both teams. Despite the change in manager there is little change in the way Stoke play, it is still about giving it to Shaqiri and hoping he can pull something out of the fire. Brighton's path to victory is to close him out of the game.


Editors' Predictions:
Ed002 - 1-1
Ed003 - 0-0
Ed004 - 1-0
Ed007 - 1-0
Ed018 - 2-1
Ed025 - 2-0
Ed033 - 1-2


Swansea City v Burnley 3pm kick off


Fer (achilles injury) out
Bony (ACL injury) out
Rangel (calf strain) out
Sanches (hamstring injury expected return 3rd March) out
Britton (groin strain expected return 24th February) out
Ayew (hamstring injury) doubt

Has it just been the new manager bounce to end all new manager bounces or has Carlos Carvalhal got the ability to keep it going and rescue Swansea from the depths of despair. Their recent run is certainly a source of hope, 4 unbeaten in the Premier League, including wins over Arsenal and Liverpool, plus a stroll though in the FA Cup 4th Round Replay against Notts County. One thing is for sure, he has won half the battle by getting the players behind him and all pulling in the same direction.
Most important player: Sam Clucas. Carvalhal has actually figured out how to use the big signing from Hull City and that has made a huge difference to the team.


Bardsley (hamstring injury expected return 24th February) out
Tarkowski (groin strain expected return 24th February) out
Defour (knee injury) out
Marney (MCL injury) out
Walters (knee injury expected return 3rd March) out
Wood (MCL injury expected return 24th February) out
Brady (knee injury) out
Heaton (dislocated shoulder expected return 24th February) out

For the first time in his career as a manager, Sean Dyche has had to deal with an injury crisis which has robbed him of key players for long periods. It can also take a good share of the blame for the Clarets' run of 9 games without a victory in the Prem. However the draw against Man City last weekend could be the catalyst to return to form they need, as the boost of coming back to take a well earned draw against the league leaders is a great tonic when things are going wrong.
Most important player: Ben Mee. The defender is a rock at the back, able to make any partner placed alongside him look a decent defender.


Defining Battle: this is going to be a big challenge to both sides, who want to play on the counter, it is going to be difficult for them both to do so. With the Swans at home and in more desperate need of the points, they are going to have to take the game to Burnley and look to peg them back. To do so they will need to shut the two wide players out of the game, as they are Burnley's main creative force.


Editors' Predictions:
Ed002 - 1-1
Ed003 - 1-2
Ed004 - 1-2
Ed007 - 1-1
Ed018 - 0-1
Ed025 - 1-2
Ed033 - 1-2


West Ham United v Watford 3pm kick off


Reid (infection) late fitness test
Obiang (MCL injury expected return 2nd July) out
Arnautovic (hamstring injury) late fitness test
Lanzini (hamstring injury expected return 3rd March) out
Carroll (fractured foot expected return 21st April) out
Fernandes (ankle injury) out
Masuaku (suspended) out

Performances and results have tailed off slightly in recent weeks for David Moyes West Ham, not helped by a tumultous January transfer window which has seen the owners once more fail to deliver on their many promises. That has created a lot of unrest on the terraces which is not helping their cause and injury problems have added to the struggles. Now it is time for Moyes to step up and provide some answers to the questions being asked of his team.
Most important player: Mark Noble. With so many injuries and so much unrest around the club, it is important that the captain stands up to be counted.


Deeney (ankle injury) slight doubt
Kabasele (hamstring injury) doubt
Cleverley (hamstring injury expected return 24th February) out
Wague (hamstring injury) out
Gomes (back spasm expected return 24th February) out
Femenia (hamstring injury expected return 24th February) out
Hughes (hamstring injury expected return 24th February) out
Britos (bruised foot expected return 24th February) out
Kaboul (fractured matatarsal expected return 24th February) out
Chalobah (knee injury expected return 3rd March) out
Cathcart (knee injury expected return 3rd March) out
Hoban (ACL injury) out

Just when it looked like the Hornets were going to sink without trace, after a good start, they pull out a shock victory over Chelsea. Is that enough to be the catalyst for a revival? It does seem unlikely that they will go down, but the amount of injuries they are suffering could well be enough to send them down. They will just be glad to have got points on the board early, as that could be what saves them.
Most important player: Gerard Deulofeu. Can he maintain the form he showed in his first match or will it be the usual of one good game followed by 10 poor ones?


Defining Battle: Watford will attack using their pace against West Ham's backline which is likely to feature James Collins, who completely lacks pace. That presents a real problem for Moyes, who will have to find a way to deal with that attacking pace, which Watford have all over the pitch.


Editors' Predictions:
Ed002 - 2-1
Ed003 - 1-1
Ed004 - 2-2
Ed007 - 2-1
Ed018 - 1-2
Ed025 - 1-2
Ed033 - 1-0


Manchester City v Leicester City 5:30pm kick off


Stones (knee injury) slight doubt
D. Silva (abdominal injury expected return 19th February) major doubt
Sane (ankle injury expected return 25th February) out
Delph (knee injury) out
Jesus (MCL injury expected return 19th February) out
Foden (ankle injury) slight doubt
Mendy (ACL injury expected return 18th April) out

With Pep Guardiola seemingly focused on moaning about the big boys being rough with his little treasures, his team are not playing at the same level as they were. It does seem like they have taken their foot off the pedal a little, as their lead at the top is pretty much unassailable, their focus seems to have moved onto the Champions League.
Most important player: Ilkay Gundogan. The German still has every chance of making the World Cup, he needs to get some good performances under his belt to do so.


Okazaki (knee injury expected return 24th February) out
Morgan (hamstring injury expected return 16th February) out

The Foxes were badly disrupted by the bids from Man City for Riyad Mahrez in the January window. They have now got lumbered with a sulky little brat refusing to train due to the move not going through. Claude Puel's best hope is probably to try and use that to drive his team on to go at the Mancunians from the kick off. We have seen Man City are vulnerable to teams who are not afraid to take the game to them, it is just that so few teams have been brave enough to do so this season.
Most important player: Wilfred Ndidi. The midfielders workrate and energy will be tested to the full trying to cope with the movement in the Man City midfield.


Defining Battle: Man City have really struggled against a team pressing them in recent weeks, Leicester are at their best when they are on the front foot, harrying and pressing the opponent and looking to break. If Leicester can return to the high octane style that gave them a title, they will have a genuine chance of winning. They have to avoid allowing the Mahrez situation becoming a distraction.


Editors' Predictions:
Ed002 - 4-0
Ed003 - 3-2
Ed004 - 4-1
Ed007 - 4-0
Ed018 - 2-1
Ed025 - 2-1
Ed033 - 2-0


Editor's Predictions Table
1. Ed025 - 169 points
2. Ed018 - 165 points
3. Ed002 - 164 points
4. Ed033 - 158 points
5. Ed004 - 154 points
6. Ed007 - 150 points
7. Ed003 - 148 points


*1 point is awarded for the correct result, 3 points for the correct score.
**updated 9th February 2018 (not including results for that day)

Written by Tris Burke February 10 2018 04:55:32