Previews and predictions for all this weekend’s matches
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)
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:
Game of the Week
Stadium: White Hart Lane, London.
Kick-Off: Saturday 12.45pm (GMT), 7.45am (CT), 8.45am (ET), 5.45am (PT)
Last Season: Manchester City 4-1 Tottenham Hotspur (Oct. 18, 2014)
Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 Manchester City (May. 3, 2015)
Form: Tottenham (9th): LDDDWW - 9 Pts. Man City (1st): WWWWWL - 15 Pts.
Top Scorers & Assists:
Preview: White Hart Lane is the venue for this week’s must watch game as perennial top five finishers Tottenham Hotspur welcome two-time Premier League winners Manchester City in the early kick-off.
It’s a fixture that throws up some quite remarkable stats and history. The two sides have met thirty-six times since the Premier League’s inception, with Spurs holding the advantage of nineteen wins to City’s twelve. But those figures are less surprising than at first glance when you consider the pre-Abu Dhabi days of the away side.
Before a Joe-Hart-inspired City escaped with a 0-0 draw on the opening day of August 2010, Tottenham had notched eighteen victories in the twenty-six meetings between the pair. In fact, the Sky Blues had only mustered one success against the Lilywhites in the fourteen matches leading up to that day.
But since then it has been a completely different story. Manuel Pellegrini’s men have won eight of the last ten meetings and scored a whopping twenty-eight goals in the process, with sixteen of those in the last four matches alone.
So it’s safe to say that a goalless draw between the pair on Saturday is highly unlikely. Even more so when you consider both sides’ current form with just one defeat apiece in their six opening fixtures. Spurs suffered theirs on the opening day away at Manchester United when Kyle Walker’s unfortunate own goal was enough to separate the teams. Since then they’ve slowly improved with three draws and two consecutive wins to put them on a five match unbeaten run.
A key part of the good form has been the introduction of summer signing Toby Alderweireld to partner fellow Belgian Jan Vertonghen in defense. The pair have been instrumental in three consecutive domestic clean sheets, along with the ever-impressive Hugo Lloris in goal. It was an area that Mauricio Pochettino was keen to bolster during the transfer window after Spurs conceded the same amount of goals as relegated Burnley last season.
But another reason for Spurs’ defensive frugality is the emergence of Eric Dier in the holding midfielder role. The England U21 international has been converted from a centre-back and used his excellent positioning, tackling and calmness on the ball to slot into the role with ease. His terrific performances have also allowed Ryan Mason and Dele Alli to push forward into more attacking positions to support Harry Kane, who continues his season-long goal drought.
But the first real test of Tottenham’s new-found solidity will be trying to stop the likes of Yaya Toure, David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne. The trio have begun the season- or in De Bruyne’s case, the last two matches- in great form with Silva and Toure providing seven assists between them and De Bruyne finding the net in successive matches. Their form has been an integral part of City’s early rise to top spot in the Premier League as Manuel Pellegrini’s men racked up five straight wins without conceding before last weekend’s defeat.
Club Captain Vincent Kompany, David Silva and Raheem Sterling all missed the 2-1 loss against West Ham but are likely to return on Saturday. The 4-1 pummelling of Sunderland in midweek has also helped to shake off the minor blip and City will be confident of getting back to winning ways at White Hart Lane.
Spurs will be without three of their youth graduates as Ryan Mason, Nabil Bentaleb and Alex Pritchard remain sidelined for at least another week. Moussa Dembele hasn’t appeared since rolling his ankle against Everton and is still not ready for a return to the first team.
Pellegrini has a few concerns ahead of the trip south with Wilfired Bony, Eliaquim Mangala, Gael Clichy, Fabian Delph and Keleche Iheanacho all out through injury. His biggest worry will be the absence of David Silva in attacking midfield; although Vincent Kompany and Samir Nasri are in the squad after recovering from their respective knocks.
Prediction: History and stats tell us that this fixture is usually as entertaining as they come and the meeting on Saturday has all the ingredients to produce another. Both sides have been hard to beat so far with Spurs impressing defensively and City likewise at both ends. But the real key is how the hosts plan to stop City controlling most of the football and with Sergio Aguero’s goal-scoring record against them, it’s hard to see a home clean sheet. If Kane can find his own goalscoring boots then Pochettino’s men harbour an outside chance but the visitors should have too much quality on the day.
Tottenham Hotspur 0-2 Manchester City
Winner: Mark Philipson - 9 Points
Season-long leader Mark Philipson showed that consistency is the key as he took advantage of a poor week for our predictors to win with a modest nine points. He acheived that tally with two correct 1-0 scores, which West Brom and Spurs delivered against Aston Villa and Crystal Palace respectively. Mark also predicted wins for Manchester United and Bournemouth, while opting for a draw between Swansea and Everton to round off his total. Congratulations Mark!
Mark’s nine points increases his lead over PJ to six with Luke making third spot his own on fourty-five points. Sam’s awful week see’s Orion jump into the top five and Alex began his campaign with a solid five points.
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!
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