Arsenal v Fulham
This is fifth against eighth but there are twelve points between them. Arsenal are fresh from the 1-0 Champions League win over Roma, which whilst they should have scored more (you know who you are Bendtner and Eboue!) was a pretty good result. Fulham are also fresh from a 2-1 win over Swansea in the FA Cup which was a good performance as well.
The big problem for Fulham here is that their away form is nothing like as good as their home form. They are yet to win a game away from Craven Cottage. Arsenal, meanwhile, are unbeaten in twelve in the league.
Fulham defend well, but they wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t defend well enough in this one.
SoccerNews prediction: 2-0Chelsea v Wigan
Chelsea have done OK so far under Guus Hiddink. A decent win at Watford in the Cup, an excellent win at Aston Villa in the league and then victory over Juventus in the Champions League. It looks as though they may have turned a corner and that with Anelka and Drogba both firing, they look a threat again.
Wigan are doing OK, but I find them boring. They have an awful lot of boring games. They’re difficult to break down but give little going forward.
Chelsea will win, but Wigan will make it hard.
SoccerNews prediction: 2-1Everton v West Brom
Everton have lost just once in fourteen games but they will have been disappointed to only come away from ten-man Newcastle with a point last week.
West Brom are starting to look doomed and are without a win in six in all competitions.
Everton are far from prolific, but they should be able to find the net in this one.
SoccerNews prediction: 2-0Middlesbrough v Liverpool
Both teams earned important victories in midweek. Boro beat West Ham 2-0 in their FA Cup replay and Liverpool beat Real Madrid 1-0 at The Bernabeu in the Champions League.
The FA Cup win can’t mask the fact that Middlesbrough really aren’t very good. They’re more boring to watch than Wigan!
Liverpool have stuttered of late in the league but they will be pleased to get back on the winning trail here.
SoccerNews prediction: 0-2Aston Villa v Stoke
Villa reserves were knocked out of the Uefa Cup this week and their first team lost at home to Chelsea last week. This minor blip could become a potential crisis if they don’t pick up three points in this one.
Stoke are still fighting for their Premier League lives, but have a habit of pushing the self-destruct button in away games.
Villa should get their Champions League qualification back on track.
SoccerNews prediction: 2-0Bolton v Newcastle
Bolton are an inconsistent team. Two wins in their last three brought an end to an alarming run of six without a win. They seem to be at their must vulnerable when they are 2-0 up! They have thrown away two goal leads against Blackburn and Tottenham recently and then did their best to do the same against West Ham last week.
Newcastle are unbeaten in three but there is an air of a struggling team and club around them. They are five points clear of the drop zone but defeat in this one will have them looking over their shoulders again.
SoccerNews prediction: 2-1Hull v Blackburn
Blackburn sit in the relegation zone and Hull are six points clear of it but hurtling towards it at an alarming rate.
After the great start Hull made they have won just three games in their last twenty-one, two of which came in the FA Cup.
In midweek, Blackburn went out of the FA Cup at Championship Coventry. This followed on from their unfortunate defeat at Old Trafford last week, and does mean that they have won just one in their last eight games in all competitions.
I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t really see either side taking this game by the scruff of the neck and a draw seems the most likely outcome.
SoccerNews prediction: 1-1West Ham v Manchester City
West Ham were pretty awful in their defeat at Middlesbrough in mid-week. Gianfranco Zola says that his players are understandably tired. That sounds a bit defeatist to me.
City went through to the next stage of the Uefa Cup with Bellamy bagging a brace and beginning to look like a decent signing.
In West Ham’s favour, City are truly dreadful away from home.
SoccerNews prediction: 2-1Manchester United v Tottenham
Tottenham reserves went out of the Uefa Cup because the Carling Cup is more important to them. Here they will try to win the Carling Cup so that they can qualify for the…Uefa Cup!
United will stick by the likes of Foster, Rafael, Gibson, Nani and Welbeck whereas Tottenham will put out their very strongest team.
There won’t be much between them, but I have a feeling that Tottenham might just do it and end United’s dream of winning five trophies.
SoccerNews prediction: 1-2