Two gameweeks in quick succession here… But first of all we have another 10 matches this weekend!
Sunderland v West Brom
With the plethora of fantastic games we’ve had at the early slot over the past few weeks, this one comes as a bit of an anti-climax. Sunderland turned their fortunes last week against Fulham, having snapped their away streak of 15 games without a win. West Brom, have equally been in fine touch, but their form away from home is much less impressive. I think Sunderland’s attack should be quelled by West Brom’s rigid defence, and the Black Cats will have a much harder time against 11 men this week. I’m tipping a 2-0 or 2-1 to West Brom, with Long and Odemwingie getting amongst the points. Fletcher could snatch one for Sunderland.
Everton v Norwich
Everton’s form over the past month has been nothing compared to their early year form. A home clash with Norwich seems like a good chance to bounce back. Norwich on the other hand, were absolutely woeful in the start of the year. This month however, they’ve claimed the scalps of Arsenal and Man United, and are looking like they will survive the cut this year. Away at Goodison Park though, I’m tipping they will be smacked by an Everton side who are craving another 3 points. Even without Fellaini, I’m tipping a 3-0 to Everton. Baines, Jelavic and Pienaar should all be in the points.
Man United v QPR
After last week’s shock lost to Norwich, a home clash against cellar dwellers QPR should mean Man United will maintain their top of the table position. Having rested RVP and Rooney midweek, Sir Alex should have a full strength side and should easily account for QPR. I’m tipping anywhere between a 3-0 and 5-0. RVP should nab a lot of points, as should Valencia and Rooney.
Stoke City v Fulham
This should be a scrappy, scrappy affair. Stoke, who are more accustomed to playing Rugby than Football, will try to muscle Fulham into submission. Fulham, who have been less than impressive away from home, will scrap it out as best they can… but it’ll be a hard task. A 1-0 to Stoke looks like a certain possibility.
Wigan v Reading
This game should be goals, goals, goals. Wigan are a basket case, and entirely unpredictable. If they turn up on the day, they can match it with the best…if not, Reading are in for a shot. Kone and Di Santo should prove too much for Reading, who will not be accustomed to playing against a 3-4-3. A 3-2 or 3-1 to Wigan looks likely, with Kone, Di Santo and Maloney getting it done for Wigan, and Hunt and McAnuff looking dangerous for the Royals.
Aston Villa v Arsenal
The Villans haven’t had an easy time lately, and it’s not looking like getting any better here. Arsenal should easily account for an Aston Villa side who have struggled to be dangerous for long periods of the year. A 2-0 or 3-0 to Arsenal should be on the cards, with the usual suspects of Cazorla, Podolski and even Giroud looking dangerous.
Swansea v Liverpool
This shapes as a hidden gem this year. Both teams try and play a high possession game where ball control is the key. So who will do it better? Swansea had the better of LFC when they met in the League Cup, but I’m calling this one a draw- 2-2 or 1-1 being the likely scoreline. Michu will be a handful in the air and on the ground, while Suarez will probably pop one or two in again!
Southampton v Newcastle
This shapes as a very, very dangerous tie for Newcastle. They are without Ben Arfa (who’s cards surely have been marked), and will struggle without Cabaye. Take a look at their midfield without those two… doesn’t look very creative does it? Ba is too good to not trouble the Saints, but the attacking trio of Lambert, Puncheon and Rodriguez is surely too potent. If Pardew wins this game, he will show what a good manager he is… unfortunately, I can’t see it happening. 2-1 Southampton.
Chelsea v Manchester City
This will be interesting. The only thing Benitez can do to this Chelsea lineup formation wise that I can see is play a 4-3-3, with Mata and Hazard on the wings and Oscar in an advanced midfield position. Either way, this looks like a goal fest, with Kompany out for Man City and David Luiz actually playing for Chelsea. Silva, Aguero and Tevez, with their sidekick Nasri will be too much for the blues, who are equally too good not to score. I’m tipping a big one- 3-2 to City!
Tottenham v West Ham
Big Sam will park the bus very early in this tie and try to knick a point. West Ham’s set piece threat is strong, and with Tottenham not defending them terribly well it could spell disaster. With Bale and Lennon though, Spurs will have too much pace to not threaten the Hammers. A 1-1 looks likely, could Carroll finally get on the scoresheet?
That’s about it for tonight. Tune in tomorrow for Selection Saturday!