Thursday, April 28, 2011

INFTH Premier League Predictions

 Blackburn vs Bolton-  One of the fiercest derbies in English football, and one which could be key to deciding whether Blackburn spend another season in the top flight.

Out of relegation danger and far off European football, one might could be led to believe that this game means nothing for Bolton, however, they would be wrong. Owen Coyle and his players will be desperate to see their hated rivals go down, and a win at Ewood Park would be a brilliant tonic for any post Fulham disappointments.

For Steve Kean, this is just another precious home match, in a season which is beginning to dwindle away from him. On Monday, his team defended stoutly, only to have their hearts broken by a late Edin Dzeko effort which all but secured Champions League football for Manchester City next season. Certainly, this is likely to Kean's last season at the helm of Blackburn, but he even still, he won't want to see Rovers go down.

I'm going to go for a home win in this one, Blackburn need the result more than Bolton, and home field advantage will tip the balance still further.

Prediction: 2-1

Blackpool vs Stoke- At the moment, Stoke City are one of the league's form teams, FA Cup finalists, and now well safe in the Premier League.

Earlier this week, Pulis' side almost mathematically guaranteed safety with a 3-0 win over Wolves, and the Potters will be looking to do something similar against Blackpool. Last weekend, Ian Hollaway's Tangerines were unlucky not to take all three points at home against Newcastle, with an inability to finish proving their bane. This time around, Blackpool will know they have to take their chances against a tough, in form opponent.

Stoke may be the team on form, but I'm going to go with a draw, Blackpool need to scrounge for every little point they can get.

Prediction: 2-2

Sunderland vs Fulham- Last week, despite sustaining an array of injuries, Sunderland managed to win a game at last. That result has all but guaranteed them safety, but Steve Bruce will still want to finish the season strongly, and have his side rediscover some semblance of their form from the first half of the season.

Fulham come into this one off the back of a healthy home win over Bolton, with Clint Dempsey the star, scoring two goals. Now the all time top scoring American in the Premiership, Dempsey will likely be influential in this game, but he'll have to put on some show to stop Fulham from falling to yet another away defeat.

The importance of the Black Cats' win last week can't be stressed enough, and I think the confidence gleaned from that one should be able to see them over the line, and secure them the three points.

Prediction: 3-1

WBA vs Aston Villa- Both teams are safe, and I think that might just take the sting off what would have otherwise been an enthralling local derby.

Aston Villa will once again be led by assistant manager Gary Mcallister, as Gerard Houllier is still in hospital. Last week, the inspiration provided by Houllier's illness could only propel them to a 1-1 home draw, and Villains fans will hope that their men find more goals and an away win on Saturday.

Roy Hodgson has worked miracles since his arrival at the Hawthorns, and I'm looking forward to seeing what work he does in the summer transfer window.  In this match, crucial to West Brom's chances will not only be the form of one of last week's goal scorers, Peter Odemwingie, but also how an often leaky defense deals with Darren Bent, Ashley Young and Stewart Downing. That attacking trio is more than capable of causing the Baggies problems, and I think they will fire Villa to victory in the local derby.

Prediction: 1-2

Wigan vs Everton- Last week, Everton were victims of yet another Manchester United late show, but they still have a decent chance of reaching the Europa League, and David Moyes will demand a victory at the DW.

Roberto Martinez and Wigan Athletic are certain to be relegated if they don't take advantage of their home matches, so a win on Saturday is imperative. In Victor Moses, Hugo Rodallega and Charles N'Zogbia, Wigan boast a few decent attacking options, players that are capable of keeping even a poor team like Wigan up.

Everton's injury crisis has eased slightly with the return of Tim Cahill, but they are still missing a few key names, and I think that will catch them up in this one, I'm tipping Wigan for a vital win.

Prediction: 2-1

Chelsea vs Tottenham- A London derby, and a match that has the potential to be one of the games of the season. To put it simply, both teams need to win with Chelsea and Spurs still harboring minor hopes of wresting first and fourth respectively from the two Manchester clubs.

Rafael Van der Vaart has been the big game man for Tottenham this season, and he will have to be in great form again if Spurs are to get a crucial win at Stamford Bridge. Still to come for Tottenham are away matches at Liverpool and City, so even a win in this game may not be enough to earn a return to Europe's premier competiton.

Last week, Fernando Torres scored his first Chelsea goal against West Ham, and Carlo Ancelotti will pray he adds to his total against city rivals Tottenham. If the maximum are not picked up in this game, the title is Manchester United's, but I think Drogba and co. will have too much for Redknapp's men.

Prediction: 2-0

Birmingham vs Wolves- The weekend's second Midlands derby, and a significantly more crucial match than the Villa-WBA game. Birmingham are just about safe, but Wolves are certainly not, they are marooned in the bottom three, and lost again midweek.

On paper, Wolves boast a decent attack with Matt Jarvis and Steven Fletcher, but without the crucially important Kevin Doyle, Wolves are toothless upfront. At the back, things are even worse, Wolves have been leaky all season, but in recent weeks they have been worse than usual.

Birmingham have done well to revive themselves after a post cup final slump, and Alex Mcleish would love to be the man who virtually confirmed the relegation of one of the Blues' local rivals. That motivation combined with a roaring home crowd should send all three points in the direction of St. Andrews.

Prediction: 3-1

Liverpool vs Newcastle- The Reds are flying at the moment, after a 5-0 home win last week helped Dalglish's men to yet another win. Standing in their way this time around is another team safe of relegation, and I struggle to see Newcastle United causing the home team any problems.

Remarkably, Liverpool's win over Birmingham was reached without goals from either striker, both Carroll and Suarez were kept goalless. However, Joe Cole was a scorer last Saturday, and it will be interesting to see if he gets a look in this time around.

Midweek Stephen Ireland's season was ended through injury, a fitting conclusion to a terrible year for the Irishman. The former Man City man has not had time enough to become a force that could be missed, so his absence certainly will not be used as an excuse for defeat.

Prediction: 3-0

Arsenal vs Manchester United- Just a point from this match would do for United, but it's difficult to see Fergie sending out a defensive minded team. Champions elect, Manchester United can still win the league even if they lose at The Emirates, but Ferguson will want to avoid a nervous finish to the season.

Arsenal are absolutely shell shocked at the moment, they haven't one in three, and a loss at Bolton last weekend left them facing yet another trophyless season. Lacking appropriate personnel in a multitude of departments, Wenger needs to work hard in the transfer market, but his early statements haven't been encouraging, the stubborn Frenchman is insistent that he will stick with his conservative transfer policy.

In past years, United's pace in the counter attack has destroyed Arsenal and this season they are, if possible, even more equipped in that department. Nani, Rooney and Valencia all can break quickly, and I think their strength in attack will consign the Gunners to yet another defeat.

Prediction: 1-3

Manchester City vs West Ham- Edin Dzeko's goal on Monday has almost guaranteed Roberto Mancini's team Champions League football, but the Italian will still be wary of  a late season collapse.

West Ham have once again dropped to bottom the league, and they need to pick up points fast or risk moving ever closer to relegation. The Hammers spurned chances to claim a share of the spoils at Stamford Bridge last week, and if they are equally profligate on Sunday then they will likely be dismantled.

Even without the injured Carlos Tevez, City have a stupendous array of match winners, Dzeko, Balotelli, Silva, Johnson and Toure can all win games on their own, and I suspect that at least two of them will be in good form against the Irons.

Prediction: 3-0

1 comment:

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