Our Premier League GW18 Predictions
21 Dec 2023
Another managerial casualty and a flurry of games before Christmas mean that the Premier League is as exciting as ever. Here are our predictions ahead of GW18 in the Premier League.
Crystal Palace vs Brighton
I’m not sure what sorcery Crystal Palace activate when they play Man City but they need to apply some of it to their other matches. Drawing away to the champions but losing to newly promoted Luton sums up Palace. They will need starman Micheal Olise firing again as final third production has been hard to come by for the Eagles.
Brighton were comfortably seen off by Arsenal last time out and will be hoping to bounce back in a big way. Their Europa League adventure continues but if they want to do it all again next season they need to start picking up wins.
Palace are hard to beat at home and Brighton are just a good side wherever they play – then you add in the extra edge of the geographically unlikely rivalry between the two and this should be a great watch for the neutral.
Score Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-2 Brighton
Aston Villa vs Sheffield United
Aston Villa have been the feel good story of the Premier League so far. Unai Emery has managed to make his side defensively compact thanks to his buffer of midfielders in front of the back four, as well as causing problems offensively through the blistering pace they possess in attack. John McGinn and Douglas Luiz have been hugely effective in the middle of the park while Ollie Watkins is in the form of his life.
Sheffield United on the other hand have really struggled this campaign. After replacing Paul Heckingbottom, Chris Wilder guided the Blades to a home win over Brentford before being turned over by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last week. They will need to be at their very best for them to get anything out of this fixture but I think this will be a bridge too far for the away side and Villa will continue their imperious home form.
Score Prediction: Aston Villa 3-1 Sheffield United
West Ham vs Manchester United
For United, the best way to describe their form and run of fixtures is “when it rains it pours” . West Ham are normally a tricky side especially away and will be looking to make a statement after getting smashed 5-1 in midweek.
Something has got to give for £74m man Rasmus Hojlund. Despite his five ultimately useless goals in the Champions League it is now the end of December and the Danish forward still hasn’t netted for his new club in the league.
Given the context that this is probably the ‘easiest’ game in a run that sees Ten Hag’s men take on Newcastle, Chelsea, Bayern, Liverpool and Villa, this Saturday is a must win. One thing on United’s side is that their away form has been far more convincing than their home this campaign. Even so, I expect West Ham to strike and give Ten Hag another wobble on his metaphorical descent as United boss.
Score Prediction: West Ham 3-1 Manchester United
Fulham vs Burnley
Fulham booked themselves an early new year meeting with Liverpool after their penalty shootout win in midweek and should see more success this weekend. The Cottagers are having a really stop start season, going from battering teams one week to getting battered the next. Fulham have managed to gain enough points so far to keep them out of the relegation talk and will love to add to that buffer this weekend.
It’s sad to see what is happening to Vincent Kompany at Burnley this season. Having revolutionised the club, he finds himself in a quandary in the Premier League. Having sacked Sean Dyche, Burnley suffering a 3-0 defeat to their former man while his replacement is trying to keep his head above water was a cruel irony. One thing is for sure, Kompany cannot keep playing the way he wants to if staying in the top flight and in a job is his goal. He’s in that territory where he just cannot lose another game but I’m not sure he can avoid that fate this week.
Score Prediction: Fulham 2-0 Burnley
Luton vs Newcastle
Luton will be delighted that club captain Tom Lockyer has been discharged from hospital after suffering a cardiac arrest against Bournemouth last weekend. Rob Edwards’ side hope to do him proud by getting back to winning ways at what will be a rocking atmosphere at Kenilworth Road.
Their opponents Newcastle are having somewhat of a mid season slump despite a decent result last weekend. Injuries have piled high for Eddie Howe over the last month or so and Kieran Trippier, normally the most reliable player for the Toon, is struggling to find form.
Luton play tough, physical football that is difficult to come up against for any opposition. I can see them getting points on the board and frustrating the Magpies even further.
Score Prediction: Luton 1-1 Newcastle
Nottingham Forest vs Bournemouth
Steve Cooper became just the second manager of the season to lose his seat in the dugout this week, with former Spurs and Wolves boss Nuno coming in to replace him. Forest seem to be in a spot of bother and need the new manager bounce to kick in fast in order to stay clear of the bottom three.
Bournemouth’s momentum has been halted somewhat after their match against Luton was abandoned last week. Andoni Iraola however will be keen to continue to get points on the board, but it looks as if he will be without a recognised left back with injuries to Lloyd Kelly and Milos Kerkez.
This game is huge for Forest and I can see them getting off to a fast start. The Cherries are in a good spot right now too so I believe this one will go right to the wire.
Score Prediction: Nottingham Forest 2-2 Bournemouth
Tottenham vs Everton
This game promises to be a spectacle for the neutral. The innovation and bravery of Ange-ball meets the no nonsense, direct approach from Sean Dyche. Both teams find themselves coming into this on a good run and will be looking to charge up the table this Christmas.
The Toffees have been excellent over the last few months and have not been phased by their points deduction. Spurs meanwhile have weathered the storm that started after their game with Chelsea and look to be a real threat once again. I can see this being an intense physical battle with not much to separate the two sides.
Score Prediction: Tottenham 1-1 Everton
Liverpool vs Arsenal
On one side of this tie you have a team who are nearly impenetrable at the back but lack cutting edge up front – and on the other hand you have a team blessed with attacking threat in abundance but who are porous in defence. For me, and Jurgen Klopp himself, Anfield is the key. Last year Arsenal silenced the notoriously raucous crowd for 40 minutes even going 2-0 in a dominant display. However they were undone when the crowd was woken up and will need to see out the game plan this time.
Arsenal will be better equipped this time too with Gabriel, William Saliba and Declan Rice as good of a defensive unit as any in the world. This game will have massive ramifications on where the title ends up this season, and for that reason I think Arsenal will get the job done, looking back on this as a key result.
Score Prediction: Liverpool 1-2 Arsenal
Wolves vs Chelsea
Gary O’Neil found himself on the wrong end of a heavy defeat away at West Ham last week. His Wolves side have gained plaudits throughout the season for their performance level against good sides, but often fall short due to a lack of clinical finishing.
Their opponents, Chelsea, returned to winning ways last weekend with a comfortable win over Sheffield United before edging past Newcastle in the cup in midweek. The Blues have once again been inconsistent but they do have players in their squad with undoubted quality, with Cole Palmer and Raheem Sterling impressing. The Christmas period can define a season and I believe that this one will be too important for Mauricio Pochettino to leave Molineux without three points.
Score Prediction: Wolves 1-2 Chelsea