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The SQ Premier League Predictor: Matchday Thirteen

Austin Taliaferro

Stats and predictions for this weekend’s games.

Let’s be honest. In soccer, we all like to think that we can predict what the scores will be and take unrivaled joy in correctly guessing the outcomes of the biggest games. That sentiment is echoed by the soccer writers here at SQ, so we have decided to put our claims to the test with a weekly competition in which we will try and predict the scores for all of the Premier League games.

The outcome of each week’s predictions will be decided in a points format with a subsequent rankings table that will run until the end of the season to see who is the best predictor. The scoring system is as follows:

  • No points - for failing to guess the correct result. (Example, you pick Chelsea to win against Aston Villa, but the match ends in a win or draw for Aston Villa. Likewise, if you pick a draw and one of the sides win)

  • One Point - for correctly guessing the result without the score line. (Example, you pick Chelsea to win 3-0 but they win 4-0 instead, or you pick a 2-2 draw but it finishes 1-1 etc.)

  • Three Points - for correctly guessing the result and score line. (Example, you pick Chelsea to win 3-0, and they win 3-0) 

  • Banker - Doubles any points scored in the chosen match. (Each participant gets to use one per week)

Game of the Week

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Stadium: Etihad Stadium, Manchester.

Kick-Off: Saturday 5:30pm (GMT), 11:30am (CDT), 12.30pm (EDT), 9:30am (PDT)

Head-to-Head Record: Man City - 52 wins, Liverpool - 98 wins, Draws - 51

Last Season: Manchester City 3-1 Liverpool (Aug. 25, 2014)

Liverpool 2-1 Manchester City (Mar. 1, 2015)

Form (Last Six): Man City: LWWDWD - 11 Points.     Liverpool: DWDDDW - 10 Points.

League Position: Man City: 1st - 26 Points.     Liverpool: 10th - 17 Points.

Top Scorers & Assisters: Image title

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Last Week: Aston Villa 0-0 Manchester City     Liverpool 1-2 Crystal Palace

Key Stats:

  • Expect goals this weekend; Both sides have scored in the last seven meetings (All competitions)

  • Liverpool have a poor recent record at City in the league. They’ve not won since a 3-2 success at the Etihad in October 2008 (6 games).

  • Manchester City have scored the most goals in the Premier League so far this season (26); double the amount scored by Jurgen Klopp’s men.

  • The hosts are the most accurate passers in the league with an 86% success rate.

  • Manuel Pellegrini’s men have the lowest tackling success rate in the Premier League (35%)

  • Both sides are good in the air; Liverpool have won the highest percentage of headers (55%) while Man City are second (54%).

  • Jurgen Klopp will be hoping his side can stay switched on for the full 90 minutes; They’ve made the most defensive errors of any side this season (14)

  • Philippe Coutinho will be a threat on the counter for Liverpool with the Brazilian recording the most shots from outside the area (28) and the second highest number of total shots (52) this season. 

  • Coutinho also has a surprisingly decent scoring record against Man City. He has found the net in three of the last four meetings between the sides, despite only averaging four goals per season.

  • Manchester City have averaged five goals in their last five matches at the Etihad (all competitions).

Prediction: As Jurgen Klopp slowly begins to get his feet under the table at Anfield, his Liverpool side face a daunting trip to Manchester with the hopes of adding to impressive away performances at Spurs and Chelsea. Their loss to Crystal Palace last time out was a blow, but Klopp’s new high-energy style is bound to have teething problems along the way. The Reds fans will be hoping this isn’t the case at the Etihad and the return of Daniel Sturridge will at least provide an extra threat going forward on the break. For City, they’ve been smashing the goals in at home recently and will be looking to make up for a poor showing at Villa with a win to keep them top. Sergio Aguero and David Silva are likely to return this weekend, which is a huge boost for Pellegrini, but they’ll have to work hard to earn the win here. Both sides usually score in this fixture, but Liverpool’s new style and the lack of match sharpness for City’s main threats points to a tight game.

Manchester City 1-0 Liverpool

Other Games

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Stadium: Vicarage Road, Watford.

Kick-Off: Saturday 12:45pm (GMT), 6:45am (CDT), 7:45am (EDT), 4:45am (PDT)

Head-to-Head Record: Watford - 4 wins, Manchester United - 15 wins, Draws - 5

Last Season: N/A

Form: Watford: LDLWWL - 7 Points.     Man Utd: WLWDDW - 11 Points.

League Position: Watford: 11th - 16 Points.     Man Utd: 4th - 24 Points.

Top Scorers & Assisters:Image title

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Last Week: Leicester City 2-1 Watford     Manchester United 2-0 West Brom

Key Stats:

  • The last time these sides met was in an FA Cup semi-final in 2007, which United won 4-1. The last league meeting between the sides was three months earlier, where United also hit four in a 4-0 win.

  • Manchester United have won each of the last nine meetings in all competitions. They have scored 26 goals in that time at an average of 2.8 per match.

  • The last time Watford beat United was a 1-0 win at Vicarage Road in September 1986; almost 30 years ago.

  • Wayne Rooney has three goals in his only two matches against the Hornets.

  • Etienne Capoue has committed more fouls than any other player this season (29).

  • United’s defense will have a tough task against Troy Deeney this weekend. The striker has won more collective duels (tackles, take-ons, headers) than any other player in the league with 101. He is particularly strong in the air, winning the second highest number of aerial duels (68).

  • Jesse Lingard’s opening goal against West Brom last time out was the first time that United have scored outside the box since December 2014.

  • Watford have conceded 11 of their 12 goals in the second half of matches this season.

Prediction: Newly-promoted Watford have gone under the radar so far this season but they’ve been pretty solid in most games and are picking up a decent return in the points column. Their real problem has been finding the net despite Odion Ighalo’s seven goal return, although they will need to provide more threat against a tight United defense. The Red Devils have been equally as poor going forward and are struggling to break down sides who sit deep, which is a tactic Watford are likely to employ. Louis Van Gaal’s men should have enough to secure the win but it’s unlikely to be a cracker. 

Watford 0-2 Manchester United

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Stadium: Stamford Bridge, Chelsea.

Kick-Off: Saturday 3pm (GMT), 9am (CDT), 10am (EDT), 7am (PDT)

Head-to-Head Record: Chelsea - 19 wins, Norwich - 14 wins, Draws - 14 

Last Season: N/A

Form: Chelsea: DLWLLL - 4 Points.     Norwich: DLLLLW - 4 Points.

League Position: Chelsea: 16th - 11 Points.     Norwich: 15th - 12 Points.

Top Scorers & Assisters:

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Last Week: Stoke City 1-0 Chelsea     Norwich 1-0 Swansea

Key Stats:

  • If Norwich are to grab a win this weekend they will have to end a run of 11 games against Chelsea without victory.

  • The last time Norwich beat Chelsea was a 3-0 win at Carrow Road in December 1994.

  • The Blues have won eight of the last 10 against Norwich with the Canaries only scoring four times in that period.

  • Chelsea’s 1-0 defeat at Stoke last time out made it seven defeats in 12 games for the reigning champions. The last time this happened they were relegated (1978-79).

  • Norwich striker Cameron Jerome has the worst shooting accuracy of any striker to have played more than 10 games this season. He has hit the target with just 28% of his 19 attempts.

  • Sebastien Bassong has been busy in the Canaries defense this season. The Cameroonian international has made 113 clearances so far, 23 more than any other player in the league.

  • Chelsea have scored the joint-highest number of goals from outside the area (5), alongside Manchester City

  • Both Chelsea and Norwich have conceded six goals from headers this season, which is a league high.

  • Set pieces may well be key. Norwich have scored the most goals from corners (5) and Chelsea have scored the most from direct free-kicks (3) this season.

Prediction: It’s been a season of turmoil for Mourinho and co. so far, but perhaps the international break will have a positive impact on a side low in confidence. The reigning champions have more than enough quality and will eventually turn their poor form around, perhaps starting this weekend. Norwich were beginning to slip after a decent start but their narrow victory over Swansea provided a much-needed boost. They performed admirably at Manchester City a few weeks back and won’t roll over, but it’s a big ask to leave Stamford Bridge with anything despite the host’s form. Chelsea should grab the points with a narrow win.

Chelsea 2-1 Norwich

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Stadium: Goodison Park, Everton.

Kick-Off: Saturday 3pm (GMT), 9am (CDT), 10am (EDT), 7am (PDT)

Head-to-Head Record: Everton - 80 wins, Aston Villa - 80 wins, Draws - 58

Last Season: Everton 3-0 Aston Villa (Oct. 18, 2014)

Aston Villa 3-2 Everton (May. 2, 2015)

Form: Everton: WDLLWD - 8 Points.     Aston Villa: LLLLLD - 1 Point.

League Position: Everton: 9th - 17 Points.     Aston Villa: 20th - 5 Points.

Top Scorers & Assisters:

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Last Week: West Ham 1-1 Everton     Aston Villa 0-0 Manchester City

Key Stats:

  • This is the most played game in English League history, with Saturday’s meeting the 201st time these sides have come up against each other.

  • These two sides also lead the way in the number of top-flight seasons played with Everton amassing 113 and Aston Villa in second place with 105.

  • This fixture is known for goals. Everton have scored at least two in eight of the last nine meetings and both teams have scored at least once in seven of them. 

  • The last 0-0 draw between these sides was 25 games ago back in October 2003.

  • Aston Villa have scored the lowest number of goals from inside the area (7) and have registered the joint-lowest amount of total goals (10) this season. 

  • Villa also have the worst shooting accuracy of any team with just 35% of their 126 attempts at goal hitting the target.

Prediction: Form and statistics all point to a comfortable win for Everton. The Toffees have been good to watch this year and harbour very real ambitions of a top four finish. Their counterparts, however, will just be hoping to play Premier League football next season after a nightmare start that saw Tim Sherwood given the axe. His replacement, Remi Garde, is a tactically astute manager and will bring organization to the Villains as he looks to stabilize the club. Don’t expect Villa to have a dramatic transformation just yet though, as Garde is likely to negotiate the next few games with tactics built to not lose rather than win. Everton have been rampant at home and Villa are most likely to defend for a large majority of the match, but with the in-form trio of Lukaku, Kone, and Deulofeu, the hosts should be able to break any resistance.

Everton 2-0 Aston Villa

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Stadium: St James’ Park, Newcastle

Kick-Off: Saturday 3pm (GMT), 9am (CDT), 10am (EDT), 7am (PDT)

Head-to-Head Record: Newcastle - 40 wins, Leicester - 51 wins, Draws - 27

Last Season: Newcastle United 1-0 Leicester City (Oct. 18, 2014)

Leicester City 3-0 Newcastle United (May 2, 2015)

Form: Newcastle: DLWLDW - 8 Points.     Leicester: LWDWWW - 13 Points.

League Position: Newcastle: 17th - 10 Points.     Leicester: 3rd - 25 Points.

Top Scorers & Assisters:

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Last Week: Bournemouth 0-1 Newcastle     Leicester 2-1 Watford

Key Stats:

  • This fixture has become a very low-scoring affair in recent years. After a 3-3 draw in November 1997, only four of the next 16 meetings have seen both teams score. 

  • There have also been just 24 goals in those 16 meetings (an average of 1.5 per game) and on just five of those occasions has either side scored more than once.

  • Jamie Vardy is looking to equal the Premier League record for scoring in consecutive games. A goal at St. James’ Park will put him level with Ruud Van Nistelrooy, who currently holds the record with 10.

  • Leicester have scored the most goals inside the area (25) but are yet to register from outside the area this season.

  • Only West Brom have had fewer shots this season than Newcastle, although the Magpies have the fourth-best shooting accuracy in the league.

  • Leicester have made the fewest passes of any side (3,878) and also have the lowest accuracy this season (73%).

Prediction: Claudio Ranieri’s Leicester have been the surprise package of the season so far and have the league’s top goalscorer, Jamie Vardy, gunning for a record-tying goal this weekend. They’ve been finding the net with regularity and continue to pick up points from losing positions on a regular basis; statements that will have the Magpies worried. Steve McClaren’s men are slowly finding their feet and held firm to record a crucial win at Bournemouth last time out. If they’re to stay away from another relegation dogfight then they will need to start winning home fixtures like this. Leicester’s form will end at some point and the international break may have disrupted the good form before it, but they will still pose a threat. Newcastle are looking better and have the firepower to grab at least a point.

Newcastle United 1-1 Leicester City

Our Predictions

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Last Week

Winner: Ivan Vivar (10 points)

Ivan picked up the top spot in matchday twelve after notching two correct scores and full banker points. He correctly predicted West Ham and Everton’s 1-1 draw at Upton Park before racking up the full six points in Manchester United’s 2-0 win at home to West Brom. His extra point came from Southampton’s win against Sunderland as he edged out Sam to win. Congratulations Ivan!

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Overall Rankings

Mark continues his season-long assault at the top but has his lead cut by three after Luke notched eight points last week. Lucas is clinging on to the top two in third but fourth to ninth is separated by just nine points as the rest bunch up behind the leading pack. Stephen and Ivan continue to add to their totals but will need the bonus weeks to make a push for the top.

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Think you can do better?

We here at SQ want to know what you think. Send us your predictions for all 10 Premier League games in the comments section below, and we will add your name to the rankings table and weekly scores. Go head-to-head with our writers to earn the title of “SQ Predictor Champion.”

The overall winner at the end of the season will win a Premier League jersey of their choice! Send us your predictions each week to be in with a shout!

Edited by Emily Berman, William Ledy.

Which of these fixtures holds the record for having been played 14 times in the Premier League but never seen a win for the away side?
Created 11/19/15
  1. Bolton v Sunderland
  2. Aston Villa v QPR
  3. Tottenham v Nottingham Forest
  4. Derby County v Leeds United

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