08 December 2006

Premership Predictions 12/9-12/11

Manchester United v Manchester City (7:45am, FSC): If this were at the City of Manchester Stadium, I’d be tempted to go with a shock result. City has a tendency to take points off of United in derby games; last year, Robbie Fowler sealed a 3-1 victory and then held up 5 fingers at the United fans (can’t imagine why). But United at Old Trafford has been a different story all season long. United 2-0

Tottenham v Charlton (10am, FSC): Tottenham will miss Keane and Jenas through injury, and Zokora through suspension following the fracas versus Boro; Spurs’ midfield is starting to look very light. But I still don’t know if Charlton have enough to beat them in this London derby, despite the fact that Les Reed (surprisingly enough) has them playing more attractive football. By the way, I am still waiting (and will continue waiting) for Berbatov to really start making his mark; I fully believe he can and will be a top-class striker in the league. Tottenham 2-1

Blackburn v Newcastle (10am, Setanta Xtra): I really would not want to be in Blackburn’s locker room this season. Mark Hughes cannot be happy with the way his team has underperformed all season long. Glenn Roeder, meanwhile, can’t complain about anything other than injuries; it’s remarkable Newcastle still has enough players to field a side. 0-0

Middlesbrough v Wigan (10am): Inconsistency was the hallmark of Boro for the majority of this season, but they’ve seemingly settled down. 0-0 v Liverpool, 1-1 v Villa, and two hard fought losses to United and Spurs in the past 4 games. I will continue to talk up Paul Jewell and his Wigan side, as I believe Jewell’s probably the best English manager around, but this feels like one of those games where Boro plays to their full capabilities at the Riverside Boro 2-1

Portsmouth v Everton (10am): In addition to Cahill and Arteta, Osman’s now been ruled out through injury. Pretty much all of Everton’s goals from midfield are sitting on the sideline, and Johnson, Beattie, and McFadden must shoulder the load. Not that Pompey’s been free and clear of injuries, mind, but Everton will certainly rue the absence of those three players. 1-1

Watford v Reading (10am): When the fixtures list came out, both teams will have looked at this as a must-win game against a probable fellow relegation candidate. However, with Reading as this season’s Wigan, they currently sit 6th in the table, equal on points with 3rd place Arsenal. Still think this game will look like a match between two-promoted teams: hard-fought and close until the end, and with Watford at Vicarage Road, I think they’ll be able to earn at least a draw. 1-1

Bolton v West Ham (12:15pm, FSC): West Ham needs to turn around their season soon, or the New Year will see them mired in a relegation battle, and who knows how the new Icelandic owner will respond to that. Bolton’s had trouble continuing the good run of form they began the season with, but I imagine they’ll keep West Ham from playing the type of footie the Hammers want to, and will nick the necessary goal in true Bolton fashion. Bolton 1-0

Chelsea v Arsenal (11am Sunday, FSC): This one would be even more fun if William Gallas was healthy. Arsenal’s away fans will have to content themselves with heckling Ashley Cole until they’re blue in the face (*rimshot*, sorry couldn't help myself). Arsenal silenced a lot of speculation over a poor start with a win over Manchester United in September, and a win versus Chelsea would further establish them as one of the top teams in the league and go a long way towards the battle for 3rd. Chelsea needs full points as well to keep pace with United, who are 6 points up having played one more game. I think the Blues will get a close win, and I’m hoping the game will fulfill its potential to be high-scoring and end-to-end. Chelsea 3-2

Sheffield United v Aston Villa (3pm Monday, FSC): I’ve been really impressed with Sheffield over the past two games. Granted, the wins have come against Watford and Charlton, but they’ve been hard-fought and Neil Warnock’s team has they requited never-say-die attitude. Meanwhile, Martin O’Neill's team has fallen back (as O’Neill himself predicted) over the past couple of weeks, going winless over the past four games. Wouldn’t surprise me to see both trends continue here. 1-1

blah blah blah Liverpool v Fulham (10am Saturday, Setanta) preview blah blah blah later.

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