Here they are…
West Ham v Chelsea: 2-1
Chelsea have looked uninspired under Rafa Benitez so far and West Ham strike me as the type of team who can take full advantage of that. It is not just the managers fault of course as many of the Chelsea players are simply out of form (ahem Torres). No better time to back a Hammers win against Chelsea.
Arsenal v Swansea: 2-1
Last season this was often billed as the game of the passing philosophy; tika-taka showdown or whatever. Swansea are certainly still highly adept in possession but they have also added a little more clinicality to their game (take a bow Michu). Will it be enough to overcome Arsenal at The Emirates? I am not sure but it was a tight call so this could go either way.
Fulham v Tottenham: 1-2
Spurs look good at the moment. AVB has a little bit of a groove going at the moment and he will not want that spoiled by a sloppy performance at Craven Cottage. Dembele and Dempsey return to the Cottage and with Bale in sizzling form right now Sascha Riether might be having nightmares before this tie.
Liverpool v Southampton: 3-1
Southampton are becoming one of the more attractive teams in the league buy after scintillating performances against QPR and Newcastle the tie with Norwich was less inspiring. Nigel Adkins would want a win back on home territory but anything other than defeat for The Saints at Anfield seems just beyond them for now. Jose Fonte versus Luis Suarez could be a particulary interesting encounter.
Manchester City v Everton: 1-1
If my memory doth not deceive me Everton were the last team to beat City at The Etihad in the Premier League as they completed the double over the champions in 2010-11. While City seem to be doing ‘what great champions do’ (tick that on your cliché bingo card) and winning games while not playing well Everton are not a team you can get away with mediocrity. A score draw seems possible.
QPR v Aston Villa: 1-0
Surely, after 14 long games QPR can grab their first win at home to Villa. It may seem early days but these are the type of games Harry Redknapp will need his side to be winning in order to survive the Premier League trapdoor this season. I think they will do it.
West Brom v Stoke: 2-0
Torn apart by a fluid Swansea in midweek will have dented WBA’s confidence but at home to Stoke they will be hoping the pace of Shane Long can trouble the Stoke defence enough for victory.
Reading v Manchester United: 1-3
The Biscuitmen have been up-and-down recently. After a magnificent win against Everton they lost to Wigan and Villa away so the league leaders may prove a little too hot to handle at the Madejski.
Norwich v Sunderland: 1-0
Personally I think this is a game of the two surprise packages of the season. Norwich have really picked themselves up after a poor start and put in another solid performance to grab a point at St Marys in the week. Sunderland on the other hand have been surprisingly poor and I just can’t see them getting anything at Carrow Road.
Newcastle v Wigan: 1-1
Newcastle welcomed back Fabricio Coloccini in midweek but still faltered to a 2-1 loss at Stoke. Wigan are ‘punching above their weight’ (bingo!) once again and played brilliantly despite going down 2-0 to City this week. A score draw could be on the cards.
What are your predictions ahead of the weekend fixtures?
image: © Ronnie Macdonald