Premier League football returns after the international break that saw it’s usual spate of injuries, outstanding performances and potential returns to form.
In the context of the title race it’s still early but Chelsea and Arsenal have a relatively easy game compared to Manchester United, while all English teams involved in Europe will also have an eye on midweek’s fixtures when they embark on their Champions League and Europa League group stage games.
Last week 6 out of 10 predictions were correct – let’s see what happens this week. Remember, you can place your own predictions as well at the end of the article in the comments or by playing on the Soccerlens Predictor.
1- EVERTON VS MANCHESTER UNITED
To be honest everton have had a very ordinary start to their premierleague season. Part of that is down to bad luck, but most of it is due to the lack of goal scoring. Louis Saha is not the player he once was and Yakubu is just too inconsistent. Their dependence on the likes of Cahill and Arteta is huge and these are the sort of matches that the everton players usually respond to.
United’s Star striker Wayne Rooney is in for ‘Hell’ at the goodison park this weekend. Not only because he is returning to his former club but also because of the recent controversy surrounding his personal life. United lost this match last season by a margin and I don’t see them getting over the blues of mersyside.
MY CALL: EVERTON 2-1 MANCHESTER UNITED
2- FULHAM VS WOLVES
Hodgson or no Hodgson Fulham are a very good solid side now. They look better on the road and their home draw against Man united showed their strength at the Cottage. Bobby Zamora is continuing in his amazing form and the likes of Duff and Murphy are re writing their careers.
Mick Mcarthy’s wolves side has had a good start to the season, with a win and two draws they look nice and solid. Sylvan Ebans Blake is finally showing the goalscoring ability that he once showed in the championship and a couple of new signings have blend in nicely. However, beating fulham at their home is a very difficult task, one that I don’t expect Wolves to achieve.
MY CALL: FULHAM 2-0 WOLVES
3- MANCHESTER CITY VS BLACKBURN
Man city got crashing back down to earth at the stadium of light thanks to a late winner by Darren Bent from the penalty spot. Carlos Tevez missed an absolute sitter and overall man city looked disjointed and non cohesive. I still don’t think that Mancini knows his best eleven and that can only be bad for a squad with so many super stars.
Blackburn are a team managed by Big Sam. So we all know what to expect from them. Arsene Wenger might call their footballing philosophy as “Rugby Syle”, the fact of the matter is they are good enough to stay up and push for a top ten spot. However, a trip to eastlands might not prove to be that fruitful this Saturday.
MY CALL: MAN CITY 3-0 BLACKBURN
4- ARSENAL VS BOLTON
Arsenal finally look like they have the squad to mount a serious title challenge this year. With faberagas staying and the likes of Chamakh coming in they look really good. They have few injuy worries for this weekend though, with Van Persie and Nasri out injured and Walcott being doubtful. However that should not be an excuse for anything less than a win at the emirates.
Bolton on the other hand came from 2 goals down and a man down to draw 2-2 in the last ten minutes last time out against Birmingham city. This is however a completely different challenge and they will be very happy if they get anything out of this match. I don’t expect them to cause any surprises in North London.
MY CALL: ARSENAL 2-0 BOLTON
5- NEWCASTLE VS BLACKPOOL
After getting beaten three nil to man united, credit must be given to Chris Houghton and his boys to the way they have come back. They hammered villa at home and earned a creditable draw away at the Moulineux last time out. Young striker Andy Carroll looks the real deal and for once Joey Barton is doing is all the talking on the pitch.
If anybody had given Ian Holloway four points out of the first three matches he would have taken them with both hands. They like to play football and try to entertain, and if they are to stay up they will have to get something out of these kind of matches because they won’t be getting many points away from home at other venues. But I don’t think they’ll stay up hence Magpies to win this one.
MY CALL: NEWCASTLE 2-0 BLACKPOOL
6- WEST BROM VS TOTTENHAM
West brom of 2010 look the exact copy of the West Brom of 2008-09 season. They were good at home and awful away from it, and they tried to play proper football. However, this didn’t get them anywhere in 2008 and I fear for them this time too. But If they are to prove their critics wrong then this is a perfect opportunity against a team that will be playing in the Champions league in the following week.
Spurs have had some injury problems in the past and after the Injury to Richard Dawson their centre of defence is looking a little feeble. However, Van Der Vaart was a coup at the very end of the transfer window for 8mp. I expect them to atleast get a draw out of this one.
MY CALL: WEST BROM 1-1 TOTTENHAM
7- WEST HAM VS CHELSEA
West ham have had the worst possible start to their season. With three defeats in three matches they have conceded three goals in all the matches they have played and scored only one so far. Avram Grant did well to hold on to Carlton Cole on transfer deadline day but now is the time to start producing results and his side is up against the might of his former club Chelsea, not the fourth fixture he would have hoped for.
Chelsea on the other hand have just been perfect so far. They have scored 14 goals and conceded none in the first three matches. Although there is a slight concern over the fitness of Lampard and Terry, they still are very strong all over the pitch. However, I feel west ham will get something out of this match. So, I’ll sit on the fence.
MY CALL: WEST HAM 2-2 CHELSEA
8-WIGAN VS SUNDERLAND
Roberto Martinez silenced his critics with a fantastic 1 nil win against high flying spurs at the white hart lane thanks to a brilliantly taken goal by Hugo Rodellaga. However their last two matches at home were a complete disaster with ten goals conceded and none scored. So, they’ll be hoping they produce a result at the DW stadium.
Their opponents Sunderland got a great result against Man city last time out and Darren Bent for me now is amongst the top premierleague strikers. He scored 24 goals in the league last season, most importantly he scored the first goal of the matches 14 times, more than anyone else in the league. However with Kenwayne Jones gone, Steve Bruce will be hoping new signing Gyan shares the burden with the English international. I expect this to be a tight game and a score draw.
MY CALL: WIGAN 1-1 SUNDERLAND
9- BIRMINGHAM CITY VS LIVERPOOL
Alex Mcleish said it felt like a defeat when they gave a two nil lead against ten men Bolton in the last ten minutes at the Reebook. In order to remedy their short coming’s the Scott has gone out and made some interesting signings on the transfer day deadline, none more so then the signing of Alexander Hleb who looks to revive his career after failing at the Nou Camp.
On the other end Liverpool had a very quiet transfer deadline day especially when you consider they were out to sign a striker and they failed to do so. Their dependence on Torres is huge, who looks fit now and is scoring goals again. His first goal against Liechenstein was absolute class and he comes into this match well rested after not being ‘risked’ against argentina. For me he will prove the difference between the two sides at the St. Andrews.
MY CALL: BIRMINGHAM 1-2 LIVERPOOL
10- STOKE CITY VS ASTON VILLA
Stoke have lost all their matches so far and haven’t really showed the resilience that they got fame for in the past two seasons. However they kept Chelsea relatively quiet for a long period of time in their trip to the Bridge last time out. Tony Pulis will be hoping that their home comforts return when they take on Villa at the Brittania Stadium.
The news of the week has clearly been the return of Gerrard Houllier to English football. He was relatively successful in his time with Liverpool and did a great job for Lyon as well. If he reproduces anything like that with Villa, he is going to become a Legend at the Villa Park. This however, might just be too tough a start for the Frenchman.
MY CALL: STOKE 1-0 ASTON VILLA
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