20 September 2007

Predictions 9/22-9/23

Arsenal v Derby, 10am, FSC: Every time I make a declarative statement like “I refuse to pick Derby to get any points until things change” they end up winning. Nonetheless, I’m pretty sure they won’t be able to replicate it. Arsenal’s been on-form, mainly thanks to the play of Fabregas, and Derby won’t be anywhere near as resilient as they were at Pride Park on the road. Arsenal 3-0
Middlesbrough v Sunderland, 10am: As usual, Boro at home is a much different opponent than Boro away. Their only home loss is to Blackburn on the opening day, and they’ve scored in every game at the Riverside. And similar goes for Sunderland, who have struggled to get goals away from the Stadium of Light, and have only picked up one point on the road, against Birmingham. Boro 2-1
Reading v Wigan, 10am: Every year you hear about the “sophomore slump,” but Reading’s certainly experiencing it so far this season. Winless in their last three in the league, not getting goals from Kevin Doyle (or any of the other strikers) as they did last season, and sincerely missing Steve Sidwell. But Wigan haven’t impressed in their last few outings either, and Heskey’s out for the next six weeks or so. 1-1
Fulham v Manchester City, 12:15pm, FSC: As an American, I’m well pleased that Clint Dempsey’s scored in the last three league games, and long may it continue (until Fulham faces Liverpool). But Manchester City’s been a more cohesive and impressive team so far this season (I still can’t believe I’m writing this about an Eriksson-led squad). Hamann and Johnson have been very good in City’s midfield, and I don’t think Fulham will have the space or amount of possession needed to beat City. They’re frequently draw specialists at home, but I reckon City will come away with all three points. City 1-0

Newcastle v West Ham, 8:30am, Setanta: Since the first match at Bolton, Newcastle have had problems scoring, most notably last Monday at Derby. Meanwhile, the Hammers have won their last two games 3-0 (home v Boro and away at Reading), and have snuck up to 6th in the table on 10 points. Lingering feelings from last season prevent me from picking a West Ham win, but they definitely have enough for a draw. 1-1
Aston Villa v Everton, 9am: It will be interesting to see how Everton responds following their UEFA Cup match. They don’t have the deepest squad, but they’re at home today and will have a couple of days to recuperate. And I honestly believe (no biases, I swear) that Villa is the better team of the two, although I imagine both will finish around the same position. Villa 2-1
Blackburn v Portsmouth, 10am: I think all the teams involved in UEFA Cup action today are going to have a bit of a let-down over the weekend. Blackburn’s will probably be the biggest; they had to travel to Greece today, and lost 2-0 in the process. But as Blackburn’s at home, I still think they’ll be able to hold on for a draw against Pompey, who will probably be as stingy in defense as they were last weekend. 0-0
Bolton v Tottenham, 10am: I learned my lesson last week in trying to be cute and picking Tottenham over Arsenal. Bolton haven’t been world-beaters, but Tottenham over the last couple of weeks couldn't have been more disappointing. I’m hoping Anelka will keep scoring (and keep accruing fantasy points), while I reckon Bolton have the potential to keep Tottenham mostly under wraps, despite their exceptionally poor start to the season (currently at the foot of the table). 1-1
Manchester Utd v Chelsea, 11am, FSC: This game just got a little more interesting in the last 24 hours. Not much more to be said about Mourinho, although it amazes me how quickly relations broke down this season. Avram Grant has experience, but he’s nowhere near the manager Mourinho is. United would have been favored anyway, at home and with better recent results than Chelsea, but it’ll still probably be a close game, with neither team scoring goals as expected. United 1-0

Liverpool v Birmingham is on Setanta on Saturday at 10am.

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