Premier League Preview: Week 20 (Only New Years Day Fixtures)

From now on, I will only do the Saturday fixtures as that way everyone who reads it on Friday night/Saturday Morning will be ready for the fixture list that day!

Saturday

12:45: West Brom vs Manchester United. Brummy wouldn’t have wanted the post christmas that they have had so far. 2 games, 2 defeats. They’ve shipped 5 goals and only score 1. Going to Bolton is a tough ask and so you can see how they were defeated there. However, their defeat against Blackburn is worrying. Rovers are awful on the road and so to concede 3 against them is very worrying indeed. I can’t see how, after shipping a set-piece created goal early on in the game, they seemed to not be able to defend the second set-piece that Rovers got. And this is just the match that they wouldn’t have wanted. Albion need a win. So the side that you don’t want to face, is a side that hasn’t lost since the spring of 2010, in the prem, which is quite incredible when you think about it. United will be disapointed after not holding on against Birmingham but they are top with a couple of games in hand at the top of the table. Fergie would have taken that on August 10t I can see this being a definate United win. 1-3.

15:00: Liverpool vs Bolton. How do you describe Liverpool’s performance on Monday night? I don’t want to just go over what everybody else has said as I know everyone has heard how horrific they were. I watched the last 20 minutes of the game but also sore the highlights on Match of the Day and to me it just seemed that Roy Hodgson had no clue whatsoever. He’ll be gone by the end of January in my opinion which is a shame because I thought he could stabilise the club when he came in. That just proves, in my opinion, that Roy was a one hit wonder at Fulham. His track record isn’t great if you take out his time at Craven Cottage. Poor at Blackburn and Liverpool. Did OK, I suppose at Inter, but that’s simply not good enough record to manage Liverpool FC. Bolton were seriously unlucky to come away from Stamford Bridge with nothing. They played just aswell as Sunderland did when they went to the Bridge but it’s just that on that day everything went in, and on Wednesday, nothing went in. It’s the way it goes sometimes in football. I think Bolton will tear Liverpool apart and this will be Hodgson’s first, and last game, managing Liverpool in 2011. 0-4.

15:00: Manchester City vs Blackpool. City demolished Aston Villa in mid-week but this is a very poor Villa side and lets be honest, when the Arab-run company went 3 up before the half hour mark, Villa gave up. A hat-trick for Mario Balotelli will give him confidence, not that he needs it. I can see that he has tremendous talent and believes in himeslf hugely. Maybe a little too much. His like an even lazier version of Dimitar Berbatov but he has more skill than Berbatov when his not sulking or moaning about being booked. What words can I use to describe Blackpool’s run over the last 5 games? Incredible. 4 of their last 5 games have been away and yet they’ve won 2 of them, at Stoke and most recently Sunderland, and drawn 2, at West Ham and Bolton. The other match was at home to Wolves which they won which means out of a possible 15 points from their last 5 games , they have picked up 11. That’s astonishing for a side who wasn’t even tipped to get 11 points come the end of the season. An Unbeleievable win at Sunderland, 2-0, just proves what great team spirit they do have within the club. Who’d have thought that the 1st team to beat Sunderland in the Premier League this season, would be Blackpool! Arsenal, United and City, all go and fail but Blackpool do the impossible, AGAIN! They’ll get hammered here though, unfortunately. 5-1.

15:00: Stoke vs Everton. What happened to Stoke at the Brittania on Tuesday?! Beaten 2-0 by Fulham. Yes, Chris Baird did strike the ball beautifully twice but even so, they had 80 minutes to rectify it and didn’t really threaten by what I’ve seen from the match. Still, Tony will gather his players round and fully pick them up for this game as it is a one that they will look to win, despite Everton, on paper, probably being the slight favourites although I think the draw will be a strong favourite for the booky’s. Everton would have looked to go to Upton Park and pick up all 3 points. As it is, they had to settle for 1. But they quite easily could have knicked it. David Moyes would have quite happily taken 4 points from the games against Man City and West Ham however after beating City, you would have wanted to beat bottom of the league West Ham. None the less, this will be a hard fought contest with Everton coming out as winners. 0-1.

15:00: Sunderland vs Blackburn. These 2 sides were probably expecting completely different results last time out. Sunderland, feeling they could beat Blackpool, were unfairely beaten 2-0. And Blackburn went to the Hawthorns off the back of a 2-0 thrashing at home by Stoke. In saying that, they went to Brummy, scored 3 goals, and ended the match, strolling to victory by 3 goals to 1. So, Sunderland will want to revive their form and Blackburn will look to continue or at least try and put a streak together off the back of the win in the black country. Sunderland have only lost once at home this season, and that number was 0 before the Blackpool game. So they won’t lose here but will the win? Yes. 2-0.

15:00: Tottenham vs Fulham. Spurs are in with a great shout of temporarily going joint 3rd with Arsenal at the week-end, even if it is only for a couple of hours. I hope they do win the title, not just because I’m a Tottenham fan, but also because the Barclays Premier League has become stale in the last 15 to 20 years. It’s the same 3, every year and so somebody else winning it will do the league good aswell as Spurs. I know City are also a new side but they have bought their way to the top which probably wouldn’t be as good for football as it is if the League title comes to White Hart Lane. Fulham got their biggest win since the Europa League semi-final second leg back in April, with the win over Stoke at the Brittania. Chris Baird can hit a ball can’t he? Jesus! They still, though, have an awful away record and going to the Brittania and going to White Hart Lane, is a different spectacle. Fulham handled Stoke’s direct approach but they won’t be able to contain Spurs’ superstars. 4-0.

15:00: West Ham vs Wolves. The Hammers picked up a vital win at Craven Cottage with Carlton Cole sealing the headlines with 2 goals to give his side their first victory on the road for 16 months. They then followed that up with a spirited performance at Upton Park against Everton and picked up a point to boost. Overall, a good post christmas period for the Hammers. So far anyway. Wolves were fantastic on Wednesday night and picked up their first victory at Anfield for 24 years is it? An incredible performance that was capped off by Mick saying after in the press conference that he had once got a 0-0 draw with Barnsley, at Anfield, many years ago. Thanks for that information Mick. Bottom vs second bottom. It shouldn’t be a classic by any stretch of the imagination as both teams will not want to lose. A crunch game, a 6 pointer every day of the week and one that I believe Wolves will win, however it’s incredibly hard to predict and could go either way. 1-2.

17:30: Birmingham vs Arsenal. Alex McLeish’s side were in jubilation, as well as their fans when they salvaged a late point against the Premier League leaders Manchester United which is a terrific point although the way that they went about getting that valuable point is less than admirable. I love Alex McLeish’s style of managing. Especially as he realises, that he doesn’t have the best bunch of players and probably has one of the 3 worst squads in the Prem however he sets out his side in a way where you have to break through them in order to win. But it was too negative on Wednesday. No threat. They came for a point. You could tell. They defended the whole game and only attacked when they were behind but I guarantee you, had they scored 10 minutes earlier, they would have once again, sat back before the game came to a close. Arsenal rested 8 players at the DW Stadium and payed the price as they dropped 2 valuable points in the race for the title. That is Wenger all over. That’s Arsenal all over. They beat Chelsea convincingly but then drop points against Wigan. He just won’t learn will he? I think they will drop points here. 1-1.

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Premier League Preview: Week 18

As I didn’t do a preview last weekend as there were only 2 games on in the premier league and so I didn’t see the need to do a preview, just for those 2 matches. However for this week, I thought i would do the Boxing Day games. I was going to do the 28th/29th of December games but I can’t predict those games now because they haven’t played the game before hand. Anyway, here is my Boxing Day Preview

Sunday: Boxing Day
12:00: Fulham vs West Ham. As it’s now the second half of the seaon, I can now start to look back on the result between 2 sides when they first met at the start of the season. So I will do that in this case. It was a solid match when Fulham and the Hammers met at Upton Park earlier on in the season. It came out as a 1-1 with Clint Dempsey putting past Robert Green again and bringing back the nightmares. I can see that happening again you know. At least, I would be able to see that coming if Fulham could score a bloody goal! I mean, 3 goals in more than 500 minutes is unacceptable to a side that set aims at the start of the season, of finishing in the top 10. West Ham were 1 of 4 teams to play their match at the week-end and drew to Blackburn. They could have won but then agin, could have lost. They need a win, and that was their opportunity against a side who had had a reckless week. Both sides are struggling for goals from open play so I have to go for a no score draw. 0-0

15:00: Blackburn vs Stoke. First of all Stoke will be safe by the end of the season and should be realisticly looking at a 9th-14th placed finish which will please Tony Pulis as a side like Stoke’s priority should be to turn them into a Blackburn and make themselves a regular, slip off the tongue, Prem side. Now, Blackburn, Blackburn, Blackburn. In my opinion there are 2 ways that you can take the sacking of Sam Allardyce. 1) You see the positive that now you might actually play some attractive footy. Or 2) You are in with a shot of going down now Allardyce has gone. I look at both and I’m on the side of option number 2. Blackburn fans have to accept the fact that they will never be a Tottenham or Arsenal, playing free flowing, attacking football. Becuase they don’t have the players to do it. And they never will unless they get taken over by an Arab. So they have to take it that, no matter what football they play, it keeps them in the top league. I think Stoke will nick this. 0-1.

15:00: Blackpool vs Liverpool. This reverse fixture was a day to remember for Blackpool as they won at Anfield by 2 goals to 1 in a tremendous day for the Tangerine army. Liverpool will really want this game to go ahead and more than Liverpool, Hodgson himself will want this game to go ahead despite the snow because the rumours of Rafa Beintez returning to the Reds and replacing his replacer, will put a lot of pressure onto Roy. He will want this victory more than anything. If it does go ahead, which I happen to think it won’t. But if it does, it won’t be easy by any stretch for Liverpool as they have a poor defence and Blackpool have a tremendous attacking threat. I can see this being a Blackpool win again you know. 2-1 to the Tangerine Army!

15:00: Bolton vs West Brom. Bolton are in form depsite their loss to Sunderland last week-end and will see this as a game where they can freely score goals which is a complement to how much Owen Coyle has improved the side. West Brom, however, will also go there with the mentality that they will try and win the game despite being the underdogs. Di Matteo will not go for a draw by any stretch of the imagination and so I can see a free scoring match. Bolton have a bit more quality upfront though with Elmander and Davies, with the added substitute of Ivan Klasnic, those 3 can be quite a force. 3-2 Wanderers.

15:00: Everton vs Birmingham. As I expected, Moysey lifts his side for another big game, and what a time to do it too. With City on the rocks from the Tevez situation, the Toffees took full advantage and in the first half, dismantled City like they were above them in the league. That sort of performance will egt them, once again, back in the top 7 and I still believe they will accomplish that. Birmingham are a bit wobbly as they can’t score goals. Zigic and McFadden just aren’t lethal enough, and although Cameron Jerome is a decent, 10 goal a season striker, he won’t score you any more than that. They rely on the likes of Bowyerand Larsson to score the goals which is a worry. This is a tricky one as Everton are awful at Goodison at the moment. But they should find goals from somewhere. 2-0 Toffees.

15:00: Manchester United vs Sunderland. Everton helped out United big time on Monday. Fergie’s side will get an extra boost over Christmas knowing they are top of the league, and that they will only improve come the new year. Sunderland have been given a huge boost with the win over Bolton. That’s a massive win and Steve Bruce will be telling his players now, that they can’t get overconfident and carried away because they still aren’t a huge gulf of talent away from being in the bottom half of the table so they can’t afford to get too compacent. United will win this one but possibly not easily. 2-1.

15:00: Newcastle vs Manchester City. This is Alan Pardew’s first big test with City coming to town. It will be really tough to get anything here as the Jordies defending isn’t great to say the least and we all know about Manchester City’s attacking threat with players that include Adam Johnson, Yaya Toure, David Silva, Mario Balotelli, James Milner and of course the recently ended saga that surrounded City’s main threat, Carlos Tevez. Newcastle were robbed last game against the light blue side with the toon army not being awarded a blatent penalty and conceded a penalty that never was. This fixture at Eastlands earlier this season ened 2-1 but the main headline was that horror tackle by Nigel de Jong that broke Hatem Ben Arfa’s leg. That was an awful scene. Another hard one to call. 1-3 City.

15:00: Wolves vs Wigan Athletic. Wigan are so up and down it’s ridiculous. They could win here 3-0 but they could quite easily lose by the same margine. I never know how to predict Wigan matches. They’ve taken points off of Liverpool, Tottenham and Everton but have been beaten by West Ham, Blackburn and Fulham. Wolves need to climb out of the relegation zone as quick as possible. You could see it coming because they relied so much on Kevin Doyle last year and if he wasn’t firing on all cylinder’s this campaign, they would always be in trouble. That theary has now come to tuition. This looks like it should be a draw but I think Wolves just want this one a bit more. 1-0 to McCarthy’s men.

17:30: Aston Villa vs Tottenham.This encounter was an absoloute cracker earlier on in the season with 3 goals split 2-1 with Spurs coming out on top. Villa arguably deserved something from that game and so have revenge to take on the Yid army. But Tottenham will not lay down and die by any means and I fancy them for this one as they will look upon this game as they would against sides such as Stoke, Blackburn, Fulham, Birmingham etc as that is how bad Villa are playing at the moment. Tottenham have Villa away and then 2 home games against Newcastle and Fulham. Spurs fans, including myself will look too take 9 points out of those 3 games, well, at least 7. I said I fancied Tottenham and in hynesight I do. But this is Tottenham and you can never trust them with results that you expect them to get! Ah, hard one, draw or win for spurs? 2-3 Tottenham

Monday: 27th December
20:00: Arsenal vs Chelsea. This is a real mouthwatering match. Arsenal played really well, and possession wise, dominated Chelsea at The Bridge earlier on in the season however possession counts for nothing when you lose 2-0 which they did. It is vitally important to Wenger’s side that they score goals in this game and don’t try to walk the ball into the net which they do the majority of the time when they face the sides such as Tottenham, Man United and Chelsea. You cannot do that against the big teams because they will just take the ball off of you. Chelsea haven’t won since they beat Fulham in October. They need to rectify that run immediately if they are to even challenge for the title in this 2010/11 season. United are always better than Chelsea in the New Year and although history shouldn’t be looked at and comapred to the present, I do think that will continue this year. So Chelsea need a really good Christmas period. Mouthwatering, jawdropping, but a draw! 1-1.

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Premier League Preview: Week 17

I won’t be doing Manchester United vs Arsenal preview as it is the Monday Night game, despite it being a huge encounter but I will go for a United win anyway. 2-1 to the Red Devils.

Saturday

15:00: Aston Villa vs West Brom. This is without doubt, Gerard Houllier’s defining game. If they lose this, Villa fans will start to turn on the manager. He has only picked up 2 league wins and they were against Wolves and a reserve Blackpool side so he is struggling to settle in to life back in the Premier League. I was backing Houllier as I thought he could turn it around however, now, with him losing to Birmingham and Liverpool in very average manners, I can’t see any spark in the side. West Brom on the other hand, are on the up. With League wins over Newcastle and Everton, and scoring 7 goals in they process, they are doing terrific and playing birlliant football in the process. Peter Odemwingie at the heart of the side, scoring 2 more goals in their 3-1 victory against Newcastle, is a very promising talent. I think this will be tight but I’m going to go for a suprise Albion win. 1-2

15:00: Everton vs Wigan. Everton redeemed themselves after a terrible 4-1 defeat at home to Albion, they got a great point against Chelsea and you could tell by David Moyes’ interview after the game that he knew his side should have won. That’s how bad Chelsea are playing at the moment, the fact that sides like Everton “should” be winning at Stamford Bridge is incredible when you think that 6 weeks ago, it would be a good performance if you got beat by Chelsea 2-0. Wigan endured a thriller with Stoke last week-end! Everyone, myself included, expected that game to have no more than a goal, but a 2-2 draw was nothing short of entertainment. However, Wigan need to turn those draws into wins to get out of the bottom 3. Both sides will look for wins here but I will go for a draw. 1-1.

15:00: Fulham vs Sunderland. Fulham really have to start worrying about their position in the table. They don’t have anybody that can score goals, at least not until Zamora returns. Dempsey has stepped up to the plate and Diomansy Kamara looked sharp against Arsenal but he still didn’t convert his 3 1 on 1 opportunity’s. Sunderland were certainely not at their best last week-end against the Hammers but they got the win, and as I’ve said many times, ” That’s what good sides do”. I think that a downfall for Steve Bruce’s side would have been if they went on a carling cup run. That definately would have effected their form in the Prem but they haven’t, which I think is a good thing for them. This will be tight so unfortunately, I may have to go for another draw. 1-1.

15:00: Stoke vs Blackpool. Stoke were involed in a very good game against Wigan last time out , in which they will probably be happy with a draw from although they could have quite easily nicked it. They look like they are going to have another “mid-table” season. By that I mean, 9th-14th. Boring for the fans? I think they would take it over being in a relegation scrap. Blackpool’s game was called off thanks to the fact that they cannot afford to buy undersoil heating which sounds ridiculous, they’re a Premier League club! Some League 1 sides have undersoil heating but none the less. It will effect them and they might be slow out of the blocks as they haven’t played for 2 weeks. I’ll go for a Blackpool win here as they seem to be amazing away from home. 1-2.

15:00: West Ham vs Manchester City. West Ham were beaten once again at the Stadium of Light and the scoreline didn’t reflect the game because they just didn’t pose any attacking threat whatsoever. I’d have David N’Gog over Carlton Cole every day of the week at the moment. Cole looks so disinterested, it would be a good deal to sell Cole for around 3 million quid in the January Transfer Window. Manchester City are showing that they COULD be title contenders, come the end of the season with another victory at home to Bolton. However, let me say ask you this as this is why I think they will struggle this season. Who scored for City against Bolton? Who is City’s top scorer so far this season? Who can’t play this week-end because it’s against his former club? Who is the only scorer that frequently nets for City? I rest my case. 2-2.

17:30: Newcastle vs Liverpool. What the hell is going on at Newcaslte! I don’t like to talk about the big matter of the week on this blog because I knew the people who read this know what happened, and what I will think about it. But I’m sorry, sacking Chris Hughton after he has got them up to 12th. People’s argument is, ” But they are 4 points from the relegation zone so saying they are 12th, doesn’t tell the real story”. That is a load of bull****. If he doesn’t get credit for getting them to 12th then Grant shouldn’t get cristicism for being bottom because he is only in 3 points off getting out of the relegation zone. Not much has happened to Liverpool. They did a job against Villa but they were facing a very poor side. I can see this being a Newcastle win and prove everyone wrong that Pardew is not a “terrible” manager liek people have said. 2-1 Jordies.

13:30: Bolton vs Blackburn. This is a pretty straight forward result for me to be honest but I’ll get to that in a minute. Bolton put up a good fight against City but didn’t get anything and got out of jail with the amount of goals they conceded. Still , that’s another attribute they have added. They may play poor, but they can hang in the game and had a couple of chances to criminally knick a point. Blackburn are just like Stoke. They won’t get into Europe, but they won’t be relegated. A bit boring really. They bounced back really well after the defeat to United 7-1. To score 3 goals against any team is a good feat for Rovers and it put a smile back on Allardyce’s face. That didn’t reflect the game and I actually thought Wolves deserved a point but thanks to Robinson they won the game, unbelievably, 3-0. This is straight forward for me. Bolton play great football, but can still outmuscle any side in the league so I will go for a Bolton win. 3-1 Wanderers.

13:30: Wolves vs Birmingham. Wolves were unlucky to be beaten by 3 goals against Rovers. It’s usually Blackburn on the wrong end of not scoring goals but it was the boys in gold on the wrong end of it last week-end. Birmingham battled back to produce a very decent second half performance against Spurs after they were terrible in the first half and just let Spurs dominate which you cannot afford to do considering the form that Spurs are in. They will want to win this and they definately have the resources to but I can see this being another draw. It will be a drawing wee-end in the Prem! 2-2.

Tottenham vs Chelsea. Spurs were in another amazing match in Europe in mid-week. Only, will you find a Champions League, 3-3 draw in the group stages when it is a so called “dead rubber” match. Tottenham had a secondary team out against Twente though so it didn’t show the real Spurs with no Modric, Van der Vaart and Huddlestone. They will score atleast 2 here, like they always do! But then again they will at least concede one aswell! Great to watch though, dare I say it, the best team to watch in the Prem! Chelsea were beaten AGAIN in mid-week but it was a dead rubber, so, you can’t really take any knowledge of Chelsea’s form, from that game. But they were very poor against Everton so you can take something from that. They now have gotten 2 points from 4 games in the Premier League which is just not on if you want to win the league. And they are teams that they should beat aswell when you look at the games against Birmingham, Sunderland, Newcastle and Everton. I will go for a Spurs win ehre as I don’t really know how to predict it so I will go on form basis. 2-1 Spurs.

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Premier League Preview: Week 16

Apologies for not doing one last week but it was a lot to ask, to do it all as I only remembered that I hadn’t done it early Saturday morning and so I didnt have the time to release one. Anyway here is Week 16 Preview with some really great matches on the card. From now, I won’t be doing the Monday matches as I just want to do the matches that are played in the week-end as I have a chance to see all of those games. However I will just give you my prediction on the Monday Night fixture but not a preview of it. So this week it’s Liverpool vs Villa and I will go for a Villa win, 1-3.
Saturday

15:00: Arsenal vs Fulham, After Arsenals 2 defeats against Spurs and Braga, they seemed to be back on track with wins against, first Aston Villa and secondly, they reached a semi-final of the Carling Cup after a 2-0 win over Wigan, in a match they probably should have scored atleast 5 in. The Gunners now have a real chance of winning the Carling Cup and getting over that hoodoo of not having won a trophy in 6 years. That would be big for them, and their fans despite it only being a Carling Cup. Fulham were forgotten about last weekend because there were 42 goals in the Prem, and only 2 at Craven Cottage, it wasn’t taken any notic of. However Mark Hughes must be starting to worry that his side cannot seem to win games and they currently sit 17th in the table, just 1 point from the relegation zone. Fulham don’t have any attacking threat so Arsenal will win this and I think they could enialate them. 5-0.

15:00: Birmingham vs Tottenham. Birmingham got through to the semi-finals of the Carling Cup on Wednesday and will now think that with a 2 legged tie against West Ham, they can win it and reach a Cup final at Wembley.Tottenham had the best week, possibly in their history with getting over the fact that they hadn’t beaten a “big four” club in 17 years by defeating Arsenal from 2 goals down at the Emirates. They then thumped Werder Bremen in mid-week to win progression to the last 16 of the competition. And to top off a very memorable week, Aarron Lennon scored a late winner as Spurs fought off a battling Liverpool to win 2-1. A hard week. Will that effect them against Birmingham. I hope not. 1-2 Spurs.

15:00: Blackburn vs Wolves. The less said about Blackburn last time out, the better. After it got to 4-0, Blackburn just layed down and died, Sam sore that as an opportunity to put his younger players on, which I don’t think the Rovers fans would be to pleased with considering, conceding more goals will just humiliate them even more. Still, it’s a new week and Blackburn will want to get a win in the bag and forget about the trip to Old Trafford. Wolves can thank Sylvain Ebanks Blake for picking up a victory against Sunderland by 3 goals to 2 as he scored a late winner to get them their first points in 5 games. I think on the back of that, Wanderers will pick up a valuable point. 1-1.

15:00: Chelsea vs Everton. Chelsea were held, again last week-end at a snowy Tyneside but they should have won if it wasn’t for an awful defensive lapse between goalkeeper Petr Cech and Alex. Just not what Ancelotti wanted when his defenders were already being criticised by the media. This match up will be no easy task for The Blues, especially as their last 3 home matches have been Zilina,Sunderland and Fulham, winning 2 of them but not playing well in any. Everton were completely outclassed against West Brom. There is no excuse for any side in the Premier League to concede 4 goals at home. The only silver lining for this game is that their is no pressure on David Moyes, there is never pressure on any manager going to Stamford Bridge. Had Everton been playing a weaker side, David Moyes would have so much pressure on his shoulders but here he doesn’t. A very unpredictable one considering nobody knows what Chelsea side will turn up. I’m going to go for a Chelsea win though. 2-0.

15:00: Manchester City vs Bolton. Man City cruised through to the last 32 of the Uefa Cup on Thrusday against Salzburg but then again you would expect them to considering this season they should already be a Champions League side. In theory, City should win the Europa Cup but that’s not always the nature of football now is it. Bolton showed great charachter to fight from 2 goals down to earn a point against Blackpool last Saturday at The Reebok. Also, how much quality of football was involved in that 2nd Bolton goal scored by Mark Davies! Sensational goal, one the Pepe Guardiola and Barcelona would have been proud of. The transition that Owen Coyle has made is one that no one predicted……..well except me as I did say they would have a top 8 finish! Just check my pre-season Preview! I think Bolton have enough quality to score goals and force a point at Eastlands. 2-2.

15:00: Wigan vs Stoke. Wigan were awful against West Ham on Saturday. When a team like West Ham is playing so poorely defensively, atleast test their defence. Roberto Martinez set his side up like he wanted a draw and against bottom of the league, that’s ridicoulously negative. Stoke got what they deserved against Manchester City. If you argue with that statement then it would have to be that Stoke maybe deserved the win but being 1-0 down with 93 minutes played, I think they would have taken a point at that point. Finally some luck as come Tony Pulis’ way which is pleasing to see. Both sides will be very grateful for a victory here and don’t want to lose it so it could get very cagey. 1 goal will win this game and I think Wigan will get that goal, 1-0 Wigan.

17:30: Blackpool vs Manchester United. Blackpool gave as good as they got against Bolton and they just couldn’t hold out for a win. Most managers would tell their players to shut up shop once they go 2-0 up after constantely losing leads slip, but Holloway won’t because he wants to stay up playing attacking football or go down playing attacking football. Becoming a defensive side just isn’t in his nature and so far it’s working. I love Iam, his a great charachter to the Premier League and it would be sad to see him leave if they go back down so I hope, just for entertainment’s sake, he stays. Man Utd finally gave what everybody in the country had been waiting for, a great performance, aswell as the result too boost. 7-1 is a great turning point for Ferguson, Phelan and all of the players. Dimitar played well when he scored 5 goals, they were all fairely average goals, with the exception of the 2nd one, but he still needed to be their for the other 4 so he did put in a good strikers performance. I think Blackpool could pick a point up here. 1-1.

Sunday

13:30: West Brom vs Newcastle. Both of these sides would have been pleased with their results last week-end. West Brom demolished Everton 4-1 at Goodison Park, meanwhile the next day Newcastle frustrated the Champions as Tyneside sore the black and white army, see out a 1-1 draw against Chelsea. Newcastle would have felt they could have won the game but would have not been dissappointed with a draw. Albion showed real encouraging signs with 2 spectacular goals. Chris Brunt and Tchoi scored 2 very good goals and contributed well to their thumping win. I can see this being a very close derby encounter as both teams will want to win the game, so I can see goals. I don’t want to say it will be another draw but it could well be, but just in hope that one side wins, I’ll go for an Albion win. 3-1.

16:00: Sunderland vs West Ham. Sunderland were beaten by a late winner at Molineaux. With the form Sundrland have been on, you would not have expected them to be beaten by any side in the bottom half, let alone bottom 3. In saying that, they will want to pick themselves up for this match against West Ham who are the only team to sit below Wolves. Ironic. The Black Cats have incredible attacking threat with Gyan, Bent and Welbeck all on form. They will definately score in this match. West Ham beat Manchester United 4-0 on Tuesday to reach their first League Cup semi-final in 20 years. For that I congratulate them, even if it was a second string United side, the Hammers needed a win against anyone and so they will be grateful for that. They also picked up a valuable win before that against a poor Wigan side and so are playing better, not great, but better. However Sunderland have only lost once at home this season however West Hams tails are up. 2-3 West Ham.

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Premier League Preview: Week 14

Saturday

12:45: Arsenal vs Tottenham. Arsenal gave a professional performance against Everton and deserved the victory. However at home they are a different side, because they can’t seem to break down teams when they play 10-men behind the ball. But Spurs won’t do that. Because if they want to be regarded as a top Premier League side then they have to go and throw men forward. But at the same time you have to frustrate Arsenal. That’s the only way you beat them. So Harry has to get the right discipline and mentality in the side in order for them to come away from the North London Derby with something. I for one, am really looking forward to the game and it should be a lively affair with both teams upbeat after their victorys last weekend against Everton and Blackburn respectively. I can’t see Spurs being able to cope with Arsenal’s passing although I think it could be a tight game. 1-0 Arsenal.

15:00: Birmingham vs Chelsea. Birmingham should be proud of themselves that they held out at the City of Manchester Stadium last Saturday however they are bonus games, as is this one, but the games that they needed to get victory’s in were the Bolton,West Brom,Stoke etc in which, out of those 4, they picked up 2 points which isn’t enough. Chelsea were dumbfounded when they were absoloutely thrashed at the Bridge by Sunderland. I mean, what happened? I can’t believe that they are blaming Ray Wilkins departure as an excuse. No, they should have won, full stop. This is a chance for them to put it right though, and I think they will. The table will show worrying reading for Alex McCleish, but he shouldn’t be jumping out of his trousers yet, worry come the new year if they don’t have 18 or 19 points.

15:00: Blackpool vs Wolves. The Tangerines. They battled for a point against the Hammers and to be brutally honest, that’s been the one thing that has been missing from their results and type of performances this season, a battling point against a side that will be around where they are at the end of the season. They didn’t play badly but they didn’t play their free flowing footy that Ian Holloway’s side usually play. But that’s a valuable result and the Blackpool fans will appreciate those types of results come the end of the season. Wolves were battered by Bolton. Even though they only lost the game 3-2, Bolton knew that they had the game in the bag with 20 minutes to go and if they hadn’t taken their foot off of the gas, it could have been 4 or 5 nil, let alone Wolves trying to rob Wanderers of 2 points. But they will want to come back strong. For me this is a Blackpool win but I can see it being a Wolves win or draw aswell so it is very hard to call. I’m going for a 3-2 Blackpool.

15:00: Bolton vs Newcastle. Bolton crusied to victory at Molineaux on Saturday however I believe that they will be in for a much tougher encounter when they come up against 3 very in form players for Newcastle. Andy Caroll, Joey Barton and Kevin Nolan have all been playing superbly lately and along with Caroll, Barton deserves a call up for sure. I would say Nolan too but I think he has retired from International football but I might be wrong. Owen Coyle’s side have a nack of picking points up at home but Newcastle have a nack of picking points up on the road so it should be a good match to watch. Another very tough game to have a guess at the result but I’m going to go for a suprise away win. 1-2 Newcastle.

15:00: Manchester United vs Wigan. Now, on paper this looks like a game that will be finished before half time and it will be forgotten about, come Sunday night. But United struggle against teams who, frustrate them at Old Trafford. I don’t think Wigan will be like Wolves, who gave an attacking threat. Wigan will sit back and try and hold on for a goalless draw. I don’t think that will happen because Ferguson always seems to get his side over the line, in the end. Just like they did against Wolves in the 94th minute. Wigan will not worry if they are defeated here because they got a good win last time out,and also have West Ham next week. Martinez would have looked at the start of this 3 game run for the United one as a loss and try and pull 6 points out the bag against Albion and West Ham, so I wouldn’t at all be suprised if he fielded a weakened team. 1-0 United,(all be it a scrapy win).

15:00: West Brom vs Stoke. 1 point out of 12 for Roberto Martinez’s side. That does not read well. They probably wanted to pick up atleast 7 points from the games away at Blackpool,West Ham and Wigan but instead they haven’t got anything bar a point at Upton Park. Roberto will want,more than anything a win from his side. He won’t care if it takes a massive deflection and goes down as an own goal and they win 1-0 but didn’t deserve it. He will want that more than to lose 1-0 and put in a great performance because right now, they are not getting the results. Once they do, they will be off and running again. So they desperately need a result. Stoke got another hard fought win against a Liverpool side who hadn’t lost in 5 before that match. That was Stoke’s 2nd win in a row after not winning in 7 before hand. Stoke will feel they can get something here but I’ll go for an Albion win because they need it so bad. 2-1 Albion.

17:30: Liverpool vs West Ham. Liverpool couldn’t defend Stoke’s long trough at the Brittania and it resulted in Roy Hodgson’s side losing their first match in 6. Unfortunate. But they will look to bounce back against a side who has a record so far in the Premier League of: won 1, drawn 6, lost 6. That’s not pretty reading when you think that they have played teams such as Blackpool, Newcastle and Fulham at home, not winning any of them. They have a very slim chance of coming away from Anfield with anything, let alone a victory. The Hammers will look for opportunity’s to win this match, going into it and one of them is the abscence of the Reds Skipper Steven Gerrard who tore his hamstring playing for England against France. That’s a big blow for the reds but I can still see them pulling through.2-1 Liverpool.

Sunday

13:30: Blackburn vs Aston Villa. Blackburn were awful against Spurs and deserved to eb beaten by atleast 6 or 7. They were terrible at the back. Woeful. Sam knows that though. Teams like that have to be strong at the back because otherwise you will lose considering they don’t have a 20 goal a season striker. Villa were on the flip side last week, Blackburn should have been beaten, Villa should have won, comfortabely. They had so many chances and should have killed the game off by making it 3 but a goal from Federicho Macheda and a late strike from Nemanja Vidic sealed a draw for the Red Devils. Villa and Houllier were robbed. There’s really nothing else you can say. But in saying that, the Villa players looked like they thought they had the match won at 2-0 with 9 minutes to go. Never have you won against United. Blackburn are good at home but Villa will counter them. I want to go for a Rovers win here however this is a test that Villa may have to take a draw from. 1-1.

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Premier League Preview: Week 11

Saturday

12:45: Bolton vs Tottenham. Well ,Well ,Well. What can I say about Spurs. I was there in mid-week and it was, by a million miles, the best Tottenham performance I’ve ever seen. Gareth Bale turned in the best individual display I’ve ever seen. It wasn’t just the fact that his crossing was sublime, but also the fact that the number of times he skimmed Maicon, who in himself is one of if not the best in the game at right back, the number of times Gareth picked up the ball and just took him apart must have been atleast 10 or 12. He was amazing. Then again don’t take away that it was a brilliant team performance. Modric and Van der Vaart were superb but an unsung hero for me was Younes Kaboul who played very well. Whenever he made a mistake, he mopped up. If Gallas or Ekotto (who also had a very good game), made an error, he would always be there to correct it. Excellent. Despite this unbelievable night at the lane, they need to keep their feet on the ground because if they don’t win the Champions League then they need to get into the top 4 in order to keep players like Gareth Bale, Van der Vaart and Modric alike. So this is a big game. Bolton were average against Liverpool and although they didn’t deserve to lose the game, they didn’t play aswell as Owen Coyle would have wanted them too. I’ll go for a draw here as I think Harry will give some of those players that played in mid-week, especially Bale, a bit of a rest. 1-1.

15:00: Birmingham vs West Ham. Birmingham did well to gain a point out of the Midlands derby at Villa Park. That’s 1 more point than I thought they’d take going there. McCleish, really does have a good, solid unit at St Andrews and I cannot see them losing to many games this season, it’s just whether they have the offensive attributes to be able to win games off of teams that will be in and around were they are. West Ham are one of those teams. The Hammers have recently produced a cup run and have got themselves into the Nobody Cares Cup…I mean the Carling Cup. They need to pick up points in the PL though, and fast, because otherwise, they could find themselves, rock bottom of the table and 8 or 10 points adrift of relegation safety. They’ll be right up for this one, in saying that, so will Birmingham. It’s a really tough one to call and I can definately see there being some hard tackels flying in. Carlton Cole needs to make more of an impact when playing as Piquionne and Barerra seem a lot more lively and look like they want the ball more. I’ll go with another draw. 1-1.

15:00: Blackburn vs Wigan. Blackburn caught Chelsea on a bad day last week-end although the Blues still battled through to win the game. Most of that result was down to the fact that Blackburn just don’t score many goals. If they had a Nicholas Anelka or Didier Drogba, they would have hit 3 or 4 past Chelsea, but they didn’t. Which, gives this match an extra spice as both teams lost last time out, Wigan were beaten at Craven Cottage by Fulham. Fulham deserved to win that although they didn’t really create much. There were only a couple of chances all game and they warranted goals, Dempsey taking them both very well. So Wigan need a victory however I don’t think they will get one here. They struggle on the road and Edwood Park is a really tough place to go. Here, I’ll go for a 2-0 Blackburn.

15:00: Blackpool vs Everton. Blackpool did not play their best against West Brom, by any stretch of the imagination, despite winning the game 2-1. If Albion didn’t go down to 9 men withing the first half hour, I think the Tangerines may have struggled with Brommies quality. In saying that, they won. That’s all Ian Holloway cares about. It’s still a dream for the Blackpool players, Holloway quoted a couple of weeks back “It’s liek a circus, my players are constantely wanting to swap shirts” and that just somes up what their time in the Premier League is going to be. Everton were scrapy but grinded out a win at Goodison when they met stoke last time. However, they were lucky because for once, Tony Pulis actually had something to moan about that needed a moan, Baines was not pushed by Tuncay and so that match should have ended a draw. Here though, an Everton win. 1-2

15:00: Fulham vs Aston Villa. Fulham did their job against Wigan. No more, no less, but that’s what you have to do in order to try and get were they want to finish this season which is into the top 10. Fulham will come out going for the win in this one but they have to make sure that they don’t get hit on the break by possibly the best counter attacking team in the Premier League, right now. That brings me to Villa. I was not a fan of Gerard Houllier’s appointment however I think, so far, he has done a very good job. The stats read that he only has 1 win in the Premier League since he came but when you look at the individual matches, he got a very good draw against Chelsea and he only lost to Spurs and Sunderland in which they probably deserved something out of both games. And too top that his got them to the quarter finals of the League Cup. So I don’t think Villa fans can complain. His only blip was ;ast week-end however I think that was just a blip. This is a very tough game though. 2-1 Fulham.

15:00: Manchester United vs Wolves. Man United overcame a very poor Bursaspor side in mid-week although nobody remembers that match because everyone was talking about Spurs however they did comfortabely win 3-0 with Obertan and Bebe scoring for United which will be encouraging for Sir Alex as he does want to bring through his youngsters. Wolves got a very crucial win over City and really you could see it coming because you could just tell, even before the match, that Wolves would want it more. Mick McCarthy’s side needed to get out the relegation zone and so therefore were right up for the match. On the other hand City thought they were going to roll over Wanderers. You can NEVER think that in the Barclays Premier League. United will win this. I wouldn’t be suprised at all if United won and whilst writing I’m actually going to go for a United win! 3-0.

15:00: Sunderland vs Stoke. Sunderland were truly thumped against Newcastle. There is no other words for it. They were completely and utterely taken apart. However that match was a one off and on the day, Newcastle wanted it more. Sunderland were caught off guard. They won’t be here though. They will be eager to come straight out of the blocks and give the Stadium of Light crowd what the want which is goals. Stoke were robbed last week-end and should have atleast got a draw although Tony Pulis does have to stop having excuses after every game his side loses, even if it’s acceptable to have a pop, liek in this case. They may get a draw here however I just think Sunderland have enough going forward to win. 1-0.

Sunday

13:30: Arsenal vs Newcastle. Arsenal were lucky against West Ham and it took them until the 88th minute to score the goal that was so valuable. But maybe it was carma that they were beaten in mid-week because they played pretty well against Shaktar but were beaten. The opposite to what they did at the Emirates against The Hammers. They SHOULD beat Newcastle easily here but then again they SHOULD have beaten West Ham, Birmingham and West Brom comfortabely too but were lucky in all 3. Newcastle were outstanding against Sunderland. Andy Caroll was superb. The great thing about him is that, his not just a big man that can nod the ball down and score tap ins but he can also do some superb stuff on the deck which helps him in trying to get an England starting place and puts infront of Crouch,Heskey,Davies etc who are not as good on the deck. here I’ll go for a draw because if you play against Arsenal in the right way, you can frustrate them, and that’s what Newcastle are very good at. 0-0.

15:00: West Brom vs Manchester City. West Brom would have beaten Blackpool if they had kept all of their men on the pitch, but they didn’t and for that reason, those 2 sending offs cost them the game and so discipline is the thing that let the Baggies down. The first sending off was harsh, but you don’t go and make a challenge liek that in the corner of the pitch when your side is already down to 10-men. What was Jara thinking? Maybe he thought the ref wouldn’t send 2 people off in the first half hour. Yes, it ruined the game but atleast the ref had the guts to send him off because it was a red card offence. Man City were terrible against Wolves and got hwat they deserved. The first 20, they were excellent and maybe they thought it could be a stroll in the park for them as the first part of the match was so easy but Matt Jarvis gave City’s right back Micah Richards a torrid time and I rate Richards highly but Jarvis was top class. I’ll go for a 4th straight loss for City and a crucial Albion win. 2-1 Brommie!

16:00: Liverpool vs Chelsea. Liverpool were also terrible against Bolton but somehow won. It was a miraculous result given they played so poorely. But that’s what they need to do now. Look at the Blackburn’s, Stoke’s and Wigan’s. They don’t have the best technical players but they get the job done. Yes Liverpool have better players than those clubs but not by a lot and the Reds faithful have to respect the fact that now they are a mid-table side. This is what they need to do,grind and get wins by the odd goal. Battle, be strong and come out the other side a better team. Chelsea are just brilliant, 3 successive wins, and 7 unbeaten. They were drawing to Spartak Moscow in mid-week 0-0 at the break but in the second half they just took the gear up one or two and scored 4 great goals. That’s what their capable of doing. I think they will break their own record of the points tally in the Premir League, this season. They are the best team by far. I thought United would give them a run but obviously not, Arsenal look the best bet to catch them but I don’t think anyone will. I’ll go for a Chelsea win here but maybe for Liverpool to take the lead. 1-2.

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Premier League Preview: Week 10

Saturday

15:00: Arsenal vs West Ham. There are 2 games that I will be watching in full this weekend. One being the Man United vs Spurs game but the other is this one. It’s an intreging contest as the only reason I can see, of why West Ham are not performing is because they feel under pressure. They will have no pressure in this game as they are going to the Emirates where nobody expects them to even score a goal, let alone get something out of the game. The Hammers got a good win in mid-week although if I was a member of the pretty bubbles faithful then I would have like to trade a win in the carling cup for a win against Newcastle in which they were played off the park. Arsenal have been sublime in their last 2 games scoring 7 away goals. 3 at City which, although City had a man sent off, was still a great performance, and more recently at St James’ Park in which Theo Walcott found his shooting boots scoring 2 goals. Here I cannot see anything but an Arsenal win. 2-0.

15:00: Blackburn vs Chelsea. Blackburn lost last weekend, and didn’t deserve to get anything from it as they were really poor against Liverpool. Sam Allayrdyce has a really tough job as Steven N’Zonzi and Christopher Samba are injured. They are the focal point of both defence and offense. Especially Samba who gets most of Blackburn’s goals, even though his a center half. Chelsea didn’t even have to get out of 2nd gear last week-end against Wolves. It was a terribly comfortable win and it’s amazing how the Blues can win a game so comfortably. This will be a test for them physically as Blackburn are just as physical as Ancelotti’s side. But Cheslea have so much more quality going forward and sohuld comfortably win this game. 0-2.

15:00: Everton vs Stoke. Everton have finally found form with 4 points out of the games against Liverpool and Tottenham is a very good result. Moyes would have taken that 2 weeks ago, without a doubt. Stoke will try and frustrate but they, themselves, are frustrated as they have not picked up a single point in their last 3 games against Bolton, Manchester United and West Ham. However they are 3 really hard games clobbered together. It doesn’t get any easier for Stoke, because Goodison Park is, in ym opinion, 1 of the 3 toughest away trips of the season alongside Chelsea and Spurs. I think this will be another Stoke loss however Tony Pulis may have another incident to moan about. Preferably a Stoek penalty that isn’t given. 2-1 Everton.

15:00: Fulham vs Wigan. Fulham have lost their last 2 games after going the first 7 games of the season unbeaten. Last week-end, losing to West Brom was a poor reslut, even though Albion are playing well, Mark Hughes should set up his side to get a draw as he doesn’t have the resources to go out and score 3 or 4 goals against any side. Wigan should have beaten Bolton last time out but they just can’t seem to kill off games. They don’t have the attacking threat because they rely so much on goals from midfield such as N’Zogbia and Koumas, who I think is still at the club? This will be a tough game for Fulham but they should win here. 2-0.

15:00: Wolves vs Manchester City. Wolves gave a great account of themselves last game against the mighty Blues but unfortunately, like most clubs in the Premier League, they lost, 2-0. However they didn’t get thrashed which was the main thing. Again, on Saturday, Mick McCarthy’s men will have to overcome a side that has much much more attacking threat and are just all round a more solid team. But Wolves need a win and will be chomping at the bit to get it. Man City were truly outplayed by Arsenal and I don’t believe that Boyata was the most popular figure in the City dressing room on Sunday. But they will pick themselves up, dust themselves down, and go for this game again. I’m sure they SHOULD have enough to win here but I don’t think that will be at there best ability’s and might be on an all time low after the hammering last week-end. 1-1.

17:30: Manchester United vs Tottenham. Man United did well to win at Stoke and will have their tails up. If they can get the victory here then they should go on a decent run as their 2 fixtures after the Spurs game are against Bursaspor away and Wolves at Old Trafford. Spurs were unlucky not to win against Everton but didn’t play to the standard that they have set this year. They have not won at Anfield, Emirates/Highbury, Stamford Bridge and Old Trafford for 67 games in the Premier League, and it’s 25 games since they have beaten United in any competition. But this is a new revived Tottenham team and, if Gareth Bale plays, which he may not, but if he does, he will come up against John O’Shea or Gary Neville in which he can use his pace to cause all sorts of problems. Who will win? Well, this is United’s biggest game of the season so far and could be a turning point either way. That’s why I think they could be a bit cagey. 1-1. A result that both sides will be satisfied with.

Sunday

12:00: Aston Villa vs Birmingham. A big Midlands derby that is a key game for both sides however Villa will be the clear favourites despite Birmingham picking up a valuable 2-0 victory over the Tangerines, Blackpool, last week-end. That will give Alex McCleish a lift after 2 defeats before hand against Arsenal and Everton. Villa were unlucky not to get all 3 points against Sunderland let alone not come away with anything. However, you could not help but laugh at Richard Dunne after that terrible own goal in which he should have really just stuck the ball out for a corner, although it was a great finish and one that Wayne Rooney couldn’t do at the moment! This is a real tough one to call. The obvious prediction would be to call it a draw but I don’t think Birmingham have the defensive strength to cope with Young and Downing. 2-0 Villa.

13:30: Newcastle vs Sunderland. Newcastle got a brilliant win last time out against West Ham with Andy Caroll a highlight to the whole performance. I won’t mention the mid-week 4-0 thumping by Arsenal as they played their second string and effectively it wasn’t Newcastle playing, it was the reserves. They are so hard to predict but if Caroll plays, I think he will score, however the win is another matter. Held out. That’s what Sunderland did against Aston Villa. In saying that, they did it well. Steve Bruce tactically beat Gerard Houllier. That game was a true battle of the minds. Bruce’s experience of management will help him because he knows that Newcastle will be shaky infront of their home fans like they always are. 1-2 Sunderland. However, the stat that says that Sunderland have scored 1 goal in 312 minutes is worrying but I think Newcastle’s defence is very lackluster. I would also like to add that after this Chris Hughton will probably have the sack facing him which in ym opinion is unbelievably harsh. In my opinion, he has been the best manager at Newcastle since the legend himself, Sir Bobby Robson. Anybody think differently?

16:00: Bolton vs Liverpool. Bolton are a very, very difficult side to beat. And Liverpool, are a very, very easy team to beat. Bold statement? No. Liverpool have only won twice this season and so are very open to leaking goals and losing games. Ok, they beat Blackburn at Anfield, 2-1, but come on? Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham, Man City. These teams will be hitting 3 or 4 past Blackburn but then again, Liverpool have to be contending with the likes of Stoke, Blackburn and Sunderland now and just trying to get into the top 10 rather than top 4 or 5. This is my smallest paragraph because both sides had average results last week-end. So I don’t have much to talk about it. 1-0 Bolton.

20:00: Blackpool vs West Brom. Blackpool played very well against Birmingham but did not have the quality in the final shot or pass to find the back of the net. Although you can imagine that considering the Tangerines will not get rid of their “20,000 pound per week policy.” So they can’t even compete with the teams that their competing with at the foot end of the table, let alone the top half. West Brom did well to pull a win out of the bag against Fulham, which, is what the have to do in order to stay up in the 2010/11 season. It’s all well and good getting a point at Old Trafford but you have to win the bread and butter games and that was one of them and they came out on top which is a fantastic result. I’m a big fan of di Matteo and he is very calm. It would have been easy for his players to get big headed after the win at the Emirates and the draw against United, but he kept their feet on the ground and got them a win last time out. This is an interesting game but I will have to go for, a very good game of football but an Albion win in the end. 1-2

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