Our Premier League GW26 Predictions

Joe Simpson

By Joe Simpson

Joe Simpson

24 Feb 2024

With the Carabao Cup final taking place on Saturday, this round of games gives the teams at the top a huge opportunity to make up ground on league leaders Liverpool. Here are our predictions ahead of a crucial Premier League game week:

Aston Villa vs Nottingham Forest

Villa got back to winning ways last week against Fulham after a tough run of results had previously seen them dragged away from the top four spots. Ollie Watkins has been impressive throughout the season and Unai Emery will be optimistic that his side’s scintillating home record can be added to on Saturday.

Forest meanwhile have steadied the ship under Nuno, looking like more of an attacking threat thanks to their willing runners across the forward line. Their ability to counter makes them a dangerous team for Villa’s high defensive line, having beaten their opponents 2-0 in the reverse fixture.

Both teams have the potential to cause each other problems defensively which should make for a free flowing, high scoring fixture. With Villa’s home advantage however I believe they will just edge this one.

Score Prediction: Aston Villa 3-2 Nottingham Forest

Joe Simpson

Brighton vs Everton

Brighton demonstrated their huge footballing potential last weekend as they routinely dispatched Sheffield United. When Roberto De Zerbi gets his squad ticking, there are very few teams in this country who can match their fluid style. Simon Adingra in particular looks to have brought back his form from the AFCON, tearing up opposition full backs in the process.

On the other end of the footballing spectrum you can find Sean Dyche’s Everton. Physical, well drilled, and with an eye for a set piece goal, the Toffees are difficult to break down thanks to a sturdy defensive unit. It has to be said that they do struggle in front of goal in open play and if they wish to secure their safety, either Beto or Dominic Calvert-Lewin need to find their shooting boots.

Everton will always make it difficult for their opposition and frustrate them by sitting back but I think that Brighton will have enough quality to unlock their defence. 

Score Prediction: Brighton 2-0 Everton

Joe Simpson

Crystal Palace vs Burnley 

Roy Hodgson has left Crystal Palace in poor health and that can be interpreted in multiple ways. Blessed with some of the league’s most coveted talents, a superb academy and an attractive geographical location, Palace’s slow walk into second division obscurity is a baffling one. To clarify I don’t believe Hodgson himself is to blame, but his appointment speaks to the lack of ambition that protesting Palace fans have been making a fuss about. That resistance to change has permeated to the pitch where week in week out Palace look a mess, especially without perennially injured stars Eberechi Eze and Micheal Olise papering over the cracks like Wilf Zaha used to. 

While Palace let the ageing Hodgson bow out, Burnley seem to be sticking to their guns with Kompany. While not confirmed, a return to the Championship seems the likeliest outcome for the Clarets, so it makes sense to hold on to Kompany and go again next season. What Burnley will be looking to do now is to try to put together as many good performances and gain as much experience as possible. Even with a new manager and loads of savvy vets, Palace on paper just don’t intimidate you and I can see Burnley getting their first win since before Christmas. 

Score Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-3 Burnley

Jesse Williams

Manchester United vs Fulham

Rasmus Hojlund’s injury has put a dampener on United’s impressive winning streak. The Danish striker finally started to find his feet in the Premier League, but Erik Ten Hag will be forced to shuffle his pack ahead of the visit of Fulham.

Marco Silva’s side have adapted well to life after Aleksandar Mitrovic this season and find themselves sitting comfortably in mid-table. Willian is enjoying a renaissance in his career, while the form of striker Rodrigo Muniz in recent weeks has been excellent. 

It will be interesting to see if Marcus Rashford gets the nod to lead the line for United or if ETH will look to the youthful Omari Forson to take his place. United need this win more than Fulham do so I expect them to edge out their opposition in a close fixture.

Score Prediction: Manchester United 2-1 Fulham

Joe Simpson

Bournemouth vs Manchester City

It was clear after Erling Haaland’s struggles in front of goal last weekend that it wouldn’t take him very long to find the back of the net again. His commanding finish against Brentford has put City within touching distance of the top and they will see this fixture as a chance to make up ground on the summit.

Bournemouth have been playing well in recent weeks but have struggled to turn decent performances into positive results. Their high press could shock City early on, but their weaknesses from set pieces and high line will probably give the away side enough opportunity to escape with a win.

If the Cherries can strike first in this one we could have a game on our hands, but overall I believe that Pep Guardiola’s men will have enough to secure three points on the road.

Score Prediction: Bournemouth 1-4 Manchester City

Joe Simpson

Arsenal vs Newcastle

Who could forget the weeks-long uproar that surrounded the reverse fixture of this tie? I’m sure Mikel Arteta will have his pre match speech prepared to galvanise his players after Arsenal felt they were wronged by VAR at St James’ Park when these two sides last met.

The Gunners will have to shake off the Champions League disappointment of midweek in what could be a difficult fixture for them. Newcastle have been decimated by injuries this season but Eddie Howe still makes them a difficult side to beat, with Anthony Gordon playing the best football of his career right now.

It will be interesting to see if Howe remains loyal to Dan Burn who has come under criticism for standoffish defending in recent weeks. That match up against Saka could prove crucial to the outcome of this game, which I think Arsenal will just have enough to get over the line.

Score Prediction: Arsenal 1-0 Newcastle

Joe Simpson

Wolves vs Sheffield United 

Last week’s win over Spurs demonstrated the progress that Gary O’Neil and Wolves have made over this campaign. After taking the job in difficult circumstances he has managed to put his own stamp on the team and created a side with intricate offensive footballers that is difficult to break down.

Chris Wilder on the other hand has struggled to galvanise a Sheffield United side that look set for the drop. A dismal performance against Brighton last time out coupled with a suspension for new signing Mason Holgate after a horror tackle sums up the mood around Bramall Lane this season.

I believe this fixture will go as the form book suggests, and if Wolves score early this could get ugly very quickly for the away side.

Score Prediction: Wolves 3-0 Sheffield United

Joe Simpson

West Ham vs Brentford 

You can tell it’s the business end of the season with how much noise there is around manager performances across the league. In no place is that more true than at West Ham, where David Moyes is firmly locked in a battle with a growing number of discontent Hammers fans. And the groans which become boos more and more each matchday are justified. West Ham have failed to win a single game this calendar year and have mustered just four goals in that time. Remarkably they’re still in contention for European places in the league but this drift cannot continue if they want to maintain that. 

As for Brentford, their form isn’t much better, boasting just 2 wins themselves since the new year. To say Brentord have lost their spark would be an understatement. For as long as the Bees have been a Premier League side, their footballing identity has been tied to rock solid defence and structure. Those values have eroded this campaign which has doubled the impact of missing key men like Ivan Toney and Bryan Mbuemo for large chunks of the season. Both teams need a boost and both teams have enough firepower to punish one another – which is a shame because I see a boring goalless draw in the making. 

Score Prediction: West Ham 0-0 Brentford

Jesse Williams