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[standings league_id=4]
After the break for International fixtures, the Premier League returns with a huge clash between Liverpool and Manchester United. This fixture represents not just a clash of two hugely successful football clubs, but also a rivalry between the two North West Cities that has existed for as long as they have. It is a fixture which is eagerly anticipated around the globe. Elsewhere Manchester City will look to take advantage of any potential slip from their rivals when they entertain the unbeaten Aston Villa, Chelsea host Everton, Premier League newcomers Norwich and Swansea clash at Carrow Road and high-flying Newcastle take on an inspired Tottenham side in another mouth-watering encounter.

EPL Predictions Week 8

TOBIAS ROBINSON 0-0
CHRIS REIKO 0-0

English Premier League 2011 / 2012 season Predictions Record

TOBIAS ROBINSON 44-25 ( accuracy 63.76 %) - TWITTER @TobiasRobinson
CHRIS REIKO 40-29 ( accuracy 57.97 %) – TWITTER @ChrisReiko
Saturday, 15 October 2011

Liverpool v Manchester Utd, 12:45

Saturday’s early kick off is the game of the weekend as old foes Liverpool and Manchester United go head to head. After securing their 19th League title last May – and thus surpassing Liverpool’s 18 – United have become the most successful club in England. That will never sit well on Merseyside and Liverpool will want to down the colours of United as much as ever.
Form can often be disregarded in these high tempo and occasionally bad tempered derbies, but United’s superior pedigree in the league so far suggests they will still have an edge over their rivals. Wayne Rooney will doubtless do plenty of soul-searching after the angry flashpoint which saw him dismissed in England’s game against Montenegro, and he also has the added distraction of his family members being charged in a Scottish match-fixing probe. It remains to be seen if Sir Alex Ferguson will risk playing his star man in what will be an intimidating and hostile Anfield atmosphere.
Liverpool have usually found a way to carve out a result this term, but the 4-0 mauling at the hands of Tottenham still lingers in the memory and until the Reds are able to deliver a good result against one of the top sides in the country, the doubter will still have ammunition.
Tobias’ Prediction: Draw or Manchester United WIN
Chris’ Prediction: Liverpool WIN

Manchester City v Aston Villa, 15:00

Manchester City are joint-top of the League table, alongside rivals Manchester United. Their Champions League beating at the hands of Bayern Munich inspired them to thrash Blackburn 4-0 and re-establish the domestic form that had been on display prior to that European reverse.
In truth, the defeat in Germany was harsh on a City side who had edged the early part of the game, and the off-field chaos could yet work in favour of the Citizens, as it may generate some unity in defiance of the doubters who always questioned the motives and commitment of the big money signings, suggesting they are little more than footballing mercenaries.
Aston Villa remain undefeated with 2 wins and 5 draws from their League fixtures so far. Statistics however, display an unconvincing trend for the Villians, highlighting the fact that they create few chances (They averaged just 2.6 shots on target per game before the home win against Wigan last time out).
Any weakness in the Aston Villa make-up is likely to be exposed by the home side, and with David Silva continuing his goal scoring form for Spain versus Scotland in midweek, Villa will need to do very well to leave the Etihad stadium with their unbeaten record intact.
Tobias’ Prediction: Manchester City WIN
Chris’ Prediction: Manchester City WIN

Norwich v Swansea, 15:00

The two newly promoted clubs go head to head after encouraging performances last time out. Norwich were beaten 2-0 by reigning Champions Manchester United, but Sir Alex Ferguson was full of praise for Paul Lambert’s side and they will take heart from the display.
Swansea meanwhile, were beating Stoke 2-0 in Wales, inflicting only their second defeat of the season. Stoke clearly react very badly to midweek European games, but take nothing away from Brendan Rodgers men, who have racked up back to back home wins, and scored 5 goals in the process.
The sides sit 9th and 10th in the table, illustrating that neither are prepared to be the whipping boys that many pundits believed they would be. The League placings also confirm the fact that both teams are extremely well matched. Both have been beaten just 3 times in 7 games, but the fact that Swansea have lost all 3 of their games away from home suggests the edge will be with the Canaries for this one, but a close contest is on the cards.
Tobias’ Prediction: Norwich WIN or Draw
Chris’ Prediction: UNDER 2.5

QPR v Blackburn, 15:00

QPR have had two weeks to absorb their sobering result last time out. The 6-0 defeat at the hands of Fulham will not be one that they wanted to dwell on, but that dismantling was a stark reminder that regardless of their spending, Rangers are competing at a higher level than last season.
The Rangers home form is also a worry, 2 draws and a defeat is not the sort of record that strikes fear into visiting teams, and the Londoners will be looking at the match against Blackburn as a great opportunity to get up and running at home.
Blackburn boss Steve Kean is under immense pressure. The shock win against Arsenal seems a distant memory and has been followed up with losses at the hands of Newcastle and Manchester City, with 7 goals conceded in the process. Rovers are back in the bottom 3 and a seemingly distracting trip to India during the week has not been well received on Lancashire. Fans are planning a fresh protest against Kean, and that is the last thing that his battered squad needs.
The Arsenal win suggests Rovers can raise their game and respond to pressure – but that win came at home, and this away trip looks key in terms of the future of Steve Kean.
Tobias’ Prediction: QPR WIN
Chris’ Prediction: X2 Draw or Blackburn WIN

Stoke v Fulham, 15:00

Stoke have been beaten twice this term, but both defeats came away from home, and more importantly, came after midweek Europa league games. Both the 4-0 loss at Sunderland and the 2-0 reverse at Swansea were shock results, and can only be explained by the European exertions. At the Britannia Stadium, Stoke have been strong , as they were last season. The last two home games saw an impressive draw against Champions Manchester United and a 1-0 win against Liverpool. Tony Pulis will again be looking for another positive result in this fixture against Fulham.
The Cottagers hammered QPR 6-0 in their last game, and the goal scoring feats of Andrew Johnson have revived a team who appeared to be struggling in front of goal. Johnson has now bagged 9 goals for the season, including 6 in Europe.
Prior to the demolition of Rangers, Fulham had only managed 4 goals in 6 league games, so the performance last time out was a shock. Coach Martin Jol will hope that the two week break for some members of his squad will provide some fresh impetus and give them a well deserved recovery period after the hectic opening months of the season.
The key for the Cottagers remains goal scoring however, and they will be keen to add to the 1 solitary away goal they have scored so far in the League. In Stoke, they face a defiant and resilient side who will not surrender goals easily.
Tobias’ Prediction: Under 2.5
Chris’ Prediction: OVER 2.5

Wigan v Bolton, 15:00

Wigan have found themselves behind early in their recent encounters and have not had sufficient fire-power to get back into games. The 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Tottenham looked like being far worse when the Latics found themselves 2-0 down very quickly, but a spirited fightback may have ensured that their confidence was not dented as badly at it might have been.
With Hugo Rodellega now a long term absentee through injury, finding goals is going to be Robert Martinez’ biggest problem. The creative force of Tom Cleverley has gone, after the youngster returned to Manchester United in the summer following the end of his loan spell, and that has left another major creative gap for Wigan.
Bolton have all sorts of problems. Six straight defeats has meant that the reputation of boss Owen Coyle has been severely dented, and after the heroics of last term, the Scot now finds himself under very close scrutiny.
Away at Arsenal, Coyle appeared to be a little desperate to find a solution to his teams troubles, dropping Kevin Davies and shuffling his team about. That illustrates the concern that Coyle has, and suggests that he knows, even at this early stage, that his team need to halt the decline very quickly. Wigan away is a reasonable opportunity to get a result, but whoever loses this match will be in the bottom 3 and very short on confidence.
Tobias’ Prediction: Under 2.5
Chris’ Prediction: Over 2.5

Chelsea v Everton, 17:30

Chelsea are beginning to motor. The defeat at Old Trafford was obviously a disappointment, but the Blues were unfortunate and the performance was a strong one. They followed up that defeat with back to back wins, rattling in 9 goals in the process. Didier Drogba is fit again, and back in the goals, and a resurgent Frank Lampard has also emerged, hungry to prove his critics wrong after he has been written off in some quarters.
The Chelsea board have publicly stated that they see Coach Andre Villas-Boas staying at Stamford bridge for some time, and that would seem to be show that they are satisfied with the direction and progress of the team since his arrival.
Everton have been doggedly picking up results against a backdrop of financial pressure and supporter unrest. The Toffees continue to compete despite the sale of Mikel Arteta and went into the Merseyside derby optimistic. Unfortunately for the Blues, the dismissal of Jack Rodwell (A red card which has since been successfully appealed against) ruined the game, and allowed Liverpool to edge to a 2-0 win, halting the Everton recovery. The trip to Chelsea looks tough however, and Evertonians would be extremely happy to get away with a point.
Tobias’ Prediction: Chelsea WIN
Chris’ Prediction: Chelsea WIN

Sunday, 16 October 2011

West Bromwich v Wolverhampton, 12:00

West Brom find themselves just outside of the relegation zone, staying out of the bottom 3 only on goal difference. After a tight away defeat at Everton, the Baggies played out a stubborn 0-0 draw with Fulham and then drew away at Sunderland.
The point earned at the Stadium of Light could have been so much better however, as West Brom led 2-0 at one stage. Despite letting that lead slip, Coach Roy Hodgson was still encouraged by the display, particularly going forward.
Wolves early season form has fallen away and they have now lost their last 4 games, including recent 2-1 defeats at the hands of both Everton (Away) and Newcastle at home. That home defeat saw some Wolves players subjected to boos from the crowd and that has disappointed many at the club.
It  remains to be seen how Wolves, and manager Mick McCarthy, will react to their current plight. The criticism may generate a togetherness that leads to strong, committed performances, but it could just as easily cause a steep drop in confidence and damaged morale, which would only result in more defeats.
Tobias’ Prediction: Draw or Wolves WIN
Chris’ Prediction: West Bromwich to WIN

Arsenal v Sunderland, 13:30

Arsenal appeared to have made some progress in recent weeks, but the loss in the North London derby has damaged the rebuilding process. A neutral assessment of that game however, shows that the Gunners had plenty of chances, and on another day could have won the game in the opening half hour.
Arsene Wenger will be pleased to have had two weeks to get his players together and integrate the newer arrivals into the setup properly. Mikel Arteta and Yossi Benyoun both have the technical ability to slot into the first team style easily – what Arsenal seem to lack however in the more defensive, ‘workmanlike’ midfielder that can protect the fragile back four. The emergence of Emmanuel Frimpong may provide a solution to that particular problem, but his inexperience means he is not the finished article yet.
Sunderland battled back from two goals down to get a point at home to West Brom last time out, but a home draw against the struggling Baggies is not enough to stem the flow of criticism aimed at Steve Bruce currently. Chairmen Niall Quinn has stepped down amid the unrest and that is not an encouraging sign from the man responsible for bringing Bruce in.
All eyes will be on Nicklas Bendtner at the Emirates. The ex-Arsenal striker is never short of self confidence, and still maintains he deserved more chances with the Gunners. The North London faithful would generally disagree however, and the Danish hitman will be eager to show his old club what they are missing. Against a defence which has generally failed to keep clean sheets, he may well get a chance or two – but will he take them?
Tobias’ Prediction: Over 2.5
Chris’ Prediction: Arsenal WIN

Newcastle v Tottenham, 16:00

The final game of the Premier League weekend sees two form sides go head to head at St James’ Park. The Toon army were all doom and gloom in early August, but the team have gone 7 games undefeated and find themselves riding high, fourth in the table.
Demba Ba has regained his fitness and helped himself to 4 goals in the last two games. A long run in the team will see Ba bag many more. His quality is not in question, his ability to stay injury-free is – much will depend on his physical state throughout 2011/12.
Spurs meanwhile are fresh from a North London derby win and are intent on maintaining their 4 game winning run. The arrival of Scott Parker has added a balance to the team which has enabled Luka Modric and Rafael Van der Vaart to express themselves going forward and Tottenham have rediscovered the form that led them to Champions League qualification in 2009/10.
This Newcastle fixture is a solid test of Spurs credentials though. The Magpies are full of confidence and have been very strong defensively, conceding just 4 goals all season. It is an intriguing contest and the winners will have genuine chances of competing for those coveted Champions League spots.
Tobias’ Prediction: Over 2.5
Chris’ Prediction: OVER 2.5

EPL Predictions Week 8

TOBIAS ROBINSON 0-0
CHRIS REIKO 0-0

English Premier League 2011 / 2012 season Predictions Record

TOBIAS ROBINSON 44-25 ( accuracy 63.76 %) - TWITTER @TobiasRobinson
CHRIS REIKO 40-29 ( accuracy 57.97 %) – TWITTER @ChrisReiko

[standings league_id=4]

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