Friday, February 4, 2011

INFTH Premier League Predictions

Stoke vs Sunderland- Since the departure of Darren Bent Sunderland have reacted well with an away win over Blackpool and a brave, though eventually fruitless, performance against Chelsea. It'll certainly be interesting to see whether Kieran Richardson can keep up his fine scoring form of late or if the Huth led Stoke defense can succeed where Chelsea and Blackpool have failed, and keep Richardson out.

Prediction: 1-0

Aston Villa vs Fulham- In the battle of two resurgent teams, it'll be fascinating to see whether Steve Sidwell can make an impact at the home of his former club. Just a couple of weeks ago, Gerard Houllier and Mark Hughes were both widely tipped for the sack, but since then both their fortunes have changed. Houllier has overseen a run of three straight victories in league and cup, which ended on Tuesday with a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Manchester United. As for Hughes, Fulham have finally begun to pick up wins in the league and a morale boosting 4-0 win over Totttenham in the FA Cup will surely have the squad buzzing.

Prediction: 2-0

Everton vs Blackpool- Both teams are badly in need of the three points,so as to maintain distance between themselves and the bottom three. For Everton, home form has been a disaster this season though the Toffee's should be boosted by the return of Australian Tim Cahill from the Asian Cup. David Moyes will hope that Louis Saha can keep up his recent goal scoring form and fire Everton to a much needed victory on Saturday. Ian Hollaway's Blackpool team have been magnificent on the road all season, but I don't see them having enough to cope with Everton, and in particular Louis Saha. However, there is a bit of a feel good factor floating around Bloomfield Road after the club successfully staved off Liverpool's interest in Charlie Adam.

Prediciton: 3-1

 Manchester City vs West Brom- After such a strong run of results through the winter period Man City's form has fallen off a little of late. The defense which appeared so water tight earlier in the season has begun to leak goals and Mancini must fix the problem immediately if City are to have any chance of winning the title. Much like Blackpool, West Brom's form has petered out a bit over the last few months. However, in Peter Odemwingie they have a forward capable of making the most of City's defensive frailties. If all falls into place on the day for Di Matteo's side, then an upset may just be on the cards.

Prediction: 2-0

Newcastle vs Arsenal- What with the sale of Andy Carroll and the injury to Shoala Ameobi, I'm beginning to fear for Newcastle's season. With no out and out forwards available apart from the inexperienced Leon Best and the hit and miss Peter Lovenkrands it's hard to see where the goals are going to come from. In stark contrast, Arsenal seem to have found a consistent goalscorer in now injury free Robin Van Persie, and it's no coincidence that his return to form has sparked an excellent run of results from the Gunners. Despite the loss of Samir Nasri I still expect Arsenal to have too much for Newcastle, even at St. James'.

Prediction: 1-3

Tottenham vs Bolton- The importance of Tottenham's 1-0 win at Ewood Park on Wednesday cannot be emphasized enough. Ravaged by injuries, and with indifferent form, a loss to Blackburn would have been the final nail in Spurs' title coffin, barring of course a dramatic loss in form from all four of Spurs' title competitors. However, all the effort put into that victory will have been in vain if anything less than three points are gleaned from Saturday's clash at White Hart Lane. If Bolton are to upset the script against Tottenham, then they will need key duo Kevin Davies and Johan Elmander to rediscover their goalscoring form as soon as possible and even then they still might not have enough to overcome a Spurs team full of confidence following their win in the Northwest.

Prediction: 4-1

Wigan vs Blackburn- Certainly not the most sexy fixture on the footballing calendar, but for Wigan, it is one of the most important. Roberto Martinez's side are beginning to sink into the relegation mire and will have to cash in on home fixtures against the likes of Blackburn if they are to have any chance of staying up.

Prediction: 0-0

Wolves vs Manchester United- At the moment United look absolutely unstoppable. However, it has been away fixtures against teams of the ilk of Wolves, that United have struggled in. Frankly, Wolves need this game as much, if not more, than United do and that very fact could prove to be their downfall. At the moment draws are no good to Wolves, even against the likes of Man United, so Wolves will have to go for it from the start, opening up holes in the back that Berbatov and Rooney will surely exploit.

Prediction: 0-2

West Ham vs Birmingham- Going into this game West Ham will be licking their chops at the prospect of  avenging their recent Carling Cup defeat at the hands of the Blues. That defeat in the semi final may however, prove to be the best thing that could've happened to West Ham all season. West Ham will now be able to focus all their energies on staying up, while Birmingham will surely have one eye on their Wembley date with Arsenal.

Prediction: 2-1

Chelsea vs Liverpool- In what is by far the most exciting match-up of the weekend, Fernando Torres is set to make his Chelsea debut against, who else, but Liverpool. It'll be fascinating to see how Ancelotti incorporates Torres into his attacking plans as well as how a new look Liverpool team copes with, by far their biggest challenge of the season, a trip to Stamford Bridge.

Prediction: 3-0

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