English Premier League is midway into the 2019/20 season, but normalcy has not been the order of the day this time. Liverpool has made their intentions known and will undoubtedly finish the year at the summit of the league table. It has dawned on some of the underperforming clubs that the season is not young anymore, and the sacking has started. Tottenham parted ways with Mauricio Pochettino after a string of poor performances, and now Unai Emery and Ole Gunnar have to bring the best out of their teams to avoid being sacked themselves.
The title race will be fierce to the last day of the competition with the likes of Leicester City and Chelsea emerging as possible contenders alongside Liverpool and Manchester City. English Premier League fixtures involving those teams are expected to be exciting because they will not be seeking to drop any points.
English Premier League predictions 2019/20 matchday 14
There are clear favourites in most of the matchday 14 fixtures based on the form in which those teams are currently. Such clubs include Wolves, Sheffield United, Leicester and Liverpool. Liverpool is still unbeaten and very deserving to be the league leaders. For the prediction purposes, recent form, team news, and head to head statistics will be used to determine the possible Premier League results this weekend.
1. Newcastle vs. Manchester City
The defending champions travel to Newcastle this weekend to face a rejuvenated side in what will be the first of the English Premier League predictions for Saturday. Despite being second, Manchester City has not been as fluid as they were last season and for that they find themselves chasing after Liverpool in the league table. Last weekend the champions won 2-1 against Chelsea, but they were unable to control the game in terms of ball possession. Newcastle will, however, be a smaller challenge and so the visitors are not likely to experience a lot of problems.
Newcastle was once a team known for packing the bus especially under Rafa Benitez, but they have been playing some progressive football this season. After a shaky start in the campaign the Magpies have found their footing and defeated the likes of Bournemouth, and West Ham thus should not be taken lightly by the visitors. Guardiola will probably be reacting to the recent drop in performances and may rotate some players since he has the depth to shake things up a little bit.
Match prediction: Manchester City wins
Score prediction: 1-2
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2. Burnley vs. Crystal Palace
The Turf Moor will witness the clash between Burnley and Crystal Palace in what could be one of the most exciting encounters of the weekend. The hosts go into these fixtures in the backdrop of consecutive wins against Watford and West Ham. To put things into perspective, Burnley is 7th in the table with 18 points while Crystal palace is at number 13 with 15 points.
Crystal Palace has been struggling for form this season and is yet to produce convincing performances. The visitors seem to be dropping further and further into the bottom half of the league. This fixture will be an opportunity for them to turn things around and get back to winning ways. However, a draw will be the most likely outcome given what is at stake for the visitors.
Match prediction: Draw
Score prediction: 2-2
3. Chelsea vs. West Ham United
The work being done by Frank Lampard at Chelsea has been admired by many with the young coach bagging the manager of the month award. Their season may have been shaky in the beginning, but Lampard’s youngsters are becoming better and better with time. The Blues may have lost against Manchester City, but the young players played the game of their life and anything near that performance will grant them a win this weekend.
The woes at West Ham United have no answers as the Hammers seem to have done everything right but are not getting the desired results. They brought in new players and even a coach to help steer the club forward, but results have not been coming their way. A home win for Chelsea should be considered.
Match prediction: Chelsea wins
Score prediction: 3-1
4. Liverpool vs. Brighton
The current League leaders will welcome Brighton at Anfield this weekend as they seek to extend their lead on top of the table. Last year Liverpool were in a similar position but let their lead slip, and eventually, they were overtaken by Manchester City and thus lost the trophy. Klopp’s men will not make the same mistake again as they have shown consistency this time around.
Brighton will be warry of Liverpool’s attacking arsenal with the likes of Mane and Salah being in splendid form. Anfield is quite the fortress where even big teams such as Barcelona have fallen in recent times. Therefore, we do not expect any threat from the visitors whose last performances were losses to Leicester and Manchester United.
Match prediction: Liverpool wins
Score prediction: 3-0
5. Tottenham vs. Bournemouth
Jose Mourinho is back on the touchline, and the Portuguese manager already has two wins out of two as Tottenham’s manager. His tactics may be questioned by many, but the new coach has always been concerned about one thing only, and that is winning. With a renewed confidence and change of strategies, we may not see the free-flowing football that was under Pochettino, but we should expect the hosts to win by tooth and nail.
Bournemouth is just a point below Tottenham and will be desperate for a win just like their rivals. The visitors have suffered back-to-back losses in the hands of Newcastle United and Wolves. That said, the Cherries are very capable of spoiling Spurs’ party on a good day, but a draw will also be an acceptable result on this occasion.
Match prediction: Draw
Score prediction: 1-1
6. Southampton vs. Watford
One of the biggest surprises of the season so far is Southampton having just 9 points after 13 fixtures and sitting at second last position in the league table. The Saints have had their struggles, but even in their best performances, results have failed to go their way.
Watford has the same woes as the Saints, and the two teams are separated by just one point. The team has not shown any signs of improving and is a possible candidate for relegation. Given that the Saints have been showing better displays, they have the upper hand in winning this fixture.
Match prediction: Southampton wins
Score prediction: 2-1
7. Norwich vs. Arsenal
Norwich began their season quite well as their striker Pukki was scoring goals for leisure but as soon as his form dipped the team also started a downward trajectory that has not stopped since. A win against Arsenal will be a big boost in terms of the confidence and morale of the players going forward.
Unai Emery was supposed to usher in new dawn at Arsenal after the departure of Arsene Wenger, but it is the same old story and worse. The Gunners manager has fallen off with some of his key players, and a string of poor performances have forced fans to start booing the manager. Since Arsenal will be on the road, it won’t be surprising to see them fall behind which will be emery’s undoing.
Match prediction: Norwich wins
Score prediction: 2-1
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8. Wolves vs. Sheffield united
The Wolves have been in splendid form with a successful campaign both in the Europa League and Premier League. In the domestic league, Wolves registered back-to-back wins against Aston Villa and Bournemouth. The hosts will be seeking to extend the excellent form, but facing Sheffield United will be an uphill task.
Sheffield United have stepped up in the top-flight division and are playing above expectation. In their last fixture, they had to play against their key keeper Dean Henderson who was ineligible to face his parent club Manchester United, yet they managed to draw 3-3 with the Red Devils. Blades will probably claim a result against the Wolves, which is why a draw should not be ruled out.
Match prediction: Draw
Score prediction: 2-2
9. Leicester vs. Everton
Leicester vs Everton was always going to be an exciting encounter, but Leicester’s resurgence makes it even better. The hosts have transformed under Brendan Rogers and are posing a massive threat to Manchester City and Liverpool. The Foxes are likely to finish in the top four come the end of the season and Everton will have problems keeping Jamie Vardy and James Madison at bay.
Everton is 16th in the league table but have been showing better displays lately. Their last fixture was a surprising 2-0 loss to Norwich as luck was not on their side. What is at stake aside, the hosts will ease past Everton as they aim to bridge the gap with Liverpool.
Match prediction: Leicester wins
Score prediction: 3-1
10. Manchester United vs. Aston Villa
Manchester United have been struggling with consistency and somehow seem to be having mixed performances. The hosts have performed relatively well against bigger opponents but have fallen to smaller ones such as Bournemouth and Newcastle United. Since Ole Gunnar rested his men in readiness for this fixture, they should produce a better result than the 3-3 draw against Sheffield last weekend.
Aston Villa’s performances have been below average, and they are at number 15 in the table. The visitors have lost all their last three fixtures and don’t look like they will cause united any problems. A man to watch in the home team will be Anthony Martial who has been phenomenal since he returned from injury.
Match prediction: Manchester United wins
Score prediction: 3-1
Fans should brace themselves for some fireworks from English Premier League 2019/20 matchday 14. All eyes will be on Liverpool to see whether the league leaders will drop any points or they will maintain their extending lead. There will also be a focus on managers whose jobs could be on the line if their teams do not improve. In that respect, Arsenal and Manchester United will probably go into their fixtures with all their guns blazing as an attempt to save their managers from the sack as per the Premier League predictions 2019/20.
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Europe beckons for South African rugby after Kiwi snub
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Jul 20 – World Cup-winning Springbok Schalk Brits believes the future of South African rugby lies in Europe after New Zealand said there was no room for sides from the republic in Super Rugby.
“All of this jet lag and flying across different time zones just does not work,” said the hooker who retired after the triumphant 2019 World Cup campaign.
“We have got so many South Africans playing in Europe and it would be awesome to see them in action here for European clubs.”
With New Zealand favouring a trans-Tasman Super Rugby competition, South Africa Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux will address the media Tuesday about the way forward.
There has been no rugby in South Africa since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic, which claimed 5,033 lives by late Sunday, the most in an African country.
Here, AFP Sport looks at the possibilities for the world champions Springboks and Super Rugby teams the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers.
There has been speculation that the six-round annual tournament will be cut to four matches with New Zealand and Australia playing in South Africa only every second year.
That would be a huge blow for SA Rugby coffers as the century-old rivalry with the All Blacks makes them a huge drawcard.
South Africa might consider abandoning the Championship and pursuing a suggestion by former All Blacks Justin Marshall and Jeff Wilson for three-Test tours between the great rivals.
“British and Irish Lions tours are so successful because we look forward to them,” noted another ex-All Black, John Kirwan. The same could be said of an All Blacks-Springboks series.
Should South African franchises move north, would the Springboks follow suit and apply to join England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales in a ‘Seven Nations’ championship?
Having the world champions on board would surely excite the organisers and costs would be greatly reduced if the Springboks played their three away matches on consecutive weekends.
England, Ireland, France and Wales, in particular, would bring freshness for rugby followers, who have not rushed to the turnstiles for Championship visits by Australia and Argentina.
Ask the SA Rugby treasurer for his ‘dream’ line-up and he would surely say a multi-Test tour by the All Blacks and participation in the ‘Seven Nations’.
Although not official yet, the reality is that New Zealand want to play some Australian sides and the Pacific Islands in a new competition while excluding South Africa and Argentina.
The original version, a Super 10 between 1993 and 1995, was a superb competition, but constant tinkering and expansion has led to waning interest in a difficult-to-follow event.
Even those supporting the Golden Lions of South Africa could not have derived too much satisfaction from a 94-7 thrashing of Japanese visitors the Sunwolves three years ago.
South Africa sides often battled with time differences in Australasia — New Zealand is 11 hours ahead of the republic — and were weary after four-match tours.
Pro14 chief executive Martin Anayi says he would welcome Super Rugby ‘rejects’ the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers into an expanded edition.
“The tournament works well but could be even better if we added some South African teams,” he said, referring to a competition that also includes Irish, Italian, Scottish and Welsh teams.
But there may be no room for the two current South African Pro14 participants, the Cheetahs and Kings, who have experienced very different fortunes.
While the Cheetahs have been competitive, the Kings won just four of 55 matches in three seasons with some of the losing margins embarrassing.
The domestic competition has survived constant format changes to remain the vital ‘nursery’ from which Springboks emerge.
First staged in 1892, it was the bedrock of South African rugby until the dawn of professionalism after the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
As Test and Super Rugby fixtures took up an increasing amount of the season, the Currie Cup often battled for calendar space.
But it survived and this year could feature the four Super Rugby sides plus the Cheetahs, Kings, Griquas and Pumas, if play is possible amid the coronavirus.
Kenya records highest number of deaths from Covid-19
Kenya’s coronavirus cases rise to 13,771 after 418 more infections
Kenya on Monday reported 418 more Covid-19 infections, raising the country’s tally to 13,771 since the virus was first confirmed on March 13.
Health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Rashid Aman also reported four more deaths, raising the toll to 238. He rectified an earlier report about 19 deaths in a single day, which would have been the highest number ever recorded in Kenya.
The 418 new patients were found following the testing of 2,474 samples in the last 24 hours.
Four hundred and eight of them were Kenyans and 10 foreigners while male patients numbered 263 and female patients 155.
Dr Aman also announced that 494 patients had been discharged, raising the country’s total number of recoveries to 5,616.
Of the recovered patients, 465 were under home care and the rest in hospitals.
More to follow