October 18, 2012
Attention turns back to the English Premier League this weekend after the second international break of the season. With heavy rain delaying the England match in Poland by 24 hours due to bad weather, club managers may need to rest a number of the players that were involved. Fatigue may be a factor for many of the international players, so managers with a strong squad will be happier.
Tottenham v Chelsea
The early kick-off on Saturday is one of the biggest games of the season with the London derby between two teams currently sitting in the top five of the table. After a slow start, Tottenham have now hit form under Andre Villas-Boas and won the last four games in the Premier League, including a great victory at Manchester United. Chelsea are also on a great run, only dropping points in a draw at QPR.
Both teams are in great form and scoring goals for fun and the match could go either way, but a draw would be a fair result.
Last Season: Tottenham 1 – 1 Chelsea
Prediction: Tottenham 2 – 2 Chelsea
Fulham v Aston Villa
Both teams appear to be following on from last season, with Fulham sitting in the top half of the league table and Aston Villa hovering just above the relegation spaces. The addition of Senegalese defender Mickael Tavares will bolster the home midfield making this trip even more difficult for the visitors.
Fulham are playing well at home and Villa are struggling to pick up any points on their travels, making this game a likely home victory.
Last Season: Fulham 0 – 0 Aston Villa
Prediction: Fulham 2 – 0 Aston Villa
Liverpool v Reading
This is only the third time that the two teams have met in the Premier League, with Liverpool winning both previous games at Anfield. Liverpool are still looking for the first home league win of the season but could be struggling for strikers this week. Fabio Borini is out for three months after picking up an injury with the Italy Under-21 squad and Luis Suarez playing for Uruguay in South America last weekend. Reading are still looking for their first win of the new campaign, but have drawn the last two games.
Liverpool have plenty of players able to score goals even if both main strikers are out, and should be strong enough to take their first home victory of the season.
Last Season: Did not play
Prediction: Liverpool 1 – 0 Reading
Manchester United v Stoke
Manchester United will be fired up to recover quickly from losing their last home game against Tottenham, and will be happy to face a Stoke City side that they traditionally perform well against. Over the last four years, the home side has won all the games at Old Trafford, scoring 13 and only conceding one in the process. Stoke are the draw specialists, with only two games not ending in a stalemate.
Manchester United should comfortably carry on their impressive winning run against Stoke.
Last Season: Manchester United 2 – 0 Stoke
Prediction: Manchester United 3 – 0 Stoke
Swansea v Wigan Athletic
Swansea are carrying on where they left off last season under new manager Michael Laudrup and sit comfortably in mid-table despite rumors of unrest in the team. Meanwhile, Wigan are repeating their traditional early season struggle and sit just above the relegation spaces with only a single victory so far.
Swansea are a good team at home and this is a great opportunity to pick up all three points against the struggling visitors.
Last Season: Swansea 0 – 0 Wigan Athletic
Prediction: Swansea 2 – 0 Wigan Athletic
West Brom v Manchester City
West Brom are a revelation so far this season under head coach Steve Clarke and sit just one point below Manchester City as early season pace-setters. Even though they are currently third in the league table, Manchester City have yet to reach the high standards of last season but are still picking up points and more than a match for any team in the league. The international break will have given them time to regroup and could come out firing on all cylinders.
West Brom are playing well, but Manchester City are a good side and should take the victory.
Last Season: West Brom 0 – 0 Manchester City
Prediction: West Brom 1 – 2 Manchester City
West Ham v Southampton
Of the two newly promoted teams, West Ham have had the better start to the season and now sit nine places above Southampton. West Ham have played well at home, but will miss Ricardo Vaz Te who is out for three months with a shoulder injury picked up in the defeat at Arsenal. Another injury victim is Southampton winger Gaston Ramirez who picked up a dead leg in the last game.
Southampton have lost every away game so far this season, and they do not look like picking up any points from this game.
Last Season: West Ham 1 – 1 Southampton (Championship)
Prediction: West Ham 2 – 1 Southampton
Norwich v Arsenal
Norwich appear to have a bad case of second season syndrome, and are struggling to achieve the standards they set last season. Arsenal are another club that are underperforming so far this season, but their standards are much higher than most other teams. Theo Walcott is an injury doubt for the visitors after picking up a chest injury on England duty last Friday.
Arsenal will go into this game with confidence after two wins and two draws on their travels, and they should be strong enough to take the victory from this game.
Last Season: Norwich1 – 2 Arsenal
Prediction: Norwich 0 – 2 Arsenal
Sunderland v Newcastle
The early game on Sunday is the second big local derby of the weekend, but this time it is the Tyneside-Teeside derby between the two most northern teams in the Premier League. Sunderland have been difficult to beat this year – only losing one game this season, but are struggling to score goals and have only won one game. Newcastle are still looking for their first away victory of the campaign but have only lost at Chelsea on their travels.
Both sides will be going all-out to get the victory and bragging rights over their local rivals, but a draw is the most likely outcome.
Last Season: Sunderland 0 – 1 Newcastle
Prediction: Sunderland 1 – 1 Newcastle
QPR v Everton
The last game of the weekend sees Everton hoping to continue their great start to the season with a trip to struggling QPR who have only managed a single point from their first three home matches. QPR manager Mark Hughes has just got the dreaded vote of confidence from his club chairman, but will need his team to start picking up points quickly to stay in his job. Everton might miss defenders Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka who were both on England duty this week.
Everton are in fine form and look good to record their third away victory of the season, and the first at QPR since 1995.
Last Season: QPR 1 – 1 Everton
Prediction: QPR 1 – 2 Everton