30 August 2007

Predictions 9/1 – 9/2

Hey, I was actually above .500 last week! Next stop, .500 for the season (someone stop me before I pass out from overconfidence).

Fulham v Tottenham, 10am, FSC: Tottenham deserved something out of their game against Manchester United, and might even start playing decent football before October for a change. But Fulham has been unlucky so far this season; they should have more than 3 points, and should be higher than 19th in the table. And I can’t forget how they were draw specialists, especially at Craven Cottage, last season. 1-1
Reading v West Ham, 10am, Setanta Xtra: Last weekend’s 3-0 loss for Reading was an aberration. And there’s no way that Steve Coppell will let his players duplicate that performance. It certainly won’t help that West Ham’s got another key player missing in Kieron Dyer, who’s got the absolute worst luck with injuries. Reading 1-0
Bolton v Everton, 10am: I’m well pleased that Sammy Lee finally got his first win as Bolton manager last weekend, with Anelka (who just signed a new deal) again their standout player. Hopefully this will be the start of them turning the corner; Bolton is so much more likeable without Allardyce. But unfortunately, this hasn’t looked like one of Everton’s yo-yo seasons so far. Everton 1-0
Middlesbrough v Birmingham, 10am: If Mido can continue to score, Boro will do alright. Southgate’s got the squad playing decent football, but more importantly, believing in what the manager’s trying to build. Brum’s gotten 4 points out of 4 games, which isn’t an awful return (and is the same result as Boro), and all 4 of their strikers have scored in either the Prem or League cup, but beating Boro at the Riverside might be too much to ask. Boro 2-1
Newcastle v Wigan, 10am: Pity that Antoine Sibierski, who already has 3 goals this season, might miss this game with a hamstring injury, as he’s played well for Wigan since coming over from Newcastle on a free. But even with Sibierski in the squad, and even though Wigan’s looked better than I expected, Newcastle should still have enough to win at home. And it won’t hurt that Michael Owen’s finally back on the scoresheet, getting the opener in Newcastle’s Carling Cup match yesterday. Newcastle 2-0
Manchester Utd v Sunderland, 12:15pm, FSC: Roy Keane returns to Manchester, and you can be sure he’ll want make the most of it. But like against Liverpool last week, I think they’ll struggle to score against the big boys, and even though United’s found goals very hard to come by, they should be able to break down Sunderland’s backline. Craig Gordon may not have as busy a day as last Saturday, but he’ll be put to work. United 2-0
Arsenal v Portsmouth, 8:30am Sunday, Setanta: Chelsea barely put an end to Portsmouth’s unbeaten start to the season last weekend, and 2 weeks earlier, Pompey drew against United. Now they have to travel to Arsenal before hosting Liverpool. An easy start to the season to be sure. But I think they can keep up their form; Arsenal’s done well to get 7 points from 3 games, and don’t really look like missing Thierry Henry, but Portsmouth’s gotten goals from a variety of players, and can do enough to frustrate Arsenal at the Emirates. 2-2
Blackburn v Manchester City, 10am Sunday: In two games against two teams that finished in the top 6 last season, Blackburn’s drawn 1-1: home against Arsenal and away to Everton. Like those matches, this will be another stern test for Blackburn. City, much to my chagrin and surprise, has played really well, using all of Sven’s foreign buys and getting the best out of Emile Mpenza, and likewise, it’ll be as much of a test for them. As such, I think this one will end level, and probably even 1-1 again. 1-1
Aston Villa v Chelsea, 11am Sunday, FSC: Until proven otherwise, I’m going to find it very hard to go against Chelsea in any game this season. And while Aston Villa will make them work for it, as they do in every match, Chelsea’s too strong and too deep, even against a Villa team that’s making obvious strides. Chelsea 2-1

Liverpool hosts Derby 10am Saturday on Setanta. Preview tomorrow.

I’ll have some thoughts on the Champions League draw, which takes place at noon, up late tonight.

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