The Premier League returns this weekend and that means it is time to bring out the crystal ball again. Last time out I went 7 for 10 and that brought my score for the season up to 20 out of 36 (56%). The weekend after an international week always thoughts up some upsets and this is how I thing that this weeks games will go.
Blackburn v Wolverhampton
It is early in the season but this is a must win home game for Blackburn. They have failed to win any games this season and they cannot afford to keep dropping points, especially to teams that will be around them this season. Wolves look like they will be competitive this year, but this is a game of force over style and Big Sam’s force wins here.
Prediction: Blackburn 1-0
Liverpool v Burnley
Burnley has had a brutal schedule to start the season with games against Man Utd, Everton, Chelsea and now Liverpool. They have done well enough to pick up 6 points so far, but they are not going to win at Anfield.
This is the type of home game that Liverpool struggled to win last season, but I expect them to win here and keep within shouting distance of Chelsea and Spurs.
Prediction: Liverpool 3-1
Man City v Arsenal
This is a big test for Man City to see how they compete against one of the big four. It looks like Arsenal will be without Fabregas and Arshavin and that is too huge loses for them. This will be a close game, but I expect Arsenal to come up short again in their travels to Manchester.
Prediction: Man City 2-1
Portsmouth v Bolton
This is not a game for Match of the Day. Two very poor teams who are both struggling for their first points of the season. Bolton is a better side than Portsmouth, who I expect to get relegated this season, and I am looking for the home side to squeeze out a victory and get their first points of the season.
Prediction: Bolton 1-0
Stoke v Chelsea
Stoke is a really tough ground to go to, but Chelsea are looking very much like Championship contenders. Chelsea play really well away from home as I think it suits their counter-attacking style of play better. The combination of Anelka and Drogba will be too strong for Stoke here.
Prediction: Chelsea 3-1
Sunderland v Hull
I have gotten every Hull score wrong this season, so the Hull fans that read this will be happy to know that I am picking a home win for Sunderland. I like Steve Bruce over Phil Brown and expect Sunderland to be too strong for City.
Prediction: Sunderland 1-0
Wigan v West Ham
Wigan at times have looked really impressive (Aston Villa game) and really weak at the back (Manchester United game), so it is hard to know what Wigan team will show this weekend. West Ham has had a pretty good start to the season and I expect them to steal a point at Wigan.
Prediction: 1-1 Draw
Tottenham v Man Utd
This is the second of the North London v Manchester games this weekend and I am expecting a reverse of the other game. It is not the replacement of Ronaldo and Tevez that is worrying me about Man Utd. It is the problems they are having at the back. They seem a lot more vulnerable this season defensively and I am looking for Lennon and Defoe to take advantage and keep the unbeaten run going for Spurs.
Prediction: Spurs 3-2
Birmingham v Aston Villa
Local derbies are always hard to predict as the games are often more about emotion than skill. But Villa is the better team and as long as Martin O’Neil sticks with his 4-5-1 formation I expect Villa to win this one comfortably.
Prediction: Villa 2-0
Fulham v Everton
These are two teams that were expecting to be sitting on more than 3 points at this point of the season. Both teams have lost big names (Lescott and Andy Johnson) for different reasons and at some point these two teams have to resort to form. Everton have lost on the last eight league visits to Craven Cottage – part of a sequence of 18 league matches between the teams that have all been won by the home side. I expect history to continue this weekend as the home team wins again.
Prediction: Fulham 1-0