Saturday/Saturday: Premiership Predictions

Oh to be nineteen and making your Premiership debut in a highly anticipated and crucial match for your club; cue nineteen year old, Spurs winger Danny Rose (a product of the Leeds United Academy, I may add!). Ten minutes into the tie, Almunia punched away a corner straight into the path of oncoming Danny Rose, who, thirty yards from goal hit a ridiculously sweet volley into the back of the Arsenal net. Harry Redknapp hailed it a ‘wonder goal’ and to be honest the young lad may never hit a more clinical volley in his entire career, and the significance of the final result (2-1 to Spurs) was huge; ending any chance Arsenal had of clinching the Premiership. So, a balmy night of football at White Hart Lane puts the kabosh on Wengers dreams of more Premiership silverware. However, the game is still afoot for the title. United had a hiccup last week, drawing with Blackburn, and Chelsea scraped through midweek in an arduous tussle with Bolton. Things are still up for grabs and much could change in court of Premierdom by Tuesday.

Man City V Man Utd
Delectable. To put the magnitude of this tie into perspective: the city of Manchester has put in place an ‘alcohol exclusion zone’. Yes, you read that correctly; a veritable oxymoron in Northern England. Greater Manchester Police issued this statement, “Anyone caught with alcohol on the streets within the alcohol exclusion zone, stretching from the city centre to the stadium, will have it confiscated. In addition, anyone arriving at the stadium under the influence of excess alcohol will be refused entry.” With a 1245pm start in England, no doubt many will be employing the liquid breakfast of champions I suspect. But the implications of this tie are far reaching: not only can United’s chances be significantly improved or hampered with the right result, City would like nothing more than to a) beat their local rivals and b) potentially dash the Premiership title chances of their rivals for the entire season. Oh, families will be divided on this one; blood is thicker than water, except in football. To the game: Rooney is set to start, which can only be a good thing for Fergie and his boys, in his absence they have failed to win recently. If they fail again tomorrow it would be their worse run of form since August 2007. City will be well up for this; they are at home, a victory would confirm their best run of form under Mancini and they need to solidify fourth spot and scalping United would send alarm bells ringing for the other hungry contenders. Wayne Bridge may be back, as may Stephen Ireland which will bolster city and on a personal note, Carlos Tevez will want to show Sir Alex exactly what he missed out on and undervalued. There will be goals; both sides know how to score, some are predicting a draw, I on the other hand am predicting the outlandish notion that City will win. Go big or go home.
Prediction: Man City 3 – 2 Man Utd

Tottenham V Chelsea
With Arsenal losing on Wednesday and Manchester drawing with Blackburn last weekend, Chelsea are looking like the top dogs at the moment. But they shouldn’t become too complacent, especially with this fixture looming. London bragging rights are up for grabs and Spurs would love to extinguish Chelsea’s title chances (they do still have to play Utd). After dispatching with the Gunners in emphatic fashion during the week, they will look to carve out another decisive win against Chelsea. The Blues, however can taste the title and have won their last five matches. Ancelotti will want to stamp Chelsea’s authority all over this game, but I think with have problems with a buoyant and confident Spurs side. Like Chelsea, their destiny is in their hands and Redknapp will want them to cease it with gusto. Defoe has been quiet of late and he needs to play a role for them to win. It will be an energetic and hard affair, with tackles flying in left and right; Chelsea with go into the match already knowing the result of the Manchester derby; and this could play a part. Tottenham at the Lane could throw a spanner in the works for Chelsea, it’s a long shot but they just might do it!!
Prediction: Tottenham 2 – 1 Chelsea

Fulham V Wolves
The wind has been knocked out of Fulham’s league matches of late, confirming that Europe is their real priority and with the first leg of their semi-final against Hamburg happening next week, they won’t want to risk much here. Having said that they haven’t been too shabby at home this season either, beating Utd and Liverpool at Craven Cottage, so it wont be easy for Mick McCarthy’s Wolves. Wolves are looking to secure Premier League status for next season and points are paramount. They will be playing for and out and out win, but I think they lack the ability to get it against Hodgson’s Fulham.
Prediction: Fulham 1 -1 Wolves

Blackburn V Everton
Blackburn’s Ewood Park is a fortress, they haven’t lost there since December, although this will be interesting as it pits two of the Premiership current form teams against each other. They are unbeaten in their last eight home games and this has included the likes of Man Utd and Chelsea. Although they are safely confined to mid-table grandeur, each league position is worth half a million quid at the end of the season, so there is an incentive not to rest on ones laurels. Everton have draw their past three matches, an annoying habit for all and Moyes will want to see this eradicated. Disappointingly Arteta looks to be sidelined with an injury, but Everton still have able bodies upfront, Saha has 15 goals this season. All the facts point to a draw, but I think the determined Blues will carve out a win, it wont be pretty, but beauty isn’t everything.
Prediction: Blackburn 1 – 2 Everton

Wigan V Arsenal
Wigans season has soured and they have only won two of their last fourteen Premier League games but they still can rally and maintain their topflight status, they need points and their last outing against Portsmouth only provided them with one. Arsenal’s season is shot in terms of silverware, oh what a different picture it may have been in Van Persie had be fit. I am sure Wenger will want his team to play and win in a true professional manner, but the heads of some may have already dropped; a perfect opportunity for Roberto Martinez’ Wigan. Tough one to call: it may be the Van Persie show and they could blaze through Wigan with ease, or it could be a lack luster performance from The Gunners and Wigan take advantage. I will go for the latter.
Prediction: Wigan 1 – 0 Arsenal

Liverpool V West Ham Utd (Monday)
What to do with that increasing change jar that you are accumulating? That eternal question: well, one answer is to buy Liverpool Football Club, that today went up for sale. A few former owners and lots of potential with a rich history of success, it may not be a bad investment prospect??? Liverpool have their Europa League semi-final to consider this week and this could lead Rafa to leave Torres on the bench with his troublesome knee. However, The Reds have to win all their remaining games if they stand a chance to clinching that all important fourth spot, they are unbeaten in their last nine home games as well. Zola and the Hammers have shown a resilient turn of fortune in April that has seen them crane their necks above the dreaded relegation zone. Safety and Premiership survival is his and the clubs main concern. A trip to Anfield will not help matters though.
Prediction: Liverpool 2 – 0 West Ham

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