Saturday/Saturday English Premier League Predictions

What a week in the life and times of the Champions League! Barcelona gave Arsenal a master class in the art of football and retaining possession only to be scuppered in the final minutes and held to a draw as the Gunners fought back to 2 – 2; its still going to be devilishly tough for them when they play the return leg at the Nou Camp. Man U got a dream start thanks to a certain Mr Rooney, but saw their lead dwindle and fade in an unatmospheric Munich stadium; they have the away goal to take with them back to Old Trafford and with 75,000 fans behind them, they should prevail. More importantly though, these games had severe implications for the Premiership thanks to the injuries that were racked up. Rooney has minor ligament damage that will see him out for three to four weeks, Fabregas sustained a fractured right leg and is out for the rest of the season, although in true grit fashion he did step up and leather home a penalty after the injury occurred; nice one fella! Wenger also lost Gallas and Arshavin to calf injuries, and I didn’t even realize such injuries were contagious???, they will be out for about three weeks apiece!! So how will these telling set backs effect this weeks Premiership matches as the hunt for the title heats up. Well read on brethren!

Arsenal V Wolves
Wolves are on a good run of late, but not good enough to trouble Wengers lads methinks, even after the midweek schooling they suffered at the hands of Barcelona. If they can get three points here and the other two contenders draw, the table could make interesting reading but the end of Saturday. Wolves shouldn’t be overlooked however; Mick McCarthy’s boys are playing with a renewed fervor and could cause problems. If they do “do the business” at the Emirates is will be a massive blow for Arsenal, points are crucial and dropping them is unacceptable in Wengers mind. The Gunners may come out cautiously, after this week European game and because they won’t want to lose or concede, but I think they will find their rhythm and dispatch an inferior foe.
Prediction: Arsenal 2 – 0 Wolves

Man Utd V Chelsea
Chelsea have scored an astounding 12 goals in their last 2 games and both teams will be aiming to take home all three points. Arsenal will be praying for a draw, leaving Man U and Chelsea to share the spoils, but Manchester in their Kingdom of Trafford are a tough nut top crack. The absence of Rooney, especially in his current form, is a blow to Sir Alex but they have depth, and Berbatov in particular hasn’t looked bad in front of goal recently. Man U have won nine of their last eleven league games and have scored 30 goals during that stretch, and conceding goals hasn’t been an issue with them either. Ancelotti will probably recall Drogba this week, but they certainly are not lacking in firepower; Anelka and Lampard have both been on form lately and added to Chelsea impressive goal tally.
Prediction: Manchester United 2 – 2 Chelsea

Portsmouth V Blackburn
As I say every week Portsmouth’s season is done, completely done (although they have an outside chance of making the FA Cup final, but probably not). After having points deducted for going into administration their fate of football in the Championship next season has been all but sealed; if they lose against Blackburn it’s a done deal. Manager Grant also has a lot of injury worries that will see him giving some debuts to some young players. So the pressure is off, but will that make them play any better? Probably not.. He will also be a little preoccupied with the upcoming FA Cup semi final on his mind, which takes place next week. Blackburn are happy and safe in mid table bliss, and they find themselves relatively sans pressure also. So with both teams seemingly not really giving a shit, is this going to be a complete disappointment. Probably. Having said that, Blackburn will win though
Prediction: Portsmouth 1-2 Blackburn

Bolton V Aston Villa
Villa were unrecognizable last week against Chelsea, Martin O’Neill’s’ men were a shadow of themselves and were duly thrashed. This week will be an indicator of what kind of substance Villa are made of; especially as they are still in contention for that elusive fourth place and automatic European football next year. They a number of late fitness tests on key players; Milner and Agbonlahor to name but two. Bolton were spanked by Manchester last week and this week’s prospect will not be any more thrilling. Bolton haven’t won against Villa in their last six meetings, this will not fill Owen Coyle will glee. Look for John Carew to feature on the score sheet; he has been on form of late; that’s if he passes a fitness test. Villa are a good side throughout and I can’t see Bolton causing them to many problems, O’Neill will also want to make up for last weeks disaster and quell the rumors of his departure.
Prediction: Bolton 1- 2 Aston Villa

Stoke City V Hull City
Hull crafted a good win against Fulham last week and whatever new manager Ian Dowie has been saying on the training ground looked to have worked, but Stoke at their hallowed Britannia Stadium are impressive. Hull are unbeaten in their last four visits to Stoke and points are vital if they are going to avoid the drop this season. Tony Pulis has a few injury problems to deal with, but they shouldn’t be too excessive, Stoke will edge it.
Prediction: Stoke City 2 – 1 Hull City

Sunderland V Tottenham
Spurs are focused on finishing in that fourth spot of the Premiership and have certainly been performing well, scoring goals and winning games lately. Sunderland have been sketchy to say the least. Tottenham have a treacherous run in to the end of the season, having to play Man U, Chelsea and Arsenal in the coming weeks; so this encounter with Sunderland provides them with probably the easiest opportunity to gain three points, they should relish it. On a positive not for Redknapps lad’s, striker Jermaine Defoe is fit again and will start; which is good because he still has a long list of injuries. Spurs haven’t won at the Stadium of Light in their last four visits, but that shouldn’t deter them – they need to keep and eye on Bent up front who has scored 21 goals this season, second highest in the Premier League. Steve Bruce’s Black Cats are a well drilled outfit who do well at home, but I think Tottenham have more hunger, especially as the season draws to a close.
Prediction: Sunderland 0 – 2 Tottenham

Birmingham V Liverpool (Sunday)
Birmingham are unbeaten in their last 12 home games and McLeish has no new injury problems, probably leading him to play the exact same side that held Arsenal to a draw last week. As the weeks go by more and more pressure mounts on Benitez, I watched the game midweek against Benfica and Liverpool were unlucky, they had a dubious sending off which made the game an uphill struggle; but our Spanish friend has to get something out of this season and if the Europa Cup is slipping away, then finishing fourth is a must. Torres looked lively on Thursday and has scored five goals in the last three league matches, but he can’t be Liverpool’s only weapon and it won’t help that the Reds haven’t won against Birmingham in their last seven league meetings. Unfortunately, I think this will be a draw, but would love Liverpool to prove me wrong.
Prediction: Birmingham 1 – 1 Liverpool

Everton V West Ham (Sunday)
It’s a tale of two teams this one; the Blues of Merseyside are the form team in the Premiership, whilst woeful West Ham go from bad to worse. Everton are looking to extend a record eight wins on the trot, whilst The Hammers look to break six straight loses. Since the beginning of 2010 Everton have garnished 37 points from 13 games, a mighty tally, and this week opposition will pose no threat. Gianfranco Zola’s head is on the chopping block as West Hams manager and a trip to Goodison Park wont help matters, they haven’t won away in 15 matches. Oh dear, Oh dear, Oh dear – this could be a rout.
Prediction: Everton 3 – 0 West Ham

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