Another Weekend, another round of Premier League Fixtures,
|Premier League Fixture|
|DLWWL||Norwich (9) v Chelsea (4||WDDWW||-||-||-||-||-|
|LWDLW||Everton (11) v Blackburn (17)||WDLLD||1-0||1-1||2-3||3-0||2-0|
|WLWWL||Fulham (14) v Newcastle (6)||LWLDL||2-1||0-1||2-1||-||1-0|
|LLLDL||QPR (18) v Wigan (20)||DLWWL||-||-||-||-||-|
|DDWWL||Stoke (8) v West Brom (15)||LWWDL||1-0||3-1||1-0||-||1-1|
|WDWLD||Sunderland (12) v Swansea (10)||WLDLD||-||-||-||-||-|
|LDLWW||Wolves (16) v Aston Villa (13)||WDWDL||-||-||-||1-1||1-2|
|DLLLW||Bolton (19) v Liverpool (7)||LDWLW||2-0||1-3||0-2||2-3||0-1|
|WWWWW||Man City (1) v Tottenham (3)||DWLWW||1-2||2-1||1-2||0-1||1-0|
|WDWDW||Arsenal (5) v Man United (2)||LWWWW||2-1||2-2||2-1||1-3||1-0|
This weekend see clashes at the top with the traditional big boys ManUnited and Arsenal taking each other on, and the new kids on the block Manchester City and Spurs, and clashes at the bottom of the table with QPR taking on Wigan, Wolves vs Villa and Everton Blackburn. QPR Wigan is arguably the first 6 pointer of the season, whilst North London could blow the title race wide, if they can beat the Manchester clubs.
However I do see games that should give some value with the bookies, Sunderland vs Swansea for example, Swansea played very well against Arsenal and I was impressed with the way they kept the ball, but then thinking again, the amount of time and space afforded to them by Arsenal would have made me look good. Swansea have struggled this year when teams have got in their faces, I'm not talking about over physical tactics, but high pressuring has resulted in the Swansea struggling to stay in the game, the do have great pace in some areas of the pitch, but there is a lack of pace and strength throughout the team. In a Martin O'Neill team you can bank on two things... the use of a long ball to hit the front man and the players pressuring the opposition all over the pitch. The only weakness is the man thats supposed to stick it in the net, with "the best player on earth" (only in his head) yet to show evidence of his supposed ability.
Everton Blackburn too is one that should be a pretty even contest, of all the relegation strugglers Kean and his team have got to have been the unluckiest. There is no question that Blackburn are fighting for each other (with the exception of Samba) but in players like N'Zonzi and Hoiliett Blackburn have the pace to hurt the Everton defence and with the Toffee's playing at home they will be expected to come out and try and win, if Blackburn can keep it tight and break quickly, Everton could be easily be undone at home.
Next is the visit of Newcastle to Fulham, a team that I've do doubt will be looking to perform far better this weekend. Newcastle still riding high, but I don't think it'd take much for confidence to be shaken. The combination of a fired up Fulham team and Newcaslte missing a host of first teamers could see Fulham getting a win, but with the impressive Krul in goal they will have beat the best keeper in the league so far this season.
Stoke and West Brom looks an interesting one with both defenses looking like they will struggle against the opposing attacks. Stoke have struggled against any pacey, direct attacker this season, and with 4 CB's across the back line who is suprised? Whilst WestBrom look like they're going to give up a goal everytime and ball is crossed so could this be the surprise contender for the first game on Match of the Day? Maybe, will it be the first game... I doubt it, that will be Liverpool or the producer will be accused of favouritism by our scouse friends, who are never happy with the running order.
Have Bolton turned the corner? Suddenly they have fight, maybe the Cahill saga was a distraction to the squad... I'm sure Coyle has put in the rallying call and Liverpool will have to deal with a Bolton side with new vigor. Obviously Liverpools attacking options are limited and out of form so with the sudden change in fortunes maybe just maybe Bolton can shock us all.
Sundays games pose bigger problems. City and Spur seem to be breath taking or dire... so you can basically throw some dice and and see what comes up, I'm sure that would be closer than any guess on my part, it really could go anyway. But I'm pretty sure there will be goals. Neither team are at their defensive best at the mo, and both have an array of brilliant attacking players so we should at least see goals.
Arsenal vs United, is very much a fixture I used to look forward to, there was a real zing to it, but now it fails to capture my imagination. Sure Arsenal have Henry back, a his best days are long gone and he is carrying some extra weight. However what we do know is these games can exciting because both team have their own style of play, which means both teams will attack and again we should see goals.
Saturday 21st January 2012, 3.00pm.
West Ham United and Nottingham Forest come together from opposite ends of the Championship table at what could be crunch time for the two clubs.
The Foresters come off the back of some heavy defeats and are heading in to a tough period of fixtures, and a good performance at Upton Park could help to kick-start their survival chances. However, I cannot see their leaky defence standing up to the likes of Carlton Cole and an experience Hammers side.
The reds are having a hard time finding the net of late, and I wouldn’t bet against West Ham keeping a clean sheet with their defensive record this season.
United will feel they need to kick on and start to get some convincing results if they are to exert their dominance at the top of the league after an injury-hit mid-season slump. I predict a hard-fought affair with Forest conceding early and going down fighting to at least two or three.
With the Hammers having an near immaculate defensive record and Forest likely to have a torrid time in front of both goals, I would happily put money on a strong home victory.
Can’t go wrong at:
West Ham 4-0 @ 22/1
West Ham 3-0 @ 9/1
The Biggest sporting event of the week is of course the huge game of Snooker on Thursday between Judd Trump and Ronnie O'Sullivan, I fancy this one going right down to the wire at 6-5 one way or the other. Neither played to their best in the opening round but Ronnie loves this tournament, and I expect him to "trump" (geddit?) Judd to progress to the semis.
O'Sullivan 6-5 - 6/1
Trump 6-5 - 6/1
The second biggest sporting event is of course Sunday's Manchester Versus North London. In August Manchester won 12-3, and I think North London is going to be looking to set the record straight. I can see Spurs beating City at 16/5 (not just because of my United bias) and I usually try and avoid betting on a team I'm invested in but on this occasion i'll say Arsenal/United will be a draw at 9/4. That's not a huge risk where £1 pays back £13.65.
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