Arsenal vs. Everton
I can see this game going one of two ways. Either the real Everton will finally turn up and will get something (probably only a point) from the game, or we will get absolutely slaughtered. Everton tend to raise their game against the ‘big four’, though often miss out narrowly, arguably not getting the reward they deserve. In current defensive form though, Arsenal’s fluid football and the form of Walcott in particular could add further pressure to the start of the Toffee’s season.
Aston Villa vs. Portsmouth
This is a tough game to call. Both teams are in decent form, with Pompey’s strike partnership of Crouch and Defoe always a threat. But I think Villa have a touch more quality about them, and with home advantage (and Pompey’s up and down away form) should be capable of taking the three points.
Bolton Wanderers vs. Blackburn Rovers
A tough game for both teams (literally I imagine) could see a bit of a bore draw developing. Rovers aren’t really firing on all cylinders yet this season, and while Bolton started poorly they did pick up a win against West Ham last time out. I’m afraid I see this one as a stalemate.
Fulham vs. Sunderland Athletic
Both sides have had reasonable starts to the season and will be looking to press on, so this could be a tight, edgy affair. I think that Sunderland under Roy Keane are developing into a good side and may have what it takes to overcome Fulham, whose best player Jimmy Bullard is seeming increasingly unsettled with regards to his future at the club.
Liverpool vs. Wigan Athletic
Liverpool have made a good start to the season, but still seem a little over reliant on Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard. They will probably be without Torres today, and so unless someone else can step up and fill his boots I can see them being frustrated – at least until Gerrard pops up in injury time as usual.
Manchester United vs. West Bromwich Albion
West Brom have come up with a reputation for playing good football and have stuck to their guns so far, and have seen a reward with some good results. Unfortunately in Man Utd they come up against a team in form, solid at the back and devastating in attack, especially with Rooney in form, Ronaldo back fit and Berbatov still with a point to prove.
Middlesbrough vs. Chelsea
Chelsea’s defensive ranks are seriously diminished at the moment, but I must admit I don’t see ‘Borough having much to trouble them with. Chelsea under Scolari have been a delight to watch and if they can get their free flowing football going today, could get a few goals. I think ‘Borough will set up to frustrate them with a defensive line up, so it will all depend on how long they hold out.
Hull City vs. West Ham United (Sun)
Hull have had a good start to the season, not necessarily playing the nicest football, but really punching above their weight playing physically. This could be a problem for quite a lightweight West Ham team who are missing Ashton and have no real attacking punch themselves. I hope West Ham can play good enough football to defeat Hull, but i fear they may be bullied out of the points.
Stoke City vs. Tottenham Hotspur (Sun)
Stoke, like Hull and unlike West Brom, have made no attempt to play football so far this term and have only one real weapon in Rory Delap’s long throws. Tottenham have been almost shambolic and Ramos doesn’t quite know which team to put out. If he can sure things up at the back (and King’s return might help) then I can see them grabbing something from the game, but they have to combat Stoke’s set-piece threat.
Newcastle United vs. Manchester City (Mon)
It really depends which version of either team turn up for this game on which way it will go. If City turn up playing the samba inspired football that we’ve seen glimpses of, they will beat Newcastle comfortably. If they don’t though, and Newcastle show the fighting spirit that earned them a point against Everton, then they could get something out of the game.