- Posted by Geoff Reid
- On October 21, 2011
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- 2011 EPL Season
By Geoff Reid
Wolves vs Swansea City from Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton
The first match of the weekend see’s a Wolves side who are on a terrible run of form currently losing their last five matches in a row. The visitors look like they are starting to get to grips with life in the Premier League more now, but having said that, the Welsh side are still the only team in the league this season to not have collected a point on the road. Wolves manager Mick McCarthy will be looking to continue that trend for his side to get a home win, and put things back on track for the midlands club.
Prediction: Wolves 2-1 Swansea City
Aston Villa vs West Brom from Villa Park, Birmingham
The first Birmingham derby of the season takes place at Villa Park where the baggies make a short journey from the black country. Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish has made a pretty decent start after leaving city rivals Birmingham in the summer, and discounting their 4-1 loss away to league leading Manchester City last weekend, Villa look to have solid foundations at the back and seem hard to beat. For West Brom, the start to this season has been dreadful, but after their win against Wolves last week, and on an unbeaten streak of three games, Roy Hodgson’s men are starting to climb the table.
Prediction: Aston Villa 2-1 West Brom
Bolton Wanderers vs Sunderland from the Reebok Stadium, Bolton
Two sides that have both had bad starts to this season, Bolton boss Owen Coyle will be happy his side finally picked up their second win of the season last week away at Wigan. With an unlucky fixture and injury list, Wanderers are now looking to climb the table. The visitors from the north east are also on the same amount of points (six) and maybe find themselves unlucky not to get anything out of the Arsenal game a week ago. Sunderland have not had a good 2011, and with two months still to go, Steve Bruce will be hoping to put things right.
Prediction: Bolton 3-1 Sunderland
Newcastle United vs Wigan Athletic from St. James’ Park, Newcastle
This season has been one to remember so far for the magpies, and Newcastle manager Alan Pardew deserves great credit for getting his side to forth in the table, and still being unbeaten. The visitors are on the complete opposite end of the spectrum, with Wigan losing five in a row, and manager Roberto Martinez looking under increasing pressure, especially if they lose this one. The problem for the lactics have been their defending, and the back line making simple mistakes. Martinez really worked miracles keeping them up last season, and he’ll need to do it again if they wish to survive relegation this season too.
Prediction: Newcastle United 3-0 Wigan Athletic
Liverpool vs Norwich City from Anfield, Liverpool
Since their 4-0 defeat away to Tottenham, Liverpool have been on a good run of form winning three out their last four, and staying unbeaten. Manager Kenny Dalglish will expect nothing less then a victory over the newly promoted Norwich side. With the club fully behind him in a row with Manchester United defender Patrice Evra, striker Luis Suarez head may be in question, so it’ll be interesting to keep an eye on that. Norwich themselves can count themselves a little unlucky this season with not getting anything from their visit to Old Trafford earlier, and look a good side who are capable of picking up points against some of the big boys.
Prediction: Liverpool 2-0 Norwich City
Arsenal vs Stoke City from the Emirates Stadium, London
After a horrendously bad start, it looks like Arsenal have finally started to turn the corner, although it looks like their might still be a little unrest at the Emirates. After a good, solid away win at Marseille in the Champions League, qualification for the knockout rounds seem likely. The visit of Stoke City will be a tough one with their physical style and long ball tactics. Stoke too won in Europe, and manager Tony Pulis will be relishing this test.
Prediction: Arsenal 2-1 Stoke City
Fulham vs Everton from Craven Cottage, London
Another fixture with both teams level on points (seven), Fulham lost in Europa League play on Thursday, and may very well be fatigued by their European travels. So far, they’ve struggled to balance both league play, and European football. Everton are on a three game losing skid, but in all fairness those defeats were against Liverpool, Chelsea, and Manchester City. No doubt manager David Moyes will be looking for his squad to go after Fulham right from the start.
Prediction: Fulham 1-1 Everton
Manchester United vs Manchester City from Old Trafford, Manchester
The biggest game of the weekend see’s the first installment of the Manchester derby. What makes this derby extra spicy is the fact that both of these clubs currently sit first and second in the Premier League and both unbeaten. The last time City beat United was three years ago when former England manager Sven Goran Eriksson was in charge, and only two players on City’s roster are left; goalkeeper Joe Hart, and defender Micah Richards. If City can win, they’ll be five points clear of their rivals, but it will be tough going for Roberto Mancini’s men, with Sir Alex Ferguson’s squad being victorious the last four times the sides have met at Old Trafford.
Prediction: Manchester United 3-2 Manchester City
Blackburn Rovers vs Tottenham from Ewood Park, Blackburn
The ownership of the 1995 Premier League champions Blackburn Rovers has been in question since the Indians took over nearly a year ago, and have said they are against and rejected the idea of relegation and promotion being wiped out as reported earlier in the week. They may want to change their minds on that, with their club not looking too good with five points from eight games so far this season. Tottenham are coming off a win in their Europa League match against Rubin Kazan, and are in decent form.
Prediction: Blackburn Rovers 1-3 Tottenham
QPR vs Chelsea from Loftus Road, London
Another London derby takes place between these two sides for the first time since 1996, and with the odds stacked overwhelmingly against them, QPR and manager Neil Warnock will be getting his players ready for an upset. Chelsea on the other hand are starting to click into gear under the leadership of Andre Villas-Boas coming off a 5-0 thrashing of Genk in the Champions League during the week. What’s more important is Spanish striker Fernando Torres looks to have turned the corner and got back to his very best.
Prediction: QPR 0-3 Chelsea