13 December 2007

Predictions 12/15 – 12/16

Forgive any absent-mindedness in this preview, but I’m already obsessing over Sunday’s match against Manchester United (8:30am, Setanta). Liverpool/United match-ups are the fixtures I look for first when the schedules come out, and my least favorite matches to sit through for the full 90. I’ll be a mess by Saturday.

Manchester City v Bolton, 10am, FSC: Elano’s still out, and Stephen Ireland’s suspension won’t help in midfield either. But City’s also still unbeaten at the Eastlands. Bolton under Megson is a physical, tough team reminiscent of Bolton under Allardyce, but they’ve not won on the road all season. 1-1
West Ham v Everton, 10am, Setanta: With these two teams playing each other twice in a week, I thought both would have kept cards close to the chest in yesterday’s Carling Cup match. But both deployed nearly full-strength line-ups and went all out, which shows how important the late-round League Cup games have become. And with the way both Everton and West Ham are playing of late, I think we’ll see a similar outcome. Everton 2-1
Portsmouth v Tottenham, 10am, Setanta Xtra: Portsmouth’s been excellent lately, but surprisingly, their best results have come on the road (3-1 Villa, 4-1 Newcastle). And although Ramos has improved Spurs (they were lucky to win against City, but it was an excellent first half performance), I still think Tottenham will find Portsmouth too tough an opponent. Pompey 2-1
Birmingham v Reading, 10am: Even though they’re away from the Majeski, I can’t go against Reading after their performance last Saturday. McLeish will do well at Brum, and they deserved something from the match at Newcastle last week, but Reading’s finding the form that saw them finish as last season’s surprise package. Reading 2-1
Derby v Middlesbrough, 10am: It’s hard to bet against Boro after they beat Arsenal last week, but I can’t help myself. I still think Paul Jewell will improve Derby, although not enough to steer them away from relegation, while it's still Boro on the road. 1-1
Sunderland v Aston Villa, 10am: Villa was gash against Pompey last week, when I expected them to continue the form that saw them beat Blackburn 4-0 at Ewood Park and push Arsenal at home, but despite how much Roy Keane frightens me, I’m still going with the away side. Villa 2-0
Wigan v Blackburn, 10am: With Bentley returning from a one-match suspension, Blackburn won’t be as toothless as they were against West Ham last time out. I had thought that Steve Bruce would be able to turn around Wigan’s fortunes, but they’ve only won 1 point from 3 games under Bruce, and haven’t won a match in the league since August. Blackburn 3-1
Fulham v Newcastle, 12:15pm, FSC: Newcastle on the road, and Fulham at home. I know Fulham hasn’t been the draw-specialists at Craven Cottage they were last season, but this one smells like a stalemate, despite Newcastle’s results in the last two matches (2-1 Brum, 1-1 Arse). 0-0
Arsenal v Chelsea, 11am Sunday, FSC: Although it seems like I’ve been picking a lot of draws this week, I think we’ll have another here. On form, Chelsea’s been better of late, and Arsenal dearly misses Fabregas (they’ve now lost and drawn their last two league outings), but without Drogba, and with van Persie returning to fitness, I think each side will cancel the other out. 2-2

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