1) 12:45 kick off. Stoke vs West Ham. If it wasnt for Stoke’s late late winner on monday night against Aston Villa, these 2 teams would still be looking for their first victories of the Barclays Premier League Season. However that is not the case anymore with Stoke’s vital win and so the Hammers are now the only team to not have a point on the board this season. And to rub insult to injury, their manager is away because of religious reasons. Mind you, he doesn’t do much while his around to inspire his players to a win. 4 played. 4 lost. 12 conceded. 1 scored. Does not read well on West Ham’s part. Putting ALL of that to 1 side, I can somehow actually see West Ham getting a point at the Brittania. It sounds ridiculous but with Grant not there, the Hammers players might think that they have some ability to roam rather than stay as rigid as Grant tells them to stick at. 2-2.
15:00. Aston Villa vs Bolton. Bolton are my darkhorses to sneak into the top 8 this season and replace Villa, as one of the top 8 sides. And on balance so far, I think they’ve had a very good start. Draws against Bolton and Birmingham were very good performances and they showed a touch of class aginst West Ham, brushing them aside 3-1. Adefeat at Arsenal by four goals to one was the least they deserved as they were level with 20 minutes to go and I think when the second goal went in they probably realised it was going to be very tough to get back. Villa, the last game in charge for caretaker manager Kevin McDonald who, as much as I like the guy, I really don’t think is quite the managing material, especially the first team. Having said that, Houllier is not what I’d call a brilliant choice. Bolton could be a very difficult team to beat this season and even though it is McDonald’s final game at the helm, I can see Bolton winning this, 1-2.
15:00. Blackburn vs Fulham. Mark Hughes going back to his old club. Not much I can say that interests me about this game really except for the fact that this week Blackburn Manager Sam Allardyce released a statement saying his style of managing would be better suited to a team such as the stature of Real Madrid or Inter Milan. I’d like to see what Mr Mourinho had to say about that having been at both clubs. Getting back to the match itself. Madrid Manager or not Sam makes Ewood Park a terrificly tough place to go and Fulham on their travels are one of the worst in the league. 2-0.
Everton Newcastle. Both had 2 completely different sides of the pancake last week. Everton looked to be beaten with 2 minutes to go when they scored twice to unbelievably salvage a point from a dead situation. Newcastle, on the other hand, thought they should put 2 or 3 past blackpool last weekend. What actually happened was, Gilks in the Blackpool goal had a fine game and Blackpool came out 2-0 winners. Both I can see coming in and around eighth to fifteenth. Here I am going to go for a 1-1 draw and that should be seen as 2 points dropped for Moyes,still without a win this season, and a valuable point for Chris Hughton’s side.
15:00. Tottenham vs Wolves. I am off to this game this afternoon and as a Spurs fan ,I of course want to see a Tottenham victory. And losing to Wigan last weekend should wake them up to the realisation that any side can beat them. As I have a Home Season ticket I will be at every Home game, and being at the Wigan game there were no real encouraging signs. Spurs players, if they see the Champions League as a bigger chance than the Premier League, which I dont think it is, but if they do look at it that way, they should look the the PL games to show Redknapp what they can do. So far though it seems like they look at them as a chance to rest. I’m gald spurs have had a fairely timid fixture list to start the season because otherwise I could see us in all sorts of trouble. McCarthy’s side has been criticised in recent weeks for dirty and foul play. Especially comments coming fro Arsene Wenger or as he is now refered to as Arsene Winger’s mouth. I still can’t see how Wolves are going to keep themselves above the relegation zone with the size of the squad they have. I believe only West Brom, Wigan and Blackpool have thinner squads. And the way Wanderers are looking to play, kick people out of the game, then they could be paying the price with suspensions come the end of the season. For now though I will go for Wolves to hold a Champions League hungover Spurs. 1-1.
15:00. West Brom vs Birmingham. In my eyes a regular contest between two sides who will not be near the top but near the bottom come the end of the season but in the Midlands it mean alot. West Brom will rely souly on there Home form this season to keep them up and even that I dont think will compensate to them staying up. Birmingham have made a promising start to the season with a win over Blackburn and draws at Sunderland,Bolton and recently last week a home draw to Liverpool which they easily could have won if it wasn’t Reina who was in such fine form. A very hard one to call this, I wouldn’t be suprised with any outcome but for arguments sake I am going to go for a West Bromich Albion victory by a goal to nil. Albion need to pick up points against teams around them and I think this could be one of those games.
17:30: Sunderland vs Arsenal: Arsenal, not having won at the Stadium of Light since the 2007/08 season, they find it a tough place to go in recent times. There a much stronger team this year and instead of looking like they will beat teams 1 or 2 nil and then turn off the gas they are going for more goals and have hit 16 goals in their last 3 games. I expect them to finally get over their hoodoo of Sunderland and beat them although I think it will be a tight game. A Fabregas brace and I think Wilkshere may net one and Arsenal pick up the victory all be it having to work but in the end being victorius, 1-3.
13:30. Man United vs Liverpool. Definately the game that is atrracting attention this week is the Derby between the two teams in Red. In previous years, the last 4 or 5 atleast, Liverpool have done a fairely good job at Old Trafford and I have plucked up the courage to say that they will get something here. United have dropped silly points at Fulham and Everton, conceding late goals. However, United lost to Fulham and Everton last season so if you look at individual results, they have had a good start to the season. It’s just that everyone looks at the fact that they have only picked up 2 points from there 2 away games . I don’t think Ferguson is worried at the moment because he knows Chelsea have not had a test and will still have to wait beyond this week-end to find out what happens when they do come up against a challenging opposition. Arsenal must be playing tricks with Fergie’s mind though, playing teams like Blackburn and Bolton and winning, things they wernt doing last year, atleast not with a vaness. Liverpool are a tough team to make out at this stage. They played well against Arsenal and should have won. And di a good job in the Europa Cup. There other 3 matches though have not been convincing by any stretch. Thrashed by City, scrapped and clawed against West Brom and were murdered last time out against Birmingham. I still think Anfield is in shock of how they got a point out of that game because they brought nothing to the encounter. Torres has scored a goal but been terrificly unenthuised so far this season and has to come out of his shell at one point. I think this could be the game. 1-1
15:00. Wigan vs Man City. City have struggled this season so afr, and I would say this could be one of Mancini’s last straws if he is beaten here at the DW Stadium. I think he will win, my prediction is a City Victory and that may take the pressure off Mancini inside the City Camp. But the rest of England will still be keeping a close eye on him as Wigan is one of the easiest away trips of the season and people will still look back at the last few games and think, ” got demoralised at spurs but held on, got beat by Sunderland and held by Blackburn, not a great manager”. Wigan are the most up and down side of them all. I’m still not convinced by Martinez, although he did keep them up last season and they really didnt have any match winners in their team. Wigan are a great example that smaller clubs can stay in the Premier League for long periods of time. This is their 6th season which is a great achievement for them, that said I think this could be their last. My prediction is a City win like I said earlier. 0-3
16:00. Chelsea vs Blackpool: “Good Luck”. That’s all I can say to Ian Holloway ahead of this clash. On paper the best team in the league comes up against, i repeat ON PAPER, the worst side. However Holloway and Blackpool have some great spirit within the team and they have shown that, especially last week after being beaten by Arsenal 6-0, they came out, and made up for the previous week by winning 2-0. That’s devotion to the fans. I love the way Holloway is and how he keeps reminding everyone that it will be a “miracle” if he and the team stay up trying to underestimate the possibility that there is a chance he could do it. Chelsea havn’t been tested as of so far this season but my gosh have they looked good against the opposition. Was that them being good or the other side being bad? Against Stoke, a 2-0 win looks comfortable when you look back but at 1-0 Ryan Shawcross hit the bar and if that had gone in, Stoke hold on, and get a point and all of a sudden everyone looks at Chelsea in a different light. Maybe it’s luck? You need that if your going to become Champions. As for tommorow I think this could be an absoloute rought. 7-0 Chelsea.