It is already gameweek 19 in the English League, this means we have reached the halfway mark of the season. As it is only a few days to Christmas, I would like to extend compliments of the season from myself and the entire staff of Kada News Mag to you.
Christmas comes with good tidings, a lot of food and good cheer but it also brings a lot of premier league football. There would be 40 EPL games in less than a week, I hope you are as excited as I am.
Arsenal vs Liverpool
What a game to begin the festive period with. The Gunners welcome The Reds to the Emirates for a what is a top-four clash as both teams lie 5th and 4th on the EPL log; the winner of the game would be 4th at the end of game week 19 as only one point separates them.
Arsenal lost 4-0 at Anfield early in the season with a performance that brought a lot of criticism their way. The Gunners have picked themselves up pretty well although they have still lost games to Manchester City and Manchester United. Arsenal needs to beat Liverpool to boost their chances of finishing in the top four this season.
Liverpool are currently on a good run of form. Jurgen Klopp has all his henchmen physically and mentally fit and they are scoring from all angles. Coutinho, Firminho, Mane and the incredible Mohamed Salah have shot Liverpool to 4th position and they are only 4 points behind Chelsea.
The Gunners have Giroud and Aaron Ramsey out because of injury so they would be hoping for Lacazette and Xhaka to bring their A-games. Liverpool have Moreno, Sturridge and Matip are doubtful but the most interesting person on the pitch would be Alex Oxlaide Chamberlain who switched from Arsenal to Liverpool after the first leg.
Liverpool have always enjoyed scoring against Arsenal under Jurgen Klopp and would be hoping to continue that run. They would be at the Emirates where Arsenal have proven to be formidable but not invincible.
Liverpool have had so much about them coming into this period and I am tempted to lean towards a Liverpool win. The game should be an interesting one for the neutrals and a perfect game to begin the festive period.
Everton vs Chelsea
This is another game that would be tasty to watch at this time even if it looks easy on paper. Everton got rid of their Dutch manager and got Sam “Big Sam” Allardyce and he is turning things around. Wayne Rooney, Calvert-Lewin and Gyfil Sigurdsson are having good runs and this has resulted in wins for Everton.
Chelsea have given up on their title defence according to Antonio Comte but the Blues need to keep up so that they do not drop out of the top four. They have struggled recently losing to West Ham and narrowly beating Southampton last time out.
Everton have McCarthy and Barkley still out but Bolasie might be making a return if needed. Chelsea have Alvaro Morata suspended and this is why I believe Everton has a good chance of getting a result. Chelsea have struggled to score whenever Morata is absent and Goodison Park would be a difficult stadium for opposition right now.
I would be bold to predict a win for Everton or a draw because they’re at home and Wayne Rooney is in good goalscoring form now and I expect him to get a goal. Chelsea without Morata should be weak in front of goal and Big Sam loves frustrating the big teams.
Leicester vs Manchester United
These two teams just got knocked out of the Carabao Cup this week and would need to return back to winning ways. Leicester are doing much better under Claude Puel and would hope to deal another blow to United’s title challenge.
United have won four out of the last five games and would be hoping to continue this winning trend. Since the derby defeat, the Red Devils have won both of their games but they have not done it with the swagger that the fans love, but the good news is that Paul Pogba is back after serving his suspension.
Manchester United should be able to win but they need to play better than they have done recently as Mahrez, Iheanacho and Jamie Vardy are much better attackers than the ones at Bournemouth and West Brom.
Manchester City vs Bournemouth
Manchester City beat Bournemouth narrowly at the early stages of the season, a late Raheem Sterling winner sealed three points for the citizens. This was the first game of their incredible winning run and they are looking even stronger than they did when the sides met in August.
Bournemouth have had good spells this season but they do not have enough firepower to beat City at the Etihad. They also have Charlie Daniels doubtful for the game while City still have Kompany injured and David Silva unavailable for personal reasons.
It would be a Christmas miracle if City does not pick all three points on Saturday.
Burnley vs Tottenham
The Clarets are having a good season partly because of their solidity in defence. Turf Moor is the stadium that has seen the least goals this season and the Clarets lie 6th on the log and only two points from the Top Four going into gameweek 19.
Tottenham are having a relatively unimpressive season, the team that has challenged for the title the last two seasons are not expected to be 21 points behind the leaders and lying in 7th place behind Burnley halfway through the season. Spurs are three points from the top four and can still salvage their season if they secure Champions League football.
I am unsure how this game is likely to go because of Burnley’s awesome defensive performances this season. However, Harry Kane seems to do better away from home as he tests opposition goalkeepers freely and has scored more goals away from home this season.
In other gameweek 19 games, Watford travel to Brighton hoping to return to winning ways, Southampton host in-form Huddersfield and Stoke would be hoping to beat West Brom because they know that the Baggies are finding it very hard to score.
Crystal Palace travel to Swansea hoping to continue their impressive form while Swansea manager should be feeling the pressure now. West Ham has been injected with new fuel under David Moyes and they would face a tough challenge when Newcastle come to visit.
These gameweek 19 fixtures would make the holidays of football lovers even better. Keep in mind that gameweek 20 begins on boxing day and the congested fixtures may help shape the EPL table in January; the business end of the season. You can check the viewing schedule here and be sure to enjoy them. but from @sirtomiwo and the rest of the KNM Staff, Happy Holidays.