Thursday, May 19, 2011

INFTH Premier League Predictions

Aston Villa vs Liverpool- Despite both teams having virtually nothing to play for, I reckon this match could be one of the better ones this weekend. After last week's disappointing loss to Tottenham, Liverpool will want to end the season with a splash, and victory at Villa Park would certainly achieve that.

Still hospitalized, Gerard Houllier will be unable to lead his side out against his former club, but perhaps that is all for the better after what transpired at Anfield... However, Houllier's absence will not mean a total dearth of subplots, Ashley Young could be playing against future employers, and Darren Bent is still in with an outside chance of grabbing the Golden Boot.

Prediction: 2-4

Bolton vs Manchester City- City may have the third spot now, but Roberto Mancini will know that any lapse in concentration could be punished if Arsenal win at Craven Cottage. With a host of top quality teams scheduled to play in the Champions League qualifying rounds, a win for City is crucial.

Bolton have enjoyed a superb season under Owen Coyle, and much like Liverpool they will be looking to go out with a bang. You can be sure that the Trotters will come out prepared to fight for their lives, and City will have to match that will power if they are to prevail.

Carlos Tevez currently sits on twenty Premier League goals, level with Dimitar Berbatov, but as the Bulgarian is likely to be rested against Blackpool, Tevez will have the opportunity to snatch the Golden Boot.

Prediction: 1-1

Everton vs Chelsea- Another meaningless game, though perhaps a final one for Carlo Ancelotti. After being knocked out of the Champions League by Manchester United, Ancelotti's future has been wreathed in mystery, so don't be surprised if he bids and emotional fair well to the travelling Chelsea support.

Also likely to depart is striker Didier Drogba, reportedy wanted by Tottenham Hotspur, the Ivorian hit man has been consistently linked with a move away from the Bridge.

For Everton, this game is one final, meaningless hurrah in their up and down Premier League season. Once again they are facing a summer of frugal spending, as well as another season of mid table mediocrity.

Prediction: 2-1

Fulham vs Arsenal- Last week, Fulham managed to make the relegation fight substantially more interesting, with a win away at Birmingham. This week, they will have the opportunity to break another team's heart, and insure that Arsenal fall to the ignominy of a fourth place finish.

All Arsenal fans will have one eye on events at the Reebok, though they may eventually move both eyes in that direction, the Gunners have been dire of late. A home loss at Aston Villa a week ago continued a rotten run of form which has resulted in Manchester City's ascent up the table.

Additionally, Arsenal are one of four teams boasting a potential Golden Boot winner, Van Persie is in with an outside chance of claiming that particular honor.

Prediction: 2-1

Manchester United vs Blackpool- The fire works are prepared, the champagne uncapped, Manchester United are ready to enjoy the day they receive their nineteenth league trophy. However, Ian Holloway and Blackpool are determined to poop on United's party, Charlie Adam and co. know that even a win might not guarantee survival.

For Blackpool, this game is a terrific opportunity to stay up, United will surely field a team of youngsters, and Blackpool the have personnel capable of turning such a side over. Wigan and Birmingham also face tough away games, so it is actually possible that a loss could keep the Tangerines up, but they won't want to take that risk.

I think this match has the potential to be quite entertaining, the youth of United will want to impress, and Blackpool need the points.

Prediction: 2-2

Newcastle vs WBA- Both these teams should be bursting with pride about their achievements this season, it is rare that two newly promoted sides should both stay up so comfortably. While WBA have thrived under the leadership of Roy Hodgson, Newcastle have managed to remain strong, despite a controversial managerial change.

Both Alan Padew and Roy Hodgson will be pinching themselves that their respective teams have nothing to play for, but both will still want to win. Last week Newcastle claimed a fine point at Chelsea, in a match which featured youngster like Sam Ameobi. Hopefully, the youth of Tyneside will get another opportunity to shine on Sunday, as Newcastle gear up for the summer.

Prediction: 3-1

Stoke vs Wigan- After two consecutive defeats at the hands of Manchester City, Tony Pulis' side must drag themselves off the ground, and find some inspiration, to help see them over the line against Wigan.

Connor Sammon and Charles N'Zogbia were the heroes for the Latics last week, and Roberto Martinez will pray that his attacking duo can pull a rabbit out of the hat once again. Wigan need this game significantly more than Stoke, and while Athletic are in great form City are in quite the opposite, a fact which could prove to be defining.

Wigan fans will have their radios tuned in to matches around the country, but Martinez should feel confident in his side's ability to win the match, and secure Premier League football for next season.

Prediction: 1-2

Tottenham vs Birmingham- After looking assured of safety, Birmingham are right back in the thick of it and need a hefty win to guarantee survival. Tottenham meanwhile, also need a win to confirm Europa League qualification, but certainly, their concerns are nowhere near as pressing as the Blues'.

A loss may well be enough for Mcleish's side, but they will still be wary of relegation, and an attacking line-up is likely to be fielded. Without Gareth Bale, Spurs are not as strong on the counter, but players like Lennon and Defoe could still pose a substantial threat.

It is set to be a stressful day in North London for the St. Andrews outfit, and I have a terrible feeling that it could be capped with relegation.

Prediction: 3-1

West Ham vs Sunderland- Two teams who have been highly disappointing in recent months will participate in the Hammers' final Premier League home match. With relegation a guarantee, and a move to the Olympic Stadium imminent, this game could also be the final top flight match at Upton Park.

Sunderland won't be feeling much better than their London adversaries, though assured of top flight football next season, they have been poor over the last five months, and hordes of their best players are likely to be eying the exit door.

Prediction: 1-1

Wolves vs Blackburn- Bar a minor miracle from the teams below them, a draw is set to be enough for  these two teams. However, Kean and McCarthy are both well aware of the unpredictability of football, and will want their respective sides to go for the jugular.

Steven Fletcher has been outstanding for Wolves in the absence of Kevin Doyle, the Scotsman is the main reason Wolves are so close to safety, and he'll have his eye on rounding up the season with a couple goals. Blackburn have never really been in the heart of the relegation dog fight, but their fans have been uncomfortable nevertheless, Rovers have been unable to force their way up.

I expect this game to be a rough and tumble affair, with the home side coming up trumps, and Blackburn suffering a heart breaking demotion.

Prediction: 4-1

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