- Posted by Geoff Reid
- On December 9, 2011
- 0 Comments
By Geoff Reid
Arsenal vs Everton from the Emirates Stadium, London
After the 3-1 defeat away to Olympiakos in the Champions League during midweek where Arsene Wenger used largely reserve players, the gunners should be back to using the first team with the visit of Everton. Having already topped their group, it gave a chance for the senior players to have a much needed rest ahead of what’s always a busy holiday schedule. Everton have not been very consistent so far this season, and a 1-0 home loss last weekend to Stoke City showed that. A point would be considered good for the toffees since Robin van Persie, and Arsenal are firing on all cylinders.
Prediction: Arsenal 3-0 Everton
Bolton Wanderers vs Aston Villa from the Reebok Stadium, Bolton
Here’s a match where two managers are under a lot of pressure, but for very different reasons. Owen Coyle has seen his Bolton side get off to the worst of starts, and it’s not been helped with injuries, and a very unkind opening 10 fixtures. Now is the time for Wanderers to start picking up points though, and climb out of the bottom three. Villa’s Alex McLeish on the other hand was the last choice the fans wanted as their next manager deciding to jump ship from city rivals Birmingham, and their style of football hasn’t been welcomed either. His side are sitting in a comfortable position though at the moment, and a win for either manager would do a great deal of good.
Prediction: Bolton Wanderers 1-2 Aston Villa
Liverpool vs QPR from Anfield, Liverpool
After Monday night’s 1-0 defeat away to Fulham, Liverpool will look to get things back on track and shoot for that top 4 position where they currently are five points adrift. This week has been dominated by Luis Suarez and his actions at Craven Cottage, and manager Kenny Dalglish has backed his Uruguayan striker to the end saying he’s been getting the short end of the stick. QPR themselves are sitting fairly comfortably in the league, but a draw and defeat in their last two games has brought their bright start to a halt.
Prediction: Liverpool 2-0 QPR
Manchester United vs Wolves from Old Trafford, Manchester
All eyes will be on Manchester this weekend to see what the reactions will be like from United and City after both clubs got knocked out of the Champions League and were dumped into the Europa League instead. That’s not the only concern in the United camp, as captain Nemanja Vidic has been ruled out for the season with a knee injury. This is where Sir Alex Ferguson’s side’s depth will be tested, and against a fiery Wolves team who came from behind to defeat Sunderland at home would have lifted spirits for Mick McCarthy’s side.
Prediction: Manchester United 2-0 Wolves
Norwich City vs Newcastle United from Carrow Road, Norwich
Paul Lambert’s squad will be looking to put things right after losing 5-1 away to Manchester City last weekend. Putting that game aside, the canaries have been very impressive in their return to the top flight so far. With only two league defeats at home this season, they will be difficult to beat at Carrow Road. Newcastle can count themselves unlucky after the 3-0 home defeat to Chelsea last weekend. The scoreline does not tell the full story by any means after having some refereeing decisions go against them, but they do sit comfortable in sixth place currently which manager Alan Pardew would have taken at this time at the start of the season.
Prediction: Norwich City 1-1 Newcastle United
Swansea City vs Fulham from the Liberty Stadium, Swansea
The Welsh club fell to defeat away to Blackburn last weekend, and while manager Brendan Rodgers would not have been happy with that, this is a good chance to put things right as they have only suffered one home defeat in the league this term to Manchester United. Fulham picked up a nice win over Liverpool on Monday night, and Martin Jol will no doubt be looking to use that as a springboard to really get moving up the league table after a difficult start to the season.
Prediction: Swansea City 2-1 Fulham
West Brom vs Wigan Athletic from the Hawthorns, Birmingham
The baggies will see this fixture as one where three points should be a must after their inconsistent season so far. Playing against a side that is firmly at the bottom of the table, Roy Hodgson knows how important a win will be. Wigan have only collected nine points from a possible 42 this season, and manager Roberto Martinez’s relationship with owner Dave Whelan is the only reason keeping him in a job at the moment. Deciding to stay on at the DW Stadium instead of leaving to take the Aston Villa gig is looking more and more like the wrong decision. Martinez did work wonders last season in keeping Wigan in the Premier League, but a repeat of things don’t look likely.
Prediction: West Brom 3-1 Wigan Athletic
Sunderland vs Blackburn Rovers from the Stadium of Light, Sunderland
All the focus will be on Martin O’Neil’s Sunderland debut as manager. and it couldn’t come in a more important game in all honesty. After the sloppy defeat away to Wolves last weekend, O’Neil will be looking to install some positivity into his players. Their opponents from Lancashire are one spot below them in the standings, and while the 4-2 victory over Swansea did some to quiet his critics, Blackburn manager Steve Kean knows he needs to build on that result, otherwise they’ll be out in full force once again.
Prediction: Sunderland 1-0 Blackburn Rovers
Stoke City vs Tottenham Hotspur from the Britannia Stadium, Stoke
Tony Pulis’ Stoke City have been inconsistent this season due to their Europa League commitments, but on the back of successive wins, they should expect to collect all three points at home which has been their fortress over the last few seasons. It won’t be easy though, as a visiting Tottenham come in currently in third place, and are on an excellent run of form. This week manager Harry Redknapp dismissed talk of his side challenging for the league title, but at the moment, they are certainly in the hunt.
Prediction: Stoke City 1-3 Tottenham Hotspur
Chelsea vs Manchester City from Stamford Bridge, London
The clash of the weekend comes from west London where Andre Villas-Boas will be facing his toughest assignment so far going up against Roberto Mancini and table topping Manchester City. The home side can breathe a little easier after securing passage to the knockout round of the Champions League and winning the group. If the blues don’t get a result in this one, the pressure will be back again on Villas-Boas. Some pressure is also now on Mancini after City got knocked out of the Champions League this week, even though they finished on 10 points in their group. That could either work in their favor by concentrating solely on the league from now until May, or it could be a major setback, and we’ll find out soon enough which one it’ll be.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-2 Manchester City