The International break is over and it is time to get back to Premier League action. The big game this weekend has to be the lunch time match up between Liverpool and Manchester City.
Liverpool v Man City
This is really a huge game for two teams who have Champions League ambitions. Liverpool have been part of the ‘Big Four” but Manchester City are trying desperately to break into that select group. City are one point ahead of Liverpool with a game in hand, so they know that if they win at Anfield, they could be a massive 7 points ahead of Liverpool. A Liverpool loss would put them 14 points behind league leaders Chelsea, and will end their title ambitions for another season.
Liverpool will have Steven Gerrard, but it looks like Fernando Torres will miss the game due to injury. City are hoping to welcome back Brazilian striker Robinho, who has been out injured since injuring an ankle playing for Brazil in September.
Both teams have problems in defence and I expect this game to be wide open game. By 3pm on Saturday the pressure will be turned up on either Mark Hughes or Rafa Benitez, and I expect Rafa to be celebrating a big win at home.
Verdict: 2-1 Liverpool
Birmingham v Fulham
These are two sides that play better at home than away from home. Some luckily for Birmingham this game is at St. Andrews and not Craven Cottage. Birmingham started playing some good football before the break, while Fulham had that huge win over Liverpool. These are the type of games that Birmingham need to win to stay up, but I don’t think they will.
Prediction: Birmingham 1 Fulham 1
Burnley v Aston Villa
Burnley have made Turf Moor a really difficult place to go and get points, which is one of the reasons why they are where they are in the league. At some point, Aston Villa have to step forward and show whether they are Champions Leagyue contenders or pretenders and this is the week that they show how god they can be with a tough victory away from home.
Verdict: 1-2 Aston Villa
Chelsea v Wolves
This is the lick of the week, Chelsea have been fantastic at Stamford Bridge this season, and even with their injuries they are much too strong for Wolves.
Verdict: 4-0 Chelsea
Hull v West Ham
The win against Stoke helped save Phil Brown’s job in the short-term but eventually Hull need to fire him if they are to stay up. That being said this is the kind of game they could easily win because West Ham are a very hot and cold team. You never know what team will show up from a week to week basis. I am looking for the bad West Ham to travel to Hull and for Phil Brown to get another big win.
Verdict: 2-1 Hull
Sunderland v Arsenal
This is a really tough game for Arsenal who will be without Robin Van Persie and will have one eye on next weekends game against Chelsea. In the past three years, this is the kind of game Arsenal would have lost of drawn, but this team nis maturing and I expect them to get all three pints here.
Verdict: 1-2 Arsenal
Man Utd v Everton
United have had two weeks to stew about the defeat at Chelsea and they know that they need to get three points here against Everton if they are to keep Chelsea without touching distance. Everton have been a real disappointment this season as injuries have really hurt them. Games between these two sides are always close, and I expect United to edge this one in the end.
Verdict: 2-1 Man United
Bolton v Blackburn
If you are a fan of Brazil, this is not the game for you. This one will not be pretty, but it will be very competitive with no quarter asked, and no quarter given. This will be a game of few chances, which indicates draw to me.
Verdict: Bolton 1 Blackburn 1
Tottenham v Wigan
Similar to West Ham, Wigan and Spurs are too teams that have been very up and down lately. The advantage Tottenham has in this game is that they are at home, and their forwards are better than Wigan’s defenders. That translates into three points for the home team
Verdict: 2-1 Spurs
Stoke v Portsmouth
This is a big relegation six-pointer. Stoke were really unlucky to lose at Hull before the break, while Portsmouth have been playing better than their record indicate. I expect this to be a really tense affair, but Stoke are home, in front of some very passionate fans, and at the end of the day, that will be the difference between one point and three points.
Verdict: 2-1 Stoke