- Posted by Geoff Reid
- On September 30, 2011
- 0 Comments
- 2011 EPL Season
By Geoff Reid
Everton vs Liverpool from Goodison Park, Liverpool
The first Merseyside derby of the season is the early kick off of the day, as both sides will look to finish higher up the table then their current positions, 11th, and 5th respectably. Of course with any local derby comes the bragging rights between fans, and the Merseyside one is especially important in this aspect because both sets of fans share the same families, and households. Everton can move above Liverpool with a win, but that will not be easy, with the reds expecting captain Steven Gerrard back healthy and playing some part in this one.
Prediction: Everton 2-3 Liverpool
Aston Villa vs Wigan Athletic from Villa Park, Birmingham
The visitors will be looking to get back to winning ways after tasting three defeats in a row, and on the road will not be an easy task, especially when the hosts have yet to be beaten so far this season. The momentum is very much with Villa, even though they have only drew five out of their first six games with the only win coming back in August against Blackburn Rovers at home, and manager Alex McLeish knows how important home wins are.
Blackburn Rovers vs Manchester City from Ewood Park, Blackburn
This one will no doubt be dominated by the headlines City striker Carlos Tevez has made over the last few days after apparently refusing to come on as a substitute during the week in their away tie against Bayern Munich. Manager Roberto Mancini has said the whole issue on his end is now put to bed, and the club are now seeking legal advice about not playing him in their kit ever again. Regarding City’s title chances, this could put a major dent in that. Not that the opposition have had some scrutiny themselves this season with Blackburn manager Steve Kean having been under pressure right when he got the job full time last season.
Prediction: Blackburn Rovers 1-1 Manchester City
Manchester United vs Norwich City from Old Trafford, Manchester
After the 3-3 draw at home during midweek in Champions League play to Basel, Sir Alex Ferguson said his United side got a massive wake up call and nobody expected that to happen. The truth of the matter is Basel could have had more goals had they taken their chances in the first half. Nobody gave the Swiss side a chance, and the same will be said for newly promoted Norwich City. The canaries have had two good wins on the bounce, which has led them into the top half of the table so confidence will be high in Paul Lambert’s camp. This opposition is of different class however.
Prediction: Manchester United 4-1 Norwich City
Sunderland vs West Brom from the Stadium of Light, Sunderland
Could a match have much importance already in the season if both teams are in, or near the relegation zone? It’s possible, although there still is plenty of time to turn things around for both teams. The black cats have struggled to find consistency this season, even after showing some glimpses of potential from what manager Steve Bruce has on offer. For Albion, now is the time to start picking up points after a slow, but certainly not easy start, the midlands side sit second from bottom. Roy Hodgson hasn’t got the best record on the road during his management career, but will be thinking his side can get something out of this one.
Prediction: Sunderland 1-1 West Brom
Wolves vs Newcastle United from Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton
After a flying start right out of the gates, Wolves are now on a three game losing streak. Manager Mick McCarthy will be hoping his side can put things right, and essentially win their home games to avoid a real relegation battle like they did last season. Like a lot of teams, consistency is lacking in the Wolves camp, while Newcastle on the other hand are unbeaten, and in the top four. Of course if you ask any magpies fan if they can stay there come end of season, it’s very unrealistic they’ll tell you.
Prediction: Wolves 1-2 Newcastle United
Bolton Wanderers vs Chelsea from the Reebok Stadium, Bolton
It’s been such a tough start for Wanderers with injuries, the schedule has not been kind to them, and just all around bad luck. Stuart Holden has been sidelined for a further six months as we all know, and arguably the club’s best player last season will hurt missing him the first half of the season. What might go in favor of Owen Coyle’s side is Fernando Torres is suspended having been sent off last weekend against Swansea City, and will be serving his ban after what has looked like him getting back to his very best over recent games.
Prediction: Bolton Wanderers 1-3 Chelsea
Fulham vs QPR from Craven Cottage, London
Fulham are the only team to not collect a win so far this season, but Martin Jol’s club will be looking to change that against their west London rivals in another derby this weekend, and the first meeting between both clubs since 2001. Whether the club’s Europa League matches so far has taken a toll is unlikely, so it’s a mystery why the cottagers have gotten off to a slow start. QPR on the other hand have been performing very well since Tony Fernandez’s takeover of the club, and are buoyed by the new signings Joey Barton, and Shaun Wright-Phillips.
Prediction: Fulham 2-1 QPR
Swansea City vs Stoke City from the Liberty Stadium, Swansea
Stoke City have made a very bright start after being the first team to collect a point off Manchester United last weekend, and picking up a win in Europa League action yesterday. The trouble for Tony Pulis’ team is that after their last game in Europe they crashed to a 4-0 away defeat to Sunderland, so balancing the league and Europe is tough as they’re finding out. The hosts are coming off their first Premier League win against West Brom last week, and if Swansea can take heart from that, and will be fresher then Stoke, it should be a good game.
Prediction: Swansea City 2-0 Stoke City
Tottenham vs Arsenal from White Hart Lane, London
The first north London derby of the season, and both sides have gotten off to extremely slow starts, but after the transfer window closed, they now seem to be making up the ground. Former Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor has been in fine form for Spurs and Harry Redknapp, but that’s usually the case when he first joins new clubs before problems come around. Arsene Wenger has had one of his less stressful weeks so far with two wins on the bounce in league and Europe this past week. With a win against arch rivals Spurs, it will go a long way to any Arsenal supporters who lost faith in him at the beginning of the season.
Prediction: Tottenham 2-2 Arsenal