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Hindsight's Premier League predictions

TIME TO CONSIDER: Jose Mourinho lost his job at Chelsea on Thursday

WHILE ARSENAL against Manchester City is the extended weekend's genuine highlight, the biggest football story of recent times is the sacking of Jose Mourinho at Chelsea in midweek. 'The Special One' is no longer so. I expect the occupants of the Chelsea dressing room to at last get their heads together and push up the table. It was clear that the players had had enough of the Portuguese and who can blame them after some of the barbs that Mourinho fired their way? That said, John Terry and his fellow players have given the impression for most of the season that they weren't bothered.

On Monday night, Arsenal host title favourites Manchester City - it should be a Christmas cracker! There are superstars on show aplenty with Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, David Silva, Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero all on show. The Voice of Sport will be reporting from the Emirates Stadium for what should be a feast of football.

Hindsight's Premier League predictions is in association with Sky Sports.

Saturday, December 19

Chelsea - Sunderland
The sacking of Jose Mourinho still has the football world talking. The out-of-sorts champions would normally see a match against lowly Sunderland as a guaranteed three points. But the likes of Southampton, Bournemouth and Liverpool have already dismantled the Blues in front of their own fans. That said, the Black Cats are such a poor outfit that the likes of Diego Costa and Eden Hazard can fill their boots at the Bridge. After a good start to his tenure as Sunderland manager, reality has kicked in for big Sam Allardyce. Easy and convincing home win...I think!

Everton - Leicester
This could be a tale of two strikers. Toffee Romelu Lukaku, with six consecutive Premier League goals, will go head-to-head with record-breaking Fox, Jamie Vardy. Leicester have been sensational so far and been adopted as everyone’s favourite ‘other’ team. When boss Claudio Ranieri arrived at the King Power Stadium many thought it was not a marriage made in heaven but the November manager of the month has stuck two fingers up to the cynics. The away side are full of pace and the home back line, which includes the imperious John Stones, could be in for a testing afternoon. Honours even at the final whistle.

Manchester United - Norwich
It would be churlish to rule out the Canaries at Old Trafford. United are not firing as their defeat to Bournemouth confirmed. Just what has happened to Louis van Gaal’s much touted philosophy? It is only a short while since Sir Alex Ferguson left and since then things have fallen apart at a club that used to win trophies with fearsome regularity, how times have changed. However, Alex Neil’s men are gun shy themselves. Striker Cameron Jerome will still be having nightmares after his glaring miss against Everton last time out. I expect Anthony Martial to shine and score the goals that seal three points for the Red Devils.

Southampton - Tottenham
Could be one for the purists at St. Mary’s. The Saints, who include reported Man United target Sadio Mane, are not marching in the way they did last term but they still possess quality players. The visitors will be looking to bounce back after the shock home loss to Newcastle. The north London outfit have always looked light on quality strikers and Harry Kane went missing against the Toon and Tottenham fans will be praying that he finds his mojo on the South Coast. Draw.

Stoke - Crystal Palace
I saw the ‘new look’ Stoke eke out a point against West Ham last weekend and they are looking good. Star man Bojan, who learnt his trade at Barcelona, pulls the strings for Mark Hughes’ men and they are on course for a top ten finish if not better. Alan Pardew’s Palace are dangerous foe and have already got their money’s worth with the acquisition of midfield maestro Yohan Cabaye. The influential Frenchman has got five top-flight goals to his name so far with the rich promise of more. Stoke sneak it.

West Brom - Bournemouth
The visitors will fancy their chances against a West Brom outfit that blow hot and cold. After wins against Chelsea and Man United, the seaside club – who play an excellent pressing game – will hope that Josh King and Junior Stanislas can come up with the goals that sunk United so impressively. WBA are battlers but all too often are short of a genuine goal threat. Tony Pulis could be, as ever, a busy man during the upcoming transfer window. Bournemouth take all three points.

Newcastle - Aston Villa
There is debate as to whether Villa, bottom of the table with just six points, are the worst PL side of all time. They might well prove to be and their plight will not be improved at St. James’ Park. Steve McClaren would appear at last to be creating some consistency amongst his group of players, The hosts have beaten Liverpool and Tottenham in successive games and will complete their winning hat-trick against the Villa.

Sunday, December 20

Watford - Liverpool
If, and it is a big ask, Liverpool can keep Watford’s twin threats of Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo quiet they might have half a chance of success at Vicarage Road. The duo are hungry and up for the challenge. The Anfield club will also need Christian Benteke to up his game. The former Villan has been under-par since signing for the club and with Daniel Sturridge injured again, Benteke’s role takes on even greater significance. Another landmark win for the Hornets.

Swansea - West Ham
The Swans are a shadow of the side that upset both Arsenal and Manchester United during the last campaign. Manager Garry Monk has been moved on and the Welsh side need to get points on the board quickly to avoid a bleak midwinter. The Hammers, beset by injuries, are eighth in the table after a promising start. Diminutive front man Enner Valencia’s energy and goals will be required in order to move up the division. City edge it.

Monday, December 21

Arsenal - Manchester City
This pre-Christmas fixture will be one for the purists. Second plays third and the pair remain title favourites despite the form and heroics of Leicester City. It has been the best part of a decade since the Gunners won the league but they can sense an opportunity this term. Many observers suggest that Arsene Wenger’s men should prioritise winning the league, and a tough Champions League round of last 16 assignment against champions Barcelona confirms that thinking. Top Gunners Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott will face African player of the year Yaya Toure, David Silva and Sergio Aguero in a genuine six-pointer. Both sides have been hampered by injuries but the quality of their squads is underpinned by their standings in the table. It is a mouthwatering clash which promises to illuminate Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football programme. Arsenal and City head the betting for the Premier League crown and whoever ends this game victorious cements their position. Entertaining classic to end all square.

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