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Dan’s EPL Predictions WK16 – Arsenal to finally lead at half-time and jump back into Top Four?

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So here are Dan’s Premier League predictions for this weekend’s games. With Chelsea and Man City squaring off can the Gunners leapfrog the Blues into Fourth place?

Saturday – 12.30

Bournemouth 2-3 Liverpool
With Eddie Howe’s ethos to play the game the right way this should play into Liverpool’s hands. They have a chance to go temporary top and put maximum pressure on City going into their evening date with Chelsea. Klopp puts too much emphasis on squad rotation this time of year and I think it will cost him over the Christmas period.

3.00

Arsenal 4-0 Huddersfield
A win at Old Trafford would have signified a change in mentality. Although a draw is not a bad result it does feel like a missed opportunity given, we might never get a better chance to win there. Emery’s task after a physically tiring week is not to take the visitors lightly. Stay professional, get the three points and everyone gets a well-deserved week off. I say this is the game where we will finally be leading at half time.

Burnley 1-0 Brighton
Complaints over their over physicality from Klopp will be music to Sean Dyche’s ears as it shows at least his players are responding which they haven’t been doing. Brighton somehow won against Palace, playing the majority of the game with 10 men. Physically and mentally that might have taken something out of them .

Cardiff 1-0 Southampton
At a time when Southampton fans needed a lift their owners produce an appointment with little imagination. Of course, there are examples where names not known in this country have done well in this League but having lost their identity in the last couple of years, now’s not the time to be hiring on the cheap, which seems to be the criteria. Arriving in December with lots of fixtures coming up, with his new side in the bottom three means this is not an ideal time to be implementing new ideas. He might experience a brand of football in Wales he hasn’t seen before.

Man United 2-0 Fulham
Man United’s standards have fallen so low that they are now being complimented for working hard against Arsenal. Given the history of the club that’s quite patronising. Imagine if they actually win a game?

West Ham 2-1 Palace
It’s not often I question the attitude of a Roy Hodgson side but the manner of how they lost in midweek was a setback, one that undermines how well they had played last weekend. I’m happy that Perez got a brace for West Ham on Tuesday. He never really was given a chance by Arsene Wenger and subsequent loan moves seemed to suggest the striker had lost his way. The Hammers have plenty of firepower but need to get them all into their team.

5-30
Chelsea 1-1 Man City
Liverpool will be thinking this is the few weekends on paper where City could realistically drop points. Mentally it could be huge for City to get through this round of fixtures still top of the table. I’m not sure how much Chelsea believe they can beat the Champions but with Hazard you always have a chance . Maybe as a neutral I want this to be a draw just so we get a title race this year

7.45
Leicester 1-2 Spurs
The excuse coming out of Spurs is they lost the North London Derby due to tiredness having had to play a huge a Champion’s League tie days before. That’s their fault for not recruiting anyone in the summer. The transfer window is a huge part of managing your club especially with a coach who every December complains about fixture congestion. His temptation might be to rest key names for the Nou Camp. Given that, this is not a game you want before a must win clash with Barcelona.

Sunday

Newcastle 2-1 Wolves
I hope Mike Ashley is serious about the Toon being sold by Xmas. If not, he’s waited for his club to finally be getting results just to raise his fans hopes and dash them. As rightfully happy Wolves were to beat Chelsea, they need to ask why they can get going for the big sides but not have the same attitude/desire for games like this.

Monday

Everton 1-1 Watford
It’s becoming a recurring theme to talk about how well Everton have played and how unlucky they are. They are struggling to turn possession into goals and should be thinking about buying a natural goal scorer in January. Silva has nothing to prove to his former employers. Watford have sacked so managers who did well for them it was hypocritical for them to expect a young coach not to be tempted to jump to a bigger club.

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Tweets and Photos: Liverpool players celebrate reaching Champions League last-16

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Liverpool are through to the Champions League knockout rounds after a 1-0 win over Napoli at Anfield last night. Mo Salah’s first-half goal and…

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Granit Xhaka A Massive Revelation For Arsenal Since Unai Emery’s Arrival At The Emirates

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Arsenal fans have been crying out for a quality holding midfielder for the past decade and their wish had been fulfilled with the arrival of Borussia Mönchengladbach captain, Granit Xhaka in 2016.

Xhaka promised so much, long-range passing, brilliant shooting, and leadership to name a few qualities, however after a short cameo in his first season, he promised very little thereafter.

Lunging into unnecessary challenges, leading to a booking and slow on the ball were the main problems which left Arsenal fans frustrated at times.

However, with Unai Emery coming in this year, Granit Xhaka was made 1 of the 5 captains on his list. He also introduced different strategies and tactics to the Swiss which has been a revelation till now for Arsenal.

3-4-3 : SEVEN Changes Made With Mkhitaryan, Iwobi To Start | Strongest Arsenal Lineup Against Qarabag

Xhaka has shown many positive changes since Unai’s arrival – better passing, commanding the ball well, better defensive record and yes scoring through some wonderful free-kicks.

Lucas Torreira’s arrival has benfited Xhaka’s form more than anything else. Torreira’s defensive capabilities unleash the Swiss’ passing as well as attacking skills. Their partnership in the midfield has been very crucial to the Gunners’ Unbeaten Run.

In my opinion, this has to go down to Emery. He must have instructed the players not to get too comfortable. Players will start as per their performance, not prestige, as we can see with Ozil’s situation.

One can say Xhaka is in his prime years and is only 25 years old which makes the Arsenal’s midfield future proof.

Emery knew the potential of the Swiss International and hence adorned him the captain’s arm-band, hoping to keep discipline while maintaining leadership.

Xhaka hasn’t got a single red card this season, but earned five yellow cards which cannot be overlooked. His passing has been questioned a couple of times, however, in the majority, he has provided some splendid crosses and passes.

Overall, Xhaka has been a more well-rounded box to box midfielder. Also, Rob Holding has improved well from last season. Although unfortunately, Rob suffered a very bad injury (ACL) against Manchester United and will probably won’t feature again for the Gunners this season.

Emery and his tactics have not only worked in Xhaka’s favour but also with other players like Holding, Iwobi. Arsenal fans need to give him more time and after a few more transfer windows, we can think of lifting some serious silverware.

Arsenal now face Qarabag in their final group stage fixture of the Europa League on Thursday.

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Premier League fear Sterling and Aubameyang racism storms are damaging their brand

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Premier League fear racism storms involving Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Raheem Sterling are damaging their global brand

  • A banana was recently thrown towards Arsenal star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
  • Raheem Sterling was allegedly racially abused by a Chelsea fan last weekend
  • The Premier League swiftly condemned the Sterling incident at Stamford Bridge 
  • But it’s understood there are concerns the incidents are having an impact on the way the Premier League is perceived 

Sami Mokbel for the Daily Mail

The Premier League fear the two high-profile racism storms that have rocked English football are damaging their global brand.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Raheem Sterling have been at the centre of two racism controversies in as many weeks, triggering questions about how tolerant English football is.

The Premier League swiftly released a statement condemning the incident at Stamford Bridge concerning Sterling, who was allegedly racially abused by a Chelsea fan.  

A Tottenham fan threw a banana skin at Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang this month

A Tottenham fan threw a banana skin at Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang this month

Raheem Sterling was the victim of alleged racist abuse during Premier League loss at Chelsea 

Raheem Sterling was the victim of alleged racist abuse during Premier League loss at Chelsea 

Raheem Sterling was the victim of alleged racist abuse during Premier League loss at Chelsea 

But while the flashpoint has dominated the news agenda in recent days, the incident has hardly been visible on the Premier League’s official website.

Sportsmail also understands the body’s own in-house programming have kept reporting of the flashpoint involving Sterling to a minimum, in what appears to be an effort to curtail the impact of the incident.

Their in-house coverage of the north London derby on December 2, which saw a Tottenham fan hurl a banana skin at Arsenal striker Aubameyang, did include a discussion on the incident.

They have also reported on the Sterling incident, but without the level of exposure it has been given by independent broadcasters.

The Premier League fear the two high-profile racism storms are damaging their global brand

The Premier League fear the two high-profile racism storms are damaging their global brand

The Premier League fear the two high-profile racism storms are damaging their global brand

Sterling has been praised for the manner in which he appeared to laugh off the vile abuse

Sterling has been praised for the manner in which he appeared to laugh off the vile abuse

Sterling has been praised for the manner in which he appeared to laugh off the vile abuse

Indeed, it is understood there are concerns the incidents involving Aubameyang and Sterling are having an impact on the way the Premier League is perceived across the world.  

Top-flight chiefs have successfully shaped the Premier League into one of the most lucrative and multi-cultural divisions in world football.

But there is a realisation the two incidents, that happened in the space of six days, could seriously damage the gleaming image they have worked so hard to nurture.

Despite the two episodes occurring in such close proximity, league bosses are hopeful the incidents are not part of a growing and wider problem of racism in England’s top division.

The Sterling incident has hardly been visible on the Premier League’s website in recent days

The Sterling incident has hardly been visible on the Premier League’s website in recent days

The Sterling incident has hardly been visible on the Premier League’s website in recent days

The Premier League have undertaken some excellent work in trying to eradicate racism from English football.

They have supported and worked closely with anti-racism body Kick it Out to ensure grounds have become more tolerant.

Equally, through various grassroots programmes, the Premier League have sought to educate youngsters about prejudice.

Yet there is an acknowledgement behind the scenes that much more has to be done to ensure the problem does not escalate. 



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