Head2Head with GoonerInCali

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GoonerInCali is obviously an Arsenal fan, we actually stumbled across one another on another platform we were fiddling with a few weeks back and decided to give Matt (his real name) a go at our prediction game. Matt can be found on twitter, @Goonerincali proclaiming great things about the Gunners and generally running Manchester United down … Dirk already likes him … Matt admits to being biased and living in San Diego. He’s an avid footballer and surfer, while earning his Dollars as a structural engineer. You can check out his blog too, goonerincali.com.

(Matt gets pink because only Manchester United supporters get red! Oh and because he runs us down straight up)

Thabo, who won last week, will be back for another go when he returns from his mystery trip that’s keeping him out of our Action Soccer friendly this week.

Matt: Arsenal 3-1 Southampton
Arsenal have taken only two points from the last nine and experienced the horror of a 4-0 loss to Soton last month.  Koeman is highly regarded and the Saints are coming off of the back of a big win at Old Trafford due to their new signing, Charlie Austin.  I can not see Arsene being done twice by Southampton with Sanchez and Ozil back in the side.  Giroud will also be looking to prove that his substitution last week was a mistake in management.

Marcel: Arsenal 1 – 0 Southampton

Arsenal have hit the February wall a little early this season. 2 points from the last 9 on offer could cost them the title. It’s time to pick up the pace and push through to May. Southampton will be buoyed by the Charlie Austin goal at Old Trafford but there’s little else to cheer for the Saints.

Dirk: Arsenal 1 – 1 Southampton

Arsenal have been slightly out of sorts lately and the Saints will be buoyed by recent good results. They’ll end up even in a closely fought games.

RESULT: Arsenal 0 – 0 Southampton

Matt: Leicester City 4-2 Liverpool

There are goals in this one!  Both teams are gaining momentum and it could be a thriller of a shootout between Vardy and Firmino.  I see Leicester having just a bit too much going forward for the Liverpool backline and Mignolet making a blunder or two under the pressure of attack.

Marcel: Leicester 2 – 1 Liverpool

I watched Liverpool beat Norwich 5-4. Entertaining but terrible. I watched Liverpool Stoke in the Capital One Cup. Dreadful. The balance between attacking football and being able to score and win without conceding plenty seems to be missing. They’re worth a goal but Leicester are worth more.

Dirk: Leicester 2 – 1 Liverpool

It’s crazy to think it’s almost Feb and Leicester still sit on top of the pile! They’ve been looking good and their defence has looked good as well. Liverpool are through to the final of the Capital One Cup, but they are sort defensively and this will be their undoing against an excellent Foxes attack.

RESULT: Leicester 2 – 0 Liverpool

Matt: Norwich City 0-3 Tottenham Hotspur

With Spurs on a great run, it’s tough to see Norwich posing a threat or shutting down the opposition.  It hurts to say it, but Tottenham have a very tight and optimistic side at the moment.

Marcel: Norwich City 0 – 3 Tottenham Hotspur

Spurs are unlikely to leak goals the way Liverpool did. Norwich unfortunately are still the same team that conceded five just a few days ago. The spurs boys are on an excellent run and almost certain to finish in the top 4 now.

Dirk: Norwich 1 – 2 Tottenham

Spurs are serious title contenders this season and against a frail Norwich defence – I can’t see Spurs dropping points here.

RESULT: Norwich 0 – 3 Tottenham

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Impressive signings in January window

Matt: Everton 3 – 2 Newcastle United
The addition of Shelvey seems to have brought Newcastle to life. Everton seem to have all of the ingredients, but it hasn’t yet clicked for them this season.  I think squad-vs-squad Everton is a strong unit, and it’s difficult to see Stones having another shocking for the second week in a row.

Marcel: Everton 1 – 0 Newcastle

Would you believe Everton have only won 6 matches in the league? That’s only one more than relegation threatened Newcastle! Shelvey should help the Tynesiders tighten up the mid but Everton really should win this. Form says otherwise but then one should question Martinez …

Dirk: Everton 2 – 2 Newcastle

Probably the most difficult pick to make this week. Results depend on which Everton and which Newcastle play this weekend… Both have had proper Jekyll and Hyde performances this season. Safest bet a high scoring draw.

RESULT: Everton 3 – 0 Newcastle

Matt: Sunderland 1-4 Manchester City

Sunderland may sneak a compensation goal at some point in the match, but I’d expect a pummelling.  City are away from home and have not been able to get out of first gear, but they should have enough to win comfortably against a Sam Allardyce side that is struggling.

Marcel: Sunderland 1 – 3 Manchester City

Another week or two until Kompany is back for City equals another week or two of dodgy defending. Sunderland still don’t have what it takes to roll City over though. Plenty of goal scoring chances for the blue team, possibly even more than three goals.

Dirk: Sunderland 0 – 2 Man City

Sunderland desperately need some reinforcements and City in spite of the draw at West Ham have been in good form. Expect the momentum to continue here at the Stadium of Light.

RESULT: Sunderland 0 – 1 Man City

Matt: West Ham United 2-0 Aston Villa

After watching Kouyate, Payet, and Valencia unsettle Manchester City for 90 minutes last weekend, it’s tough to see them do much less at home to Villa.  Adrian is a truly a quality keeper and I expect to see a clean sheet.

Marcel: West Ham 3 – 0 Villa

West Ham are a good side these days. Villa are still struggling and despite things improving I can’t see them getting any points in London on this trip.

Dirk: West Ham 2 – 1 Aston Villa

West Ham are excellent with Payet fit, and Villa have struggled basically every week. Expect more of the same here.

RESULT: West Ham 2 – 0 Villa

Matt: Crystal Palace 2-2 Bournemouth

Expect a mid-table punching match, figuratively of course.  Both sides have been consistently above average and playing good football.  Ex-gunner Afobe has started strong up front for Bournemouth, but the Palace midfield as a unit will make any team think twice.

Marcel: Palace 0 – 1 Bournemouth

Somewhat of a surprise signing in Adebayor for Palace yesterday. He has scored on debut for City, Arsenal and Spurs, can he do it for Palace too? I don’t think so. No goals in 6 matches, no change expected. I hope I am wrong.

Dirk: Palace 2 – 1 Bournemouth

Expect Adebayor to score on his debut and Palace to finally win again. They’ve been good with an inability to find the back on the net. Bournemouth look assured lately and will make a game of it, but feel at home Palace will have too much for them.

RESULT: Palace 1 – 2 Bournemouth

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Matt: Manchester United 1-1 Stoke City
With Shaqiri, Arnautovic, and Bojan in the side, I’d hand the points to stoke.  We’ll have to see who is actually fit for the match.  I feel that a fit Stoke front line have a major advantage over the United defense. As I say time and time again, you can always ount on Manchester United being handed at least one goal from a contentious decision.

Marcel: Manchester United 1 – 0 Stoke

I’m tired of predicting home wins for my team that don’t materialise. LVG is not getting the results we need. I am one of the growing number that want him to leave. I’d rather have 30% possession and win than 70% and lose every week.

Dirk: Man United 0 – 1 Stoke

LVG has been looking for the final nail for his managerial coffin at United. Stoke should provide it. They were unlucky in midweek to go out to Liverpool in the Capital One Cup, but they did win at Anfield for the first time in 56 years. Expect that momentum to be telling against a poor United side.

RESULT: Man United 3 – 0 Stoke

Matt: West Bromwich Albion 2-2 Swansea City
Saido I actually got on the pitch last week and Swansea had a strong game. I’m tempted to favor Swansea for strength, but I see this one ending in a draw.

Marcel: WBA 0 – 1 Swansea

Maybe there are behind the scene rumblings again at WBA but since the 2-2 draw with Chelsea there’s been a distinct lack of intensity. Swansea have won the last two matches and changed managers. Narrow margin away win.

Dirk: West Brom 1 – 0 Swansea

Pulis has been doing enough at West Brom and they should do enough to get the three points at home to Swansea. A team that will still be getting used to life under their new manager.

RESULT: WBA 1 – 1 Swansea

Matt: Watford 1-3 Chelsea
I’m having a touch time deciding how Chelsea will react to the win at Arsenal last weekend.  The most notable takeaway from their game was Gus Hiddink setting Cesc Fabregas free to move forward and play his game.  Watford looks good this season, but if the blues have too much if they come out like they did last week.

Marcel: Watford 0 – 2 Chelsea

Chelsea are undefeated in 7. Make that 8 in a row. Watford were interesting for a few weeks. Watford were exciting for a while. The buzz seems to have worn off. Maybe the squad  depth is being tested to its fullest and the quality isn’t there but I can’t see them stopping Chelsea.

Dirk: Watford 1 -1 Chelsea

Chelsea to me still look like a team in transmission. Watford have been good at home and an excellent unit. I can see them cancelling each other out here.

RESULT: Watford 0 – 0 Chelsea

2 games to play tonight, Points: Matt 8 / Marcel  8 / Dirk 5

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