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The SQ Premier League Predictor: Matchday Three

Previews 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 draw or a win for Aston Villa. Likewise, if you picked a draw but one of the sides wins)

  • 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 instead)

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

New ‘Banker’ Feature

Ahead of the 2015-16 season, we here at SQ have decided to give all of our predictors the chance to earn even more points. The ‘banker’ is designed to double the points of one particular prediction and can be used only once per week by each player. The aim is to choose the prediction you are most confident in, select it as your banker and hopefully earn double points from that game. The following image will indicate which game each player has chosen as their banker:

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Game of the Week

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Stadium: Emirates Stadium, London.

Kick-Off: Monday 8pm (GMT), 3pm (CT), 4pm (ET), 1pm (PT)

Last Season: Arsenal 4-1 Liverpool (Apr. 4, 2015)

Form: Arsenal: LW - 3 Points.       Liverpool: WW - 6 Points.

Preview: The big games continue to come thick and fast as Manchester City’s 3-0 humbling of Chelsea in ‘El Cashico’ last Sunday is followed up by a showdown between Arsenal and Liverpool this Monday.

It may not quite be the title clash that took place at the Etihad, but both of these sides will have a minimum target of the top four while harbouring ambitions of a push for the Premier League crown as well. 

If either are to achieve those goals then they will need to build momentum and take points from games such as this. More so for the visitors, who have just the solitary victory in the last twelve away matches against the so called ‘big four’ clubs - a 3-0 defeat of Manchester United in 2013/14. Their record at the Emirates is, ironically, almost identical with a 2-0 win in 2011 the only triumph for the Reds in eleven attempts.

But their start to the new season conjures up a bit more hope for the travelling fans this weekend after consecutive 1-0 wins against Stoke and Bournemouth have given them a perfect record. New boys Nathanial Clyne and Joe Gomez have been impressive in a defence that has yet to be breached, while £32.5 million striker Christian Benteke opened his account with the Reds on Monday night.

For the Gunners, their opening day wobble against West Ham was quickly forgotten at Crystal Palace last weekend with a gritty, yet stylish 2-1 win at Selhurst Park. The return of Alexis Sanchez to the starting line-up seemed to infuse a new found energy as Arsene Wenger’s men got back to the slick passing football that has been their trademark. Olivier Giroud’s first goal of the new campaign was an added positive while Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla were quietly brilliant in picking open the Eagles defence, with the Gunners hoping that they can repeat that feat this Monday.

Team News:

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Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky and Danny Welbeck are still a few weeks away from a return and are the only injury concerns for Arsene Wenger, who has the rest of the squad at his disposal. 

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Daniel Sturridge and Jon Flanagan are long-term absentees while Joe Allen is still no nearer to a return after suffering a hamstring strain. Captain Jordan Henderson limped off during Monday’s 1-0 win at home to Bournemouth and is a massive doubt for the match at the Emirates.

My Prediction: The Gunners will want redemption when they return to the Emirates on Monday after their shock defeat on the opening day. But Liverpool have begun in a solid, if reserved, fashion, with two clean sheets and maximum points filling them with confidence ahead of the match. The form of Ozil, Cazorla, Ramsey and Sanchez will be a crucial factor and the result will balance on whether or not they can produce what they did against Palace, or West Ham. I think it will be a cagey affair for the most part with Arsenal making the most of their home advantage to break down the Reds’ defence and secure a narrow win.

Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool

Other Games to Watch

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Stadium: Stadium of Light, Sunderland.

Kick-Off: Saturday 3pm (GMT), 10am (CT), 11am (ET), 8am (PT)

Last Season: Sunderland 0-0 Swansea (Sep. 27, 2014)

Form: Sunderland: LL - 0 Points.     Swansea: DW - 4 Points.

Preview: It’s a tale of two very different sides at the Stadium of Light this Saturday as Garry Monk’s impressive Swansea make the trip up north to face Dick Advocaat’s struggling Sunderland.

Their respective starts to the new season couldn’t have been more disparate from one another. The hosts found themselves 3-0 down within 30 minutes of the new campaign against Leicester before losing 4-2, which was followed up by a dismal performance in the 3-1 defeat by Norwich last Saturday. Swansea, meanwhile, opened up with a spirited 2-2 draw at the home of the Champions and built upon that with a comfortable 2-0 win against Newcastle at the Liberty Stadium.

There have been a number of standout performers for the Welsh side so far. Jonjo Shelvey has gotten in much better shape over the summer and is on-point with his passing, Jefferson Montero is leaving a graveyard of right backs in his wake, Jack Cork has been quietly terrific in the centre of midfield and Andre Ayew has hit the ground running after his summer arrival from Marseille with two goals in two matches. And Bafetimbi Gomis’ goals, Ashley Williams’ rock solid defensive ability and Gylfi Sigurdsson’s touch of class all deserve a mention as well. It’s a side that possesses a lot of talent and there are mumurs from the Swans’ faithful that they can make a real push for a top six finish, at the least.

But the same can’t be said for Sunderland. New signings Younes Kaboul, Jeremain Lens and Sebastian Coates have failed to find their feet in the opening two games, while key men Lee Cattermole and Costel Pantilimon have made costly errors in both games. The way in which they capitulated, against two of the sides that were originally earmarked as potential relegation rivals, is particularly worrying. Shipping seven goals in those fixtures doesn’t bode well for when the big boys arrive on the Wear, but the immediate concern will be tightening the defence ahead of the Swans’ visit.

Team News:

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Andy Johnson and Jordi Gomez are both ruled out until next month at the earliest and aren’t in the squad. Wes Brown should make a return this weekend while Danny Graham tries to shake off a knock ahead of Saturday.

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The high-flying Swans have just two doubts, Ki Sung-Yeung is still being assessed after limping off at Chelsea on opening day and Jordi Amat is struggling with a knock that he picked up in April.

My Prediction: It’s imperative that Sunderland start well, or at least avoid conceding early. The crowd were less than impressed last week and if the Black Cats fall behind again they may be quick to turn against the players, which won’t help the already low confidence. I honestly can’t see Sunderland going for this from kick-off, I think Advocaat will set them up to be defensively stronger so that they can gradually build a platform an stifle the intent from Swansea. If they can keep a clean sheet going into half-time then perhaps the hosts can nick a win, but I do think the Welsh side will make a late breakthrough.

Sunderland 0-2 Swansea

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Stadium: Goodison Park, Everton.

Kick-Off: Sunday 4pm (GMT), 11am (CT), 12pm (ET), 9am (PT)

Last Season: Everton 1-1 Manchester City (Jan. 10, 2015)

Form: Everton: DW - 4 Points.     Man City: WW - 6 Points.

Preview: The two biggest winners from last weekend meet in a mouth-watering clash at Goodison Park this Sunday as both Everton and Manchester City set about keeping their unbeaten start’s to the new season.

Both sides were hugely impressive in notching respective 3-0 wins, with Roberto Martinez’ men seeing off last year’s surprise package, Southampton, at St Mary’s and City comfortably winning the heavyweight clash against a surprisingly open Chelsea.

The ’El Cashico’ was billed as an early step towards the title, but perhaps that is more applicable to this game rather than last Sunday, as, if Manuel Pellegrini’s men are going to wrestle the title back from London, they will have to pick up all three points in tough matches like these. Trips to Goodison Park, White Hart Lane, The Liberty and St Mary’s are amongst the biggest tests for a title-chasing side and the results in these fixtures can have a massive say on where the Premier League crown goes.

City were brilliant at the Etihad last week with Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Elaquim Mangala the stand out performers. Raheem Sterling has added new width for the side and has taken some pressure away from Jesus Navas in the process after the Spaniard was easily shackled last season by virtue of being the only winger in the team. But it’s at the back where the visitors will need to be even more on song as they face off with an in-form Romelu Lukaku and a rejuvenated Ross Barkley. £32 million signing Nicolas Otamendi has been brought in to provide extra competition for Mangala and Kompany, but it’s unlikely he will start at Goodison.

Team News:

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The news that Leighton Baines will be side-lined for up to three months will not have pleased Roberto Martinez and he joins Steven Pienaar in the long-term category. Darron Gibson probably won’t be play after struggling with injury and making headlines with stuff from his personal life, while Aiden McGeady is also facing a race against time to be fit. Tony Hibbert is out until mid-September and will not take part.

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Midfield duo Fernando and Fabian Delph are the only two absentees for Manuel Pellegrini, while new man Nicolas Otamendi will travel with the squad but is unlikely to play as the Chilean boss looks set to go with the same side that dispatched Chelsea.

My Prediction: This is a notoriously tough match to predict and always a fascinating watch for the neutral fan. Both sides are in good form, but I really believe the hosts will take the game to City and provide them with a sterner test than last weekend. Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku were excellent last week and will be a huge threat going forward for the Toffees. Likewise, David Silva, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero looked frighteningly good for City against Mourinho’s side and it’s unlikely that the hosts will keep them off the score-sheet. I think this will be fast-paced and full of action at both ends, but ultimately end in a hard-fought share of the spoils.

Everton 1-1 Manchester City

Our Predictions

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Last Week’s Winners: Mark, Brian & Luke

Mark Philipson, Brian Kang and Luke Hoban made it a three way tie for the winner spot after registering 10 points apiece. Mark correctly predicted Swansea’s 2-0 win at home to Newcastle and Arsenal’s 2-1 victory at Palace, while Brian equalled his tally of two correct scores by guessing Man Utd’s 1-0 win away at Villa and Liverpool’s narrow 1-0 victory against Bournemouth. Luke managed to get double the amount of correct results to go alongside Tottenham and Stoke’s 2-2 draw. Congratulations to all three!

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Overall Rankings

Mark and Max share a joint lead at the top after high-scoring weeks, although the former holds an advantage by virtue of more correct scores. Brian made the biggest leap with his 10 point haul while Ivan Vivar’s missed week sees him drop from second to second bottom.

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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 person in first place 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 John Ray.

Which player received a yellow card in each of his first five Premier League games, a record for the competition?
Created 8/20/15
  1. Marcos Alonso
  2. Neil Lennon
  3. James Perch
  4. Youssef Safri

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