EPL Match Week 15 Preview
Written By: Mahdi Farahikia
The London Derby between Chelsea and Arsenal is the must-watch match of the weekend. Tottenham will face out-of-form Liverpool without Son and Richarlison, while Newcastle look to take Tottenham's place in the third position. Will Manchester United manage to increase their gap with Chelsea? This is the preview of EPL Match Week 15.
Leeds vs. Bournemouth:
The clash between the 15th and 14th teams on the table comes a week after Leeds defeated Liverpool at Anfield. While their recent results have not been great (accumulating four losses before last week), their victory against an EPL giant should boost their mentality to take on Bournemouth. The visitors, too, are struggling. They let their two-goal advantage at home against Spurs slip. All things considered, this might be a close game ending with a narrow win for Leeds. Five Thirty Eight: LEE: 54%, BOU: 21%, Draw: 24% Odds Shark: LEE: -130, BOU: +340, Draw: +275
Manchester City vs. Fulham:
Manchester City have begun their previous two games in EPL and UCL without their goal-scoring beast, Haaland. He suffered an injury in a UCL match. However, the Manchester blues haven't struggled without him. With the likes of De Bruyne and Foden, and the rest of the squad, they won both games despite Haaland's absence.
Mitrovic has scored more goals for Fulham than any other player in the two clubs (except Haaland,) but playing against the second-best defense in the league will be the real test for him. If he gets an opportunity, feeding off City defenders' mistakes, he may score once, but the home side is too good to let go of their title race easily. Manchester City will get the three points in this match. Five Thirty Eight: MCI: 88%, FUL: 3%, Draw: 9% Odds Shark: MCI: -800, FUL: +1600, Draw: +800
Nottingham Forest vs. Brentford:
Let me be honest! I'm not optimistic about any of these two clubs. Forest spent the second-most amount during the transfer window, and despite Hendersen in the net, they are sitting rock-bottom in the table. Perhaps, their most disappointing acquisition is Lingard, who has failed to show his worth.
The eleventh-place Brentford had a great start this season, humiliating Manchester United, but their form has declined. They have conceded more goals than they have scored, but their record is still much better than Forest's eight scored vs. twenty-eight conceded goals. On paper, Brentford are the favorites to win this game, but I wouldn't rule out another disappointing draw for the Bees. Five Thirty Eight: NFO: 54%, BRE: 21%, Draw: 24% Odds Shark: NFO: +175, BRE: +160, Draw: +220
Wolves vs. Brighton:
Wolves have scored the fewest goal in the league so far (fewer than Forest) and sit just above Forest in the relegation zone. They "succeeded" in getting one point against Brentford last week (if that can be considered a success.) On the other hand, Brighton humiliated Chelsea last week and look in better form. Of the players in the two clubs, the top three goal-scorers are from Brighton. While the statistics from the previous eight encounters between the two teams are evenly distributed, Brighton's victory in this match should shift things in their favor. Five Thirty Eight: WOL: 27%, BRI: 46%, Draw: 26% Odds Shark: WOL: +240, BRI: +115, Draw: +230
Everton vs. Leicester:
Even when they were in better form than their current state, Leicester have not beaten Everton in the previous five encounters between the two sides. Having enjoyed two victories in a row, the Foxes predictably lost a narrow game to Man City. Breaking free from their losing streak, Everton beat Palace and pulled a draw at Fulham.
This match can go either way, depending on the Foxes' form. If Leicester can play in the manner of their last three games, they may be able to block Everton and snatch a draw from this match in Goodison Park. But a narrow win for Everton is also possible. Five Thirty Eight: EVE: 38%, LEI: 36%, Draw: 27% Odds Shark: EVE: +140, LEI: +200, Draw: +220
Chelsea vs. Arsenal:
This is arguably the match of this weekend. Arsenal have won three of the previous head-ons in the London derby, whereas Chelsea have been victorious only once. The Gunners have been in excellent form this season, while Chelsea have slipped even under Potter. Chelsea must give all they have to redeem themselves from the 1-4 defeat against Potter's old club. But Arsenal are not an easy opponent, and they have an eye on keeping the title race alive.
This one will be tough for both sides. Chelsea play well at Stamford Bridge. They almost beat United here, only to concede a late equalizer. They had a come-back in their midweek UCL match. Arsenal have recently shown signs of fatigue as they dropped points against Southampton. The London derby likely ends in a draw, with slight potential for a narrow Arsenal victory. Five Thirty Eight: CHE: 42%, ARS: 33%, Draw: 25% Odds Shark: CHE: +155, ARS: +175, Draw: +220
Aston Villa vs. Manchester United:
Villa have only won against United four times in their history, twice at home and twice away. With Emery replacing Gerrard, things may be different for them. But so have things changed for United. The Red Devils are playing with enthusiasm and as a team - not something that could be said about them until recently.
Villa's form has been fluctuating. They beat Brentford but lost miserably to Newcastle. This shows they struggle as a team, and that questions whether they can handle the relentless high-press from United. The answer is probably "no." This match will go for Man United. Five Thirty Eight: AVL: 27%, MUN: 49%, Draw: 24% Odds Shark: AVL: +250, MUN: +110, Draw: +235
Southampton vs. Newcastle:
A new magician has emerged for the Magpies, named Almiron. He has scored in all the previous six matches. Newcastle seem to have found their foundation after a period of painful stagnation. That they have not been beaten in their last five games says a lot about Newcastle's form.
With twenty-four goals scored and only ten conceded, the visitors dominate the home side on statistics. What's more, Newcastle will want to maintain their fourth place. They will play hard and earn the three points in this match. Five Thirty Eight: SOU: 24%, NEW: 51%, Draw: 24% Odds Shark: SOU: +290, NEW: -105, Draw: +245
West Ham vs. Crystal Palace:
The Hammers are back. Yes, they lost to United and Liverpool recently, but they have been doing well otherwise. Palace, too, are in good form, but not so much in the away games. They suffered a defeat against Everton and tied with Leicester. The clash between Moyes and Viera must be tight to watch, and it can go either way. Both sides may find the back of the net, but they will likely share the points. Five Thirty Eight: WHU: 50%, CRY: 23%, Draw: 27% Odds Shark: WHU: -110, CRY: +310, Draw: +235
Tottenham vs. Liverpool:
Tottenham, who have missed Richarlison for injury, will also be without Son, who picked up a nasty one near his eye in the midweek UCL match. Son will undergo surgery, and his World Cup prospects are also uncertain. This may cause issues for Spurs. Liverpool's form has declined recently as they suffered two shocking, back-to-back defeats at home and away.
While Kane has scored as many goals for Spurs as Firmino and Salah have done for Liverpool combined, Richarlison and Son's absence may be problematic for Spurs. Liverpool have been shaky defensively at times. Tottenham prefer to sit back and score on counterattacks. With almost equal statistics on goals scored and conceded, this game will likely be very even, ending in a draw. Five Thirty Eight: TOT: 33%, LIV: 45%, Draw: 22% Odds Shark: TOT: +215, LIV: +120, Draw: +270