It's that time of week again when I look into my crystal ball and attempt to predict the outcomes of this weekend's Premier league games. I managed to get six correct outcomes last week, and four incorrect, but I didn't manage any correct scorelines, which didn't help me much in my predictions league as I dropped from fourth to fifth place. Here's a look at the league table.
Stoke v West Ham
Stoke got their season up and running on Monday night with a come-from-behind 2-1 victory at home to Aston Villa. It was a very important win for them and they need to follow it up by beating bottom-of-the-table West Ham on Saturday.
West Ham have had their worst ever start to a league campaign, having lost their first four matches. Their defence is leaking a lot of goals, and their forwards are finding it hard to score, which is always a very bad combination. I think Stoke will win this game, and the pressure is going to start to mount on Avram Grant if he doesn't get a win very soon.
Aston Villa v Bolton
Villa still don't have their new manager in place, although Houllier will be at the club for next week's game. When Milner departed for City I though Villa had done well to get Ireland in instead of him, but he hasn't had a chance to show what he can do yet due to injury. I haven't been impressed with Villa in their two home wins and it won't be easy against Bolton either.
Bolton have their problems too as their keeper and Cahill are both suspended and Arsenal took them apart very easily last week. I think they will make things difficult for Villa and that they might just snatch a draw out of this game.
Blackurn v Fulham
Blackburn have a very good home record in the Premier league, and despite the fact that the ball doesn't touch the ground very much, they tend to get the result they need more often than not.
Fulham will be without Zamora after his ankle was broken by Wolves player Karl Henry last week, but they might just have a ready made replacement in Dembele, who scored both of their goals last week in their 2-1 victory. He's a good bet for a cheap player in the fantasy football and, I must say, I like what I have seen of him so far. I think that Blackburn will have just too much for Fulham on their home turf though.
Everton v Newcastle
Everton find themselves second to last in the table as the only club besides West Ham without a league win this season. That's something they will be looking to change in this game. They had a great fightback last week at home to "Manure" to get two injury time goals for a 3-3 draw, and more of that spirit will go a long way today.
Like everybody else last week, I was expecting Newcastle to build on their fine 6-0 win over Aston Villa by beating Blackpool. They played reasonably well but Gilkes was a hero in goals for Blackpool, and Newcastle emerged with no points from the game. If Everton had a proper striker, and a team to suit their formation, they might go a long way, but I still expect them to win this game.
Tottenham v Wolverhampton
The Spuds looked all set to get their Champions League campaign off to a flying start with an away win on Tuesday night, but they ended up drawing. It wasn't a bad result, but with van Der Vaart going off injured it might have come at a price.
It remains to be seen how they cope with playing at such a high level so often and they won't find it easy against a dogged Wolves team. In their two home league games so far the Spuds have no goals and only one point. They need to start picking up points at home or their Champions league campaign will be their first ad last.
Wolves did the double over the Spuds last season, and they were unbeaten until they lost at Fulham last weekend. I think they will make life difficult for the Spuds, but I'm going for a home win.
West Brom v Birmingham
West Brom play pretty good football, but they have problems scoring goals, and that's not a good thing for a side that want to drop their reputation of being a yo-yo club. They have been fairly sound at the back, apart from the first game of the season at Chelsea, and I expect this game to be tight too.
Birmingham signed a few good players in the transfer window but the team that did so well last season is still more or less on show. It's a local derby and they're never easy to call so I'll go for a score draw.
Sunderland v Arsenal
Sunderland have had a reasonable start to their season, and they beat Arsenal at home last season, but this will be a step up for them. They will be without the combative Cattermole, who got his second red card of the season in their draw at Wigan last week, and he will be missed.
Arsenal are second in the table, and have won all of their games so far except for the opening day draw at Liverpool. They are scoring goals for fun at the moment, and Cesc looks to be back to his very best. Chamakh has fitted in very well up front and they will make Sunderland work very hard to close them down and stop them playing.
I expect Sunderland to tire late on from the workload and Arsenal to run out as winners.
Man Utd v Liverpool
On Sunday we will be treated to an off form "Manure" against a Liverpool team who have yet to find any form at all. It looks to be a drab affair, but you never know with these games. It will be interesting to see how many changes "Manure" make from their Champions League draw at home to Rangers.
Liverpool look very defensive and devoid of flair to me so far this season, and if they lose this game they will probably be 10 points behind the leaders after five games. They need some sort of result for their confidence and I think they will manage a draw.
Wigan v Man City
Wigan are a hard team to fathom as they have now got four points from four games after conceding 10 goals in their first two games. Their win at the Spuds a few weeks ago was well deserved, and on their day, on their own pitch, they can cause any team problems.
City need a win to try to keep within a reasonable distance of Chelsea before they play them next week, and they have so many good players that you feel that they just have to click at some stage this season. I think City will be too good for Wigan, and will get the win they need to take them into their first real big test of the season next week.
Chelsea v Blackpool
Chelsea have won all four of their league games this season and scored 17 goals in the process. It looks very impressive, but four of the clubs they beat are in the bottom five at the moment, and I haven't been overly impressed by them in their last two league games at all. However with Drogba, Essien, and Malouda in the team you have to imagine that they will score quite a few goals again this week.
Blackpool have had a fantastic start to the season, and currently sit in fourth place in the league despite losing 6-0 at Arsenal a few weeks ago. They have shown great determination so far but I think this is a bridge too far for them and they will get a sound beating. I hope I'm completely wrong, and they take the game to Chelsea and cause an upset, but I doubt it'll happen.
That's it for this week's predictions. Feel free to tell me where I went wrong or right as you see it, and I'll be back next week with more of the same.
Until next week.
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