- Posted by Geoff Reid
- On November 18, 2011
- 0 Comments
- 2011 EPL Season
By Geoff Reid
Norwich City vs Arsenal from Carrow Road, Norwich
The first kickoff of the weekend after the international break see’s an Arsenal side who are in form after their woeful start visit Norwich who have been very well organized, and shown to have some firepower as well. In fact, the canaries have been a real breath of fresh air this season after earning back to back promotions the last two seasons. Arsenal themselves are unbeaten since losing to bitter rivals Tottenham at the beginning of October, and with Robin van Persie in excellent form of late, they should be favorites in this one.
Prediction: Norwich City 1-2 Arsenal
Everton vs Wolves from Goodison Park, Liverpool
This season has not been a good one for David Moyes and his Everton squad, with not too much positive news to go on. This week however was pleasing with star midfielder Marouane Fellani signing a new long term contract with the club, and he personally hopes that other senior players will follow in his footsteps. Wolves’ last outing was a big win against fellow relegation threatened side Wigan, and even though it was not pretty by any means, manager Mick McCarthy will not mind one bit. Another battle like performance will be required here in order to pick up some points.
Prediction: Everton 2-1 Wolves
Manchester City vs Newcastle United from the Etihad Stadium, Manchester
In what not many would have dubbed a top of the table clash at the beginning of the season, a lot of eyes will be on this clash with Newcastle being the surprise package. People expected City to be good this season, but nothing like they have been top of the table currently with 31 points from 11 games, and scoring 39 goals in the process. It seems that things can only go up for Roberto Mancini’s men. For the magpies, they have tasted life outside of the Premier League in recent seasons, so this season so far has been night and day in comparison. Manager Alan Pardew deserves great credit, but even he doesn’t believe they’ll finish the season in the Champions League places.
Prediction: Manchester City 3-0 Newcastle United
Stoke City vs QPR from the Britannia Stadium, Stoke
The last time Stoke took the pitch two weeks ago they got thrashed 5-0 by Bolton, and manager Tony Pulis will be looking for his side to bounce back after a break, especially since both of these sides sit level on points at mid table currently. Rangers themselves have lost their last two games, although they were both against Manchester City and Tottenham. Neil Warnock has every right to be pleased with his lads in what will be a grueling season.
Prediction: Stoke City 2-2 QPR
Sunderland vs Fulham from the Stadium of Light, Sunderland
Another clash between two sides that have struggled so far this season. Both currently sit on 10 points, and that will not satisfy Steve Bruce or Martin Jol. Sunderland have looked to have turn a corner as of late, although they did lose their previous league match away to Manchester United. Fulham have been playing in the Europa League as well this season, so squad depth has been tested, and no doubt Jol will look to strengthen in January to take some of the pressure off this squad. This should be a fairly even match, but with Sunderland at home, Bruce’s squad should be favorites.
Prediction: Sunderland 2-1 Fulham
West Brom vs Bolton Wanderers from the Hawthorns, Birmingham
Last time out Albion were well beaten away to Arsenal, but this time manager Roy Hodgson should put out a more expansive side against a Bolton team that have struggled badly this season. In their last outing, Owen Coyle has his Wanderers turning the corner after their 5-0 win at home two weeks ago against Stoke. The other thing to remember is with all the injuries Bolton have sustained, their fixture list has not been kind to them having a tough first 10 games. The next 10 is where Coyle thinks his side can pick up points and move out of the relegation zone.
Prediction: West Brom 1-3 Bolton Wanderers
Wigan Athletic vs Blackburn Rovers from the DW Stadium, Wigan
In a game that will probably not be the prettiest, the idea for both of these sides is just win. What’s interesting is Blackburn boss Steve Kean was the booking favorites to be the first to get the sack at the beginning of the season, were into the latter stages of November and no Premier League manager has gotten the sack yet. One wonders when the final straw will happen with Kean seen as a dead man walking, after anti-Kean banners now banned at Ewood Park. His opposite number, Roberto Martinez, is also under pressure as his Wigan side sit bottom of the table, and Wigan are most certainly favorites to go down come May.
Prediction: Wigan Athletic 0-1 Blackburn Rovers
Swansea City vs Manchester United from the Liberty Stadium, Swansea
The defending champions have been unbeaten since their humiliating home loss to rival Manchester City 6-1, although they have been by thin one goal margins. Since then they have been keeping things extremely tight at the back which was the priority of Sir Alex Ferguson. What will be interesting is what kind of a team he’ll put out with a tricky match against Benfica in the Champions League during midweek. This one will be no pushover though, as Brendan Rodgers has his Swansea side playing some good football who are very well balanced and organized, and this should be a good match from south Wales.
Prediction: Swansea City 2-3 Manchester United
Chelsea vs Liverpool from Stamford Bridge, London
The highlight of all the fixtures this weekend, this one is always a tasty encounter. It’s fair to say that both Chelsea and Liverpool are no longer those tight, cagey affairs that took place when Jose Mourinho and Rafa Benitez managed the clubs. Chelsea themselves seem to play a more expansive game under Andre Villas-Boas, and some will argue that has cost them. Liverpool are the same under Kenny Dalglish as well with both clubs boasting a lot of attacking talent on offer. The obvious storyline in this one is Fernando Torres going against his former employers. It’s no secret the Spanish striker has failed to live up to expectations since swapping Merseyside for London nearly a year ago, and the pressure will be on.
Prediction: Chelsea 1-1 Liverpool
Tottenham vs Aston Villa from White Hart Lane, London
The weekend’s action completes in north London with two clubs looking to pick up wins and move up the table. The big story with Tottenham is manager Harry Redknapp recovering from heart surgery and it’s still a question of whether he’ll be in the dugout in this one. It’s hard not to picture the veteran English manager on the touchline and we all wish him a speedy recovery. Aston Villa have had a decent season with everything that happened during the summer taken into account, and Alex McLeish has done a steady job at the helm. This one will probably be a tight affair.
Prediction: Tottenham 2-2 Aston Villa