- Posted by Geoff Reid
- On September 16, 2011
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- 2011 EPL Season, Geoff Reid
By Geoff Reid
Blackburn Rovers vs Arsenal from Ewood Park, Blackburn
The pressure is on Rovers boss Steve Kean as their will be a protest by the Blackburn fans before kickoff calling for his head. With one point collected out of 12 so far, Kean is under no illusion he could be the firs managerial casualty of the season. He insists his job is safe, but how long will it be until he gets the dreaded vote of confidence? His opposite number, Arsene Wenger, believes Kean should be given more time since managers have unrealistic pressure on them nowadays. For the visiting gunners, it looks like the tide may have finally turned after a nightmare start. With a good away draw in Dortmund during the week in the Champions League, the 8-2 loss at Old Trafford looks to be firmly behind them.
Prediction: Blackburn Rovers 0-2 Arsenal
Aston Villa vs Newcastle United from Villa Park, Birmingham
Alex McLeish’s side have looked solid, but unspectacular so far this season. With last week’s 2-2 away draw at Goodison Park against Everton, Villa should be in full confidence they can score goals, especially against the magpies. Goalkeeper Shay Given will be expecting a little better effort from his defenders in front of him so he can get a clean sheet, and can count themselves lucky for getting a point in that game. For the visitors from the northeast, Newcastle currently occupy fourth place after a good start this season, but how long can it be sustained? With the troublesome Joey Barton now moved on to QPR, squad morale should be a lot better.
Prediction: Aston Villa 2-1 Newcastle United
Bolton Wanderers vs Norwich City from the Reebok Stadium, Bolton
This game will be a clash of two sides who are looking to bounce back after losses last weekend. The home side in-partcular suffered a 5-0 home defeat to Manchester United, and Owen Coyle will be looking for a response from his side, who have at times last season looked like a good side that have played some nice football. For the visiting canaries, Norwich played well against West Brom last week, but lacked punch in the final third, which has seemed to be their downfall so far this season in their return to the top flight. Both sides will be thinking they can get at each other and pick up some much needed points.
Prediction: Bolton Wanderers 2-0 Norwich City
Everton vs Wigan Athletic from Goodison Park, Liverpool
It’s fair to say their has been some recent unrest near Goodison Park, but if David Moyes’ side can collect a win here, Everton will jump a number of places and reach the top half of the table, and be well placed at that. One of the problems facing Everton so far this season has been the lack of options up front with the sales of some players, but against a shaky Wigan defense so far this season, it should be interesting to see if the toffees can get some goals. Northwest derby’s are always a big occasion with local pride at stake, and this should be no different here.
Prediction: Everton 1-0 Wigan Athletic
Swansea City vs West Brom from the Liberty Stadium, Swansea
For the newly promoted Welsh side, Swansea have had it tough so far in the Premiership this season. They’ll be hoping they can break their goal scoring duck in this game, and after a decent performance against Arsenal last weekend, it was only really the poor finishing of Danny Graham in front of goal that they didn’t get at least a point out of the Emirates. For the Baggies, they’ve only gotten three points from four games this season, and Roy Hodgson will know that the pressure will be on to get something out of this game, and it will not be easy.
Prediction: Swansea City 0-2 West Brom
Wolves vs QPR from Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton
While Wolves have had a very impressive start ruined last week with a home defeat to Tottenham, Mick McCarthy’s side will be hoping to get back to winning ways with a win against the newly promoted side QPR. This should not be the best of footballing matches, but more of a battle to the finish. QPR are slowly adapting to life back in the top flight, and with the host of new signings, players like Shaun Wright-Phillips looks to be the pick of the bunch, and does add quality to the squad. Another talking point with this match is the clash of two Yorkshire managers in McCarthy and QPR’s Neil Warnock, who in-particular is a very controversial figure, may have some interesting things to say at the end of the match.
Prediction: Wolves 1-1 QPR
Tottenham vs Liverpool from White Hart Lane, London
With Spurs traveling to the continent to play in the Europa League Thursday night didn’t help any matters, and a competition manager Harry Redknapp has not been hesitant of criticizing, a lot of his first 11 were being rested for this clash against the reds. Therefore, Spurs should have their top squad available for selection. Liverpool themselves will be looking to bounce back from their defeat against Stoke City last week in which manager Kenny Dalglish was very outspoken over a few refereeing decisions, and had very good points that looked to go against his side.
Prediction: Tottenham 1-2 Liverpool
Fulham vs Manchester City from Craven Cottage, London
The cottagers have made a slow start to the league campaign, and that may be to having started their season earlier then most by playing in the early rounds of the Europa League. On Thursday night, Martin Jol’s side were held 1-1 by FC Twente in the competition, and while the start hasn’t been ideal, their is still plenty of time to turn things around. That will be tough with the visit of Manchester City, who as well as neighbors Manchester United, are the only two sides who have a 100% record so far this season. They opened their debut in the Champions League with a 1-1 draw at home against Italian side Napoli, and manager Roberto Mancini thought his side looked rather nervous. They haven’t shown any nerves in league play this season, and it’s hard to bet against them at the moment in current form.
Prediction: Fulham 1-3 Manchester City
Sunderland vs Stoke City from the Stadium of Light, Sunderland
So far this season hasn’t gone the way that Sunderland, and manager Steve Bruce has wanted, and some have questioned whether he’s on borrowed time. What shocked Sunderland fans more then anything was the surprising departure of record signing Asamoah Gyan with the Ghanian going to play his football now in the UAE. Bruce badly needs a win for his black cats side. Tony Pulis on the other hand is coming off an away draw in Kiev against Dynamo Kiev in Europa League play, and the potters are on an all time high currently. Can they come down to earth for this clash? Their were also a good number of players missing for that clash in the Ukraine who might now be available for selection in this one.
Prediction: Sunderland 2-1 Stoke City
Manchester United vs Chelsea from Old Trafford, Manchester
The game of the weekend by far, does this one really need a preview? Sir Alex Ferguson won’t look at his side’s 1-1 draw away to Benfica in the opening game of the Champions League as a bad result, especially since it was away from home, and will be hoping his side can keep up their perfect record in league play, as this one will be the biggest test so far. Likewise with Chelsea, this will be the biggest test for Andre Villas-Boas in his early Chelsea career. Ferguson even compared himself to Villas-Boas when he won a European trophy at Aberdeen before coming to United, and with Villas-Boas’ success at Porto last season coming to west London. Certainly an interesting comparison.
Prediction: Manchester United 3-2 Chelsea