Of course I follow up a non-post that turned out to be egregiously wrong (not that I’m complaining, mind you) with more predictions. I can’t help that I’m a slave to routine.
Speaking of which, the preview of the Liverpool at Reading game (12:15pm Saturday, FSC) will be up sometime tomorrow morning.
Aston Villa v Portsmouth, 7:45am, Setanta: Although Pompey's unbeaten in the league their last 10, not losing since the trip to Arsenal on September 2nd, I've been far more impressed with Villa over the last couple of weeks. A 4-0 rout of Blackburn at Ewood is an exceptional result, while they were unlucky not to take a point away from the match against Arsenal. Given that it's an early game between the 6th and 7th placed teams, a draw seems the most likely, but I'm sticking with Villa with the form they're in. Villa 2-1
Chelsea v Sunderland, 10am, FSC: News today that Drogba may miss the next month-plus if he has to undergo a knee operation won't be welcomed by Blues fans, but Chelsea should still have enough to beat struggling Sunderland at Stamford Bridge. Even if this doesn't lead to an opening for Shevchenko to get some starts, I've been impressed by Salomon Kalou over the last couple of games. Chelsea 2-0
Manchester Utd v Derby, 10am, Setanta: It's anyone's guess as to how many United will put past Derby. Liverpool put 6 past them at home, Tottenham 4, and Arsenal 5. It may be different days under Paul Jewell, but United will still probably roll, even considering that they'll probably rest players. United 3-0
Everton v Fulham, 10am, Setanta Xtra: I'm sort of surprised that my "fantasy pro-tip" about Cahill a couple weeks ago turned out to be correct, as I’m usually quite wrong when making that type of declarative statement, but not really. The shadow-boxing moron is an incredible boon to their midfield, and allows Arteta to do what he does best by giving him a goal-scoring foil in midfield. And as much as it pains me, I expect that trend to continue. Everton 2-0
Newcastle v Birmingham, 10am: Congratulations are in order for Newcastle’s performance yesterday, but I don't know if they're out of the woods yet. We've seen other false dawns over the last couple of years, and I still think Alex McLeish will do well at Brum. If Newcastle play like they did against Arsenal yesterday, they'll win here, but I think there will be a little let down, and Birmingham under McLeish can’t be overlooked. 2-2
Middlesbrough v Arsenal, 8:30am, Setanta: No matter how pleased I am to have been wrong about Arsenal keeping up their torrid pace at Newcastle, I still reckon they'll come away with 3 points from this trip to the Northeast. I will be stunned if Arsenal pass Boro to pieces, especially considering they'll be furious for dropping those 2 points. Maybe Fabregas' absence means Arsenal are a completely different team, as neither Gilberto (who's lost a step) nor Diarra fill the midfield as Cesc does, but they still have to be favored here. Arsenal 2-1
Bolton v Wigan, 10am: Truth be told, the only thing keeping Wigan from a win in Steve Bruce's first match was Titus Bramble. However, despite the fact that the Premier League table says differently, I think Wigan will find an away trip to Bolton more difficult than a home match against City. Plus, it’s a Lancashire derby, so sumptuous football probably isn’t on the cards. 1-1
Tottenham v Manchester City, 10am: Well, I'm still expecting City to drop points and keep earning more draws than wins, like against Wigan last week and Pompey a couple before, and they'll undoubtedly miss Elano's influence. I'm also expecting Ramos to continue to improve Tottenham, but last week's late loss to Birmingham and the fact they gave up 3 goals is worrisome (that's 5 shipped in 2 games). I should probably wait until I watch today’s UEFA Cup match at Anderlecht, as Spurs have had some good European performances that have made me change my mind before, but if nothing else, college taught me to stick with my first guess. 1-1
Blackburn v West Ham, 11am, FSC: Blackburn's been on a slide of late; the win over Newcastle last time out is their only victory since the end of October. Meanwhile, the Hammers have smashed Derby, drawn Tottenham, and narrowly lost to Chelsea at the Bridge in their last three. But the game is at Ewood Park, while Bentley played absolutely out of his mind last week, and my fantasy team hopes that continues. Blackburn 2-1