Thursday, May 12, 2011

INFTH Premier League Predictions

Blackburn vs Manchester United- Probably the most headline grabbing fixture of the round, as Manchester United need only a point to secure the Premier League title. While even a loss in this game would surely fail to change United's destiny, but make no mistake, Fergie will want to secure the title at the first time of asking.

For Blackburn, this fixture is hardly a must win, though Rovers fans and players won't want to see United conducting title celebrations on their pitch. Steve Kean will relish the opportunity to go against one of the game's great managers, and certainly, all involved with Blackburn will be hoping to avenge their 7-1 mauling at Old Trafford.

United manager Ferguson will have his men raring to go for this one, and while still riding a wave of confidence from the Chelsea game, I think United will go out and win.

Prediction: 1-2

Blackpool vs Bolton- This is another crucial game in the race to avoid the drop. Blackpool are teteering close to demotion, and with a trip to Old Trafford coming next week, Holloway will know the importance of taking the maximum at home.

Bolton have fallen into a little bit of a rut since their win over Arsenal, but Owen Coyle will still be confident that his troops can summon up a second wind, and finish the season with a flourish.

Obviously, Bolton have nothing to play for whereas Blackpool very much do, and I think that will play into the Seasiders' hands, they should be confident of a win.

Prediction: 3-1

Sunderland vs Wolves- Once again, a game which pits a side with nothing to play for against one verging on relegation. Sunderland seem to have emerged from their dreary run of form, and the likelihood is that Bruce's team will want to perform well on the occasion of their final home match of the season.

However, Wolverhampton Wanderers will be looking to build on last week's precious victory over West Bromich Albion, and Steven Fletcher will be eying up a so ofter porrous Black Cats back line.

It is difficult to stress enough the importance of Wolves' three-one win over West Brom last weekend, before it had looked unlikely that they would stay up, but after that game they have a fighting chance.

Prediction: 1-1

WBA vs Everton- To be honest, this game is likely to be a bit of a non-event. Both teams have nothing to play for, with West Brom already safe and Everton not within reach of Europa League football.

For both sides now, attentions must be turning to the summer, as West Brom prepare for a struggle in retaining the services of Peter Odemwingie and Everton look forward to another period of sparse spending. Both David Moyes and Roy Hodgson have done brilliantly in the second half of the season, and deserve plaudits for their sides achievements. Unfortunately though, their match up is likely to be dull, and I see a 0-0 draw as the probable outcome.

Prediction: 0-0

Chelsea vs Newcastle- The dynamics of this match would be changed startilingly if Manchester United were to lose at Blackburn, but assuming they avoid defeat, this game will be another non event.

It is appearing increasingly likely that Carlo Ancelotti will not be coaching Chelsea next season, and if that is true then this will be his farewell home game. The Italian has served the team well over his two years at the helm, and he will not be forgotten in a hurry by the Chelsea support.

Newcastle look like a team that has already embarked on its summer holidays, and it's difficult to expect a change in their attitude entering this match. Though they won at Stamford Bridge in the Carling Cup, the Magpies will not be looking at this game optimistically, and I suspect that the Blues will win comfortably.

Prediction: 3-1

Arsenal vs Aston Villa- On the outside, this game looks utterly meaningless for Arsene Wenger's side, but Gunners fans will be hoping for a victory which would stave off City and secure third place, and with it direct entry into next year's Uefa Champions League.

For many of the stars adorning this Aston Villa outfit, the next few games will be their final at the club. Ashley Young and Stewart Downing are both odds on to move to pastures new, and after the difficulties that James Collins and Richard Dunne have suffered this season, they could be heading for a change of scenery as well.

Nevertheless, this could be an entertaining game, both sides are capable on the attack, and both will be looking to finish the season strongly.

Prediction: 4-2

Birmingham vs Fulham- I know I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but this is a game featuring two teams with absolutely nothing to play for. Though not mathematically safe, relegation looks unlikely for Birmingham City, while Fulham showed in their 5-2 home loss to Liverpool how much spirit is left in their season.

Interestingly, this match could be a Europa League tie next season, Birmingham are guaranteed entry via their Carling Cup success, and Fulham's fair play may see them participate in the competition. However, the potential of that eventuality should have no effect on Sunday's proceedings, and I suspect that this weekend's match will possess none of the bite of a high profile European match.

Prediction: 0-0

Liverpool vs Tottenham- It really has been a golden few months for Kenny Dalglish's Liverpool FC. After a run of terrific form was capped by a sensational 5-2 win at Craven Cottage, the Scotsman behind it all was awarded a new contract, that ties him to the club for the next three seasons.

Midweek, Tottenham were forced to participate in the crowning of Manchester City as England's newest representative in the Uefa Champions League. Harry Redknapp will remember a time not very long ago when it was his team qualifying for the Champions League, and that will only make defeat harder to take.

However, there is still fifth place to fight for, and this match should more or less determine who snatches that particular honor. Andy Carroll is ready to return for Liverpool after missing two games, and his height combined with Suarez's skill may well dismantle a less than convincing Spurs rear guard.

Prediction: 3-0

Wigan vs West Ham- Arguably, this is the most important match of the weekend, as West Ham and Wigan face off in what is the very definition of a relegation six pointer. West Ham must win this match if they are to have any chance of moving out of the drop zone, while Wigan also need a win to guarantee safety for themselves.

Interestingly, both these teams boast the kind of attacking fire power rarely associated with relegation dog fights, and that attacking impetus could turn this into a high scoring encounter. Luckily for the Hammers, Scott Parker will be fit in time to participate in this fixture, and Grant's men will need him at his best if they are to win.

Roberto Martinez has done a really fabulous job at Wigan Athletic, and I think that he will continue to succeed, winning on Sunday, and guaranteeing top flight football for next year, on the final day of the season.

Prediction: 3-2

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