13 September 2007

Predictions 9/15 – 9/17

Saturday is a weird day, with a number of games in irregular timeslots, and I have no idea why.

Everton v Manchester United, 7am, Setanta: I’d love a draw here, as the result wouldn't please either team, but Manchester United knows they need to pick up points and quick before the season gets away from them (I can't believe I'm writing that in mid-September). They'll also be aided by the fact Ronaldo finally returns from suspension, and Ferguson will probably be even angrier than usual following his “altercation” in a London train station this week. Plus, I really don’t like seeing Everton this high up in the table, even if it is only September, and even if that means a United win. United 1-0
Tottenham v Arsenal, 8:30am, FSC: Spurs/Arsenal is frequently the most entertaining London derby. Both teams like to attack, and there's certainly no love lost between the two. The past few results have either been draws or Arsenal wins, but I think Tottenham is going to surprise on Saturday. Maybe I’m hoping against hope, but Spurs has to have a good performance soon, or else the speculation surrounding Jol is going to continue. Also, I’m a bit surprised Arsenal is unbeaten so far and I’d like to see that change. Spurs 2-1
Sunderland v Reading, 10am, Setanta: With the injuries to Sunderland's key players (Whitehead, Richardson, and Edwards, among others), on paper it looks like they'll struggle Saturday. But Reading has looked out of sorts in the last two games, losing 3-0 to both Bolton (a) and West Ham (h). That and Roy Keane's Sunderland has proven difficult to beat at home against both Manchester United and Liverpool, while Michael Chopra’s due to return to the score sheet after getting two in his first two games. Sunderland 1-0
West Ham v Middlesbrough, 10am-ish, FSC (joined in progress following Spurs/Arsenal): I was surprised at how well West Ham played in the couple of games before the international break, especially considering how many injuries they've accrued. I've also been surprised by Boro, as Mido's fit right into the line-up and they haven't really missed either Yakubu or Viduka. But the Hammers have been better, and considering how they finished last season and the players missing or sold, more impressive. Hammers 2-1
Birmingham v Bolton, 10am: Even with Bolton's early struggles, and the fact that they're away to Birmingham, I can't see the Brummies putting one over on them. Worst-case scenario for Bolton is probably a draw, but with the way Anelka's been scoring, I can't imagine that Birmingham will be able to keep pace. Bolton 2-1
Wigan v Fulham, 10am: Fulham at Wigan is never going to be the most impressive game on the fixture list, but this one should be entertaining nonetheless. Of course, that doesn’t mean it won’t be ugly though. Wigan under Chris Hutchings has done better than expected, while Lawrie Sanchez has Fulham playing decent football, especially with Clint Dempsey chipping in goals. 1-1
Chelsea v Blackburn, 12:15pm, FSC: I find it hard to believe Chelsea will underwhelm in back-to-back games. After a disappointing loss to Villa, they’ll assuredly come out ready to play. Blackburn’s undefeated, with wins against City and Boro and good draws against Everton and Arsenal, but Chelsea, at Stamford Bridge and with vengeance on their minds, should prove to be too much. Chelsea 1-0
Manchester City v Aston Villa, 11am Sunday, FSC: Ahh, Eriksson's coming back down to Earth. After City’s start, highlighted by the derby win over United, they’ve lost their last two, and the injury to Bojinov hasn’t helped. Meanwhile, Villa's coming off a win against Chelsea, and while they've been better at home than away, I still fancy them to keep up their pace. Villa 2-1
Derby v Newcastle, 3pm Monday, Setanta: I refuse to pick Derby to get any points until things change. They can’t be any worse than they were at Liverpool two weeks ago, but there were no promising signs from them at all, and as of now, they look likely to challenge Sunderland’s record lowest points total. Newcastle 1-0

Liverpool v Portsmouth is at 7:45am Saturday on Setanta Sports Xtra.

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