By far the biggest fixture this weekend sees last season’s top two go head to head at Old Trafford as Manchester United host Chelsea. Neither side have been beaten yet this season and the Reds have a perfect four wins from four – all eyes will be on that match come Sunday. Elsewhere Manchester City put their perfect record on the line at Fulham, Tottenham clash with Liverpool at White Hart Lane, Blackburn will try and earn their first win at home to Arsenal and Swansea will endeavour to get their first goal of the campaign against West Brom.
Sunday, 18 September 2011
Tottenham will have been thrilled to get their first win of the season last weekend after suffering defeats against the two Manchester clubs in their first two games.
A début goal for Emmanuel Adebayor was the highlight for Spurs as they beat Wolves 2-0. The club were also involved in Europa League action in midweek but Coach Harry Redknapp put the competition at the bottom of his priorities list and the majority of first team players were rested. The away draw in Greece will have been a good boost for those fringe players however.
Liverpool were unfortunate to lose out at Stoke last time out, going down 1-0. The Reds are keen to prove they can challenge for major honours and that result was a minor setback. An away trip to White Hart Lane is another very difficult test of Liverpool’s ability to win on the road and Kenny Dalglish will be anxious to find a winning formula away from home.
Liverpool talisman Steven Gerrard was expected to be fit for the clash in North London, but it is understood that he will now wait another week to make his much anticipated return from injury. Full back Glen Johnson is also set to miss out after aggravating a hamstring problem in the defeat at Stoke.
TOBIAS Prediction Over 2.5
CHRIS Prediction X2 Draw or Liverpool to WIN
Fulham are desperate for a good result after a stuttering start to the season. Just two home draws from 4 games find them sat in the bottom three with just 2 points, and the squad already show signs of fatigue due to the grueling Europa League fixtures that they have played (An additional 9 matches already).
A midweek home fixture against Dutch side FC Twente is again likely to sap the strength of the team, although one or two players such as Bobby Zamora and Damien Duff were rested. With the Cottagers desperate to see a win, the last team they want to come up against is a rampant Manchester City side.
City enjoyed a European night of their own on Wednesday, kicking off their Champions League campaign with a home draw against Napoli of Italy. The Blues have rattled in 15 goals already in the League, with Sergio Aguero bagging 6 of them. It will be interesting to see how Coach Roberto Mancini rotates his players after the midweek exertion. Carlos Tevez is one player likely to come in for either Edin Dzeko or the in-form Aguero.
TOBIAS Prediction 2 Manchester City to WIN
CHRIS Prediction 2 Manchester City to WIN
Sunderland are keen to play down the poor start to the season with Craig Gardner stating “We’re not struggling, we’re not playing badly”. Two away draws coupled with two home defeats leaves the Black Cats with just 2 points and manager Steve Bruce under increasing pressure after spending more than most clubs in the summer.
The Wearsiders do boast a strong squad however, and it seems a question of time until they begin to gel and show their real potential. The arrival of Nicklas Bendter from Arsenal should plug the hole left when Asamoah Gyan left for Al-Ain during the transfer window.
Stoke enhanced their reputation further when downing the colours of Liverpool last weekend. They had to ride their luck at times, but the win maintains the theory that Tony Pulis’ side are extremely difficult to beat.
Stoke will be competing in the Europa League this season and a strong away point at Dynamo Kiev will be yet another boost to the squad. A trip to Sunderland last season would have been anticipated with some anxiety, but this season, Stoke travel with more confidence and will hope to take something from the game.
TOBIAS Prediction Under 2.5
CHRIS Prediction Over 2.5
The undoubted highlight of the weekend fixtures. The Champions against last season’s Runners Up. Neither side have lost a game this season and both will have aspirations of winning the title.
Manchester United have been scoring goals for fun this term, Wayne Rooney has raced to 8 already. The demolition of Arsenal last time out at Old Trafford will be a sobering thought for Chelsea as their make the same trip up from London.
The Blues have been quietly efficient, winning three and drawing one of their four games, and while they may not have blown sides away in the same way as United, they still have the points on the board.
Daniel Sturridge and Juan Mata have been lively and threatening. Coach Andre Villas-Boas will hope that the third player in the front three, Fernando Torres, can rediscover the form that made him the most feared striker in the world a few years ago.
Manchester United however, having been playing football from another world. 15 goals in 4 games tells its own tale, and the Reds head into this massive game as worthy favourites. The injury to Tom Cleverley at Bolton was a blow to the Reds but either Micheal Carrick or Darren Fletcher can step in, illustrating the strength in depth.
TOBIAS Prediction 1X Draw or Manchester United win.
CHRIS Prediction 1 Manchester United WIN
Saturday, 17 September 2011
Blackburn picked up their first point of the season when drawing 1-1 at Fulham last weekend. They could also count themselves a little unlucky at losing their last home fixture to Everton after missing two penalties and eventually succumbing 1-0. They do however, find themselves at the foot of the table and face a tough home game against a wounded Arsenal team.
The Gunners will look to bed in the new arrivals including Mikel Arteta and Yossi Benayoun. Coach Arsene Wenger has ensured he has signed players of outstanding technical ability to compliment the squad he already has. Arsenal have suffered a real crisis of confidence after the drubbing at the hands of the champions and the North Londoners will be absolutely focused on restoring their battered reputation. The away draw in Germany against Borussia Dortmund was a strong defensive performance and that result may help restore lost confidence, backing up the home win versus Swansea last week.
TOBIAS Prediction X2 Draw or Arsenal to WIN
CHRIS Prediction 2 Arsenal to WIN
Aston Villa v Newcastle 1-1
Both Aston Villa and Newcastle are undefeated in their four games so far. Villa have drawn three of those games and they will be looking to turn close games into wins in order to climb the table. Gabriel Agbonlahor got himself on the scoresheet against Everton, and Coach Alex McLeish will hope that that goal is the start of a productive run for the striker.
Defensively, the Villians had been pretty sound up until the Everton game, with just a single goal conceded in their opening three games. Returning to Villa Park for this match, they will hope to restore that solidity.
Newcastle were keen to bring in a striker before the transfer window shut, but their attempts were foiled, and goal scoring could now prove to be their biggest problem. They remain undefeated with two wins and two draws thus far. The resolute defence has been the key to the encouraging start to the league season, conceding just one goal in four Premier League clashes.
TOBIAS Prediction Under 2.5
CHRIS Prediction 1 Aston Villa to WIN
Bolton v Norwich 1-2
Bolton find themselves in the lower reaches of the table after suffering defeats against Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool. Though not disgraced against City, the other two defeats were more demoralising and this home fixture against Norwich represent a good opportunity to restore some of the lost confidence.
Coach Owen Coyle will find it reasonably easy to brush off the recent defeats against the stronger clubs, but will be anxious to put another 3 points on the board when his Bolton team face a club who they will be expected to beat.
Norwich huffed and puffed against West Bromwich last weekend, but ultimately looked toothless and a little pedestrian going forward. Strikers Grant Holt and Chris Martins are not blessed with great pace, and manager Paul Lambert may turn to Wales international Steve Morison to shake up his forward line.
Two draws against Wigan and Stoke are all the Canaries have to show for their four games so far, and an away draw at Bolton would be seen as relatively good result. But Norwich need a win soon to ensure their confidence does not suffer.
TOBIAS Prediction 1 Bolton Win
CHRIS Prediction 1 Bolton Win
Everton v Wigan 3-1
Everton reacted to the sale of creative midfielder Mikel Arteta by scoring two goals, and only being denied a win by a late Aston Villa equaliser. The sale sparked protests among Everton fans, who are desperate for the club to purchase players – the board however, say the cash-strapped club simply have no money to spend.
The financial state of the club and the related off-field issues may act to bring the squad together and create a ‘siege’ mentality. Certainly David Moyes is a Coach well capable of turning adversity into a strong motivator.
The Toffees still have the likes of Tim Cahill and Lois Saha in the ranks, and with experienced England internationals Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines in defence the Blue half of Merseyside still possess a strong starting XI.
Wigan were in the process of putting together a good sequence of results until the 3-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester City. Roberto Martinez will hope his team can improve on what has been a dismal away record for over the last two years.
The trip to Goodison Park is a tough one, but Wigan will take heart from the performance of QPR, who managed to win 1-0 on the second weekend of the season at Everton.
TOBIAS Prediction Draw or Everton Win
CHRIS Prediction UNDER 2.5
Swansea v West Bromwich 3-0
Swansea have yet to register a Premier League goal in four attempts. A home fixture against West Bromwich, who are not considered a strong defensive team, represents a perfect opportunity for the Swans to get on the goal trail.
The attractive football played by the Welsh side has won many admirers, but too few points. Two 0-0 draws are all Swansea have managed and coach Brendan Rodgers will know that his team must start scoring if they want to retain their Premier League status.
West Bromwich Head Coach Roy Hodgson will be puzzled as to the up and down performances his team have delivered. Defeats against Manchester United and Chelsea were actually reasonably encouraging, as the Baggies rattled both of those more established teams, but at home versus Stoke City, West Brom were flat and succumbed to a late Stoke winner.
An away win at Norwich came courtesy of an early Peter Odemwingie strike and that result represented the Baggies first win of the league campaign. Against another of the promoted teams in Swansea City, West Brom will hope to repeat the dose.
TOBIAS Prediction Under 2.5
CHRIS Prediction 2 West Bromwich to WIN
Wolverhampton v QPR 0-3
Wolves suffered their first defeat of the season at home against Tottenham last week and they will look to get back on track against QPR.
Matt Jarvis and Jamie O’Hara will hope to continue their form and create chances for Kevin Doyle up front. The Spurs loss brought Wolves back down to earth after wins versus Blackburn and Fulham. The arrival of the reinforced QPR squad present a challenge that will prove if Wolves really are making genuine progress or whether another season of struggle at the wrong end of the table awaits.
Rangers fought out a 0-0 draw at home versus Newcastle last time out, including former Magpie Joey Barton in their ranks. Shaun Wright-Phillips also made his debut, as did four other new faces including centre half, Anton Ferdinand.
The new look team appeared to gel fairly quickly and Coach Neil Warnock will hope for further improvement at Molineux this weekend.
TOBIAS Prediction Under 2.5
CHRIS Prediction OVER 2.5
Predictions Week 5
TOBIAS ROBINSON 4-6
CHRIS REIKO 3-7
English Premier League 2011 / 2012 season Predictions Record
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