West Ham vs. Chelsea
Back-to-back 0-0 draws may seem as if the crisis at Chelsea is still ongoing, however Chelsea fans should be optimistic at the fact that it is two clean sheets in a row, without John Terry. Prior to Benitez taking over the club hadn’t kept a clean sheet in ten games. Furthermore, the likes of Ivanovic and Cole are putting in good shifts on a consistent basis, whilst Azpilicueta is adapting well to the Premier League. These improvements at the back will make them a strong force against West Ham on Saturday lunchtime. They just need to find goals and for me and most of the sports betting sites around, they are inches away from hitting the net. Mata is likely to start and with his energy, even more chances will be created. Chelsea fans will also be hoping for a big game from Hazard who has been quiet of late. Chelsea will have to worry about the threat of Nolan and Carroll though, who can cause problems.
Arsenal vs. Swansea
The Swans are flying high at the moment. Laudrup is proving to be a sensible appointment and the players he has brought in with him have been impressive, most notably, Michu. Arsenal fans need to accept that goals are coming from nowhere at the moment and defensive frailties still haunt the team. If they want trophies, this needs to be eradicated as soon as possible. Both these attributes were prevalent at Goodison Park on Wednesday night. I feel that Swansea have the quality to give Arsenal problems and take advantage of their weaknesses. The Swans did well away at Man City, despite losing 1-0 earlier this season and they could frustrate Arsenal this weekend.
Fulham vs. Tottenham
Fulham have found it hard to pick up three points of late. Berbatov , Rodallega and Ruiz have made them seem an attacking threat to all teams. Martin Jol’s men looked sharp and worked hard at Stamford Bridge to get a point, and I feel they will do the same when they host Tottenham this week end. Spurs themselves have recovered well since their defeat in the North London Derby, so there is no doubt in my mind that this will be a close encounter. AVB’s men will be desperate to make it three wins on the spin though, having finally began to put some momentum together as they search for that 4th league position. Much of the attention will be on Jol and Berbatov facing their former club.
Liverpool vs. Southampton
Southampton have proven themselves as a credible candidate to survive in the Premier League, so they will give it their all at Anfield. However, they will find it tough, especially in dealing with players like Suarez, the League’s top scorer at the moment. Furthermore their goal keeper, Gazzaniga’s performances recently have been under severe scrutiny, who may have another nervous game this week end. Although, Southampton have improved as a unit greatly in recent weeks and we all know that Liverpool find three points hard to come by at home, despite a recent upturn. Even though, it is hard to look past a home win.
Man City vs. Everton
The Toffees only managed one League victory in the months of October and November. When you are on a bad run of form, the last place you want to visit is the Etihad Stadium. The champions, as we all know are formidable at home and have just achieved three clean sheets in a row, in the Premier League. Nonetheless, they weren’t at their best against Wigan and Chelsea. However, I’d back them to put it a solid performance this week end which will earn them a narrow win. Moyes though, will be desperate for a big performance from his men, who as noted, have floundered in recent weeks. Everton do have the quality to cause an upset, but off form, a home win looks like a safe bet.
QPR vs. Aston Villa
With no disrespect to QPR, earning a point at Sunderland is a massive step forward, and I back them to make another step forward this week end as their long quest for survival begins. They looked confident mid-week and as far as their performance is concerned, they did well, except up front. Noone has ever doubted that they have the quality, on paper and to some extent they deserved more than a point the other day. I am backing them to get their first win, this week end. Villa have done well lately but the Redknapp effect may kick in this weekend, much to Lambert’s dismay.
West Brom vs. Stoke
West Brom were swept away by an excellent Swansea side on Wednesday, but they are back at the Hawthorns this week, where they have won six out of seven of their home matches. Stoke, on the other hand, haven’t won away from home since January. They have just had a good month as well, so I reckon this is a close one to call, however I see the Baggies dominating in front of their own fans, again.
Reading vs. Man United
Barring a miracle, Fergie’s men should take all three points this week end. Reading have found life in the Premier League very difficult and that 7-5 defeat to Arsenal in the Capital One Cup will be hard to recover from, psychologically. Credit to them, they do try hard, but I don’t see them pulling off big shock against United on Saturday.
Norwich vs. Sunderland
Sunderland had the chance to gain some momentum this week, playing host to bottom-of-the-table QPR. They simply did not take it, ending in yet another game where they failed to score a goal. Norwich on the other hand are unbeaten in eight games, in all competitions. They are managing well with the loss of Paul Lambert. In addition to this, their defending has been excellent. The Bassong-Turner centre-back partnership deserve a lot of credit, and I reckon they’ll do the same this week end resulting in a victory for the Canaries.
Newcastle vs. Wigan
Things couldn’t get any worse for Alan Pardew at the moment. The Toon Army have been on an awful run of late, being beaten easily and finding even a point hard to come by. Cisse finally found the net this week, and if he keeps going, there is hope for Newcastle’s form to slowly pick up. Collocini has returned and will add a bit more command and organisation to the back four. I’m making a prediction that they will recover this week end, but it won’t be easy against an unpredictable Wigan side.
Pravin got 5/1o predictions right mid-week, do you agree with his thoughts on this weekend?