Birmingham vs Arsenal: The Grudge Match
As the leadoff game of the weekend, Birmingham play host to an Arsenal side unbeaten in the last ten Premier League games, with the Gunners looking to extend their lead at the top of the table by eight points—providing Manchester United slips up against Newcastle.
Arsenal have had a rough go of things lately, getting knocked out of the FA Cup 4-0 by United, and struggling to a 0-0 draw against Milan in the CL.
On top of all this, Arsenal only managed to draw 1-1 with Birmingham at the Emirates, so the Arse will assuredly be looking to make amends.
The postives for Birmingham include a rest over the week as Arsenal played several times, and the Blues will be facing a depleted Arsenal side because of injuries. Still, Arsenal should take this one comfortably.
Birmingham 0-2 Arsenal
Wigan Athletic vs Derby County: Attack of the Cellar Dwellers
Now this is just me, and of course no offense towards these teams, but I'd rather watch paint dry instead of viewing these Premier League bore squadrons. It's a miracle they can get anyone in the stadium.
Darby County is the official whipping boy of the Premier League, and Wigan is equally pathetic. Both teams have brought in new managers, players, and more money, but nothing seems to be working.
As they're both in severe danger of being relegated, they might just fight hard and play some scrappy football in an effort to get a point, as neither of them can win this one, since their glaring lack of quality will cancel each other out.
Wigan Athletic 1-1 Derby County
Fulham vs West Ham United: Terrible vs Not That Terrible
For Fulham to haul themselves out of the bottom three, they must beat West Ham and hope that Arsenal beat Birmingham (the latter far more likely).
The Cottagers have struggled mightily this season, having won a paltry three games. Their inane habit of draws is something that neighbors Derby could only wish for, but incessant draws wont keep you in the Premiership.
West Ham, on the other hand, having survived relegation by the skin of their teeth last season, have moved on comfortably into mid-table obscurity.
Fulham 1-2 West Ham
Liverpool vs Middlesbrough: Another Grudge Match
Liverpool is a strange team this season, to put it mildly. What does one make of a team that is knocked out of the FA Cup by Barnesley, goes from gunning for the Premiership trophy to scrambling for fourth place—and promptly proceeds to triumph over an Inter Milan team that is leading and winning every single competition and cup they're in.
Benitez' future with the Reds has been strengthened somewhat with the Inter win, but Southgate's men will be looking to crash the party. Boro recently signed the attacking prowess that is Daniel Alves, and considering that they held Liverpool to a draw last time around,
Boro just might be able to repeat the trick. But Liverpool are undoubtedly the favorites and will be riding the CL wave all the way to Anfield.
Liverpool 3-0 Middlesbrough