Fun run of fixtures coming up, with a fairly full slate of games over the weekend, and then games Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Fantastic. I’ll try for the predictions for the weekday games on Sunday.
Arsenal v Tottenham (7:45am, Setanta Sports): No bad blood here, right? Sol Campbell may not be prominently involved, but there’s still the lingering resentment from the “food poisoning” episode that saw Arsenal pip Spurs to 4th to end last season, among some other things. The form of these two teams has been so difficult to forecast, I’m just going with my belief that Arsenal’s a better team, but the last two matches between these two have ended 1-1. Arse 2-1
Reading v Bolton (10am, FSC): Pleased for Steve Coppell’s side, they’ve played well this season, and with a win here and other results going their way, could move up to 4th with a game in hand. Bolton was inconsistent in November after going undefeated for the majority of September and October, and Kevin Nolan’s questionable with a hand injury, but they should have enough here and will look to play better following the home loss to Chelsea. 1-0 Bolton
Portsmouth v Aston Villa (10am, Setanta Xtra): Honestly, I hope Villa smashes Pompey. Just because. I doubt Pompey will park as many men behind the ball as they did at Anfield being at home, but they should still play a more defensive style due to the injury list. Villa 2-0
Blackburn v Fulham (10am): Both teams have dropped down the league table after surprisingly good starts to the season, despite Fulham’s outstanding win over Arsenal Wednesday. Like every other English team in the UEFA Cup, Blackburn’s also looked better in Europe than in the league. Draw’s seemingly written all over it. 1-1
Sheffield United v Charlton (10am): Sheffield United took all three points against Watford midweek, and they have an excellent opportunity at home to take them against another fellow struggler. Going away from these two matches with all 6 points would be enormous for Sheffield in their attempt to avoid relegation. Charlton battled impressively for a deserved draw against Everton, but they’ve done little on the road so far this season. Sheffield 1-0
Middlesbrough v Manchester United (12:15pm, FSC): Forecasting United victories week after week makes me feel ill, but there’s seemingly no other option. United 2-0
Everton v West Ham (11am Sunday, FSC): Since starting the season well, Everton went 1-1-4 through November. West Ham has made improvement, and I still think Magnusson’s takeover will stabilize the club further, but Goodison’s not an easy place to play. 1-1