Predict360: Newcastle back in the mix as Arsenal retain lead
We at Sport360 struggle to think of anything better than midweek Premier League football; it's just the perfect way to break up the working week.
Okay, with the time difference it's far from ideal, with games not kicking off until close to midnight, but sleep depravation is just one of the many sacrifices we footy fans mst endure for the love of the beautiful game.
Of course, with midweek Premier League comes midweek Predict360 and we have a showdown to look forward to as Manchester United (Moe) travel to Everton (Mark).
Reflecting on the weekend's games, our Newcastle fan Neil has clawed his way back into the race with a valuable three points from the 2-1 victory over West Brom.
Meanwhile, a point apiece from north London rivals - league leader and Arsenal fan Ted and Tottenham's Simon - means the gap at the top remains six points.
Once again, gents, the best of luck...
PREDICT360 TABLE (after 13 rounds)
Arsenal (Ted) - 15pts
Tottenham (Simon) - 9
Man Utd (Moe) - 8
Man City (Darren) - 8
Chelsea (Shivam) - 6
Liverpool (Obaydah) - 6
Everton (Mark) - 5
Newcastle (Neil) - 5
TED TOTSIDIS - @TedTots (Arsenal)
What happened last time? What a season Aaron Ramsey is having! Yes, it's the football cliche of the moment, but it has to be said. The lad is in the form of his life and if Arsene Wenger is to be believed (always), he's still got more to give - wow!
Overall it was an emphatic visit to Cardiff City and another three points for the Arsenal. I picked up 1 point having predicted a 2-1 Gunners win, which at times I was certain would come through.
The team started well, we scored early again and then for some 60 odd minutes dropped into a nervy patch of missed opportunities, to which the gaffer opted to bring on defensive players to sure things up.
Within minutes Flamini was up top burying our second and then Ramsey with his second of the night to seal a good away win against a tough opponent.
This week: Arsenal play host to a Hull City side that got a little lucky on the weekend against an out of sorts Liverpool. None the less, they showed they can mix it with the top teams and thanks to the win, now sit in 10th spot.
Their confidence coming into this match could mean trouble and I'm a little undecided as to what my score prediction will be as yet - although I'm quietly confident Olivier Giroud will step up and score a couple in front of the Arsenal faithful to move the team further up the ladder in preparation for the tough 3 weeks of matches we have ahead - Everton (H), Man City (A), Chelsea (H). Arsenal 3 - 1 Hull City
SHIVAM MANGHNANI - @ShivamLM (Chelsea)
What happened last time out? The poor start by Michael Essien cost me probably a perfect prediction against Southampton but it did show me something; Jose Mourinho is a tactical genius.
He saw that Southampton were playing with ease out of the back and he didn't wait, like many other managers, to make changes. Soon as the second half kicked off Chelsea were pressing the two CBs and Southampton couldn't move the ball with ease. Chelsea were well worth their goals and it was very pleasing to see Ba do well.
This week: Sunderland away is usually tricky especially on a cold December night but with the way the Black Cats have been playing this will be a very easy walkover for Chelsea. If Mourinho can get his starting XI right and a very fresh Juan Mata is on his game, Chelsea could register a cricket score. Sunderland 0-4 Chelsea
MARK SCHUMANN - @MarkSchuey (Everton)
What happened last time out? A very good win for Everton against a Stoke side that has played some decent football at times this season. Great to see young Gerard Deulofeu score his first senior league goal. He looks a special talent. And of course, the obligatory goal from Romelu Lukaku. Overall, a pleasing day for the Goodison faithful.
This week: So, this is it, the moment Moyes and Fellaini realise that leaving Everton for Man Utd may not have been the wisest move. At Old Trafford Man It'd are no longer a team to be feared.
Everton are currently playing some great football and are enjoying life. United are still struggling under Moyes and today will show just how much United have regressed, or is that how much Everton have progresses - I suspect a mix of both. Everton will be up for this match given the Moyes and Fellaini history. It's going to have goals and I can see Everton winning. Everton 2-1 Manchester United
OBAYDAH AL-NAMER - @LFCArabia (Liverpool)
What happened last time out? We didn't show up, although they were lucky to score the first goal after a misjudgement by Moses.
Moses and Sterling were anonymous, Suarez was isolated up front and I don't know what was the point of playing Luis Alberto. Rodgers must maintain consistency at the back and stop tinkering with our defensive pairings and if Mamado Cissoko was our "Marquee signing", why not play him?
I thought that we were predictable and very poor, but with home games against Norwich and Crystal Palace next, I guess we will be able to bounce back and keep a couple of clean sheets before we enter the defining period with games against Tottenham, City and Chelsea all away from anfield. We will definitely miss Sturridge's move, there's no doubt.
This week: I don't want to sound over confident like I did when predicting Liverpool's result vs Hull, but I guess at home with 3 at the back, Liverpool have the enough fire power to dismantle Norwich, plus Suarez can't stop scoring hat tricks against Norwich, can he? A hattrick by El Pistolero will be enough to sink Norwich and give us three precious points on our road to fourth. Liverpool 3-0 Norwich
DARREN BALL - @AbuDhabiDaz (Man City)
What happened last time out? City bagged another three unanswered goals and really show good intentions at the Etihad. I really hope this kick starts our form on the road with 2 away games next up.
This week: Tonight we travel to the Black Country to face the Baggies. I keep saying that there's no easy games in this league and this is far from an easy game. City will more than likely stick with the same team that defeated Swansea on Sunday and try and put the woeful away days behind us. West Brom 0-2 Manchester City
MOHAMMED ANABTAWI - @MoeAnabtawi (Man Utd)
What happened last time out? Earlier this week we produced a frustrating draw at White Hart Lane. We are missing loads of chances and there is not much hunger going forward or even keeping the ball.
I am not happy with our ball distribution nor our defensive slip ups! There are too many minor mistakes which could have helped us from ending up with 2 draws in a row.
Props to Wayne Rooney for having a stellar season so far. I am not worried about not winning the league as we are only 13 matches with a good 25 fixtures to go.
Tonight: We host one of the most anticipated matches for David Moyes this season and that is his first encounter with Everton as a Manchester United manager. That being said, Fellaini will look to take advantage of the fact that he played with Everton with a few seasons and earn a result against them.
Despite the emotional anticipation for Moyes, United fans know that Martinez has done a fantastic job thus far at the better half of Merseyside. There is a sexier attacking flair to them.
With no Baines on their side, hopefully Valencia can take advantage of his right flank. 12 matches unbeaten in all competitions means nothing if we don’t achieve a “W” and not a “D” at the end of 90 minutes. I am confident the home support will be hungry to watch United play at home again and will roar our boys to victory. Come on United! Everton 1-2 Manchester United
NEIL MITCHELL - @geordiedentist (Newcastle United)
What happened last time? We scored from a corner. Again. Wait two years and then two come along at once. I believe that Nostradamus predicts that if we do it for the third game in a row the world will end. Or something like that.
At one point we were up to the giddy heights of fifth, and given we've been quite schizophrenic at times I think that's a very noteworthy achievement. It was pointed out to me this week that 78% of the goals we've conceded this season have come from only 5 out of 13 games. So basically we're not that bad but when we have an off day we stink!
Saturday was rounded off with a thunderbolt of a strike from Sissoko that left, to paraphrase Alan Partridge, "football pie all over the keeper's face". Pick that one out!
West Brom troubled us at times but we dug in to get the result. We'd have probably lost that match last season once they pulled level. Pleasing to see us dig in to get a deserved 3 points.
Tonight: Swansea, for all they have invested in the close season, are not having as easy a time of it. Second season syndrome for Laudrup? The curse of the Europa League? Whatever it is from what I've seen so far they don't look as well organised, or as slick and seem leggy with their squad stretched a little compared to last time round.
They'll likely be missing their best strike pairing today which is a bonus. That said they're at home, they've not become a bad side over night and will undoubtedly pose a threat. With that in mind I'll take a draw here every time and that's what I think we'll get. A word for the travelling Toon Army.
They'll turn out in numbers again. Yet who in their right mind thinks an away fixture of this distance, across country with all the logistical problems that brings, is a good idea? Yet once again it's our fans the amazing "fixture computer" sends on journeys like this. It's crazy yet every year we get a trip like this.
It's not just us either, the Makems also get sent to stupid places at silly times without a care it seems from the relevant authorities. Safe journey lads and lasses!!! Swansea 1 - 1 Newcastle
SIMON THURSTON - @SimonPThurston (Tottenham)
Our Spurs fan got in contact to inform us it's "manic at work" and he wouldn't be able to provide his usual in-depth preview and prediction (sort out your priorities Simon!) Nevertheless, he did send over a scoreline. Fulham 0-2 Tottenham