- Posted by Geoff Reid
- On October 28, 2011
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- 2011 EPL Season, Geoff Reid
By Geoff Reid
Everton vs Manchester United from Goodison Park, Liverpool
This weekend’s Premiership action kicks off early with the reigning champions Manchester United visiting Everton. One statistic that is incredible really interesting is that the toffees have lost to United a total of 28 times in the Premier League era. Always a talking point in this fixture is what role will Wayne Rooney play against his old club. In the past Sir Alex Ferguson has sometimes kept him out of this game due to hostility from the home crowd. More then anything, the main thing to watch is how will United react after getting embarrassed on their own pitch by rivals Manchester City 6-1 last Sunday?
Prediction: Everton 1-2 Manchester United
Chelsea vs Arsenal from Stamford Bridge, London
The other early kickoff of the day is west London vs north London when Arsenal visit Chelsea which in history has always been great matches. The blues have had some off the field issues with their stadium and trying to buy back the ownership of their stadium this week, only to have that offer turned down. More pressing issues for Andre Villas-Boas has been the conduct of captain John Terry, and his racism allegations last weekend against QPR defender Anton Ferdinand. By contrast, Arsenal are somewhat stable, which was not the case earlier in the season. The gunners are actually the most successful visiting team to Stamford Bridge in the Premier League era, but are winless in their last eight matches in the league.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-1 Arsenal
Manchester City vs Wolves from the Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Right now things cannot get any better for the citizens, after their 6-1 derby win against United last Sunday, and in midweek hammering Wolves in Carling Cup action away at Molineux. The whole Carlos Tevez affair seems now to be a decent memory, and if United were to lose at Goodison Park, Roberto Mancini’s side would have the chance to open an eight point lead on their rivals at the top. Mick McCarthy and his side showed his fighting spirit last weekend against Swansea coming back from two goals down to level the score, but remains under pressure from the club’s fan base.
Prediction: Manchester City 4-0 Wolves
Norwich City vs Blackburn Rovers from Carrow Road, Norwich
Paul Lambert and his Norwich side has impressed pundits and fans alike so far this season with playing without fear, and being smart at the same time. No doubt the highlight thus far was their 1-1 draw at Anfield last Saturday, and even though results weren’t what they wanted away to Manchester United and Chelsea, their performances were more then good enough to survive relegation this season if they continue to play like that until May. The visit of last placed side Blackburn could potentially be a six pointer, as Rovers have not had a good season at all where a lot of things don’t seem right for the 1995 champions.
Prediction: Norwich City 2-0 Blackburn Rovers
Sunderland vs Aston Villa from the Stadium of Light, Sunderland
Their has been rumors of unrest in the Sunderland camp, with manager Steve Bruce having spent a lot during the summer on new recruits and having a shabby return, the loyal fan base are getting frustrated. Last week’s win against Bolton was only their second this season, and Bruce will be hoping his side can potentially capitalize on what now is a stuttering Aston Villa side. Alex McLeish’s team had a bright start staying unbeaten until their last two matches with losses to table topping Manchester City, and rivals West Brom which wouldn’t have sit well with the Villa supporters.
Prediction: Sunderland 2-1 Aston Villa
Swansea City vs Bolton Wanderers from the Liberty Stadium, Swansea
The Welsh side have created quite a fortress at their stadium, being unbeaten at home in 12 straight matches in league play starting in the Championship last season, and continuing that good form in the top flight. That makes the visit of Owen Coyle’s Bolton that much harder, who have not had lady luck on their side this season, having already lost seven this season in league play. The amount of losses doesn’t totally describe their season accurately, where they have played well in parts, but have come up with injuries, and had to play all of the big boys once already in the first 10 weeks.
Prediction: Swansea City 1-1 Bolton Wanderers
Wigan Athletic vs Fulham from the DW Stadium, Wigan
If Bolton’s form has been bad, Wigan’s has been even worse and sit one place below their northwest rivals. After starting the first three games unbeaten this season, critics and pundits alike have said it was only a fluke as their form has not been there, and no real upgrades to a side that so narrowly avoided relegation last season. With a win, Roberto Martinez’s side can jump ahead of their visitors from west London. Martin Jol’s club started their season early with Europa League play, and sit one place above the relegation zone. With both sides having scored only 18 goals in 12 games between them this season, it doesn’t look to be a classic.
Prediction: Wigan Athletic 1-2 Fulham
West Brom vs Liverpool from the Hawthorns, Birmingham
The big talking point ahead of this one is baggies manager Roy Hodgson going against his former club who deemed him surplus to requirements back in January. Hodgson’s men had a very slow start, but are now climbing the table and no doubt Hodgson will have motivation going against his former employers. Liverpool on the other hand are playing well, and creating plenty of chances. The problem for Kenny Dalglish’s side has been not taking enough of those chances, and last weekend’s home draw to newly promoted Norwich was evidence of that. If the reds want to return to the Champions League next season, they need to start winning games against sides like West Brom
Prediction: West Brom 1-3 Liverpool
Tottenham vs QPR from White Hart Lane, London
A rarity having only one Premier League game on Sunday, Harry Redknapp’s spurs host Neil Warnock’s QPR who are fresh off a victory over Chelsea. Spurs could potentially jump ahead of Newcastle United if they defeat Rangers by at least four goals which is possible under Redknapp who’s teams have always scored plenty, but concede a lot at the other end. The second of three tough games in a row, QPR will look to continue momentum against spurs after their win last weekend, and before their next match against Manchester City.
Stoke City vs Newcastle United from the Britannia Stadium, Stoke
Monday evening’s clash from Stoke-on-Trent takes place between two sides who have both had very good starts this season. The home side under Tony Pulis have made the Britannia such a hard place for any visiting team to get anything from, and now it seems to have transformed into Europe too and with no Europa League fixture this past week, Pulis should have a fresh squad to choose from five days after their Carling Cup tie against Liverpool. Newcastle United have been the surprise package so far this season, and give credit where credit is due to Alan Pardew, who has not a popular choice to replace Chris Houghton last season, with the magpies still unbeaten in league play.
Prediction: Stoke City 2-2 Newcastle United