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EPL Weekend Preview, Picks and Predictions

After the first domestic trophy of the season was won last weekend, with Liverpool winning the League Cup, it is back to Premier League action for the Reds when they entertain an Arsenal side who themselves are basking in the glory of an emphatic derby win against bitter rivals Tottenham. On Sunday, Spurs must recover from their North London mauling quickly, as they face Manchester United at home. Elsewhere Manchester City host struggling Bolton and Chelsea travel to in form West Brom. There is also the small matter of the North East derby between Newcastle and Sunderland to enjoy.

EPL Predictions this Weekend


English Premier League 2011 / 2012 season Predictions Record

TOBIAS ROBINSON 151107 ( accuracy 58.53 %) TWITTER @TobiasRobinson
CHRIS REIKO 16296 ( accuracy 62.79 %) – TWITTER @ChrisReiko

Liverpool vs Arsenal 1-2

Liverpool remain undefeated in the League at Anfield this term, although there have been plenty of draws. The Carling Cup win last weekend will have taken plenty out of Liverpool, but the euphoria of winning should ensure there is no problem with fatigue.

In the reverse fixture, the Reds beat Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium and have beaten Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United in cup competitions this season. They are still in the hunt for Champions League qualification and need to beat the visitors to stay in touch.

Arsenal were being roundly condemned after a run of 4 defeats in 8 games, but the emphatic win against rivals Spurs last weekend means that Arsene Wenger has taken a small step towards restoring the fan’s faith in him. That 5-2 win demonstrated a self belief in the team that was sorely absent during their trip to Milan where they were thumped 4-0 and showed precious little confidence. They will need plenty of spirit to force a result at Anfield, but they are capable.

Tobias’ Prediction: Over 2.5
Chris’ Prediction: Over 2.5

Blackburn vs Aston Villa 1-1

Blackburn were outclassed at the Etihad Stadium last time out, going down 3-0 to Manchester City. The defeat means that Rovers have lost 3 of the last 4 and remain in the bottom 3.  They have however, won 2 of the last 3 at home, getting the better of Fulham and QPR. With that in mind, Steve Kean will be hopeful of a result, even though Centre half Chris Samba has finally had his wish to leave the club granted, he has left for the Russian League, to join big spending Anzhi Makhachkala.

Aston Villa have struggled for wins on the road, but due to the large number of draws they have gained, they also have not lost many. The recent trip to Wigan ended goalless and the long term injury to Darren Bent means the Villians may need to find a new source of goals.

Having only won 2 of the last 10, and also announced record losses this week, the club could really do with a positive result. Having drifted towards the lower end of the table, pressure is back on Coach Alex McLeish.
Tobias’ Prediction: Blackburn WIN or Draw
Chris’ Prediction: Over 2.5


Manchester City vs Bolton 2-0

Manchester City disposed of Blackburn Rovers with such ease last time out, that they will be widely expected to pick up another 3 points here equally comfortably.  City have won their last 3, and 6 of their last 7. They also boast a perfect home record, with 13 wins from 13 games. Carlos Tevez is back in full training and everything appears to be going smoothly for Coach Roberto Mancini.

Manchester City have the best defensive record in the League and there is little to suggest that Bolton will inflict too much damage to their title campaign.

Bolton enjoyed a mini-revival towards the end of January, but have since lost their last 3 League games (versus Norwich, Wigan and Chelsea). Although there have been FA Cup wins, Wanderers still find themselves struggling in the League. Owen Coyle and his men have picked up 4 away wins, but the defensive statistics are poor, and City are likely to ruthlessly expose any weaknesses.
Tobias’ Prediction: Manchester City WIN
Chris’ Prediction: Manchester City WIN


QPR vs Everton 1-1

Not only are QPR struggling for results, they are having trouble keeping 11 men on the pitch. Rangers have lost 4 of the last 5, and the run of three straight defeats has seen them lose some big relegation battles – they have lost to Wolves, Blackburn Rovers and Fulham in their recent clashes.

That form leaves them safe only by virtue of goal difference. When Mark Hughes arrived as manager, those recent fixtures were the ones fans hoped would provide the necessary points to lift the R’s to safety, but it has not been the case. A tough run-in now hits them, and they must improve their form fast.

Everton sit safely in mid-table. They enjoyed a welcome boost when Landon Donovan arrived, and the Toffees have lost just twice in the last 10. They arrive at Loftus Road as confident as they have been all season. Darren Gibson, who signed from Manchester United, has enjoyed his run in the first team, and the return from Spurs of Steven Pienaar has added attacking impetus, and meant that the outgoing Lois Saha has not been missed.
Tobias’ Prediction: Draw
Chris’ Prediction: UNDER 2.5

Stoke vs Norwich 1-0

After a run of 4 straight losses, Stoke were pleased to return to winning ways with a 2-0 win against Swansea last time out. The win moved them into a group of clubs sat on 33 points in the middle of the table. It will have been a welcome relief after a spell of indifferent form.

The win was only the second in the last 10 games however, and the Potters have failed to win on 8 occasions when they have played at home. That is a far cry from the form they have shown over the last two seasons at the Britannia Stadium. This game represents another opportunity to get back on track.

Norwich continue to impress week after week. Although they were beaten 2-1 last week by Manchester United, the Reds needed a late strike to deny the Canaries a point, and that narrow loss was only the second in the last 8 for Paul Lambert’s men.

Norwich are resilient away and have lost only 5 of 13. This represents a tough test, but with key players, like Grant Holt, seemingly in excellent form, they will fancy their chances of picking up something from this game.
Tobias’ Prediction: Draw or Norwich WIN
Chris’ Prediction: UNDER 2.5


West Brom vs Chelsea 1-0

West Brom have won 3 of the last 5, but it is the two most recent wins which have really caught the eye. After dismantling Wolves 5-1 – a result which ultimately cost Mick McCarthy his job, the Baggies then hammered Sunderland at home 4-0. The Black Cats themselves had been in decent form and that result was a shock.

Peter Odemwingie is back in the goals and that will be a big boost to Roy Hodgson and his charges. Particularly at home, Albion had struggled for goals (just 9 in 12 games before the Sunderland match). If the Nigerian hit man can continue his form, the Baggies will continue their rise up the table.

Chelsea Coach Andre Villas-Boas was, and still is, under huge pressure. The failure to beat Birmingham at home in the FA Cup was a blow, and the loss to Napoli in the Champions League led to many questions about Boas-Villas, but the Blues bounced back with a routine 3-0 win at home to Blackburn. With the established ‘old order’ returning to the starting line up for that, the queries about team selection remain, and Chelsea will need a few more wins before the sniping stops.
Tobias’ Prediction: Over 2.5
Chris’ Prediction: Over 2.5

Wigan V Swansea 0-2

Wigan have scored the lowest total of goals at home throughout the division. They have also only won one home fixture, and sit bottom of the table. After 2 draws and a win in the last 3 however, they have clawed their way back to within touching distance of their rivals and avoiding defeat for 3 games in a row will certainly help them.

The defensive solidity shown in the last 3 (two goals conceded in total) will be a welcome boost to Roberto Martinez, and if they are to climb out if trouble, it is these type of home fixtures that offer the best opportunity.

Swansea appeared to have started to resolve their away-day slumps, but the problem returned last time out away at Stoke. Despite the hosts being on a run of 4 defeats, the Swans still lost 2-0 and returned home empty handed for the 8th time in 13 fixtures. Having now only won twice in the last 10 fixtures, the Welsh side are slipping nearer the drop zone and a loss at Wigan will have alarm bells ringing for manager Brendan Rodgers.
Tobias’ Prediction: Over 2.5
Chris’ Prediction: X2 Draw or Swansea WIN


Newcastle vs Sunderland Sun 4 Mar 12:00

Newcastle remain right in the thick of the race for Champions League qualification, sitting just 3 points behind Chelsea and Arsenal. It was a win in the North East derby at the Stadium of Light that really set the magpies on their way earlier this term, and they have not looked back since. They have only been beaten twice at home.

The Magpies however were keen to respond to the 5-0 thrashing they suffered against Spurs, but after racing into a 2 goal lead versus Wolves in their last game, they allowed the visitors to get back into it and had to settle for a 2-2 draw. They will not want to be as charitable this week.

Sunderland have averaged 1.83 points per game since the arrival of Martin O’Neill as manager, so both sides go into the lively derby in good spirits. The Black Cats were humbled 4-0 at West Brom in their last game, a result which O’Neill “could not explain”. Given the previous run of 2 defeats in the last 9, the Black Cats can be forgiven one flat performance.
Tobias’ Prediction: UNDER 2.5
Chris’ Prediction: Over 2.5


Fulham vs Wolves Sun 4 Mar 14:05

Fulham picked up a rare away win in their last League fixture, overcoming QPR at Loftus Road 1-0. The win lifted them into mid-table security and was the 4th win of the last 7 matches. The Cottagers have only been defeated 3 times at home, and Clint Dempsey, who has rattled in 16 goals in all competitions, also bagged the only goal during his International game in midweek, helping the US team to a memorable victory over Italy. With confidence riding high at Fulham, they will expect to pick up all 3 points versus Wolves.

There was some shock when Terry Connor was promoted to Manager, albeit on a temporary basis, at the Wolves helm last week. The early indications are good however. Connor found his side 2 down inside 15 minutes at Newcastle in his first game in charge, but his players rallied, and secured a point with a battling 2-2 draw.

Draws continue to frustrate Wanderers however. They have only lost 4 of the last 10 – but they have only recorded one win during that time. They sit just one point above the drop zone and will hope to pick up a third away win of the season at Craven Cottage.
Tobias’ Prediction: Fulham WIN
Chris’ Prediction: Fulham WIN


Tottenham vs Manchester United Sun 4 Mar 16:10

2nd faces 3rd at White Hart Lane on Sunday in a huge clash. Sir Alex Ferguson has already spoken of his team “surviving” the trip to Spurs, and sees it as a key match heading into the season finale.

Tottenham were in superb form heading into the North London derby last weekend, but despite taking a 2-0 lead, Spurs were humbled 5-2 in a hugely significant match. Coach Harry Redknapp immediately conceded that his team’s title chase was over, but he might be convinced otherwise if his charges can beat United. Tottenham have only lost once in 13 at home, and have conceded just 10 goals in those games (5 coming against Manchester City). The suspension of Scott Parker is a blow, but they should not be short on confidence.

Manchester United picked up all 3 points in their last game in familiar fashion. A late goal from Ryan Giggs denied Norwich a point, and ensured the Reds left with the spoils. They have lost just once on the road, and won 9 times. They boast the best away record in the League bar none and will know that another result in North London will keep the heat on their rivals for the title, Manchester City. Although there are doubts over Rooney, Valencia and Chris Smalling to name but three, Sir Alex Ferguson knows the depth in his squad means he can still name an imposing team.
Tobias’ Prediction: Over 2.5
Chris’ Prediction: Over 2.5

EPL Predictions this Weekend


English Premier League 2011 / 2012 season Predictions Record

TOBIAS ROBINSON 151107 ( accuracy 58.53 %) TWITTER @TobiasRobinson
CHRIS REIKO 16296 ( accuracy 62.79 %) – TWITTER @ChrisReiko

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