Soccer English Premier League Prediction
Brentford vs Aston Villa - Match Preview
⚽ 22 April 2023 - 14:00 GMT +0
Brentford’s five-match winless run in the Premier League (PL) has stunted their ambitions of European qualification (D2, L3), even if that’s something manager Thomas Frank believes “shouldn’t even be possible” for a club with their limited resources. He’ll have his eye on getting back to winning ways as soon as he can as they have a particularly challenging-looking run-in, including finishing the season at home to Manchester City.
Part of that run-in is welcoming in-form Aston Villa to West London, although the Bees might fancy their chances in this one and reducing the seven–point gap, having won all four league H2Hs held here this millennium. As their recent 2-1 defeat to Newcastle was their first PL home loss in 11 games (W5, D5), Frank must feel that if his side’s form is going to turn anywhere, then it ought to be here.
However, the threat of a resurgent Villa side under Unai Emery can’t be ignored as the relegation-threatened team he took over in November is now in a European qualification position following five straight PL wins. That’s the first time they’ve managed five consecutive top-flight victories since April 1998 under John Gregory, a season in which they eventually finished seventh.
After dismantling Newcastle 3-0 last time out, the Villans can envisage bettering that position, particularly if they remain dangerous on the road as their only PL away loss since the start of November came at Manchester City (W6, D1). As they led inside 25 minutes in each of the last three of those games, another fast start could be what they need to claim a rare win at this ground.
Players to watch: Ivan Toney netted before half-time in two of Brentford’s last four fixtures while Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins has scored in a club-record six consecutive league away games and contributed to more PL goals than anybody since the post-World Cup restart (G12, A3).
Hot streak: All three PL H2Hs - which saw a home win each and a draw - saw more goals before half-time than after (W1, D1, L1).
Crystal Palace vs Everton - Match Preview
⚽ 22 April 2023 - 14:00 GMT +0
Eyebrows were certainly raised when Roy Hodgson came out of retirement and returned to the helm at Crystal Palace, yet three wins from three games in charge and all against Premier League (PL) relegation rivals has pretty much sealed the Eagles' survival. They finished the last round nine points clear of danger and now have the chance to register four straight league wins for the first time since June 2020.
Hodgson’s biggest influence in this short space of time has been finding a way to unleash the attacking potential that this Palace team has had caged for much of the campaign. Under him, the Eagles have scored nine PL goals, which is as many as they had scored in their 16 PL games prior. They have also registered 57 shots across their last three outings which is just two fewer than they’d accumulated in the eight combined games before he arrived.
That attacking efficiency will strike fear into the hearts of an Everton side who have conceded 2+ goals in six straight PL away games (D2, L4). They’re likely to arrive at Selhurst Park low on confidence after a morale-damaging 3-1 home defeat to mid-table Fulham last week too, a result that left them outside the bottom three on goal difference alone.
Results going their way kept the Toffees out of the relegation zone despite that defeat, but luck may not be on their side again in this round. A positive result feels a necessity but two successive competitive defeats away to Crystal Palace - having gone undefeated in the ten H2Hs there prior - suggests this part of Southeast London might not be the happy hunting ground it once was.
Players to watch: Palace’s Eberechi Eze had scored just one goal in 2023 before Hodgson arrived, but he has now netted three times across his last two matches. Dwight McNeil’s strike against Fulham made him Everton’s joint-top scorer (four) and one of those efforts came in the 3-0 reverse victory back in October.
Hot streak: The last five H2H competitive meetings have all produced a goal beyond the 80th minute.
Leicester vs Wolves - Match Preview
⚽ 22 April 2023 - 14:00 GMT +0
Brendan Rodgers’ dismissal has done nothing to halt Leicester’s alarming slump, with a pair of defeats since the manager’s departure leaving the Foxes in deep trouble in their relegation battle. The 2015/16 Premier League (PL) champions have now lost nine of their last ten outings across all competitions (D1) and have slipped to two points from safety inside the relegation zone.
Dean Smith is the man tasked with reversing the club’s worst run of form since 2014, but he was unable to prevent his new side from slipping to a 3-1 defeat to Manchester City in his first game in charge last weekend. He is urging the fans to get behind the team, insisting “togetherness is going to be a part of what keeps us up,” but those supporters will be worried that a nine-year stint in the top flight is set to draw to a close following four successive league defeats on home soil.
Looking to extend that losing streak is visitors Wolverhampton Wanderers, who may feel one more victory will be enough to secure their own status in the PL. Julen Lopetegui’s side heads into the weekend seven points above the bottom three with seven games remaining, aided by back-to-back victories and clean sheets against Chelsea and Brentford.
Both of those wins have come at Molineux with successes on the road somewhat rarer. However, if it comes as any comfort to Wolves supporters, their two away league victories (D5, L8) have both come against teams also in the relegation battle, Everton and Southampton, while their overall record on their travels against teams currently below them in the table is respectable (W2, D2, L2).
Key battle: Leicester will be hoping James Maddison can find his shooting boots, as he has won each of the last five games in which he has netted, including against Wolves in October. Trying to outscore him may be Diego Costa, who netted his first Wolves goal against Brentford to ensure he is now unbeaten in 21 goalscoring appearances (W17, D4).
Hot stat: Wolves have never scored an away goal against Leicester in the PL (D2, L3).
Liverpool vs Nottingham - Match Preview
⚽ 22 April 2023 - 14:00 GMT +0
With the pressure mounting after a disappointing five-game winless run (D2, L3), Liverpool emphatically silenced their critics with a 6-1 hammering of a lacklustre Leeds last time out. They looked very much like the Liverpool of old at Elland Road, and the remainder of their Premier League (PL) season will probably need to follow suit if they’re to salvage anything tangible considering they still trail the European spots by six points.
Anfield not witnessing European football is almost unthinkable, so Jürgen Klopp’s men return to a home needing to keep the points rolling in, something they’re accustomed to having lost only one of their last 37 home league matches (W27, D9). That will likely strike fear into Nottingham Forest, as should the fact Liverpool is unbeaten in the last 25 home H2Hs (W18, D7), but losing the reverse fixture 1-0 in October shows nothing can be taken for granted.
That’s especially true when encountering a wounded animal occupying a relegation spot, which is exactly the situation Forest finds themselves in at the moment after failing to win any of their last ten matches (D3, L7). They’ve conceded in every one of those games, meaning manager Steve Cooper has only celebrated a league win this season when his side has kept a clean sheet.
Should Cooper somehow mastermind one of those resilient defensive performances here, it would truly be historic, as only two promoted teams have ever claimed a PL double over Liverpool, while Forest’s last league double over their hosts was back in 1962/63. The form book certainly dismisses the chances of a historic double as unlikely, with Forest’s haul of six points and five goals scored on their PL travels this season both being league-lows.
📋 Players to watch: Diogo Jota returned to the PL scoresheet after a 372-day drought with a brace against Leeds, continuing his record of having never lost when scoring for Liverpool (W25, D4). Forest’s Taiwo Awoniyi will be looking to replicate his heroics from the reverse fixture when he scored the game-winner with one of his four PL goals this season, all serving as the match opener.
⚡ Hot stat: No PL team has won fewer points than Forest after conceding first this season (four - D4, L12).
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