Aston Villa vs. Fulham
Well both these teams got respectable draws from two of the big four last week, and Villa themselves actually sit currently in the top four. Fulham managed to frustrate Liverpool for long periods last week which earnt them their point, but I think Roy Hodgson’s men will go for more than a draw at Villa, and therefore get less. I think that Villa are playing very well and will be keen to push on and secure their fourth place spot. Thus full of confidence and with a young and talented attacking force, I think they’ll be too much for the Londoners.
Middlesbrough vs. Newcastle United
Newcastle put on a sterling defensive display to take a point from Chelsea last week, and will hope to frustrate Borough today as well. Middlesbrough lost to Bolton last time out to put and end to their run of good form and so may be a little nervous, but will certainly be eager to get back to winning ways. Having said that, Newcastle will have more of a go at catching them on the break than they did Chelsea and indeed, I can see them possibly sneaking a goal here. Whether it’s enough to take any points is hard to say, but I’m going to stick my neck out and say they’ll get all three, and a first away win of the season.
Stoke City vs. Hull City
Stoke would absolutely love to take all three points from Hull today, to bring them down another notch after they suddenly became everyone’s favourite promoted side with a whirlwind start just as everyone was bemoaning their own hideous style of play. Hull haven’t won a game in five, but that’s not to say they haven;t come close, with hotly contested draws against Man City and Portsmouth in their last two outings. I’m backing Hull to get back to winning ways, as they will have the tough physicality to deal with Stoke’s only threat at the back, but also a bit about them going forward.
Sunderland Athletic vs. Bolton Wanderers
Tough one to call this one, as Sunderland have been very up and down so far this season and olton have had a few good results of late but I’m still not convinced of their quality. I think it will all come down to which team gets a good strangle hold on the game first, and the Sunderland fans could play a big part if they get behind their team from the get-go. if they don’t, then Bolton may snatch three valuable away points.
Wigan Athletic vs. West Bromwich Albion
Wigan broke my heart last week with a win against Everton, which came about purely because they were slightly less awful than we were. Having said that, against a West Brom team that just can’t seem to score I have to back them to get another three points. They are solid at the back and work very hard to press their opponents,a nd though West Brom are a reasonable defensive unit, they’ve ot nothing up top to relieve the pressure and will pay the penalty with another defeat.
Manchester City vs. Manchetser United (Sun)
Well this is going to be a big one. The first manchester derby since City became the richest club in the world, and Alex Ferguson has been awfully disrespectful in the run up to the game, so that I’m sure City’s players will be well up for it. Whether or not that will be enough to get them a result I’m not sure, as the champions have a lot of quality, and plenty of big game players themselves. City will need to entirely cut out their mistakes as United will punish them far more than Arsenal, and so don’t expect City to claim another top four scalp.
Portsmouth vs. Blackburn Rovers (Sun)
Blackburn are really struggling at the moment. They’re not necessarily playing badly, they just have no confidence and cannot seem to finish a team off by getting a few goals. That means that a trip to the south coast is going to be very tricky, as it’s a venue where even the top teams don’t enjoy going. Pompey are starting to regain some form under Adams and I think they will pick up another win this weekend.
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Everton (Sun)
Well, we were awful last week, truly, truly awful. There was very little fight in our team, which is very unusual and we just couldn’t play our football. We are also withough three of our strikers as James Vaughan, Victor Anichebe and Louis Saha have all picked up injuries, so Yakubu is our only attacking option. That will at least force Moyes to revert to 4-5-1, and hopefully Pienaar will return and spark the midfield into life. Tottenham of course are a team transformed under Redknapp and will have the ability to cause us problems. if we can cut out defensive errors from Joleon Lescott we should be solid, and hopefully we may nick a goal, but I think this may be a draw.
Chelsea vs. Arsenal (Sun)
A big clash this one. Wenger as suggested that Arsenal must beat Chelsea to have a hope of remaining in the title race, and Chelsea will want to get back to winning ways after a disappointing European night in midweek. Arsenal need to band together after their captain shot his mouth off, but they can’t afford to leave him out because they are defensively frail. I think Chelsea will have too much for them in the end though, and can see it being quite an easy win for the Blues.
Liverpool vs. West Ham United (Mon)
West Ham finally got a win last week against Sunderland, and Zola will be delighted with that, but no doubt he’ll wish they could have followed it up with an easier game than this. West Ham’s best bet will be to try and keep solid defensively against a Liverpool side again without Torres, and hope to grab something on the counter. Having said that, West Ham know as well as anyone just how bloody annoying Gerrard can be in the last minute of matches, and I wouldn’t bet against Liverpool getting another huge slice of luck to defeat the Hammers on Monday.