Football News: Premier League Preview Sunday 17th December 2017

 

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Premier League Preview Sunday 17th December 2017
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Sunday 17th December 2017



West Bromwich Albion v Manchester United 2:15pm kick off


Barry (thigh strain) slight doubt
Phillips (hamstring injury expected return 23rd December) late fitness test
Chadli (hip flexor strain expected return 23rd December) major doubt
Dawson (knee injury expected return 26th December) out
Morrison (achilles injury expected return 26th December) out

Their winless run is rivalling Man City's winning run, with it now being 15 games in a row since they won. Just one win at home all season has left them in serious danger, even though the arrival of Alan Pardew has, surprisingly, seen the team tighten up defensively. However Pardew was not brought in to make the team better at defending, it was attacking that he was meant to improve, but that has yet to happen. The Baggies still look like a team lacking in confidence and quality. Has Pardew bitten off more than he can chew with this team?
Most important player: Jose Salomon Rondon. The Venezuelan forward has been in good form of late, but has not been getting the chances he needs to notch goals.


Rojo (head injury) slight doubt
Fellaini (MCL injury expected return 15th January 2018) out
Bailly (ankle injury expected return 3rd March 2018) out
Carrick (heart condition) out
Pogba (suspended) out

All the Red Devils can do now is win and win and win again to try and put pressure on the blue half of Manchester. Their failure in the derby, a failure to even try and go out to win the game, has allowed City to get away. Has Jose Mourinho got the ambition to chase down City by attacking all before them and winning every game? Or will he be willing to drop points, as usual, by taking a draw against the bigger sides? Pragmatism is no longer enough in the Premier League, it is now winning that is key to keep pace at the top. Away from home, in particular, they are failing to win enough, having only won half their matches.
Most important player: Antonio Valencia. No longer the exciting winger of old, but he is very important to the team still.


Defining Battle: Man Utd have to win, a draw is of no use to them any more. The Baggies chances rest on keeping their team compact and not allow themselves to get dragged around and drawn out of the centre. West Brom's chances rest on keeping things tight and looking to spring out on the break and catch United unaware.


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



Bournemouth v Liverpool 4:30pm kick off


B Smith (hip injury) out
Mings (back injury) out
Federici (knee injury) out

It is now 5 games since Bournemouth won a game, losing Eddie Howe his position as flavour of the month young manager. Despite being given a comparatively large budget each season, progress has been non-existent for the Cherries on the pitch. On the face of it they have bought well each year, but Howe seems to struggle to get the most out of the new players. If they are ever to move forward as a club, Howe has to figure out how to get more from them, to bring the team together and find a style of playing that fits his players. If not, it is only a matter of time before Bournemouth eventually slip back out of the Premier League.
Most important player: Nathan Ake. Since arriving on a permanent deal from Chelsea, Ake has struggled and does not look like the player they had on loan previously. It is time for him to put in some better performances and repay the faith Howe has shown in him.


Moreno (ankle injury) major doubt
Sturridge (hamstring injury) doubt
Grujic (fractured finger) doubt
Matip (muscle injury) out
Clyne (back injury expected return 10th February 2018) out
Bogdan (ACL injury) out
Gomez (knock) slight doubt
Lallana (match fitness) slight doubt
Milner (knock) slight doubt
Robertson (knock) slight doubt
Can (suspended 5 yellow cards) out

Two home draws in a row have been a major knock to Liverpool's hopes this season. They have now slipped behind 2nd place, as well as the leaders, leaving them in what looks to be a dogfight for 4th place. It is not entirely bad, they have gone 8 unbeaten and the leaky defence looks to have tightened up considerably, losing the same number of goals in total in that 8 game run as they lost in the game before, the 4-1 defeat to Spurs. Since that defeat at Wembley, the Reds have conceded just 2 goals away from home, both in big wins. It is all a major step forward from last season, when they would often slip to defeats in games against the lesser sides, now they are turning those into draws. The next step is to begin to turn the draws into wins.
Most important player: Roberto Firmino. The Brazilian is at the heart of everything Liverpool do.


Defining Battle: when you play against Liverpool the key is to not give Mane and Salah space to operate in. Have Bournemouth got the players in their team to shut them out of the game? If they can, they have every chance of a positive result. If they fail and let them in behind them, then it could be a big score, as Bournemouth look fragile, both defensively and mentally. They have the look of a team whose morale is on the verge of collapse.


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



Editor's Predictions Table
1. Ed033 - 110 points
2= Ed018 - 102 points
2= Ed025 - 102 points
4= Ed002 - 98 points
4= Ed003 - 98 points
6= Ed004 - 97 points
6= Ed007 - 97 points


*1 point is awarded for the correct result, 3 points for the correct score.
**updated 15th December 2017

Written by Tris Burke



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