Infostrada Sports’ Head of Analysis Simon Gleave takes a look at this weekend’s Premier League matches. You can follow Infostrada’s football facts on Twitter at @infostradalive or the Euro Club Index ranking on @euroclubindex.
Swansea City (Euro CIub Index rank: 146) v Newcastle United (ECI rank: 50)
Newcastle United travel to Swansea looking for a fourth successive Premier League victory which would represent their best winning streak in the league in six years. However, playing on a Friday seems to have a strange effect on Newcastle as they have failed to win any of their last four Friday PL matches and have never won away in the Premier League on a Friday.
The Liberty Stadium has been a defensive stronghold for Swansea City this season with only 12 Premier League goals conceded there. Only Manchester City have done better in PL home matches. In matches home and away, Swansea’s 12 PL clean sheets this season is the best record outside the top two. Recently, the Swans have relied on their goalscoring midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson who has scored five of the club’s last seven PL goals and is the top scoring Premier League midfielder in 2012 with six goals.
Euro Club Index: Win Swansea City: 34% chance, Draw: 32%, Win Newcastle United: 34%
Sunderland (ECI rank: 87) v Tottenham Hotspur (ECI rank: 13)
Since Martin O’Neill took over at Sunderland, the club have picked up 30 points in 17 PL matches, a total only bettered by the two Manchester clubs over the same period. However, the club do not have such a great record against the current top four PL clubs this season having won only one of their six encounters. Sunderland have scored in each of their last nine Premier League home matches including every PL home match under O’Neill, and have also scored in their last nine PL home matches against Tottenham.
Tottenham Hotspur have not had a great 2012 to date when playing away from White Hart Lane with the club yet to record an away win in 2012. The only other club with no away win this year is Queens Park Rangers. However, they have scored on each of their last nine PL visits to the North-east and are unbeaten in their last seven PL matches against North-east opposition. Emmanuel Adebayor has scored PL goals against 27 different clubs but is yet to score against Sunderland having played them six times.
Euro Club Index: Win Sunderland: 29% chance, Draw: 32%, Win Tottenham Hotspur: 39%
Bolton Wanderers (ECI rank: 124) v Fulham (ECI rank: 67)
Bolton Wanderers are now on their best Premier League winning streak for over five years after three straight victories home and away. A third successive PL home win would be their best run at the Reebok stadium since this time last year. The Euro Club Index makes Bolton the outsiders of the main five candidates for relegation with a 15% chance of the club playing in the Championship next season.
The first goal could be crucial in this match as both Fulham and Bolton are unbeaten in PL matches in which they have netted first this term. Manchester United are the only other team who can say this. Fulham manager Martin Jol has never won at the Reebok Stadium, losing three times and drawing the other.
Euro Club Index: Win Bolton Wanderers: 39% chance, Draw: 32%, Win Fulham: 29%
Chelsea (ECI rank: 6) v Wigan Athletic (ECI rank: 147)
The two Roberto’s face each other here with Di Matteo yet to record a victory against Martinez after Wigan took four points from West Bromwich Albion last season. Chelsea are dominant in April at Stamford Bridge having won 30 Premier League matches during this month, more than any other club. Their last home defeat in April dates back 10 years to when they lost 3-0 to Manchester United in 2002. Frank Lampard will again be hoping to net his 150th Premier League goal and become the first midfielder to reach this milestone. The Euro Club Index currently gives Chelsea just a 4% chance of ending the season in the Premier League top four.
Wigan Athletic have a 72% chance of being relegated according to the Euro Club Index and a 50th Premier League defeat for Roberto Martinez will not help those odds. Since taking over at Wigan in August 2009, no Premier League manager has lost as many matches as Martinez. The Latics have, however, won their last two and a third successive victory will be their first in over three years in the Premier League.
Euro Club Index: Win Chelsea: 79% chance, Draw: 16%, Win Wigan Athletic: 5%
Liverpool (ECI rank: 28) v Aston Villa (ECI rank: 69)
The only club with a poorer record than Liverpool’s eight Premier League points in 2012 are Aston Villa’s West Midlands neighbours Wolves. Liverpool’s 36 goals is their fewest at this stage of a Premier League season and their five wins in 15 matches at Anfield is their poorest return for 58 years. Steven Gerrard has scored nine PL goals against Aston Villa making them his favourite opponents.
Villa manager Alex McLeish has never won a PL match against Liverpool in six attempts and his club are threatening to be drawn into the relegation battle after taking just six points from their last eight PL matches. Only Wolves have a poorer record from the last eight. The last time Aston Villa had so few PL victories (7) at this stage of the season was in 2006/2007 but they finished the season with a flourish, winning four and drawing three of their last seven to finish 11th.
Euro Club Index: Win Liverpool: 58% chance, Draw: 27%, Win Aston Villa: 15%
Next Page: Norwich Vs Everton, WBA Vs Blackburn, Stoke City Vs Wolves, Man Utd Vs QPR and Arsenal Vs Man City
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Norwich City (ECI rank: 178) v Everton (ECI rank: 33)
Norwich City become the last club this season to host Merseyside opposition in the Premier League. Grant Holt’s 12 PL goals for the club this season are three times as many as Everton’s top scorers Leighton Baines and Victor Anichebe have scored.
Everton are currently ahead of Liverpool in the Premier League and have the chance of finishing above their Merseyside neighbours for only the second time in the last 24 years. Everton have conceded just 32 goals, the fewest by anyone other than the two Manchester clubs but they have scored just 32, the fewest by any club in the top half. Twelve of those goals (37.5%) have come in the final 15 minutes of matches. Joint top scorer Victor Anichebe has scored all four of his PL goals after coming on as a substitute, making him the 2011/2012 Premier League supersub as no one has more from the bench.
Euro Club Index: Win Norwich City: 26% chance, Draw: 32%, Win Everton: 42%
WBA (ECI rank: 103) v Blackburn Rovers (ECI rank: 121)
The Baggies have won four of their seven PL matches against the current bottom five this season, losing only once (2-1 at home to Wigan in December). They have an identical record to this stage last season with 36 points from 31 matches. However, only 14 of their points have come at home this season. Only Wolves (11) and Wigan (13) have taken fewer at home. Peter Odemwingie is the club top scorer in the Premier League with nine and one more goal will make him the first player to score double figures in two successive top flight seasons for the club since Garry Thompson 27 years ago.
According to the Euro Club Index, Blackburn Rovers are currently outside the three favourites for relegation despite occupying one of the bottom three positions. They are given a 29% chance of playing Championship football next season. Rovers’ manager Steve Kean returns to the venue of his first PL victory (3-1 at WBA in December 2010). Blackburn have the worst defence in the Premier League away from home having conceded 35. Blackburn’s goalkeeper Paul Robinson famously scored against WBA’s keeper Ben Foster when they were playing for Tottenham Hotspur and Watford respectively in 2007.
Euro Club Index: Win West Bromwich Albion: 49% chance, Draw: 30%, Win Blackburn Rovers: 21%
Stoke City (ECI rank: 78) v Wolverhampton Wanderers (ECI rank: 233)
Stoke City’s record of 38 points from 31 matches is identical to this stage last season but the club have failed to win any of their last four PL matches and have only two wins from their last 11. The 29 goals they have scored is the poorest in this season’s Premier League equal to Wigan Athletic. However, Stoke have performed well against West Midlands opposition at home in recent times, losing only one of their last seven PL matches against these clubs.
Wolverhampton Wanderers can prepare for life in the Championship with the Euro Club Index giving them only a 0.5% chance of survival this season. Defeat at Stoke will give Wolves a sixth successive defeat, their worst top flight losing streak for 30 years. No team had ever gone 28+ matches without a clean sheet in the Premier League until West Bromwich Albion did it a year ago but Wolves have now become the third to do so. Wolves are the only team in the Premier League yet to score in the first 15 minutes this season.
Euro Club Index: Win Stoke City: 64% chance, Draw: 24%, Win Wolverhampton Wanderers: 12%
Manchester United (ECI rank: 3) v Queens Park Rangers (ECI rank: 242)
Like bookmaker Fred Done who has paid out on Manchester United being this season’s Premier League champions, the Euro Club Index also thinks it’s more or less over giving United over 90% chance of lifting the title. Manchester United are unbeaten in their last 10 league matches against QPR, recording seven victories since Dennis Bailey became the last opposition player to score a top flight hat-trick at Old Trafford in QPR’s 4-1 win on New Year’s Day 1992. Sir Alex Ferguson takes on a former player for the 70th time having lost only five of his 69 PL matches against them. Ferguson is unbeaten in his last 29 against former players since Mark Hughes’ Blackburn beat United 4-3 just over six years ago. QPR, Norwich, Stoke and Swansea are the only current PL clubs yet to concede a Rooney goal.
Mark Hughes can become the first of Sir Alex Ferguson’s players to beat his former manager in three PL matches but to have a chance of doing so, QPR will probably have to end their PL club record streak of having conceded in 22 successive matches. This is their worst top flight run of conceding goals for 43 years. QPR will also have to avoid being reduced to 10 men, something that has already happened six times this season, the most of the 20 PL clubs. QPR have an 84% chance of going down according to the Euro Club Index.
Euro Club Index: Win Manchester United: 90% chance, Draw: 8%, Win Queens Park Rangers: 2%
Arsenal (ECI rank : 8 ) v Manchester City (ECI rank: 6)
There have been 49 goals scored in the 10 Premier League matches to date between the current top four. The Gunners have won only one of their five matches this season against these teams and have lost four. Theo Walcott has scored four times and provided four assists in his last eight PL matches and a goal against City will mark the first time he has ever scored in three successive PL matches. Robin van Persie is currently experiencing his longest spell without a goal for over a year and has scored only once in 10 PL matches against Manchester City
Manchester City are looking to complete the double over Arsenal for the first time since 1975/1976 but Arsenal are their most difficult opponents in the Premier League era as they have lost more to the Gunners (20 times) than against anyone else. City have also not won at Arsenal since 1975 and that 26 match streak is their longest ever top flight run without a victory at another club. City have won all four of their PL matches this season against other teams in the current top four and scored six and five in their two away matches against these clubs. Failure to win against Arsenal will give Manchester City their longest PL streak without a victory since November 2009.
Euro Club Index: Win Arsenal: 44% chance, Draw: 31%, Win Manchester City: 25%
The Euro Club Index ranking is updated every day at http://www.euroclubindex.com where you can also find match odds for every European top flight match and predictions for selected leagues which are updated every Monday. Infostrada Sports also has a website which we encourage people to contribute to at http://www.infostradalive.com