EPL Week 12: Bleacher Report Writers Make Their Expert Picks

Dan TalintyreSenior Analyst IINovember 16, 2012

EPL Week 12: Bleacher Report Writers Make Their Expert Picks

0 of 11

    Week 12 of the English Premier League is one not to be missed.

    League leaders Manchester United and Chelsea both face difficult away matches to Norwich and West Brom respectively, while the North London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur once again looks set to be a fascinating matchup.

    At the other end of the table, 20th-placed QPR take on 19th-placed Southampton—looking for their first win of the 2012/13 season.

    Throw into that mix tough but winnable home matches for Newcastle, Liverpool and Fulham, and once again, the Premier League looks set to provide a fascinating weekend.

    Which teams will walk away with the three points and which teams won't? Read on to see what the Bleacher Report writers predict will take place this weekend.

Leaderboard

1 of 11

    For those not familiar with the way this works, each writer has to pick a team and a score for every match in the Premier League that week.

    A correct pick (e.g. Chelsea win) will earn them one point, and a correct score (e.g. Chelsea win 3-0) sees them earn three points.

    Also, for the next few weeks or so, our writers will try and predict the highest scoring game of the weekend (the game that produces the most goals). Should there be two or three games that have the same highest total, then we will give out points to whoever picked any of those games. A correct pick will earn them five points.

    Let's take a look at our Bleacher Report experts and how their predictions have held up through the opening weeks of the competition.

    Mohamed Al-Hendy World Football Featured Columnist 88 points
    Dan Talintyre World Football Featured Columnist 77 points
    Michael Cummings World Football Lead Writer and Blogger 73 points
    Joe Tansey EPL Featured Columnist 69 points
    Karl Matchett World Football Featured Columnist 68 points
    Sam Tighe World Football Featured Columnist 67 points
    Will Tidey World Football Lead Writer and Editor 62 points

Arsenal vs. Tottenham Hotspur

2 of 11

    Saturday, 17th November, 2012 at 7:45 a.m. ET

    We kick off the Premier League weekend with the North London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur—always a fascinating and engrossing encounter.

    Spurs come to the Emirates on the back of consecutive losses to Wigan Athletic and Manchester City and in desperate need of some points to stay in touch with the top four.

    Arsenal, on the other hand, find themselves on just 16 points and in eighth position, and know that a loss would place them two wins outside the Champions League zone—a dangerous pattern for any club that wants to consider themselves an elite club.

    So with that all to play for, plus the rivalry and genuine hatred for each other, once again the North London derby looks set to be a fascinating match.

    The last two times these clubs met at the Emirates, one team has taken a 2-0 lead only to go on and lose the match—Tottenham won 3-2 in 2010/11 and Arsenal won 5-2 in 2011/12. Will that pattern continue in this one?

    Dan Talintyre Arsenal win 2-1
    Joe Tansey Arsenal win 3-2* 
    Karl Matchett Arsenal win 3-2* 
    Michael Cummings Tottenham win 4-3* 
    Mohamed Al-Hendy Tottenham win 3-2* 
    Sam Tighe Draw, 1-1 
    Will Tidey Arsenal win 2-1 

    denotes highest scoring game of the week.

Liverpool vs. Wigan Athletic

3 of 11

    Saturday, 17th November, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. ET

    Liverpool are always a tough club to take down on their home ground in the Premier League, and that's where they find themselves this week against Wigan Athletic.

    Brendan Rodgers' men picked up a nice result away to Chelsea last week and will be looking to build on that here—making it seven games since they suffered a league loss. 

    However, standing in their way is Wigan Athletic, who will be eager to rectify their mistakes from last week against West Bromwich Albion. Had the Lactics been more disciplined with the ball, they most likely would have at least netted another goal against Steve Clarke's men, and they will no doubt feel that let competition points slip away last week.

    The man to watch here is obviously Luis Suarez, who is having one of his best years with the Reds. Can he continue to carry the Merseyside club to victory, or will a bad game from the Uruguayan give the Lactics a chance to sneak out some points on the road?

    Sam Tighe explores why an upset is a real possibility here; what to the rest of the Bleacher Report writers think will take place?

    Dan Talintyre Liverpool win 3-0
    Joe Tansey Draw, 1-1 
    Karl Matchett Liverpool win 3-0 
    Michael Cummings Liverpool win 2-1 
    Mohamed Al-Hendy Liverpool win 2-1 
    Sam Tighe Wigan win 1-0 
    Will Tidey Liverpool win 1-0 

Manchester City vs. Aston Villa

4 of 11

    Saturday, 17th November, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. ET

    Manchester City haven't been beaten yet in the English Premier League this year, with seven wins and four draws, and they'll be looking to continue that again this week at the Etihad Stadium, where they are a notoriously tough team to beat.

    Roberto Mancini's side knows their Champions League dream is most likely over, meaning their full attention now gets devoted to the domestic competition, where they are, of course, the reigning champions.

    Despite the apparent gap in class between them and Aston Villa, this match could still provide some trouble for the Citizens.

    Villa showed last week against Manchester United that they are no pushovers and came within a few minutes of at least picking up a draw, though they did have chances to score a third goal and pick up the victory.

    They sit just one win outside the relegation zone and know a point or three on the road here would solidify their position above the drop zone for another week.

    Can they pull off the most unlikely upsets, or are City bound for another week of being undefeated in the English competition?

    Dan Talintyre Manchester City win 4-1* 
    Joe Tansey Manchester City win 3-0 
    Karl Matchett Manchester City win 2-0 
    Michael Cummings Manchester City win 3-0 
    Mohamed Al-Hendy Manchester Ciy win 3-1 
    Sam Tighe Aston Villa win 2-1 
    Will Tidey Manchester City win 3-0 

    denotes highest scoring game of the week.

Newcastle United vs. Swansea City

5 of 11

    Saturday, 17th November, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. ET

    It hasn't been the greatest season so far for Newcastle United, who have struggled to score goals this year—despite their prolific attack and midfield.

    The Magpies suffered a shock 1-0 loss at home to West Ham last week and will be keen to bounce back with a win in front of their home fans against Swansea City this week.

    The Swans are beginning to get themselves back on the right track after their slump earlier in the year, and with back-to-back draws, have shown that they can hang in there and earn points—even when they're not playing their best football.

    The fact this one is at St. James's Park should give the home side a huge edge, with the daunting trip up north sometimes too much for Premier League teams to handle.

    Having said that, their home form hasn't been as strong as it has been in years gone by, and Swansea will still fancy their chances at picking up the points here.

    Dan Talintyre Draw, 1-1 
    Joe Tansey Newcastle win 2-0 
    Karl Matchett Newcastle win 2-1 
    Michael Cummings Draw, 1-1 
    Mohamed Al-Hendy Draw, 2-2 
    Sam Tighe Draw, 2-2 
    Will Tidey Draw, 1-1 

Queens Park Rangers vs. Southampton

6 of 11

    Saturday, 17th November, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. ET

    Nothing like a good bit of 19th against 20th in the Premier League, and that's what we're "treated" to this week as Queens Park Rangers take on Southampton.

    With just nine points between them this year, both sides have been poor this season. And barring a minor miracle, appear destined to be relegated at the end of the year—something they could begin to avoid with a win this week.

    QPR are yet to win in the league this year, and this is their best chance to do so all year. 

    However, Southampton have shown they can mix it with the top teams this year, and just last week were a difficult matchup for Swansea City. If they can get an early goal on the board, you'd have to think that the Saints will be a tough team to run down.

    This game won't be free-flowing, beautiful tika-taka football, but it will be tough and it will be close. Which way will it swing in the end? We'll soon find out.

    Dan Talintyre Southampton win 3-1 
    Joe Tansey Draw, 1-1 
    Karl Matchett QPR win 2-1 
    Michael Cummings Draw, 3-3 
    Mohamed Al-Hendy Draw, 2-2 
    Sam Tighe Draw, 1-1 
    Will Tidey QPR win 3-2* 

    *denotes highest scoring game of the week.

Reading vs. Everton

7 of 11

    Saturday, 17th November, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. ET

    Everton find themselves inside the top four of the Premier League and in a great position to consolidate their position against Reading this weekend.

    The Toffees had to come from behind to beat Sunderland last week at home, and whilst they will be without striker Kevin Mirallas, their attack and midfield is still so good that their ability to score goals should not be too much of a problem for the Merseyside club.

    The only danger in this one is Reading, who were the worse team in a 0-0 draw last week against Norwich City—a bad sign for the club.

    The Royals looked helpless in attack—something they'll need to get right if they are any chance at stopping the Toffees from making it back-to-back wins.

    Are the home side any chance in this one?

    Dan Talintyre Everton win 2-0 
    Joe Tansey Everton win 1-0 
    Karl Matchett Everton win 2-1 
    Michael Cummings Everton win 2-1 
    Mohamed Al-Hendy Everton win 2-1 
    Sam Tighe Everton win 3-1*
    Will Tidey Draw, 0-0 

    denotes highest scoring game of the week.

West Bromwich Albion vs. Chelsea

8 of 11

    Saturday, 17th November, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. ET

    The biggest surprise of the Premier League so far this year would have to be West Bromwich Albion, who find themselves in fifth position and at least a full win ahead of Tottenham, Arsenal, Newcastle and Liverpool this year. 

    Steve Clarke's men have been strong at home and solid on the road, and whilst they were unlucky not to pick up points against Manchester City and Newcastle over the past few weeks, the Baggies hung in there last week and got back in the winners' circle.

    Now they travel back home to the Hawthorns to face one of the biggest tests of the year—European champions Chelsea, who sit third on the Premier League ladder.

    The Blues have only lost once this year—under controversial circumstances to Manchester United—and will be keen to keep in touch with both Manchester clubs at the top of the table with a win this weekend.

    They could only muster a draw at home to Liverpool last week, something that will no doubt give West Brom hope of hanging in there, but could also give Chelsea the drive to pick up all three points here and make up for their failures last week.

    Big game for both clubs here.

    Dan Talintyre Chelsea win 1-0 
    Joe Tansey Draw, 2-2 
    Karl Matchett Draw, 1-1 
    Michael Cummings Chelsea win 2-1 
    Mohamed Al-Hendy Chelsea win 2-1 
    Sam Tighe Chelsea win 2-1 
    Will Tidey Chelsea win 3-1 

Norwich City vs. Manchester United

9 of 11

    Saturday, 17th November, 2012 at 12:30 p.m. ET

    Manchester United might be leaving it late to get the job done this year, but they made it five wins in a row last week when they came from behind to beat Aston Villa 3-2.

    Courtesy of that streak, the Red Devils sit on top of the Premier League ladder and in control of their own destiny as a result, and will be looking to extent their winning streak to six straight when they face Norwich City at home this week.

    The Canaries might be down in 15th position, but are certainly not to be sneezed at this year—particularly playing in front of their home fans. 

    Norwich haven't lost in their last four EPL fixtures and have won their past two home matches, including a victory over Arsenal four weeks ago.

    Will United fall into a similar fate against the Canaries this week or will their winning streak atop of the table continue with victory on the road?

    Dan Talintyre Manchester United win 2-0 
    Joe Tansey Manchester United win 4-1 
    Karl Matchett Manchester United win 3-0
    Michael Cummings Manchester United win 3-1
    Mohamed Al-Hendy Manchester United win 3-1 
    Sam Tighe Manchester United win 4-0 
    Will Tidey Manchester United win 3-1 

Fulham vs. Sunderland

10 of 11

    Sunday, 18th November, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. ET

    With new signing Dimitar Berbatov firing, Fulham have been playing some good football lately  and will go into this home match against Sunderland full of confidence.

    The Cottagers came from two goals down last week to pick up a 3-3 draw against Arsenal—away from home—which will no doubt give them plenty of heart taking into this week.

    By contrast, Sunderland defended for their lives against Everton last week but could not hang on to their 1-0 halftime lead, dropping 2-1 in the end and slumping to their fifth week without a win in the English domestic competition.

    The Black Cats aren't as strong last year—particularly when they're not playing at home—and Martin Jol's men should come away with the three points here. Which, considering the North London derby this week, could bump them up a few spots on the Premier League ladder as well.

    That is, if they can get the job done against Sunderland.

    Dan Talintyre Fulham win 3-0 
    Joe Tansey Fulham win 2-0 
    Karl Matchett Fulham win 1-0 
    Michael Cummings Fulham win 2-0 
    Mohamed Al-Hendy Fulham win 2-1 
    Sam Tighe Fulham win 1-0 
    Will Tidey Draw, 2-2 

West Ham vs. Stoke City

11 of 11

    Monday, 19th November, 2012 at 3:00 p.m. ET

    Our final match for the week sees an interesting matchup—West Ham at home to Stoke City—with both clubs entering this one on a rare winning streak.

    The newly promoted Hammers picked up a big 1-0 road win over Newcastle this week and will be there again to take on the Potters, who triumphed 1-0 over Queens Park Rangers at Britannia Stadium.

    Stoke won't have the home-ground advantage this week against West Ham, but with their pressing defense and tough midfield to break down, will no doubt be a handful for the Hammers.

    The Potters have conceded the least amount of goals out of any team so far this year, and with West Ham's attack still ironing out some inconsistencies, could pull off a few surprises against the London club here.

    But will it be enough to get the job done on the road, without the home fans, against a team that is riding the wave of momentum? Tough call to make. Genuinely could go either way.

    Dan Talintyre Draw, 1-1 
    Joe Tansey West Ham win 2-0 
    Karl Matchett West Ham win 1-0 
    Michael Cummings West Ham win 1-0 
    Mohamed Al-Hendy West Ham win 1-0 
    Sam Tighe Draw, 0-0 
    Will Tidey West Ham win 2-0 

     

    Agree? Disagree? What are your EPL tips for the week?

    Comment below or hit me up on Twitter: