29 January 2007

Predictions 1/30-1/31

Portsmouth v Middlesbrough, 2:45pm, FSC: I’ve been slamming Boro lately, and they’ve started delivering results like last week’s 5-1 affair over Bolton. If Downing plays as he did in that game, Boro’s a much different, and much better, team. Fratton Park’s a difficult place to play not even considering Pompey’s form (they’re still in 5th, mind), so if Boro’s playing well, a draw seems the most likely result. 1-1
Reading v Wigan, 3:00pm, Setanta Xtra: Wigan’s barely hovering above the drop zone, and if any of the teams below them go on a run, the Latics could be in for trouble. Seven successive defeats in the league haven’t helped either. Reading’s been this season’s version of last season’s Wigan (such a handy narrative…), and we’ll see similarly scrappy styles, but Reading looks to have the edge on form and morale. Reading 2-1
Sheffield United v Fulham, 2:45pm: I’ve been ever so pleased with Fulham’s moves this transfer window. Montella (who I will continue to rave about), Dempsey, Smertin, and even Simon Davies add something to this squad, and I think the spending shows al-Fayed’s faith in Chris Coleman. That said, Sheffield is and will continue to be difficult to beat at home. 2-2

Chelsea v Blackburn, 2:45pm, FSC: Blackburn was rampant over a poor Luton in the FA Cup, but Chelsea also rolled over an awed and out of sorts Nottingham Forest. Wednesday is too early to expect John Terry to return, but Mourinho’s been seen smiling again and Chelsea look likely to be back on track. And if not back on track, at the least I highly doubt we’ll ever see their backline as suspect as it was against Liverpool. Chelsea 2-0
Newcastle v Aston Villa, 3:00pm, Setanta Xtra: Villa’s spent as much as any team in the Prem outside of West Ham, although mainly on one player. Both Ashley Young and John Carew will help Villa greatly, as they’ve been missing goals since Luke Moore’s injury. Newcastle’s still hit or miss, more often hit at home than miss (let’s not count the FA Cup game, shall we?), but I think Villa will start to return to the form they began the season with. Villa 2-1
Bolton v Charlton, 3:00pm: Winless in the last three in the Prem, Bolton will look to give 19th placed Charlton a thrashing at the Reebok. If they’re going to survive the drop, Charlton will have to play as they did against Portsmouth in all their away games, and I don’t see that happening here. Bolton 2-0
Manchester United v Watford, 3:00pm: One would think that getting a good 1-0 win over West Ham in the FA Cup would boost Watford’s morale go into their next match. Pity that match is against United, at Old Trafford. United 3-0

Arsenal v Tottenham (agg 2-2), 2:45pm Setanta: Bonus Carling Cup action, with all to play for in the second leg for the right to meet Chelsea in the final. If Tottenham had been able to hold onto the 2-0 lead they took into halftime in the last match, we’d have a completely different game here. But Baptista scored twice in the second half, and Arsenal has firm control of the tie with the away goals advantage and this leg at the Emirates. Arse 3-1 (5-3 agg)

Liverpool at West Ham is on Setanta at 2:45 Tuesday. Preview up later.

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