A lot of people don't like the meaningless international friendlies but for the players there's no greater honour than playing for your country. Apart from maybe being able to install a shark tank under your kitchen floor. I myself played three times for Northern Ireland, now I may not have been born there, or even be able to find it on a map, but there was no better day for me than when I wore the green shirt. I made me so proud to be English.
Liverpool v Arsenal
Both of these teams will be on a high after last week's performances but of course Liverpool's was by far the greater achievement, managing to draw against lower league opposition after 120 minutes of football, Wembley really is Anfield South again. This game will be tough for Liverpool without Steven Gerrard, when he starts you know they're going to win, but he picked up a knock against Holland. No such problems for Arsenal, all their players are foreign so don't have to worry about international games. Luckily though Liverpool have won a trophy now so that just proves how much better than Arsenal they are.
Blackburn v Aston Villa
Both of these teams are struggling at the bottom of the league and the Villa fans must be getting worried that they're getting sucked into the relegation battle. But they shouldn't worry too much because they've got Big Eck. I can't see a manager of his calibre ever getting a team relegated. He's no Gerard Houillier is he? Of course Villa's job hasn't been made any easier by losing their all-English strike force of Bent and Keane but goals don't win games, determination does and as far as that goes both these teams have it in spades. Whatever the result football will be the winner. Football and Blackburn.
Man City v Bolton
Man City's home form this season has literally been almost perfect. 13 wins out of 13. Bolton on the other hand have been worse than Spanish lager this year. Quite frankly if it needs a lime in it then it's not worth drinking. Give me a good old fashioned British beer like Stella any day.
QPR v Everton
QPR have struggled this year which I just can't explain, they had the good, old-fashioned battler Neil Warnock in charge and they've replaced him with the good, old-fashioned battler Mark Hughes but it doesn't seem to have made a blind bit of difference. Going on current form Everton should walk this and only a fool would back against them, but I don't actually Everton so I'm going for a QPR win.
Stoke v Norwich
Tony Pulis this week claimed that the Stoke fans wouldn't allow their team to play fancy football. Well thank God for Stoke fans is all I can say, if only all fans were good, solid citizens like the Stoke boys we wouldn't have to have put up with years of fancy dan foreigners with their skill and ability ruining our league. Norwich won't win here but I think they've done enough already to stay up. They've got two feet planted firmly in the Premiership now and a couple more good results should see them able to get the last one in too.
West Brom v Chelsea
Andre Villas Boas has said he fears for his job, and so he should, despite the win last weekend he didn't even pick John Terry. That's a sackable offence in my book. I mean what kind of manager could leave out the one-man-spine that is John Terry? A man so British he has his own crumbling empire. A man with so much bulldog spirit that I wouldn't be surprised if his father actually was a bulldog and his mother was the heart of a lion, dipped in grit. Leaving him out of any team for any reason is tantamount to admitting you're an idiot who knows nothing about football. Talking of which Roy Hodgson got lucky last weekend against Sunderland but he won't be so lucky here.
Wigan v Swansea
This game makes me feel physically sick.
Newcastle v Sunderland
It seems ages since we had a proper derby game. And they don't get more proper than this two sets of passionate fans, two English managers and twenty-two players all vying to be the first one to get sent off. Magic. It really is too close to call this one but if I was pushed I'd have to say Newcastle could well win it but it might be a draw. Or a Sunderland win. One of those results anyway, that's as much as I can narrow it down.
Fulham v Wolves
I think Terry Connor is a very good choice of manager for Wolves. I used to love him on Crosswits. Whereas, as far as I know, Martin Jol hasn't presented any game shows. Except maybe Funhouse. Wolves to edge this one.
Tottenham v Man Utd
What a cracker this game will be. Harry Redknapp has had probably his toughest week of the season this week, first he lost to Arsenal and then his England team crashed against the Dutch. Ferguson has his problems from that game too after Smalling suffered a nasty gash to the head. Now I've seen a fair few nasty gashes in my time and I'm sure Smalling will be just fine after a stiff brandy. There's no need for him to get into a flap.
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