Friday, March 4, 2011

INFTH Premier League Predictions

Birmingham vs West Brom- Last week I questioned what Birmingham's season would be like following the high of a trip to Wembley, and Saturday's home match against West Brom should provide an early indicator. On paper, a combination of excellent home form and a superior side should see The Blues through this game, but West Brom will be fighting for every point in what is becoming an intriguing relegation battle.

If West Brom are to take anything from this matchb then they will have to hope that star striker Peter Odemwingie returns to form. The Nigerian has been superb since his move from Russian football, but his goals have petered out a little of late, and Hodgeson has been left relying on the impact of on loan super sub Carlos Vela. Since his move from Arsenal, Vela has followed in the footsteps of fellow Mexican Javier Hernandez, not just in the number of goals he has been scoring, but the importance of them as well. It was his late equalizer which stole a point for The Baggies in their last two matches against Wolves and Stoke, and if Vela can come good in this game, then maybe The Baggies will come out of the St. Andrews cauldron unscathed.

Prediction: 2-1

Arsenal vs Sunderland- Routine on paper, this game will surely be made more difficult by a combination of Arsenal injuries and the looming prospect of a trip to Spain. Fabregas, Song, Van Persie and Walcott are all set to miss this game, and with Sunderland having already prove their capabilities on past away trips to London, Arsene Wenger will know not to take this match for granted.

Still recovering from their Carling Cup defeat, Gunners fans will have been cheered by United's loss at Stamford Bridge, but all the good work Chelsea have done for Arsenal's title charge will become undone if they fail to take the maximum on Saturday.

Since the departure of Darren Bent and the injury to Danny Welbeck, Steve Bruce's Sunderland side have faded some what. Consecutive home losses to Spurs and Chelsea did little to improve confidence, and Sunderland head into this game off the back of a galling away loss at struggling Everton. However, Bruce will see this as an ideal opportunity to recover some of The Black Cat's waning confidence, and if all goes well then we may be in for an upset.

Prediction: 2-1

Bolton vs Aston Villa- Bolton head into this game off a huge resurgence, mainly due to the form of on loan striker Daniel Sturridge. Sturridge scored again last week in Bolton's 1-1 draw at Newcastle, and only a fool would bet against him netting again this weekend.

Villa come into this game off the back of their elimination from the FA Cup, a result that leaves their season very little to fight for. With relegation successfully staved off and a European place surely out of reach, Gerard Houllier's men find themselves with little to strive for between now and May.

Prediction: 3-0

Fulham vs Blackburn- Blackburn are in an extremely bad place at the moment. Not only did they lose 4-1 at Villa Park last week, but central defenders Christopher Samba and Ryan Nelsen managed to get themselves injured and suspended respectively. Without that defensive pairing, Rovers are likely to struggle against a Fulham strike force led by the now injury free Bobby Zamora.

Last time out, Fulham held City to a 1-1 draw at Eastlands, a result which will leave them with plenty of confidence, especially seeing as they have struggled on the road in recent seasons. Damien Duff, Fulham's goalscorer in Manchester, looks to be recovering some of his old form, and with Andy Johnson finally maintaining fitness, the future looks bright for Mark Hughes' team.

Prediction: 2-0

Newcastle vs Everton- Since Andy Carrol's departure for Anfield, Newcastle have rebounded much better than people imagined they might. They followed up that incredible comeback against Arsenal with a credible away draw at Blackburn. Since then they have been in fine fettle, with both Peter Lovenkrands and Leon Best coming up with their share of goals.

Everton were dealt an enormous blow last week as they were knocked out of the FA Cup. It is ironic though that, after all the drama of a penalty shoot out against Chelsea, they were knocked out in the next round against a mediocre side from a lower division. That result will be particularly irritating to David Moyes as it came in the wake of a bit of a resurgence from The Toffees. On a brighter note, Everton do have Louis Saha back to full fitness, and with Jermain Beckford banging in the goals, the pair pose a considerable threat.

Prediction: 2-1

West Ham vs Stoke- Whatever Tony Pulis and the Stoke City board say to the contrary, I'm sure they regret not snapping up former Hoffenheim forward Demba Ba. The striker has proved to be fast, powerful and a quick adapter, as the strains of a survival race look to have not told on him so far. Ba netted twice on his full debut at West Brom, and he followed up that brace with a header against Liverpool at Upton Park. Surely Tony Pulis, would prefer Ba's dynamism to Jon Walter's mediocrity.

West Ham's midfield looks very dangerous at the moment with Mark Noble, Thomas Hitzelsperger and Scott Parker melding together very well. The trio tore Liverpool to shreds last time out, and they will be looking to do the same to Stoke's considerably weaker line-up.

Meanwhile, Stoke have quietly been pushing themselves up the table, and they were unfortunate not to take all three points form Monday's encounter with West Brom.

Prediciton: 3-1

Man City vs Wigan- City are in grave danger of losing the top four spot that they have taken for granted most of this season, if they continue to drop silly points at home. Last week they looked lethargic during their 1-1 draw at home to Fulham, and City supporters will expect an improvement this time around.

Wigan were torn to shreds by Manchester United last weekend, and Roberto Martinez will hope that mauling doesn't effect his side's mental strength too much. However, if one defeat is followed by another, and if that next one is just as heavy as the one imposed on them by United, then we may well see a few heads drop and a few morales begin to crumble.

Roberto Mancini set up his side with three strikers for the match against Fulham with Dzeko, Tevez and Balotelli all starting. To be honest, the line-up didn't really work, with Dzeko once again unimpressive. Balotelli has been in fine form of late and if Mancini does elect to go with only two up front, then January's Bosnian recruit may find himself warming the bench.

Prediction: 3-0

Liverpool vs Manchester United- The whole dynamic of this match was changed when Nemanja Vidic slid in late on Ramires, earning himself a second yellow on Tuesday. This season perhaps more then any other, Vidic has been rock solid at the back, and without him the United goal will be very vulnerable.

Kenny Dalglish has remained coy on the subject of Andy Carrol's potential involvement, and if the England international striker does make his Anfield bow, he'll be licking his lips at the prospect of taking on a Vidicless United side.

With all the attention focused on Andy Carrol, the intrigue of Sir Alex Ferguson's decisions about his side's forward line has fallen under the radar slightly. Chicharito started the game at Stamford Bridge as well as the 4-0 win at Wigan, but one would imagine the more experienced Dimitar Berbatov will get the nod for this one, especially as it was his hat trick which won the match at Old Trafford six months ago.

Prediction: 2-2

Wolves vs Tottenham- Tottenham will be under a lot of pressure to win this game, especially in the wake of Chelsea's midweek scalp. During their last away trip, Spurs missed chances and ended up losing 3-1 at Bloomfield Road, a result which left Harry Redknapp apoplectic.

Once again Spurs go into a match shattered by injuries, and one wonders whether a team minus its two best attacking players, Gareth Bale and Rafael Van der Vaart, will be able to cope with a lively Wolves side. Redknapp will worn his players against complacency, and the probably the worst mistake Spurs could make is to look ahead to Wednesday's match against Milan.

Prediction: 2-1

Blackpool vs Chelsea- Chelsea, buoyed by Tuesday's win over Manchester United, simply must win this match if they are to have any chance of reclaiming the title. Many of the top teams have struggled against Blackpool, but minus top scorer DJ Campbell, The Tangerines don't pose as much of a threat.

Chelsea will know that any loss of concentration could prove fatal to their already slim title hopes, and Carlo Ancelotti will pray that his player don't undo all of Tuesday's good work.

Last weeks crushing defeat at the hands of Wolves, forced Blackpool deeper into the relegation mire, but, on the back of some superb performances against the big teams at home, Hollaway will be positive about his side's chances of gaining something from this match.

Prediction: 1-2

No comments:

Post a Comment