West Brom vs. Fulham
The Baggies have been a tough team to predict recently, however before their tough trip to United they secured back-to-back victories, something they failed to do in a few weeks. They have done well on the whole and deserve to be seventh at this stage in the season. Fulham, on the other hand, have been awful of late. They have only managed to win one of their last 12 Premier League matches. Times are tough for Martin Jol and in defence, his team have been poor in December, conceding 13 goals in their six matches. I feel this West Brom side is rediscovering their early-season momentum which will be too much for Fulham to handle on New Year’s Day.
Man City vs. Stoke
The Champions have lost two of their last five League games, whereas Stoke are on a ten-match unbeaten run, which they fully deserve. On the week end, they conceded three goals at home, which is a rarity to say the least. They’re away record is traditionally poor, however has picked up of late, but I feel the trip to Manchester is a more challenging task, and that’s why I do not see them picking up three points. Dzeko was excellent against Norwich at the week end, and getting him back on the scoresheet regularly, will be key for a potential revival.
Swansea vs. Aston Villa
The Swans picked up a very important Away Win at the week end and what was even more important, they did it without Michu. Their prolific goal scorer was injured, but they still managed to come out on top. He is likely to return for this game on New Years’s Day, but I feel even without him, Swansea have a wide range of attacking quality that will see off this poor Villa side who have conceded 15 goals in their past three matches, and scored none.
Tottenham vs. Reading
Spurs are looking really strong this season, and the Sunderland game at the week end was proof that Gareth Bale is one of the best players in the Premier League at the moment. AVB should do all that he can to keep their winger. Spurs are unbeaten in four and I feel they will make it five, tomorrow. The likes of Bale, Defoe and Sandro are in good form and it will be too much for a Reading side who are staring relegation in the face. They did well to beat West Ham, but that was at Home. They face a much sterner test at White Hart Lane.
West Ham vs. Norwich
West Ham haven’t won in their last four attempts and Norwich have just lost three in a row. Both clubs found it difficult to perform during the busy festive season, but now it is coming to a close. I feel it will take longer than a week for Norwich to get back to winning ways, but it is fair to say they fought really hard to score three goals against the Champions. I feel they will improve but it will begin with a draw.
Wigan vs. Man United
It is important to note that it was this fixture, towards the end of last season, that paved the way for Manchester City path to success. Things are a bit different now, with Fergie’s men seven points clear at the top of the table at this point in the season. Wigan got a vital away win at Aston Villa on the week end, and they did in fact win this fixture 1-0 last season, but as I said circumstances are very much different and the might of Robin Van Persie will be too much for the Wigan back four.
Southampton vs. Arsenal
Arsene Wenger had much to cheer about over the Christmas period. Three wins in a row and Theo Walcott netting four in three matches are signs of Arsenal improving after a rocky start to the season. I reckon this will continue at St. Mary’s. Southampton have failed to win in their last three matches, and being a newly promoted side, they too found the festive period difficult to adapt to. The last meeting between the two sides, the Gunners won 6-1 which is shows the difference in quality between the two sides. I do not think the margin will be as big on New Year’s Day, but I do feel Arsenal are maintaing some form of consistency and confidence which will do them good in this fixture.
Chelsea vs. QPR
Chelsea played a total of nine matches during the month of December, and I for one, think they managed the fixture congestion really well. They have showed a sense of resilience that made them European Champions back in May. By bagging in eight goals against Villa and then ending Everton’s Home record is proof that they are still title contenders, for now. Their determination to succeed will be prevalent again, when they face their West London rivals.
Liverpool vs. Sunderland
Liverpool’s form over the past few games has been WLWLW. This is inconsistency to say the least. Suarez was unstoppable against QPR at the week end and was also excellent in the 4-0 victory over Fulham. The Reds have the attacking quality to see off Sunderland this week end. The fact that they have scored eight goals in three games is a testament to that claim.
Newcastle vs. Everton
Everton’s brilliant record at Home came to an end at the hands of Chelsea, on Sunday. That will hurt their morale, however Fellaini is likely to return from his ban on New Year’s Day, against a faltering Newcastle side. Demba Ba has heavily been linked with a move away from Newcastle, which may lead to manager Alan Pardew leaving the want-a-way striker out of the squad. Newcastle’s form relies on their ability to score goals, but they simply must defend better to keep out a well organized Everton side.