November 2, 2012
The English Premier League season is over a quarter of the way through and already some of the teams look in need of inspiration to avoid a winter-long relegation battle. With no mid-season break in English football, managers will already be planning to invest in the January transfer window to strengthen their squad. This means that many players will now be playing to retain their place in the team or to get that high-profile move to one of the top teams.
Manchester United v Arsenal
Both of these sides were involved in two of the best cup matches seen for many years in mid-week, with Arsenal winning 7-5 at Reading and Manchester United losing 5-4 at Chelsea. Both these games went into extra time, so players will be tired and the managers will rotate their squads to inject some fresh legs into the sides. Last year this game produced one of the shock results of the season with United scoring eight times against an Arsenal side who were struggling at the start of the season. Since then the home side have taken Robin Van Persie from Arsenal and he will line up against his old club for the first time.
Manchester United are too strong for Arsenal and should win comfortably.
Last Season: Manchester United 8 – 2 Arsenal
Prediction: Manchester United 3 – 1 Arsenal
Fulham v Everton
Both teams are riding high in the table, with Everton just two points and two places high up the league in fifth. Both sides have a good first team, but the strength of the squad is not as good as the top teams and they might fall back as injuries and suspensions start to take effect. Fulham have great home form, but Everton have only lost one game all season.
Both teams are playing well and difficult to beat, so a draw is the most likely outcome.
Last Season: Fulham 1 – 3 Everton
Prediction: Fulham 1 – 1 Everton
Norwich City v Stoke City
Norwich have improved recently after a woeful start to the season, but are still only just clear of the relegation spaces. The visitors today are difficult to beat, but are struggling to win games and have drawn six of the first nine games. With good victories over Arsenal and Tottenham in their last three games, Norwich are improving and will see this as an opportunity to move further up the table.
Norwich will go all out to win this game and have the confidence to take all three points.
Last Season: Norwich City 1 – 1 Stoke City
Prediction: Norwich City 1 – 0 Stoke City
Sunderland v Aston Villa
Sunderland are not scoring many goals, but a solid defense means that they have only lost once so far this season. Aston Villa are struggling away from home with just a solitary point from their travels and not playing well either. Both managers are under pressure to improve results and a victory in this game will go a long way towards securing their positions.
Sunderland are unbeaten at home and with the poor away form of the visitors should be able to take all three points with a victory today.
Last Season: Sunderland 2 – 2 Aston Villa
Prediction: Sunderland 1 – 0 Aston Villa
Swansea v Chelsea
Both teams had good wins in midweek and will go into this game full of confidence. Chelsea started the season strongly, but have just had a little stumble last weekend when they lost for the first time in the league this season. Swansea are inconsistent, but have only lost at home once this season and are a difficult side to beat.
Chelsea are top of the league for a reason and should be too strong for Swansea.
Last Season: Swansea 1 – 1 Chelsea
Prediction: Swansea 1 – 2 Chelsea
Tottenham v Wigan
Both sides suffered disappointing defeats in the Capital One Cup in midweek, with Tottenham losing to Norwich and Wigan having the ignominy of losing at home to Bradford City, a side that normally plays three divisions below them in the football league.
Wigan did have a good result at home last Saturday, but their away form is woeful and this should be an easy home victory.
Last Season: Tottenham – Wigan
Prediction: Tottenham 2 – 0 Wigan
West Ham v Manchester City
The defending league champions are not playing as well as last season, but are in third place and picking up points. However, Tuesday night is the important Champions League game against Ajax and Roberto Mancini might rest some of his players before that crucial fixture. West Ham had a bad game at Wigan last week and will be eager to put in a good performance in the late Saturday game.
Manchester City might not be playing well, but they have luck and determination and that will give them the edge in this fixture.
Last Season: Did not play
Prediction: West Ham 1 – 2 Manchester City
QPR v Reading
The early game on Sunday sees QPR in desperate need of points playing against a Reading side who are also in trouble at the relegation end of the table. Victory for either side will be a major boost to their survival hopes, but that is more than either side has managed so far this season.QPR Manager Mark Hughes is under more pressure than his opposing number, Brian McDermott, and this is a good opportunity to kick-start the season. However, his team must be wary against a side that scored five goals against Arsenal in midweek only to lose in heartbreaking fashion.
Both teams really need to points to pull out of the relegation spaces, but neither appears to have the league form to win a game now. A draw is the most likely outcome which will do neither side a favor.
Last Season: Did not play
Prediction: QPR 1 – 1 Reading
Liverpool v Newcastle
Both teams are in mid table, mainly due to inconsistent performances but Liverpool have only won one game at home in the league and really need the victory to appease the fans before they become disgruntled with new manager Brendan Rodgers. To make things worse for the home side, Luis Suarez is the only senior striker currently fit to play and they desperately need investment in that area in January.
Liverpool have won this fixture on the last seven occasions it has been played and scored three goals for the last four times. They could well extend the winning sequence but will be unlikely to score so many this time.
Last Season: Liverpool 3 – 1 Newcastle
Prediction: Liverpool 1 – 0 Newcastle
West Bromwich Albion v Southampton
The Monday night match returns on Bonfire Night, but the fireworks are most likely to be from the West Brom side that are flying high in the Premier League – mainly based on some great home form at the Hawthorns. Southampton have lost all four away games in the Premier League and they will find it difficult to improve that poor record against a team that has won four of five at home.
West Brom should take an easy home victory from this fixture.
Last Season: Did not play
Prediction: West Brom 2 – 0 Southampton