2018 kicks off with a bang as the Premier League continue their festivities with two local derbies, amongst an action packed day.
First up is Brighton & Hove Albion vs Bournemouth at lunchtime. Everton then welcome Manchester United to Goodison Park in the late kick off.
3pm action includes; Burnley vs Liverpool, Leicester vs Huddersfield and Stoke vs Newcastle.
Brighton vs Bournemouth (12:30pm)
Bournemouth ended a nine match winning drought at home to Everton on Saturday, so be looking for another win here.
These sides met in September at Dean Court with the Cherries winning 2-1. They then repeated that a few days later in the Carabao Cup with a 1-0 win.
December had been tough on both sides with the Seagulls scoring only two goals and taking just four points from seven league games.
Bournemouth meanwhile got eight goals and six points in the same period, which had a cup game thrown in too.
Brighton are four points above drop zone whilst their visitors sit both just two points below them and above the red line.
This is going to be a tough game with both teams needing victory as the relegation fight looks to tighten with 13 teams potentially in danger.
Brighton haven’t won at home in this fixture since a decade ago on New Year Day 2008, taking two draws and a defeat from their three home games since then.
For that reason, I am going to back a resurgent Bournemouth side here despite their injury issues.
Prediction: Brighton & Hove Albion 1-2 Bournemouth
Jake predicts: Brighton & Hove Albion 1-1 Bournemouth
Result: Brighton & Hove Albion 2-2 Bournemouth
Burnley vs Liverpool
Burnley will look to halt a four match winless run but face a Liverpool side, who are flying at the minute.
Their win here last season represents Burnley’s sole league win over Liverpool but the Clarets have progressed since then.
Jurgen Klopp meanwhile has his Reds on fire, netting 27 goals in December alone across all competitions.
Phillippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah have netted 22 goals between them in that period.
If they all start despite Coutinho’s impending move to Barcelona, I can see one outcome here.
Prediction: Burnley 1-3 Liverpool
Jake predicts: Burnley 2-0 Liverpool
Result: Burnley 1-2 Liverpool
Leicester vs Huddersfield
This could be a fun game because both teams are vulnerable to the drop still despite looking relatively safe.
Leicester have lost three and drawn one of their last four league games, whilst Huddersfield have taken six points (W1 D3).
That makes this game more interesting because the Foxes can score but Huddersfield are in form and have a good defence.
Although the Terries haven’t kept a clean sheet in 12 league and cup games against Leicester, both teams are capable of breaching each other’s defence.
Interestingly, this is the Foxes’ first home match since New Year Day 2013, when they met Huddersfield and thrashed them 6-1.
We definitely won’t see that type of pulping here but should hopefully get a great draw.
Prediction: Leicester 2-2 Huddersfield
Jake predicts: Leicester 2-1 Huddersfield
Result: Leicester 3-0 Huddersfield
Stoke vs Newcastle
Both teams desperately need a win here as the relegation fight heats up.
With 13 teams in the mix, wins are key if want a good shot at survival, especially by collecting three points against their fellow relegation rivals.
Stoke fielded a weakened team on Saturday, knowing that this is winnable.
Newcastle named a strong team against Brighton but played fairly defensively because even those one points can make all the difference.
We definitely should see both teams giving this their attacking best, especially seeing as the last three meetings here have all been tight with Stoke winning 1-0.
Realistically this looks like a 0-0 but Stoke haven’t had a blank draw all season so expecting a nice little draw here.
Prediction: Stoke 1-1 Newcastle
Jake predicts: Stoke 1-0 Newcastle
Result: Stoke 0-1 Newcastle
Everton vs Manchester United (5:30pm)
The wheels have seemingly come off Manchester United of late, making this a must win if Jose Mourinho is to ease pressure on his side.
Everton however are unbeaten at home under Sam Allardyce, taking seven points from three home games under the ex England boss.
United have drawn their last three and with Europe and Cups to come before the summer’s World Cup, you have to worry that some players might be saving energy now.
That is surely going to be a concern because Everton have lost just one of last five clashes in this fixture at Goodison Park.
Mourinho has avoided defeat in 11 meetings with Allardyce, whose bogey has been the Portuguese with no wins from their 11 clashes.
Add in possible player fatigue and Everton’s improved form, I can only see a draw here.
Prediction: Everton 1-1 Manchester United
Jake predicts: Everton 1-0 Manchester United
Result: Everton 0-2 Manchester United
Here at Sport Grill, me and Jake Self are going head to head predicting games.
Here is how things stand after the previous round of games along with the rules.
Correct score – 3 points
Correct result – 1 point
Incorrect result – 0 points
- With this being a holiday round, its double points on offer for correct score and result.