I hope all on this side of the ocean had a lovely Thanksgiving yesterday; I’m just now fully recovering from the food coma (and relatives…).
Charlton v Everton (7:45am, Setanta): Les Reed is not saving Charlton from relegation, while Everton seemed to cope fairly well with Tim Cahill last week at Bolton. Pretty much any game with Charlton this season and the prediction writes itself, until I see any progress. I’m not holding my breath. 2-0 Everton
Aston Villa v Middlesbrough (10am, Setanta Xtra): I’m still upset over the fact Liverpool was unable to breach Boro’s defense last week, but I certainly don’t think that Villa will have that problem, especially at Villa Park. Boro may be boosted by the news that Gareth Southgate will be allowed to manage from the rest of the season, but that wouldn’t reassure me much. Also, in lieu of any other “information,” let me reiterate my crush on Gabriel Agbonlahor. 2-0 Villa
Fulham v Reading (10am, FSC): I really want to know how FSC decides which games it will be airing. As much as I like Fulham and appreciate Reading’s start to the season, I find it hard to believe they’d rather show this game than Liverpool/City or Villa/Boro. But this will be the game the majority of soccer viewers in the States will see at 10am tomorrow. I doubt it will be pretty soccer, but it should be a close game; Reading always finds a way to threaten, but Fulham’s been a decent side at home. 2-2
West Ham v Sheffield United (10am): West Ham will be on a high after finally finding resolution to the take-over rumors, with Icelander Eggert Magnuson’s consortium finalizing the deal earlier in the week. The Hammers, at home, will come out looking to impress the new boss, and I don't know how much Sheffield's going to be able to do about it. 2-1 West Ham
Bolton v Arsenal (12:15pm, FSC): Opposites in action here; the best passing team in the league versus the epitome of rough and tumble English football. Bolton’s been on a poor run of late (losses to Everton, Wigan, and Man U with a draw at Sheffield United) after finding themselves in 3rd at the start of the month, but I think they’ll keep Arsenal from playing the game they want, and nick one at the Reebok. 1-0 Bolton
Newcastle v Portsmouth (8:30am Sunday, Setanta): Michael Owen, Shola Ameobi, Celestine Babayaro, Craig Moore, and now Damien Duff are all still out with injury. Emre, Stephen Carr, Obafemi Martins, Nicky Butt, and Scott Parker all also have knocks, but will probably play. It’s just not the Premier League if Newcastle’s not going through an injury crisis. But hey, Kieron Dyer’s back! 2-1 Portsmouth
Tottenham v Wigan (10am Sunday): Tottenham’s inconsistent at home, poor on the road, and fantastic in Europe. Your guess is as good as mine as to which team’s going to show up Sunday. Meanwhile, Wigan looks to be long past the stage in the season where we all were talking about a sophomore slump. But this feels like another game where we’re not going to see a winner; we seem to be having a lot of those this week. 0-0
Manchester United v Chelsea (11am Sunday, FSC): The match of the weekend, possibly of the season. I frequently decry the pundits deciding the title race before the end of the year, but if one side gets all three points from this fixture, it will go a long way. I don’t think we’re going to get that sort of resolution however; we’re probably on pace for a cagey draw, with all still to play for (hopefully). Both sides will see this more as a game not to lose than one where they want all 3 points for themselves. 1-1
Liverpool v Manchester City is Saturday, 10am on Setanta. Preview later.