This is something of a hobby for me and a reason why I love December. It’s an amazing month for football with fixtures coming thick and fast, that it leaves no time for brooding. You just go with the flow.
If your team is not winning, you keep hoping that the form will get better and every match brings in renewed hope. I remember the last season when December was pretty topsy-turvy for the Chelsea fans. Losing to Stoke and Sunderland while bowing out of the League Cup before finishing on a high with victories over Liverpool and Southampton. It also saw a change of style from Mourinho as he realized that his team was still not prepared for an expansive style of football and believed that fighting for the title was more important that playing cavalier football.
What could be in store this season? Besides the awesome Mourinho press conferences and that we should qualify for the next round in the league cup, I am really not sure. But just like last season, I am going to make some predictions for this EPL mini-season. Last December I got lucky and got the top 3 with their respective points spot on. I am going to put my word on the line once again and see how well I can do. But unlike last season, when I predicted for Chelsea, Arsenal and City, I am just going to do this for the Chelsea and City this season, cause I don’t think there is a third team that will challenge for the title. So here we go. Below are my predictions:
|Current Points||36||Current Points||30|
|Newcastle United (A)||3||Everton (H)||3|
|Hull (H)||3||Leicester (A)||1|
|Stoke City (A)||1||Crystal Palace (H)||3|
|West Ham (H)||3||West Bromwich Albion (A)||3|
|Southampton (A)||3||Burnley (H)||3|
|Tottenham (A)||1||Sunderland (H)||3|
|Total Points||50||Total Points||46|
Why do I predict this? Well, as you’d see in the table, we play 4 out of the next 6 games away from home. Other than Hull and Stoke, all 4 of our next 6 opponents are top 10 teams and Stoke in December (as always – I am starting to feel there is a conspiracy) is as tough a fixture as there is. In comparison, City play 4 out of their next 6 games at home and none of their opponents are top 10 teams. In fact 3 of their next 6 opponents are among the last 5 teams while they also play Crystal Palace and Sunderland, who are 15th and 14th respectively.
However, going on a match to match basis, I think Mourinho and team will be motivated to correct their record at St. James Stadium and while Southampton had a good start, you can see how they are stumbling against top notch opponents and I will back ourselves to get all the points from there. At home, I do not see ourselves dropping points to either Hull or West Ham, though West Ham did pull off a blinder last season. I do see ourselves dropping points at Stoke and Tottenham. One of the reasons is, surprisingly, the form of Diego Costa. Most of you will remember how Costa notched up 8 goals in his first 4 matches. But then his form tapered off. He also got injured briefly and then came back only to get suspended for another game. As a result, he has missed three games but more importantly, he has only scored 3 goals in his last 7 Premier League games. That’s really not a great return and I suspect a bit of it could also be down to Premier League defenders having figured him out. That is not to say Costa won’t be scoring many, many goals; but maybe will not breach the 30 goal mark this season. He would still be a very crucial player for us and should drive us to the title, but may not be able to prevent the Premier League heating up come New Year.
What do you think? Do you think I have gotten it horribly wrong? Will City drop points too? They do play a game less with no League Cup for them but while our next CL fixture will be a walk in the park, City have all to play for against Roma away. Do you think the effect of that game could be felt against Leicester, who at the bottom of the table could spring a surprise?
P.S.: I hope I am wrong and that White Hart Lane does prove to be the Three-Point Lane that we know it to be and so does Stoke.
Blue Blood, as ever. KTBFFH.
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