It’s back to the Premier League again this week with so much to play for.
We have the Manchester derby with City now fourth and under pressure and we have the race to the bottom with the relegation battle as close as its ever been. Picking the three to go down is as difficult as picking the winner of the National. Anyway here’s my predictions for the weekend ahead.
Swansea v EvertonTwo of the current form teams in the league. A few weeks ago it looked like Everton could have been dragged into the relegation battle but back to back wins have ended all that talk.
Swansea too have found the winning groove and Gomis has begun to find the net again. I think this could be a very entertaining and enjoyable game. It will be close right down to the wire but I’m going for the home side to win.
Southampton v Hull
Now what a game we have in prospect here. Hull are battling for their lives. They lost last time out and all the other strugglers picked up points to just pile on the pressure. I have liked Southampton all season and they will want to grab all three points in this one. A dismal run for Hull has seen them only pick up two points in their last five games.
They have some very tough games ahead of them so Steve Bruce’s hair will be whiter than white before this season is over.
Sunderland v Crystal Palace
Both sides face each other after brilliant wins last week. New Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat delighted with the 1-0 win over Newcastle and Palace of course the headline makers with the win over Manchester City.
Palace have turned into a superb team under the guidance of Alan Pardew. They are now a team to be feared and they also play some top class football.
Sunderland will have to fight all the way and as Defoe showed last week they have the ability to hit the net.
I think this will be a very close affair and I also think that Sunderland will battle for everything.
Spurs v Aston Villa
Tim Sherwood returns to his former club and that certainly adds an edge to this one. Spurs were poor in the 0-0 draw at Burnley and we can only presume they will improve. If Harry Kane grabs a goal he will become the first Sours player since Gary Lineker to his 30 goals in a season. On the other side Benteke is in great form. His hat trick against QPR showed that. Villa have problems at the back all the same and they have only kept clean sheets in three games against any of the top ten sides in the league.
Spurs are unbeaten in their last 12 against Villa and they are unbeaten in their last ten at home.
West Brom v Leicester
West Brom were one of my treble tips last week but they imploded at home to QPR losing 4-1 so it would take a brave man to back them this weekend. Well either brave or stupid. I think I am the latter. I expect West Brom to have a reaction in this game and I think despite all the brave efforts of Leicester they will lose. West Brom have won all the last four games between theses two sides and they need a win just to keep themselves away from the relegation quagmire.
Normally 40 points is relegation free but 38 might be enough this season. After this game Leicester will have seven games. Five of them at home and that could be crucial.
Leicester did beat West Ham last time out. Their first win in nine games but I think they are facing West Brom at the wrong time. Tony Pulis can accept one setback but not two in one week.
West Ham v Stoke
Two sides who are safe and two sides who are not in good form. Stoke have lost their last three but manager Mark Hughes signed anew four year contract this week. Sam Allardyce has no such luxury and could be gone by the summer. West Ham have still a chance of European football all the same. In the UEFA Fair Play League they are the best rated English side and could get the call. Not ideal but who’s complaining.
West Ham have taken only eleven points in their last fourteen games and they need to start winning again. They will have every chance in this game but I am always loathe to bet against Stoke.
Burnley v Arsenal
Burnley beat Manchester City last time out but to be fair City are now a side low on confidence. In fact their season could go into free fall if they lose to United. Different story with Arsenal. They go to Turf Moor with seven wins on the trot.
Burnley have one win and only six points in their last ten matches and that’s why they are sitting close to the bottom. Their manager Sean Dyche has been one of the stars of the season in the Premiership but even his magic could fail in this game.
Then again there is always one fact which makes you stop and think. Arsenal have failed to win at Turf Moor in their last four visits.
I think they will chance that.
QPR V Chelsea
A super draw for Rangers mid week at Villa in a game they could easily have won. This is a different story all the same. The league leaders are in town and they will want all three points to fend off something of a shaky enough run in recent weeks. Diego Costa is missing with a hamstring problem.
We can expect the home fans to be in good voice as John Terry will be there along with his “alleged racist remarks”. We all remember the fuss that time If you have forgotten the Rangers fans haven’t.
Again here goes another fact. Chelsea have failed to win away at QPR in their last thirteen games.
Chelsea have scored in 24 of their 30 league games and their next goal will be goal number 100 for the season.
They will score and they will win although it won’t be easy.
Man United v Man City
Hard to believe that Manchester United are above City. City fans must ne wondering the same. Ay one stage the defending Champions were going well and now ??? City have lost their last three away games and their form is just awful.
On the other hand United are going well. Mata is in the team and Rooney is up front. Van Persie is on the bench and heading out of Old Trafford.
City have lost seven of their last eight league games. Where did it all go wrong? If City are to get anything out of this game then Aguero and Toure have to stand up and be counted. No goals for Aguero in the last five games says it all.
Now the record are in favour of City. They have won six out of the last seven meetings in the league between the two sides and that includes three wins at Old Trafford.
United are on 62 points and City are on 61. The Premiership is beyond them but there is something more important. Bragging rights in Manchester.
United have suffered in recent seasons so is this the time?
Most pundits would say yes and yet I feel that City might just rise to the occasion. Well they would need to.
I was tempted for a United win but I’m staying on the fence.
Liverpool v Newcastle
The best for Liverpool is fifth in the league and the FA Cup. Perhaps a decent enough season if it turns out that way. They have been torn apart all the same by the better sides in the league and that is down to the players and the manager. Brendan Rodgers says he needs another 100 million to buy players. He did that before and it didn’t work.
Newcastle are in 13th spot in the league and it feels like an eternity since they won a game.
Liverpool aren’t great but they are better than Newcastle.