Thursday, April 21, 2011

INFTH Premier League Predictions

Manchester United vs Everton- On paper this match should be an easy home win for the Red Devils, but given Everton's recent upturn in form, this match could prove tricky.

Obviously, Wayne Rooney's return to the team for United's trip to Newcastle is a huge boost for the title chasers, and the Liverpudlian will certainly start on Saturday. It will also be interesting to see how Everton's star left back Leighton Baines deals with United's two wing threats, Nani and Valencia.

For the Toffees, this game has to be a continuation of what has been a highly unlikely change in form over the last few weeks. Decimated by injuries to the likes of Louis Saha, Mikel Arteta and Tim Cahill, David Moyes' side have fought on and forced themselves into Europa League reckoning.

Despite their good form, a trip to Old Trafford should be a bridge too far for Everton, I just can't see the Red Devils slipping up in what will surely be a routine home game.

Prediction: 3-1

Aston Villa vs Stoke City- With Gerard Houllier in hospital, the Aston Villa players won't struggle for inspiration going into Saturday's clash with Stoke. However, Tony Pulis' side will be filled with confidence after a historic 5-0 victory over Bolton last weekend, which sent them to the FA Cup final.

You can be sure that Pulis will claim that the upcoming final won't play into his thinking in the next few weeks, but it's hard to believe that Wembley's showpiece will not occupy a large part of Stoke City's playing staff's mind. Positively, fringe players looking for a starting spot will have extra incentive to work hard, but on the other hand, established first teamers could be distracted.

I'm going to go with Aston Villa in this game, they have home advantage, and I think that Gabby Agbonlahor's late winner over West Ham last weekend will have helped to ease the tension around Villa Park. Key winger Ashley Young is likely to leave in the summer, and you can be sure that he'll be eager to show off to his potential suitors.

Prediction: 3-0

Blackpool vs Newcastle- Times are bleak right now for Ian Hollaway's Blackpool team who badly need a win. For much of this season the Tangerines have been terrific, but they seem to be running out of magic at the worst possible time. Charlie Adam, DJ Campbell and Luke Varney look to be on their last legs, and even manager Hollaway is veering towards insanity.

Midweek, Newcastle all but assured themselves safety with a credible 0-0 draw against Manchester United, and I just wonder whether Alan Pardew's men might take their foot off the pedal for the remainder of the season. However, in Cheik Tiote, Joey Barton and the returning Kevin Nolan Newcastle boast a group of players who will not take safety for granted, and who will all want to consign Blackpool to the drop.

I have to tip Newcastle to win this match, as much as I would love to see Blackpool stay up. The Tangerines have been a revelation this season, but their Premier League tenure is about to come to an end.

Prediction: 1-3

Liverpool vs Birmingham- In the past few weeks, the feel good factor has returned to Anfield, and I fancy Kenny Dalglish to lead the Reds back to the forefront of European football.

Midweek, Birmingham lost 3-1 at Stamford Bridge but with safety almost guaranteed, Alex Mcleish will be able to shake off that loss. Since winning the Carling Cup, Birmingham had been on a major slide but, credit to Mcleish, he seems to have steadied the ship at St. Andrews.

Much like the match at Chelsea, this game will be considered a bonus by the Blues, results away at Liverpool are always hard to come by, especially with the likes of Luis Suarez and Dirk Kuyt in such good form. Andy Carroll is set to miss this one, but I still can't imagine any result other than a Liverpool win.

Prediction: 4-1

Sunderland vs Wigan- Earlier in the season, this match would have been a routine Sunderland victory, but the Black Cats have suffered a huge drop in form, and now this match is set up as a relegation six pointer.

Last week, Wigan claimed a massive 3-1 victory at Bloomfield Road, a result which propelled them out of the relegation zone. Next up for them is an out of form Sunderland side, and Roberto Martinez will know that a win on Sunday would represent a giant leap towards safety.

Steve Bruce has to get his team back on track, or the Black Cats may find themselves in the Championship. Players like Sessegnon and Gyan must put together a run of goalscoring form, or risk further wrath from the supporters, and the media. Sitting five points off the relegation zone, Sunderland only need another couple of points to stay up, but in this form, I can't see where they're coming from.

Prediction: 2-2

Tottenham vs West Brom- After the twists and turns of Wednesday night, there is no way that Saturday's match will come close to matching the drama of the Arsenal game.

Tottenham must take advantage of bread and butter home games like these if they are to claim fourth, but with City full of confidence after their FA Cup win, even easy home wins might not be enough. Two points off
City with a game in Manchester to come, Spurs are hardly out of the race for fourth, but with some tough fixtures to come, it's a long shot.

Under Roy Hodgson, West Brom have been a team transformed going unbeaten before last week's disappointing home loss at the hands of Chelsea. Peter Odemwingie was West Brom's sole goalscorer that day and it has been the Nigerian's form which has propelled WBA to the verge of safety.

Personally, I see this match as an easy home win for Tottenham. Despite the rigors of midweek, Spurs have a deep enough squad to overcome tiredness and cruise to an important win which will temporarily take them into fourth spot.

Prediction: 3-0

Wolves vs Fulham- Wolves are doomed if they don't win this match, for me it's as simple as that. With Kevin Doyle out injured for the remainder of the season, Wolves face a struggle to stay up even if they win this game, making a three point haul at Molineux all the more important.

Fulham sit in that awkward part of the table, just about safe, but far off a European battle. Mark Hughes has led the Cottagers to another solid season, and they have even managed to claim the odd away win!

As I mentioned before, Mick McCarthy's side need to win this game, and taking into consideration Fulham's poor away form I think they will. I saw the Cottagers play away at Old Trafford two weeks ago, and they wer toothless in the final third, despite being pitted against a sub par United. That loss combined with consistently anemic away displays clearly points to a Wolves victory.

Prediction: 2-1

Chelsea vs West Ham- Arguably back in the title race, Chelsea are starting to regain some of their early season swagger. On Wednesday, Chelsea ran all over Birmingham City, with Florent Malouda showing signs of a possible return to form. On a less bright note, Fernando Torres continued to toil, but Chelsea have proved they can win without the Spaniard's goals.

After a fine run of form, West Ham have really gone flat, a loss in form triggered by Manchester United's fabulous come back at Upton Park. Last week, a late Gabby Agbonlahor goal consigned the Irons to another home loss, and Avram Grant will hope that goal doesn't effect confidence too much.

It's hard to see past a Chelsea victory in this one, the Blues are back on form and Carlo Ancelotti's men will still retain some hope of reclaiming their Premier League title.

Prediction: 3-0

Bolton vs Arsenal- Both these teams come into Sunday's match after highly damaging weeks. Arsenal dropped another four Premier League points against Liverpool and Tottenham, while Bolton fell to an embarrassing 5-0 FA Cup semi-final loss.

The Reebok Stadium is a notoriously difficult place to come to, and Owen Coyle will pray that the Wanderers' fan rally round to support the team after a difficult week. In Daniel Sturridge Bolton boast a forward in fine form, and one who didn't have to face the ignominy of FA Cup humiliation.

Now in third place, Arsenal are likely to be even farther behind come Sunday, United and Chelsea both face routine games the day before. And if the Gunners fail to win once again, they'll start to have to look over their shoulder at the increasingly inform Spurs and City sides.

Prediction: 1-1

Blackburn vs Manchester City- You've got to feel for Steve Kean. Appointed by inept owners after an unpopular sacking, Kean has faced a baptism of fire in his first major coaching role. Blackburn are unlikely to go down, but if they lose this one the fans will start to worry.

Last weekend City enjoyed one of the greatest moments in their so often glory barren history. Yaya Toure's goal gave the Citizens a one-nil win over local rival United in an FA Cup semi final, but even if they do go on to win the cup, City supporters will be disappointed unless Champions League football is gleaned.

Several weeks ago, Blackburn showed good defensive resilience to grind out a draw at the Emirates, but without inspirational defender Ryan Nelsen, it's tough to imagine Blackburn providing a repeat performance. High on confidence, City should win this game, and go one step closer to the Champions League.

Prediction: 1-2

1 comment:

  1. Submit your predictions, see if you can beat me!