The second weekend of the new Premier League season gets under way today with two lots of games already under our belts and plenty of upsets to boot, which pretty much makes predicting results – already a hard job – almost impossible. This was in evidence when I made my predictions for the midweek fixtures, where I had four out of six results right but no perfect scores. Let’s hope I can do a little better this time around…
Saturday Fixtures, 3pm K.O.
Arsenal vs. Portsmouth
Well Arsenal have had a pretty fine start to the season, they were given an easy start by a woeful Everton side but then brushed past Celtic in a tricky Champions League encounter in fine style. Portsmouth though, are on the rocks already. A last gasp defeat to a controversial penalty cost them against Birmingham in midweek and that’s typical of the way your luck goes when the chips are down. They need to start picking up points ASAP but it simply won’t happen against Arsenal.
Birmingham City vs. Stoke City
Birmingham picked up a win – just – in midweek against Portsomuth and Alex McLeish will want to kick on from there. Stoke got stuffed by Liverpool and face another away day today. Pulis’ men will rely on home form again this season as they just don’t have the quality to outplay most opponents away from the Britannia, but they’ll fancy something from Birmingham and the other promoted sides. I think Birmingham have a decent side though, and I think they’ll just shade a close encounter today.
Hull City vs. Bolton Wanderers
Bolton have had the week off after a narrow opening day defeat at home to Sunderland while Hull got absolutely mauled by Jermaine Defoe and Tottenham. However, at times against Spurs they played some nice football and for much of the first half they looked like they could claw their way back into the game after going 2-0 down early. Spurs turned it on in the second half and that wasn’t to be but Phil Brown will hope that they can produce the goods against an relatively unpredictable Bolton side. Short on quality but big on fight, Bolton could go either way really, so I’m going for a draw.
Manchester City vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers
Wolves stunned Wigan in midweek and picked up their first win of the season at the JJB, and Mick McCarthy would have been delighted with the spirit shown by his players. They looked dangerous on opening day too and will fancy their chances of making a good fight of survival. City got their season off to a good start last weekend but it has to be said that they looked very shaky at the back at times, and so if Wolves can test them they could cause problems. I think City have too much firepower for the Midlanders though, and this will be a home win.
Sunderland vs. Blackburn Rovers
Sunderland have a striker in form, with Darren Bent picking up two goals in two games and clearly loving life on Teeside at the moment. They won’t feel too dispirited after their 1-3 loss to Chelsea either, they caused the Londoners a few problems until Chelsea really stepped it up and played brilliantly, a performance that would have swept most teams aside. Big Sam will want some points on the board this weekend as they missed out against City on the opening day, but it’ll have to be smash and grab if they are to nick anything from the Stadium of Light I feel.
Wigan Athletic vs. Manchester United
After victory over Villa and defeat to Wolves a dream start for Roberto Martinez went of the rails pretty quickly, and he now faces the daunting task of going toe to toe with a Manchester United side who also come off the back of a disappointing defeat to a promoted club. They were frustrated against Burnley and seemed to have no real Plan B so you can bet your boots that Ferguson has been working them to the bone since then, with a view to getting back on track. I think United will bounce back with a win but Wigan will make them fight for it, and could snatch a draw if they have a little bit of luck on their side.
Sunday Fixtures, Various K.O.
West Ham United vs. Tottenham Hotspur (1.30pm K.O.)
Well aren’t Spurs a team in form? First they beat Liverpool fairly comfortably and then in midweek they well and truly destroyed Hull with Jermaine Defoe making me wish I had him in my Fantasy Football team. West Ham had agood opening day win and looked to be in good nick but they would have liked to have boosted their squad a little by now and face a Spurs teamabsolutely full of confidence. I think this will be a fantastic game to watch with both teams playing good football and going for the win, and I think we could see a high scoring draw or Spurs win.
Burnley vs. Everton (3pm K.O.)
Burnley pulled off the upset of the season so far with victory against Champions Man Utd in midweek while Everton bounced back from a horrendous opening to the season with a convincing 4-0 win in their Europa League qualifier. Burnley will provide a stiffer test than Sigma that’s for sure, but with goals for Saha and young Rodwell confidence should be high. Burnley will fancy their chances too though, and this will be a tightly contested affair, but I think that Everton will have enough quality to earn three points.
Fulham vs. Chelsea (4pm K.O.)
Roy Hodgson was bitterly disappointed to lose Andy Johnson to a dislocated collar-bone during their European fixture and well he might be – they have few other quality options up front. Still, Chelsea old boy Damien Duff should step into the squad and boost his options but after Chelsea’s performance against Sunderland on Wednesday, Hodgson knows he faces a tough task. The Blues have shown plenty of character and resilience this season already and I think they’ll grind out another win against a worthy Fulham side.
Monday Fixture, 8pm K.O.
Liverpool vs. Aston Villa
Liverpool bounced back from their opening day defeat to put four past Stoke at Anfield in midweek and will fancy their chances of securing another three points against an out of sorts looking Villa side. They looked all over the place at the back during their opening day defeat to Wigan and also succumbed to Rapid Vienna in Europe on Thursday. O’Neill will no doubt make some changes to spur his side on and will want to tighten things up and frustrate Liverpool at home, but I think the Reds will overcome them.
What do you think of my predictions? Let me know how you think the scores will end up by leaving a comment below…