22 December 2006

Premiership Predictions 12/23

Fulham v West Ham (7:45am, Setanta): Is Curbs’ a miracle worker or was last week’s 1-0 victory over United a fluke? A little from column A, a little from column B. West Ham will improve under Curbishley (I’ve got the utmost respect for Pardew, but it couldn’t get much worse), even more so after the return of Dean Ashton. This will be a good test of it; Fulham’s played quite well at home, but have steadily descended the table, with 4 losses in the past six games. 1-1

Aston Villa v Manchester United (10am, Setanta): United after a loss, especially a close loss, is frequently a frightening proposition. Villa’s last six games? Draw, draw, loss, draw, draw, loss. United 3-1

Arsenal v Blackburn (10am, Setanta Xtra): I don’t expect Blackburn to replicate last week’s 2-1 win at Reading. Not only have the Rovers not won back-to-back games in the league since the beginning of October, I find it hard to believe Arsenal will drop points at home in successive games. Arse 2-0

Manchester City v Bolton (10am): Not for the faint of heart. Last week’s defeat to Tottenham was City’s first home loss of the season, but Bolton should be more than able to do enough to grind out a victory. Bolton 1-0

Middlesbrough v Charlton (10am): I wouldn’t pick Charlton to beat any team away in the league this week. There’s always a chance they could rally after the loss to Wycombe midweek, but the Addicks have looked utterly demoralized on the field and were booed off the last two times out. Not that Boro’s been smashing, mind you, but they’ve been decent enough at the Riverside. Boro 2-0

Newcastle v Tottenham (10am): Tottenham’s strike force is finally showing promise, with Berbatov and Defoe proving to be the first choice pairing, and they’ve risen up the table accordingly. Meanwhile, Newcastle’s frankly amazed considering their injury list; not counting the two slim defeats to Chelsea, they’re unbeaten for over a month. As a result, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a draw, but I’ve got a feeling Newcastle will make good use of home advantage. Newcastle 2-1

Portsmouth v Sheffield United (10am): Portsmouth has been one of the surprises of the season so far, but there’s only so many rabbits Matty Taylor can pull out of his hat, and I think Sheffield could pull off a surprise at Fratton Park. The Blades are on a four-match unbeaten streak, including away wins at Wigan and Watford, and have risen up to 15th from the foot of the table. 1-1

Reading v Everton (10am): Everton was unlucky not to come away from the Chelsea match with at least a point if not all three, but the team’s been pretty poor away from Goodison while sliding down the table since September. At the same time, Reading’s done everything needed so far to stay in the Premiership after achieving promotion. 1-1

Wigan v Chelsea (12:15pm, FSC): In this corresponding fixture last year, the first game of the season, newly-promoted Wigan announced their intentions, sticking with Chelsea for the whole match until a Crespo injury time goal. Granted, it doesn’t mean much here. Paul Jewell’s team always comes out ready to play, but I see no reason to go against my long standing tradition of predicting 2-0 Chelsea wins, especially with them beginning to breath down United’s neck. Chelsea 2-0

Liverpool plays Watford 10am on FSC.

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