16 March 2007

Prem Predictions 3/17-3/18

Manchester Utd v Bolton (8:45am, Setanta): If United lose and Chelsea win, the gap between first and second will only be 3 points, with 8 games left to play. But I won’t be holding my breath. Not with United’s form, and Bolton’s recent indifferent play. Sigh. At least Larsson’s gone back to Sweden. United 2-1
Reading v Portsmouth (11:00am, FSC): Consecutive league losses see Reading hanging onto 7th and a narrow hope at a European place. But Portsmouth’s decline following an excellent start to the league campaign has been even sharper. Not coincidentally, they’re also dearly struggling for goals, having been shut out in five of their last six league games, with Kanu nowhere near as potent as he was to start the season. Reading 2-0
Chelsea v Sheffield Utd (11:00am, Setanta): Home win. “Boring, boring Chelsea…” Hopefully at the least Mourinho or Warnock will say something interesting in the post-match comments, but having seen the trouble Jose’s gotten himself into recently, I doubt he’ll be much fun. Chelsea 2-0
Middlesbrough v Manchester City (11:00am, Setanta Xtra): With City struggling for goals, and poor away from home, I honestly think the best they can hope for is a draw, and probably 0-0 at that. But I think the last time Boro was held scoreless at home was the draw against Liverpool in November, and they parked the bus in front of the goal in that game. I don’t reckon that will happen here. If anything, it will be Boro that has to unlock a team with 10 men behind the ball. Boro 2-0
Tottenham v Watford (11:00am): Berbatov will probably get the game off he was supposed to receive against Chelsea in the FA Cup, but that won’t stop me from singing his praises along with everyone else commenting on the Premiership. I’ve sung his praises before, but over the past month, he’s been truly special. Spurs have scored 17 goals in the last 5 games; Berbatov’s scored 4 and set up more, but both Keane and the midfield have gotten into the act. Tottenham 2-0
Wigan v Fulham (11:00am): Despite both managers forced to scour the world’s leagues for bargains due to their respective clubs’ financial restrictions, this should be a quintessentially English match: gritty, stuck-in, closely contested, and utterly impossible to predict. So I’ll go for the safe option. 1-1
Blackburn v West Ham (1:15pm, FSC): In the last set of Premiership predictions, I simply said “West Ham’s boned,” and for 89 minutes, I looked the idiot as they looked like turning over Tottenham. Admittedly, I may have underestimated the heart of players like Tevez and Mark Noble, but they’re still going down. Hopefully, for the sake of the club’s heritage, it will continue to be with a fight. Blackburn 2-1
Charlton v Newcastle (9:30am Sunday, Setanta Xtra): I don’t much fancy Newcastle after their ignominious exit from the UEFA Cup on away goals, where they lacked a cutting edge and the improved defending Roeder has brought about. Not to mention they haven’t been the best away from St. James Park. Whereas Pardew has Charlton on the up, even though they are probably too far behind City and Sheffield to make it interesting. Newcastle should still have enough for a draw though, if they can fix some of the defensive lapses that plagued on Thursday. 0-0
Everton v Arsenal (12:00pm Sunday, FSC): I’m never one to willingly root for an Everton victory, but Arsenal’s narrow win over Villa Wednesday saw them pass Liverpool into 3rd with a game still in hand. Situations merit what they must, but honestly, Everton at home do have the potential to turn over the Gunners. In addition, Arsenal currently suffering key injuries (Henry, van Persie, Clichy, Eboue) while Adebayor has one more game left on his suspension. Everton 1-0

Liverpool v Villa is 9:30am Sunday on Setanta.

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