October 27, 2012
Autumn arrives this weekend and the league season enters one of the busiest periods in the run up to Christmas. Every weekend is full of important fixtures and teams are scrambling to gather enough points to stay out of the bottom three at Christmas – a traditional early marker for relegation.
Aston Villa v Norwich
The early kick-off on Saturday has some extra spice with Paul Lambert leaving Norwich for the home side over the summer break. Both sides have since started legal action against the other, but the reception will not be as hostile as it will be in the return fixture at Norwich.
So far this year, Aston Villa have been struggling to score goals and are struggling at the bottom end of the table. Norwich are only two places better off and have only managed a single draw on their travels but will go into this game full of confidence after beating Arsenal last weekend.
Norwich will be confident, but will struggle to break down the home side and might have to settle for a draw.
Prediction: Aston Villa 1 – 1 Norwich
Last Season: Aston Villa 3 – 2 Norwich
Arsenal v QPR
The first derby game of the weekend sees an Arsenal side who are struggling for form after two surprise defeats in the last week. This does not mean that Arsenal are a bad side, but questions are being asked about the mental strength of the players in the team. A good way to get confidence back is to beat QPR, who are currently bottom of the league and yet to win a game this season.
Arsenal could welcome back Jack Wilshere after 17 months out injured and Bacary Sagna after a broken leg. Both these players will give a boost to the home side who should be too strong for the struggling visitors.
Prediction: Arsenal 2 – 0 QPR
Last Season: Arsenal 1 – 0 QPR
Reading v Fulham
The home side are the only other team yet to win a single game in the league, and come up against a Fulham team sitting comfortably in the top half of the table. Reading won promotion comfortably last season, but are struggling to adapt to live in the Premier League and need to start picking up wins before it is too late.
Fulham have been playing well, but performances have been much better at home and they will have to fight to pick up all three points at Reading who are fighting for survival. A draw looks like the most likely result from this game.
Prediction: Reading 1 – 1 Fulham
Last Season: Did not play
Stoke v Sunderland
This game sees the battle of the draw specialists, with both teams drawing five games so far this season. Stoke are one position higher in the league on goal difference, but have played an extra game over their rivals. Both sides might be in the bottom half of the table, but are far too solid to be in real relegation trouble at the end of the season.
With so many draws between these teams, it is difficult to predict any other result at the end of this game.
Prediction: Stoke 1 – 1 Sunderland
Last Season: Stoke 0 – 1 Sunderland
Wigan v West Ham
Wigan are still searching for their first home win of the season, but are one of the most unpredictable sides in the entire league. On form, they are a match for any team in the league but have too many bad days. West Ham are playing well, but do not score many goals away from home
Yet again, Wigan are struggling in the early part of the season and it is a great opportunity for West Ham to consolidate in the upper reaches of the league table.
Prediction: Wigan 1 – 2 West Ham
Last Season: Did not play
Manchester City v Swansea
Disappointment in the mid-week Champions League game at Ajax will make Manchester City even more determined to beat their visitors in this game. Their league form is good though, even if they are not playing as well as last season. Swansea had a great victory last weekend after a bad run, but visiting Manchester City is one of the hardest games in the league season.
This should be a comfortable victory for the home side.
Prediction: Manchester City 2 – 0 Swansea
Last Season: Manchester City 4 – 0 Swansea
Everton v Liverpool
The big game on Sunday is the Liverpool derby and for the first time in many years the blue half of the city has the upper hand. Everton finished higher in the league last season and are currently eight places higher than their city rivals in the league table who are having a frustrating season. One match they are playing well and winning in style and the next week they are struggling to score a goal.
Everton have confidence and with the passionate home support can go on to take all three points from this game.
Last Season: Everton 0 – 2 Liverpool
Prediction: Everton 2 – 1 Liverpool
Newcastle v West Brom
Newcastle are further down the league table than most fans would have thought before the start of the season, but their home form is good. West Brom are flying high in the league, but this is also down to their home form.
A trip to Newcastle is always difficult and the home side should win comfortably.
Prediction: Newcastle 2 – 1 West Brom
Last Season: Newcastle 2 – 3 West Brom
Southampton v Tottenham
Southampton are struggling to adapt to life in the Premier League and urgently need to start picking up points, but face a Tottenham side that are starting to play well under Andre Villas-Boas. They might have been well beaten by Chelsea last week, but Southampton also let in four goals last week and are struggling to score.
This should be an easy victory for the visitors.
Prediction: Southampton 0 – 1 Tottenham
Last Season: Did not play
Chelsea v Manchester United
The final game of the weekend is a mouth-watering top of the table clash. Chelsea have had a fantastic start to the league season and have not lost a single league game, although they were beaten in the Champions League on Tuesday night. Manchester United are currently four points adrift and have lost two games so far. This position will be a lot different if either side can get all three points from this game.
United are picking up points, but not playing as well as they can and they will struggle to take anything from this game unless they improve as a team.
Prediction: Chelsea 2 – 0 Manchester United
Last Season: Chelsea 3 – 3 Manchester United