A happy New Year to everyone. I mean to start the year in the way I intend to go on. I‘d really like to get at least some predictions right!
Birmingham v Arsenal
They weren’t very pretty to watch when they drew with Manchester United last time out but Birmingham stuck to their plan and got what they set out to achieve. At the end of the day it is results that the manager is judged on, not the entertainment value (unless you are Sam Allardyce at Blackburn!).
I don’t expect Birmingham to be any less defensive or organised today when they take on an Arsenal side who just can’t quite put a run together to make them genuine contenders. After beating Chelsea so comprehensively they could only draw with Wigan.
Arsenal don’t like going to Birmingham but I expect them to scrape a win.
Soccernews prediction: 0-1
Liverpool v Bolton
What can you say about Liverpool? Well, quite a lot actually. They are in a mess. The players do not look as though they are responding to the manager’s methods, the manager looks desperate and the fans look miserable. Something has got to change.
Bolton are no mugs and they showed at Chelsea that they can compete with the best. I really expect them to heap the misery on Roy and his men.
Soccernews prediction: 0-0
Manchester City v Blackpool
This could be a game where the limitations of Ian Holloway’s amazing Blackpool team are exposed. They won’t change the way they play and they will attack City with everything they have. The problem is that City are excellent on the counter attack and struggle at home when teams come to defend against them.
I can see Manchester City picking Blackpool off on the break as the away team try to continue their remarkably successful campaign. Having said that, Blackpool have twice as many points away from home as Manchester United so they get it right a lot of the time.
Soccernews prediction: 3-0
Stoke v Everton
Two mid-table sides who could easily make a run towards Europe or slide down into a relegation battle. In actual fact, I suspect they will both remain in mid-table.
Stoke have lost their last two home games against Blackpool and Fulham and that is relegation form. They will be keen to stop that run before it becomes a problem.
Everton are unbeaten in eight away games although a majority of them have been draws. I fully expect that trend to continue here.
Soccernews prediction: 1-1
Sunderland v Blackburn
Sunderland lost at home to Blackpool last time out but they surely won’t have thirty-three attempts on goal without the finding the net ever again! They have lost some crucial players through injury and this will be a test of how strong their squad is.
Blackburn followed up two very disappointing home displays with an excellent win at West Brom and will fancy their chances of making it two in a row for new boss Steve Kean.
I expect Sunderland to scrape to a win in a game that will be a very long way from being a classic!
Soccernews prediction: 1-0
Tottenham v Fulham
A London derby that should be fairly straight forward for the home side who are still riding the crest of a wave. Tottenham are in fifth place, just a point behind Chelsea and are unbeaten in ten games in all competitions.
Fulham have been woeful away from home and until Tuesday evening they hadn’t won an away game since the opening day of last season! That’s sixteen months without tasting victory on the road. However, a 2-0 win at Stoke ended that unwanted run. Despite that, they remain in the relegation zone and shouldn’t prove too much of an obstacle for a rampant Tottenham side.
Soccernews prediction: 2-0
West Brom v Manchester United
All season I have been saying that West Brom are a mid-table team who will comfortably survive and bring an end to their yo-yo existence. Now they have lost their last three and are only three points clear of the drop zone, with the lower teams starting to collect some points. They actually could be in some trouble.
United are top of the table and remain unbeaten but their draw at Birmingham was their seventh away draw in eight games. Although they have not looked good away from Old Trafford they will surely have enough to pick up a rare away win here.
Soccernews prediction: 0-2
West Ham v Wolves
Presumably this another ‘must win game’ for Avram Grant. His West Ham side remain at the foot of the table but they are unbeaten in three and the win at Fulham ensured that Grant met the previous ultimatum set by his bosses.
Wolves remain second from bottom but will be full of confidence after their excellent win at an admittedly poor Liverpool. That was their second win in three and third win in five so like their opponents, they are not actually performing too badly.
I can only see a draw that will suit neither side.
Soccernews prediction: 1-1
SUNDAY 2ND JANUARY
Chelsea v Aston Villa
Chelsea are stuttering and stammering. They did beat Bolton on Wednesday but they weren’t convincing and they could have lost. The worry for them is that although they had well over half the possession, they could only manage seven attempts on target in the whole game. They no longer look the threat that they were.
Villa are just one point clear of the drop zone and on a run of just one win in eight games. To be honest, they are the team that everyone wants to play at the moment and Chelsea might just be able to play their way back into some sort of form in this game.
Soccernews prediction: 3-0
Wigan v Newcastle
There is no doubt that Wigan had a great Christmas. A win at Wolves followed by a draw at home to Arsenal, coming from behind twice was more than they could have hoped for. They now find themselves out of the bottom three and determined to stay there. Unfortunately for them they will be without their best player, Charles N’Zogbia, who got himself stupidly red carded in midweek.
Alan Pardew’s Newcastle followed their win over Liverpool with defeats to Manchester City and Tottenham. It certainly isn’t a slippery slope as they were two difficult games but defeat here and it could soon turn into one.
Soccernews prediction: 2-1
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!