EPL Weekend Preview: Will the Real Arsenal Please Stand Up?

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EPL Weekend Preview: Will the Real Arsenal Please Stand Up?
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Saturday

Last weekend, the gulf in class between Arsenal and Spurs was brutal.

Robbie Keane, reportedly at the game, left The Emirates stadium with his tail between his legs after Van Persie's brace ensured that the bragging rights remained in the red half of North London.

Spurs manager Harry Redknapp bemoaned defending akin to that which you might see the following morning on Hackney Marshes and the loss of Jermain Defoe through suspension.

The truth was that Arsenal nonchalantly cruised to victory in second gear, oozing class and confidence.

They can continue to build the momentum gained through a run of 12 unbeaten games by grinding out a win against an improving Wolves side which may have enough quality to escape relegation.

Kevin Doyle proved during his last stint in the Premier League that he can score goals at the highest level. Sylvain Ebanks-Blake will need no motivation to do the same, after a slow start to the season for the Manchester United reject.

Tottenham fans will be praying that Aaron Lennon is fit to face Sunderland at White Hart Lane, and the raw pace, skill, and attacking instinct that he and Defoe possess should result in three points, especially in the absence of the robust Black Cats' midfield duo Lorik Cana and Lee Cattermole.

Elsewhere, Manchester City will run riot at the Eastlands against a Burnley team which has proven to be completely toothless on the road. Expect a hatful of goals in this one!

Martin O'Neill has been frustrated by the inconsistencies of his team's performances, but Aston Villa nevertheless remain a real contender for a place in the top six. Gabi Agbonlahor has been in inspired form recently and has five league goals to his name.

While Gary Cahill will let know Villa fans know exactly what they are missing and continue to enhance his reputation under the beady eyes of national boss Fabio Capello, this fixture should bring a maximum return for the Midlands club.

The most interesting tie of the day is arguably Portsmouth's trip to the North West. With eight goals from their last two games, Paul Hart seems to have found the right formula for Portsmouth's mish-mash of players.

Their defence is still shaky at best, and they will need to rely on more goals upfront from Aruna Dindane, and more forceful creativity from the outspoken German Kevin-Prince 'Ghetto Prince' Boateng if their 600-mile round trip is to be worth the effort.

 

Sunday

The one we've all being waiting for? Not really, actually. Although Chelsea vs. Man United should make any footy fan's mouth froth, Chelsea just seem to have it all figured out. They are just a bit too good for SAF's troopers.

Back the prolific pairing of Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka to wreak havoc amongst a United defence that has been dealt hammer blows by Rio Ferdinand's physical frailty and Nemanja Vidic's brain-cell breakdown.

I will cut to the chase for the other three Sunday games: none will inspire, there won't be many goals, and the football will be drab. There should be relief in East London; the only relief at Hull and Wigan will be the half-time and full-time whistles...I do hope the pies are good!

 

Monday

Everyone, from Alan Hansen to your average non-Scouse loves to rant about Liverpool's shortcomings. It's all getting a bit boring.

To sum it all up: in Rafa, they don't have quite so much faith any more, without Gerrard and Torres, there is no spark, without Gillett and Hicks, the club may be brought back to life.

Hold your horses! Benitez is still a great manager, Liverpool fans will back their team to the hilt, and Liverpool are not done with yet.

Liverpool have only once been outplayed this season, and they can be expected to hand out a severe pasting to Birmingham on Monday night.

 

Predictions

Aston Villa 2-1 Bolton

Blackburn 2-2 Portsmouth

Man City 6-1 Burnley

Tottenham 3-1 Sunderland

Wolves 1-2 Arsenal

Chelsea 2-0 Man United

Hull 0-0 Stoke

West Ham 1-0 Everton

Wigan 1-1 Fulham

Liverpool 5-0 Birmingham

 

Winners: Rafa Benitez, London Clubs.

Losers: SAF, Clubs beginning with the letter 'B'

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