The fixture computer and the supercomputer are squabblings, and it isn’t pleasant.
The time between the end of Arsenal’s match against Wolves and the start of Southampton’s match against Norwich is less than 24 hours. Even for a machine, it’s too much to handle.
Stance two: due to postponements, the midweek games have been rescheduled; you must react and use your processing power to deal with it.
I don’t have time to debate who is correct and who is incorrect in this situation; match week 27 is here! Predict everything, and predict as quickly as you can!
As previously stated, the Premier League fixtures this weekend begin with Norwich City’s visit to St Mary’s. The visitors have returned to their semi-traditional bottom-of-the-table position, but this is building up to be the mother of all relegation battles, with only a fool or an Ipswich fan writing Norwich off at this point. Southampton, on the other hand, has only lost once at home this season and usually enjoys their Friday nights (except when they lose 9-0, as Ipswich did once), which the supercomputer likes and respects, giving Saints a 57 per cent chance of winning this weekend, the third-highest figure of the matchweek.
A tense classic takes place on Saturday lunchtime between two clubs who opt to play in white, a colour that should probably be limited to third jerseys. Leeds have conceded 16 goals in February alone, and if Tottenham scores four (believe me when I say this), it will be the first time in Premier League history that a side has conceded 20 goals in a calendar month. And in the month with the shortest number of days, no less. Spurs have a 46.4 percent chance of winning the game against a team to which they sold a pitch last season, according to the supercomputer. Although the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, let’s hope it’s dryer than it was in Leeds’ match against Manchester United last weekend.
On Saturday at 3 p.m. (el slot traditionale), Newcastle United visits Brentford in a relegation struggle deluxe. Eddie Howe’s steadily improving Magpies have two games in hand on the stumbling Bees, and if they win this one, they will leapfrog them. Brentford are the slight favourites according to the win predictor, but Newcastle are used to losing in London (they have the most non-local defeats in Premier League history with 82), and they are looking for a difference.
Two managers with vastly divergent paths to their current Premier League benchwork go head-to-head in East Sussex for the award for the supercomputer’s most-even game of the week. Villa Aston Graham Potter played left-back on the day that his Wycombe teammate, right back Jason Cousins, committed one of the worst fouls in Football League history. Steven Gerrard has scored in World Cups and inspired teams to unlikely comebacks in Champions League finals, while Graham Potter played left-back on the day that his Wycombe teammate, right back Jason Cousins, committed one of the worst fouls in Football League history (look it up). Whatever the case may be, they are both meticulous managers, even if their teams are currently underperforming. This season, Brighton has only scored 10 goals at home, and Villa has only won one of their past seven league games under Gerrard. It appears to be a low-scoring game.
Burnley Football Club, in the midst of yet another remarkable escape, resembles some sort of Coventry-in-the-1990s tribute act. Sean Dyche’s decision to recruit Wout Weghorst, an eight-foot striker, appears to have turned the club’s fortunes around, and they will bring their European siege weapon to Selhurst Park on Saturday afternoon. With five wins in their previous ten games played within TFL’s sphere of influence, London has transformed into a joyful hunting ground for the Clarets. According to the supercomputer, Palace may have an advantage in this one due to home advantage, however Dutchman Weghorst will undoubtedly disagree.
Manchester United has never lost at home against Watford, despite losing a manager after losing away to the Hornets earlier in the season. Ralf Rangnick’s side currently has the longest unbroken run without a win in the Premier League, which may not fit your narrative or memes. Even so, with Arsenal’s win against Wolves on Thursday putting them in pole position to secure that coveted fourth place at the conclusion of the season, United must win this game. And they’re likely to win, with the supercomputer giving them a 64.0 per cent chance of winning, making them the weekend’s largest favourites.
Manchester City has a 0.1 percent lower chance of beating Everton than Manchester United has of beating Watford. Pep Guardiola’s squad has been dealt a blow after blow this week, with a surprising defeat to Tottenham followed by this supercomputer snub and then the sight of the first-ever Carabao Cup final in English football history on Sunday. We can only hope that their spirits can withstand a trip to Goodison Park to face Frank Lampard’s ailing Everton, which appears to be a walk in the park on paper. The Merseyside club hasn’t played second-tier football since the invention of Velcro in the 1950s, but their Premier League status is becoming increasingly precarious by the week.
The Premier League week comes to a close with a tasty east London palate cleanser ahead of the aforementioned Carabao feast, as West Ham host Wolves in the ‘war of the teams beginning with W who have done better than you loudly predicted at a BBQ last summer. Bruno Lage’s team was defeated by Arsenal on Thursday night, eventually wilting in a tense atmosphere fueled by a tense interpretation of football’s rules and laws, as well as a lack of ball-in-play time. At London Stadium, where West Ham has scored in every Premier League game this season while appearing increasingly vulnerable at the back, there should be a more typical feel. David Moyes’ side is the 40.6 percent favourite for this match, but almost everyone has underestimated a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
You know how it is: you’re trying to operate some advanced machinery (yes, a supercomputer), but you’re getting bombarded with texts from your uncle, who has noticed that there are six games at 3 p.m. this week and is bombarding you with upper case words like TRADITIONAL, PROPER, REAL, and AUTHENTIC. “What about the first day of league football in September 1888, when clubs set their own, random kick-off times?” you question swiftly. “Do you think that’s conventional enough for you?”
He never responded to that one for some reason, but he was correct on one point: there are really six Premier League games at 3 p.m. on Saturday, which is good news for goal update television programming at the very least. Here are the results of our famous win predictor model’s analysis of those and the other four planned matches.
The latest encounter in Newcastle’s Incredible Recovery, this time away at London Stadium against West Ham United, is the amuse-bouche to that spate of 3pm games. Newcastle loved their excursions to Westfield-adjacent venues even during their recent slump, winning there in each of the last two seasons. Declan Rice (6,087 metres) and Allan Saint-Maximin (5,714) are the two most prolific ball carriers in the division this season, but it’s been Keir Trippier who has been carrying Newcastle’s hopes in recent weeks, and the inspirational right-back is currently out injured with a broken foot. West Ham is more than twice as likely to win this game (50.8 percent) than the visitors, according to the supercomputer, and sometimes you simply have to nod and say.
Arsenal will be seeking a sweet taste of revenge against Brentford if they stay in London. Matchweek 26 is the reversal of August’s opening weekend, which was a disaster for Mikel Arteta’s team, who was without a lot of key players due to covid-19. After a tough debut season in the Premier League, Brentford is looking tired, and Arsenal hasn’t lost a home game to a newly promoted team since 2010. Arsenal’s sly quest to finish fourth will continue, according to the supercomputer, which gives them a 55.9% probability of winning.
The Saturday 3 pm crew’s favourite team is Liverpool, who will face Norwich City at Anfield. Norwich’s win probability is as high as 3.8 percent, which is not dissimilar to 1.9 percent, which is the proportion of Premier League goals conceded by Norwich that have been scored by Luis Suarez. With 47 goals and 13 wins in their last 15 Premier League games against the Norfolk side, it’s a bit of a surprise to see Norwich’s win probability as high as 3.8 percent.
Everton must be away because Liverpool is at home, and they are, this time at the Armando Broja Project to improve Southampton. This appears to be the evenest game of the day, thanks to the renowned supercomputer. Everton doesn’t score many goals away from home, but Saints haven’t kept a clean sheet in 13 outings. After a sharing of the spoils, Ralph and Frank exchange a big bear hug? You wouldn’t rule it out completely.
Chelsea travels down from the riverside flatlands to the mystery hills that surround Selhurst Park in a London derby south of the river. In the last 21 encounters between Chelsea and Crystal Palace, there hasn’t been a draw, but might this be the game to break that statistically implausible streak? No, the freshly crowned world champions have won 76 percent of their matches against Palace, a Premier League record, while the Eagles have only won one of their last 16 derbies. Chelsea will return to their cave with three points, according to both the supercomputer and ordinary humans.
Saturday 3 pm appears to have an endless stream of games at this point, but they are all concluded (I promise) with Aston Villa vs. Watford and Brighton vs. Burnley. Under Steven Gerrard, Villa has been entertaining at home, with the Coutinho/Jacob Ramsey combo appearing particularly fruitful. Watford has failed to score in three Premier League games under Roy Hodgson, and if his side fails to score at Villa Park, he would become only the fourth permanent manager in Premier League history to start with four blanks. Although the supercomputer admires Hodgson’s foreign language skills, it still assigns Villa a 48.5 percent chance of relegating the Hornets to the second tier (el second tier as Hodgson might say).
Meanwhile, in the bottom of England, Wout Weghorst, the Angel of the North, will try to cope with any remaining high winds buffeting the south downs as he takes on Professor Potter’s PHD Seagulls, if he is fit (hands praying emoji). Brighton was unfortunate to lose 2-0 to Manchester United in midweek, but they have robbed us of an early opportunity to see Dan Burn go up against Weghorst like giant Transformers fighting in a quarry, so perhaps neither team deserves to win (29.9 percent).
If the six-course meal, which starts at 3 p.m., isn’t enough, there’s an outstanding dessert on the menu at 17:30 p.m., when Ruminating Antonio Conte’s Tottenham visit the Etihad Stadium to play Manchester City. Losing four league games in a row would be the first time Spurs had done so since 2004, three PlayStation models back. The supercomputer, which is a distant cousin of several video game consoles, gives City a 64.6 percent chance of winning and raises THFC’s touchline gloom levels to “severe.”
Sunday kicks off with one of English football’s most heated rivalries, as a club that lost a European Cup final in the 1970s plays against a team who did the same in the 2000s and 2010. The Eric Cantona classic, the Alan Smith derby, is set to take place between Leeds United and Manchester United. The Blonde One and both teams are in desperate need of a victory. Leeds United, to stave off relegation, and Manchester United, to keep their chances of finishing in the top four alive. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team put on a fantastic display to thrash Leeds 5-1 on the opening day of the season, but that was a different time in many respects. It was before the club brought Cristiano Ronaldo back to Old Trafford, and if (when) he plays against Leeds on Sunday, it will be 18 years and 125 days since he last appeared in the Premier League. In that time, babies have been born and grown into adults, a generation for whom supercomputers are an everyday part of life. With Leeds at 27.1 percent and the red-clad visitors at 45.3 percent, our machine makes this match rather level. Come for the ferocious hatred, and stay for the hopefully ferocious football.
Wolves take on the Foxes at Molineux in a scavenging beast superclasico to round up Matchweek 26. This match is the most recent example of a team coming back from three goals behind to win in the Premier League (Wolves 4-3 Leicester in October 2003). It doesn’t take a supercomputer to figure out that a lead of three goals is extremely unlikely. Is there a chance it’ll happen again on Sunday? Well, according to the win predictor, this is the most evenly matched game of the entire weekend, so definitely not.
Matchweek 25 kicks off just hours after Leicester continued to struggle defending corners and Arsenal was reduced to ten men. Okay, most humans could foresee those kinds of things, but here at The Analyst, we have our intelligent supercomputer, which can go a little deeper. Do you want to go a little deeper? Please accept my apologies for going a *lot* further. Here are the outcomes.
The weekend begins with Manchester United taking on Southampton, a match that the home side won 9-0 last season, though no one expects that result to be duplicated this time. In fact, the number nine appears to be haunting United at the moment, since they have scored nine goals in their last nine games at Old Trafford after scoring nine in their first two Premier League games there this season. Because we’re still talking about Manchester United, the supercomputer has them as favourites to win, but as Ralf takes on Ralph, would either manager argue that Southampton has no chance? Nein.
Traditionalists who enjoy the UK’s 3pm blackout rule will have to deal with the reality that Chelsea will be televised in the Club World Cup on Saturday afternoon, but the three Premier League games starting at three will remain a mystery in digital form. This collection of games will contain a game between Watford and Brighton that, according to the win prediction model, is extremely closely matched, with all three outcomes at 30% or above. Four of Brighton’s previous five Premier League games have ended in a 1-1 draw, so I’m afraid claiming the same will happen this weekend will make you look like some sort of heavenly soothsayer. And it’s possible.
Brentford hosts Crystal Palace in a home league game for the first time since 1963, which is quite remarkable given Palace’s excursions up and down the divisions since then. A supercomputer in 1963 would have been the size of a bus and have had the processing capability of an Ericsson phone. Supercomputers are now the size of bees, and Brentford has Christian Eriksen, albeit not yet. It’s another stressful match, made the more so by the fact that a loss here would send either side firmly onto the outside of the relegation battle.
And, while we’re on the subject of the relegation race, Everton is now only a point ahead of Newcastle, and the fear and hatred is starting to set in. Frank Lampard had a promising start to his Goodison career in the FA Cup last Saturday, but unfortunately went on to lose at Newcastle. Now that Leeds are set to play in the Premier League on Saturday, things are starting to feel a lot more genuine. Everton has never started a calendar year with five straight league losses, but that is exactly what they are facing. In Frank Lampard’s first home encounter as Derby manager, Leeds and Marcelo Bielsa won 4-1; a similar result here would be crisis time. With home advantage and Leeds being Leeds, the supercomputer gives Everton a little lead in a weekend of close encounters, but you don’t need to be able to traverse a chain-link fence to spy an unexpected 90 minutes at the school of science.
Saturday’s game should be the most one-sided of the weekend, if not the season, but we thought that when Manchester City visited Norwich two seasons ago, the result was a famous win for the pride of central Norfolk instead. Surely pouring this data into the supercomputer’s brain will give the Canaries a great boost? No, they have one of the lowest possibilities of winning in the contemporary game, with a 4.9 percent chance of winning. It’s impossible to code romanticism.
Football fans are divided into three categories. The first appreciates Mohamed Salah’s dancing feet, the second is actively excited by the Ent of Lancashire, Wout Weghorst’s pure physical might, and the third enjoy both in equal measure. The game at Turf Moor on Sunday, in which Liverpool has a 62 percent chance of winning, will pique the interest of all three groups. That sounds reasonable if Virgil van Dijk and his pals can manage Weghorst, the velvet battering ram. Anyone keeping track of whether or not Turf Moor is a difficult place to visit should be aware that Liverpool has won six of their seven Premier League games there.
Only three times in Premier League history has a team been reduced to eight men, with Newcastle and Aston Villa hosting the Kieron Dyer vs. Lee Bowyer middleweight match. Let’s hope for calmer, but equally compelling drama on Sunday when two of the Premier League’s most intriguing teams square off. The January transfer window’s two significant winners? Maybe, just maybe, this fight will be a Brazilian versus. Brazilian showdown between contender Bruno Guimares and seasoned champion Philippe Coutinho. We can’t separate them, and neither can the supercomputer, which has Villa as 0.8 percent favourites. Punchy.
Wolves visit Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday at 2 p.m., completing the Sunday 2 p.m. slot. According to a deleted chronology, this match is the Nuno Espirito Santo derby, with Adama Traore starting for Spurs and causing serious problems for his previous club. Instead, as Southampton illustrated in midweek, the fundamental flaws appear to be with Tottenham’s play under pressure. Antonio Conte hasn’t lost three league games in a row since taking over at Atalanta in 2009, and Tottenham’s present instability is reflected in their 46.2 percent odds of overcoming Wolves.
Leicester City face their nemesis West Ham United in the final matchweek of the season. David Moyes’ side had a decent midweek, with both Manchester United and Tottenham dropping points, however, Leicester can teach them a thing or two about not celebrating a top-four finish until the season is through. However, a fourth consecutive victory for West Ham against Leicester will keep them in the Champions League places for at least another week. If Leicester can limit West Ham’s set-piece opportunities, they may be able to justify the supercomputer’s 43.8 percent support. Otherwise, the 2015-16 winners could be in for a long afternoon.
The small silver key barely fits inside the padlock, and twisting and popping the lock open requires tremendous finger strength. The unmarked door, caked in dust and spider webs, creaks open, revealing the supercomputer on a concrete pedestal, apparently in some type of extraordinarily deep sleep mode. Our beloved machine has been in an electronic trance for two weeks without a full set of Premier League fixtures, so I push the button labelled “do u want to create any predictions???” with glee. The following is an analysis of the decision’s outcome.
Matchweek 24 began on January 18, when Brighton and Chelsea drew 1-1 in Falmer to put the concept to the test. It continues on Tuesday with three games, including a highly anticipated match between Newcastle United and Everton in the transfer window. Eddie Howe and Frank Lampard were born in the same school year (1977-78), but their only goal in 2022 is to qualify for the Premier League in 2022-23 (by avoiding relegation in May)! This game is rated as exceedingly tight by the supercomputer, with Newcastle on 35.0 percent and Everton on 35.7 percent. Come for the new acquisitions, but stay for the same old defensive problems!
On the other hand, Roy Hodgson will take his Watford squad to West Ham on Tuesday, hoping to build on the magic he used to get a clean sheet against Burnley on Saturday. In the spiritual home of carpets, David Moyes’ side was outshone by Kidderminster Harriers for the majority of Saturday. That FA Cup game demonstrated how important West Ham’s main players are to their results [hashtag we didn’t want to bring on Declan Rice but had to], and with top-four ambitions on the line in this game, both myself (Duncan) and the machine (supercomputer) expect the Hammers to win.
Burnley takes on Manchester United in the final match of the day on Tuesday. Wout Weghorst and Aaron Lennon have a 13-inch difference between them, but the gap between where Manchester United felt they were headed at the start of the season and where they are now is far larger. The most recent loss was an FA Cup defeat to Middlesbrough on Friday, and while the supercomputer has them as 48.6% favourites to win at Burnley, that isn’t a huge number given Sean Dyche’s side are a) still bottom of the standings and b) have lost their previous five home games versus United. Is Turf Moor a difficult location to visit? We’ll have to wait and see what happens with Ralf Rangnick.
Antonio Conte is reshaping Tottenham Hotspur on and off the field with a force of will, regular exercise, and cool tactics, and Southampton will visit the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Wednesday knowing that this piece of north London land hasn’t always been a happy hunting ground, even when it was known as White Hart Lane. Saints have lost their previous five Premier League away games against Spurs, and the prospect of Dejan Kulusevski and Rodrigo Bentancur making their debuts just adds to the intrigue. The supercomputer agrees, giving Tottenham a nearly 59 percent chance of winning, potentially boosting their top-four ambitions.
For the first time in Manchester City’s history, the storey leading up to a game is less about how many goals the contemporary Premier League’s perpetual champions might score and more about Christian Erikson’s return to the Premier League. It’s a narrative that has piqued the interest of people all around the world, but I’m afraid it hasn’t piqued the interest of supercomputers, with Brentford assigned only a 5.7 percent probability of winning the game. Four losses in a row have pushed Thomas Frank’s squad to the outskirts of the relegation race, and while Eriksen could aid in the short term, he’s not expected to play any part in this game, resulting in the supercomputer’s shocking decision.
Norwich City’s improbable fight to stay in the Premier League continues at Carrow Road, as they take on Crystal Palace, managed by Progressive Patrick Vieira. Dean Smith’s team would narrow the distance on the Londoners to only five points with a win, which is not the storey you’ve heard, but it’s real. Despite the stylistic advancements made by Palace under their new manager, they have only won one Premier League away game, albeit at Manchester City. Norwich will fancy themselves with a loud Carrow Road crowd behind them. The win predictor algorithm believes Palace will win this match, but the model has never been outside on a cold February night in Norfolk. Only a few computers have this capability.
The final game of the day is Aston Villa vs. Leeds United at Villa Park, which is very much a case of “how excellent is your Brazilian, ours is class” as international team-mates Philippe Coutinho and Raphinha go head-to-head. This is a 40-28-32 prediction from the famed match forecasting machine for a game that will see Leeds play their 4000th league game, a streak that dates back to 1920. If you had asked someone in 1920 about a computer capable of simulating tens of thousands of football games, they would have thrown you in jail. In 1920, if you asked someone about Villa Park, they would have answered, “a difficult place to go.” It’s not bad to get one out of two.
The midweek sports special concludes with two major games on Thursday, which is becoming increasingly popular. Brendan Rodgers returns to Anfield to face a Liverpool side that includes a new signing (Luis Diaz), a recovered prodigy (Harvey Elliott), and two legends who will remember the 2021 AFCON final in different ways. Whether any of that glamour quartet actually features is up to Jurgen Klopp but he certainly has options. If Rodgers chooses to suffocate Trent Alexander-Arnold, as he did in Leicester’s 1-0 win against Liverpool in December, that’s great, but Andy Robertson, who has seven assists in his previous eight Premier League outings, should be avoided. Nottingham Forest was the latest team to be eliminated from the FA Cup on Sunday.
Wolves take on Arsenal in a thrilling match at Molineux to round up the programme. Some argue that Wolves’ squad lacks goals, while others argue that Arsenal’s squad lacks players, therefore this game might go in any number of directions. The supercomputer’s gambit is a 30 percent Plus draw chance, which is quite rare. In an upper mid-table dust-up, our famed machine believes these two clubs could cancel each other out. “Forget dust-ups,” I say, stroking a delicate cloth across the machine. “It’s time to take some dust off, because the Premier League is back, and you have a lot of work to do, my friend.”
On a Thursday lunchtime, the supercomputer admits to me, “I’m baffled by 24.” “What is the name of the long-running early-twentieth-century spy drama series?” “Yeah, some of the later seasons could have used a stricter script editor, for sure!” I respond.
“What I mean is that Chelsea has played 23 games before Matchday 23, while some clubs haven’t even reached 20 games,” our machine counters mechanically. A supercomputer, to me, is irrational.”
I won’t go into detail, but believe me when I say that the machine was programmed to recognise that Chelsea is in the Club World Cup and have already played 24 games before Matchweek 23, whereas many other teams are still reeling from a series of Omicron-fuelled match postponements that have left the Premier League table looking, to be honest, achingly cool and full of possibilities. BUT, assuming everything goes as planned, we should have a full and meaty 10-game matchweek this weekend, so let’s get started and see what happens.
It takes a lot of effort to lose five games in a row against Watford, but that’s exactly what Norwich have been doing. Following the failure of the “three-horse title race,” the struggle at the bottom is refreshingly intense, and it appears that at least one of the teams involved will be back in the Championship next season. Despite Claudio Ranieri’s side not having won a league game since de-Solskjaering Manchester United in November, the supercomputer is significantly favouring Watford in this match on Friday night. Since the beginning of November, Norwich has only lost one Premier League game fewer than Chelsea, but that’s pretty much three-horse race talk.
Saturday’s Premier League action kicks off at Goodison Park with a classic matchup between Everton and Aston Villa. The clubs have won 16 league titles between them, but none since the construction of the Channel Tunnel began; you never know what powers you’ll unleash when you start digging. “Stevie G,” who is now retired and no longer permitted to shoot in the Premier League, will be on the touchline at Everton, facing off against his old opponent Big Duncan Ferguson, who is, of course, temporarily in command of the struggling Merseysiders. In a very polite and anxious fashion, the supercomputer makes this a very even game, with Everton, boosted by war cries and sheer relief, minor favourites at 39.0.
At three o’clock in the Premier League, Manchester United used to be a comfortable stroll for the English record champions. This season, though, things are different due to philosophical entropy. United had lost 4-1 at Watford and 4-2 at Leicester in their last two games in this position. But they’re at home this Saturday, against David Moyes, a manager who has never won away from one of the Classic Big FourTM, even while he was coaching one of them. That’s a total of 64 games, which is quite a lot. The supercomputer gives Moyes a one-in-four chance of winning at 3 p.m., while his former employers have a one-in-two chance.
At Elland Road, Leeds and Newcastle will play off, with both employing James Milner before the iPad was conceived. Newcastle has massive, tremendous relegation anxieties, whilst Leeds has hazy relegation fears. Even when Eddie Howe’s team scores first, it’s rarely a good sign: they’ve done it ten times this season and only won once. In that backdrop, Newcastle’s 24.4 percent likelihood of winning is promising, but let’s just wait and see what happens, right?
In combat between a swarm of bees and a single wolf, who would win? We’ll never know because the supercomputer doesn’t speculate, and Attenborough, as usual, didn’t respond, so we’ll never know, but we can see who wins on Saturday between Brentford and Wolverhampton Wanderers. Wolves haven’t conceded a goal in the first half in their past 13 Premier League games, but Brentford came close to scoring a goal in the first half of their encounter against Manchester United in midweek. According to the win prediction model, the difference between the teams is barely the breadth of a bee, with Brentford on 34.5 percent and Wolves on an even cooler 35.5 percent.
Manchester City’s calm, horse-neutralizing march to the Premier League title continues on Saturday evening at Southampton, with Kevin De Bruyne (nine goals and two assists in his previous 14 Premier League start) in commanding form. City will add another three points to their tally, according to the supercomputer, which gives Pep Guardiola’s team a 73.5 percent chance of winning.
On Sunday, there are three games at 2 p.m., including Arsenal and Burnley, who are both playing their second league game of the season. Burnley have conceded three fewer goals than fourth-placed West Ham despite having played five fewer games. It’s been that kind of season, but one thing is certain: the bottom three teams will be in the Championship next season, and Sean Dyche’s side can feel the rusty fangs of the dreaded trapdoor on their backs. Arsenal has a 56.4 percent chance of winning for the 13th time in their previous 19 games against Burnley, according to the supercomputer.
Crystal Palace is playing Liverpool at the same time in London, but on the other side of the river. Last season, Jurgen Klopp’s side won this match, but then went on to have the longest run of terrible form in Our League in recent memory. On the win predictor, Liverpool are the overwhelming favourites, but 2021-22 Palace have matchwinners, albeit not always players who win matches. Trent Alexander-Arnold assisted both goals in Liverpool’s EFL Cup triumph over Arsenal on Thursday night, giving him as many assists as Kevin De Bruyne, Jack Grealish, Harry Kane, and Riyad Mahrez combined in all competitions this season. Is that satisfactory? It does sound appealing.
Brighton’s trip to Leicester in the forward-thinking-managers-clasico completes the 2pm jamboree. In a match between two cities that formerly boasted nationally renowned velodromes, Leicester is currently mired in a cycle of poor set-piece defending, and Adam Webster’s 1,500-watt header against Chelsea in midweek suggests the Foxes may suffer even more versus Albion. The supercomputer, on the other hand, is less certain, estimating, probably accurately, that the events of Wednesday evening, when Leicester experienced the most dramatic comeback in Premier League history, cannot happen again. That reminds me, I need to get the funny old game.exe patch installed as soon as possible.
The Premier League weekend comes to a close with a high-octane clash between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge. The visitors picked up nine yellow cards in this match in 2016, which is still a Premier League record for a team in a single game (according to experts). Tottenham are the team with the most momentum in the league, notwithstanding Chelsea’s League Cup semi-final victory. Yes, they’ve only won one of their last 31 league games at Stamford Bridge, but the supercomputer gives them only a 43.3 percent probability of victory, which reflects the team’s steady decline as the winter progressed. “Perhaps a trip to the Club World Cup will energise Chelsea,” wonders the supercomputer. “Perhaps it is.”