The boring international break is over, we have champions league mid week next week.. wedged in between, round 4! Whats going to happen? I’ll try to predict it here *results may vary.
Norwich v West Ham
Bit of a nothing fixture here, West Ham have been a bit Jekyll and Hyde like. In their away game they were horrid but it was to a rampant Swansea. At home they have been staunch so far. Norwich started with a mare but have tightened up and showed good form last fixture. I’d imagine Norwich can get over the line here, might go for a 2-0 score line. Without Carroll the Hammers may lack the man to unlock Norwich at home.
Arsenal v Southampton
Arsenal have been as solid as a rock defensively and fluid going forward without the end result….until last week when it all began to click. Southampton have been attacking well but letting plenty in at the other end. A trend which I would expect to continue this week, I could see Arsenal putting 3 away this week with Cazorla amongst it all but I reckon their clean sheet streak will end thanks to a Southampton goal… who else but Lambert? 3-1 to the Woolwich Gunners (happy Steve the Plagiarist?) Beware the midweek European games and players getting subbed off however!
Aston Villa v Swansea
Villa have been one of the more lacklustre sides so far this year seemingly finding it hard to adjust to the new attacking game style. They did however look a little more assured last time out. Swansea continued with their passing game last time out but looked a lot more fragile in defence than in recent weeks. They have been racking up some injuries/suspensions there and it may be starting to tell. I’m finding it tough to call this one, I think both teams will score… but how many? I might go for a 2-2 shoot-out. Bent to finally show a bit and the Swansea wingers to again prosper.
Fulham v West Brom
Fulham have not looked the same side after a blistering start to the year, the importance of missing Dembele and Dempsey cannot be understated. Last time out they looked bereft of ideas. West Brom have been the find of the year so far, solid at the back and surprisingly potent in attack. I see this fixture being a dour affair with West Brom happy to sit back a little bit and Fulham try to break them down with a new style forward pack. I’m feeling a dreaded 1-1 here with Berbatov and Long to do the point scoring.
Man United v Wigan
United are looking ominous again after a small teething period with their new attacking players. RVP hasn’t skipped a beat and looks like he can win games off his own boot once more although there is still a fragility in defence thanks to injuries. Wigan has been unpredictable, they are playing OK but when can you really tip them to make an upset? In this game I reckon Man U cruise to a 3-0 win. Just a regulation victory with RVP in the points once more. Can you afford not to have him? But with Europe midweek don’t expect RVP to play all game if not right/not needed!
QPR v Chelsea
QPR have been rubbish so far, the new players are taking time to know each other and this has resulted in a lot of goals being shipped. Last year they were pretty tight at home but this year they shipped 5 in the first game so it’s not the same this time around. Chelsea have a perfect record at the top of the table but are not actually flying, they have just had a nice run of fixtures. Hazard has been a revelation, he has that low to the ground balance and quick feet that makes him impossible to tackle without giving away a free kick/pen. I don’t reckon this game will go all Chelsea’s way, QPR love a scrap against Chelsea, the old enemy…. I have an awful feeling that it may be a 1-1 kind of game but won’t be surprised to see it go 1-2 to either side. I sense Cisse being involved in the points and Hazard the other way. Another game here that could have some European rotation involved.
Stoke v City
Stoke continue to play brutal long ball football in the best league in the world and manage to stay up, kudos to Pulis for being able to manage the feat. City are not flying but are doing enough to win… goals are going in at both ends. Stoke will make this day difficult for City, harassing, tackling and doing whatever it takes to disrupt City’s passing game. It will work for a while but not long enough to stop the city juggernaut…. 0-2 to city… and finally a clean sheet! Tevez to score some points… again, with Dzeko in the points also in a bullocking display.
Sunderland v Liverpool
Sunderland has started the year well, they began being really organised in defence but toothless in attack but they have since bought some attacking flair and look great at both ends. Liverpool is having a mare… sending’s off, defensive howlers, missed goals. The lot! I reckon Sunderland can take full advantage here and sneak 3 past a shell shocked Scouse defence…. 3-0 to the black cats with Johnson, McClean and Fletcher to be amongst it.
Reading v Tottenham
Reading have been a bit scratchy so far, not really excelling at either end but not floundering either… Typical promoted fodder. Spurs however have been poor, the new gaffer has them playing in poor style and something needs to change fairly quickly! Hopefully for them Dembele and Dempsey can get in there and make an impact, also bringing Bale and Adebeyor into the game with them. Spurs will awaken one game and blow a team away… I just don’t think it will be this week… 1-1 unfortunately for fantasy owners!
Everton V Newcastle
Everton have been one of the form sides so far going well at both ends, Newcastle have been a bit hit and miss, their horrid injury run is really taking a toll. I expect thus to be a factor again this week, missing Krul, Simpson, R. Taylor and Coloccini amongst others leaves their defence threadbare. Particularly the flank that needs to deal with the dual menace of Baines and Pienaar. I reckon the toffees win this 3-0 with the two mentioned toffees running rampant points wise.
So that’s about all for the preview, have I made any howlers? Let me know in the comments. Check back later today for Matts news wrap then tomorrow for Seags team news for all the RVP and international injury news plus the pending champions league rotation risks.