Sunderland vs. QPR
With Harry at the helm, a certain aura of optimism has been restored at QPR. The trip to Old Trafford wasn’t the ideal setting for a start to a new era, but tomorrow’s game at the Stadium of Light will see Harry Redknapp take full charge of his first game against a poor Sunderland side who have lost three league games this month. The home advantage however will be enough to earn them a point.
Aston Villa vs. Reading
Reading struggled against Wigan at the week end and most people will agree with me when I say that teams who survive manage to do so, mainly by taking points against fellow relegation battling teams. I think Reading will struggle again this week against a team who did very well to hold Arsenal to a draw at the week end and will be desperate to move out of the bottom three. Much attention will be on whether Darren Bent features for Lambert’s men, or is again resigned to either the bench, or as he was at the weekend, being left out the squad entirely.
Chelsea vs. Fulham
The last three league meetings between these two clubs have ended in a draw. Last season, Fulham did very well against fellow London clubs, but at the moment, they are on a bad run of form, having failed to win in the past 5 games. Chelsea fans may be outraged at the appointment of Benitez as manager, but this is a must-win game for them, if they plan to remain title contenders. Despite being limp in attack against City, the side did well to keep their first clean sheet in 11 games, which does provide cause for optimism. I still think they are title contenders, and that’s why I’m tipping them to see off their local rivals on Wednesday night.
Everton vs. Arsenal
Arsenal cannot seem to find any consistency this season. The mere fact that they have failed to register back-to-back victories in the League is a testament to that claim, and I feel, they will again find it difficult to shine at a very intimidating Goodison Park. Everton have made it very clear that they mean business with regards to the race for 4th and therefore I don’t see them losing against the Gunners. Arsenal in recent years have done well at Everton. They haven’t lost there in the league for the past 5 seasons. However, Everton are in a poor run of form themselves, having found three points difficult to come by of late. Their fixture against Arsenal will tell us a lot about their own fourth place credentials.
Southampton vs. Norwich
Both these teams are on a decent run of form and Southampton know that winning games like this at home is essential to their survival bid. They have just won two League games on the trot and if they play the way they did against Newcastle, I see them getting three points. There is significant attacking quality in their team, most notably Gaston Ramirez who has proven to be an excellent signing. The fans are very much behind their manager and they will be up for this game which I think will see them get the three wins in a row that they deserve.
Stoke vs. Newcastle
Newcastle have undoubtedly suffered an unfortunate injury crisis of late, however the potential return of players such as Colloccini this week will be a big boost. It will most likely be a tight encounter. Everyone knows that coming to the Brittania is always a tough game. Newcastle have the quality to recover and they are not a side who lose four games in a row, so I reckon they have what it takes to salvage a point at Stoke.
Swansea vs. West Brom
Things couldn’t get any better for the Baggies: four League wins in a row and sitting in 3rd position at the end of November. Whatever Steve Clarke is doing seems to be working exceptionally. The only thing was being questioned was their Away form, but they just managed to win consecutive away wins.Swansea have been solid at home since they arrived in the Premier League last autumn. Furthermore, they are unbeaten in the last four games, so they are very much capable of handling this very in-form West Brom side, but a draw is the most they can get, I reckon.
Liverpool are still in the bottom half of the table and still struggling to get regular wins, but it is fair to say that defensively they have become more compact. Brendan Rogers’s side have only conceded four goals in the past seven League games, which is a significant improvement. If they manage to maintain this, I can see them doing well at White Hart Lane, however these achievements at the back have not been converted into regular wins, which is why I see this game being a score draw.
Man United vs. West Ham
United quickly bounced back from their poor week, that saw them lose 1-0 to Galatasaray and Norwich, respectively. West Ham usually struggle against the big teams, especially away from home. Sir Alex’s abundance of quality up front will be too much for the West Ham defence, who will get nervous. United haven’t look convincing this season, having already lost three matches, but I back them to get a comfortable win against the Hammers.
Wigan vs. ManCity
Many will argue that the Champions haven’t been at their best this season, but we must remember that they are the only team to remain unbeaten. As I said last week end, being eliminated from the Champions League means they can focus on their title defence. The trip to Stamford Bridge was tough. They travel again this week, to Wigan, who they have an excellent record against, so I am certain they’ll return to Manchester with 3 points in the bag.