03 May 2007

Predictions 5/5-5/7

Manchester City v Manchester Utd, 7:45am, Setanta: Unfortunately for City, the psychopath otherwise known as Joey Barton will miss the rest of the season for punching Ousmane Dabo’s face in. Soccernista sums it up far better than I could, but let’s just say that City will miss the terror. United will have mayhem on the minds as well, having been knocked out of the Champions League at the last hurdle and probably able to all but secure the league on Saturday. It’s a derby, so it’ll still be hot blooded, but as usual, I wouldn’t bet against United, especially with City so unable to score at home. United 2-0
West Ham v Bolton, 10am, FSC: With United at Old Trafford West Ham’s lone fixture after this, they’ll want to pick up points here to give themselves a chance of escaping relegation. Yes, if United has the title secured by the last day of the season, they may play the reserves versus the Hammers, but you cannot rely on that. With the Premier League giving West Ham an out by not docking them points for the Tevez/Mascherano fiasco, they need to take advantage of the opportunity. With this being Sammy Lee’s first game in charge, Bolton should show up ready to play and ready to impress the new gaffer, but it’s worth nothing they are winless in their last four. It’s probably not wise to pick against a new manager, and one I like at that, as well as against a team who still needs to secure European qualification, but here’s hoping the Hammers muddy the relegation race even more. West Ham 2-1
Newcastle v Blackburn, 10am, Setanta Xtra: Even though I’ve said my piece on Michael Owen in the past, it was heartening to see him return on Monday, and I was actually surprised at how pleased it made me. The Premiership needs a healthy Owen, and even with all the rust, he still showed glimpses of what he’s capable of. Despite the win last week, Blackburn looks to be too far out to challenge for the UEFA Cup places, and I think we may see a slight drop in their play with Europe out of reach. Newcastle 1-0
Everton v Portsmouth, 10am: 6th place versus 8th place, with a point separating them. This game may very well decide who gets a European excursion next fall. And with that said, as much as it pains me to write, Everton has looked the better team taking into account the entire season and probably deserves to qualify for the UEFA Cup. Plus, with Phil Neville not having played for Portsmouth, I doubt he’ll get confused enough to stick it in his own net this week. Everton 2-1
Reading v Watford, 10am: Another game with European implications, and if you’d looked at the schedule in August, you’d never have guessed it. Reading should win here, which would see them at least keep pace with Bolton and Everton, if not overtake them, and I love that Steve Coppell’s already come out and said he’d play his reserves in Europe next year. The man has his priorities straight. Reading 2-0
Wigan v Middlesbrough, 10am: Wigan needs points to be certain of staying up, especially after the tough 3-0 loss to West Ham last week, a game in which they did not look good. However, it’s not as if Boro are powerhouses on the road, but with Wigan’s recent form, a draw looks the most likely result. 0-0
Aston Villa v Sheffield Utd, 12:15pm, FSC: 3 points against Watford last week saw Sheffield reach 38 on the season, 3 points above the drop, and thanks to goal difference, they’re probably a draw away from safety. And they’re playing Aston Villa. Draw it is then? 1-1
Arsenal v Chelsea, 11am Sunday, FSC: This fixture is always fun, and I imagine that trend will continue. But mostly because of my delight in schadenfreude. Yes, I am that petty. Chelsea should come out with guns blazing after Tuesday’s loss, and although Arsenal is still neck and neck with Liverpool for 3rd place, they’ve haven’t been in the best form of late. Either way, I’ll probably enjoy seeing one or the other lose a tough match, which this certainly should be, but since I think Chelsea will be the better team, I’ll be content to see Arsenal fail to make up ground on Liverpool. Plus, if United win on Saturday, a Chelsea win will do them no good in the title race. Misery all around! Chelsea 2-1
Charlton v Tottenham, 3pm Monday, FSC: Another chance for Charlton to escape the drop zone, and I think another opportunity that will fall by the wayside. Which is a pity considering how far they’ve come since January, but their best chance out of their last games was seemingly last week against Blackburn. I’d also be very surprised if they can come away with anything against Tottenham who, as I have seemingly written for half of these predictions, are still in the hunt for a UEFA Cup place, level on points with Pompey and only 2 behind Bolton in 5th. Tottenham 2-0

Liverpool hosts Fulham 10am Saturday on Setanta.

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