I covered last weekend’s action here – City thrashing United and Terry’s racism stories were too compelling to wait on – so now my weekend’s premiership predictions.
Last week 4-6, Season 33-26
Everton vs Manchester United – Away Win – Under Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United tend to respond well to defeats – when that loss is to their local rivals and by a 6-1 scoreline, their next opponents will be fearing a backlash. The Blues did win their last game away to Fulham, but they have lost Phil Neville and Tim Cahill to injuries.
Chelsea vs Arsenal – Home win – Chelsea have won all four of their home games and Arsenal are yet to win away from the Emirates this season. The Gunners have defender Thomas Vermaelen back for this game, while Chelsea will be without Drogba and Boswinga, after the pair were sent off against QPR last week. The home team do have Torres back from suspension and Arsenal are lightweight in the middle of the park since selling Fabregas and Nasri and losing Jack Wilshere to an injury. All of this means I think Chelsea will have enough to win this game, sending Arsene Wenger’s side to their fifth defeat of the season.
Manchester City vs Wolves – Home win – These two sides actually met on Wednesday in the Carling Cup at Molineux, City winning the game 5-2, but neither team had their first choice XI on display. It’s impossible to imagine anything other than a home win here – Manchester City have only dropped two points all year, scoring thirty-three goals in nine games and conceding just seven; whereas Wolves, who won their first two league games of the season, have not won any of their last seven since then.
Norwich vs Blackburn – Draw – Blackburn are rock bottom of the Premiership and face a tough trip away to Norwich, a team who two seasons ago were in the third tier of English football, but Rovers showed plenty of fight in their loss to Tottenham last week and could pick up a point at Carrow Road.
Sunderland vs Aston Villa – Away win – Villa started the season strongly and were unbeaten until they faced Manchester City two weeks ago and then lost the Midlands derby with West Bromwich Albion last week. Sunderland picked up just their second win of the season away to Bolton in their last outing, but will be fearing their former striker, Darren Bent, coming back to haunt them this Halloween weekend.
Swansea vs Bolton – Home win – I have not seen either team play yet so far this season, so going purely on perception with this pick. Bolton have been better away from home, winning 2 and losing 2, than at the Reebok Stadium, where they have lost all five of their games this season. Swansea have been the complete opposite: unbeaten at home and yet to win away so far this season.
Wigan vs Fulham – Home win – Fulham have been an enigma this campaign – they put 6 past QPR two weeks ago, but that is their only win so far, and they lost at home to Everton last time out. Wigan are second bottom and desperately need the points, having lost their last five league games. Much as I love Fulham manager Martin Jol from his time at Tottenham, it looks like he needs more time to work on their squad and think they will slump to another defeat again this weekend.
West Brom vs Liverpool – Home win – Former Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson will try to lead his West Brom team to another win over his former employers, having done just that last season. Last week, Albion had an impressive away win against Aston Villa, while Liverpool were wasteful in front of goal – particularly Luis Suarez, who himself missed 11 attempts – as they were held to a draw at home by Norwich.
Tottenham vs QPR – Home win – Spurs, unbeaten against every team that does not hail from Manchester, go into this London derby full of confidence. QPR are currently in 10th place and last week they beat local rivals Chelsea – though they looked very tentative in that game in the second half, playing against just nine men and with the lead. This week (I hope) will be a case of the morning after for Rangers and Spurs should continue their push for a top four place.
Stoke vs Newcastle – Draw – Newcastle have not lost yet this season and are in fourth place, Stoke are unbeaten at home. The Geordies have a large french contingent and they will be put to the test in this most anecdotal of games – the English Press is often keen on saying about foreign imports to the Premier League: “Could they do it on a cold Monday evening in Stoke?”. City lost their last game away to Arsenal and have had problems scoring goals this season (only 7 in 9 games) – but they have only conceded one in four matches at the Britannia so this one has 0-0 written all over it.