A big week ended with Chelsea knocking off Manchester United at Stamford Bridge. We're not going to address the questionable decisions of the official, rather, we're going to focus on what it means to the table.
All of a sudden, the top is much tighter, and the title looks even more up for grabs. No time for the power rankings, so I'm sticking to predictions only for this week. Enjoy!
MATCH OF THE WEEK
Liverpool 2 Manchester United 1: Liverpool were embarrassed last week and need a rebound. United struggled in Tuesday's second half after a dominating performance against Wigan.
Basically, this prediction comes down to two things.
First, Liverpool are tough at home. They are undefeated in their last five home games. They were embarrassed last weekend and are going to look for redemption this week. That mentality could be detrimental to United.
Second, United will be missing their captain. Vidic was sent off late in Tuesday's match, and regardless of what Ferguson says, his squad will miss one of the best defenders in the world. Expect Liverpool's newcomers (Suarez and possibly Carroll) to make a big impact in this match.
Birmingham City 1 West Bromwich Albion 0: It's tough to do much at St. Andrew's, and West Brom are going to learn that this week. Albion need to start winning to get out of relegation talks, but that probably won't happen this week. Birmingham have two matches this week, and I think they are going to slow this match down and get a late winner.
Arsenal 2 Sunderland 0: The Gunners are not happy after losing last week's Carling Cup Final. Wenger is too smart to let that affect his squad. In the friendly confines of the Emirates Stadium, they should dominate a free-falling Sunderland squad.
Bolton 1 Aston Villa 2: Despite their recent struggles, Bolton have remained strong at Reebok Stadium. In addition, Aston Villa have not done well on the road all season. Nevertheless, I think the Villains are too tough in the midfield to lose this game. In the middle of the table, every win is precious, and I think Aston Villa are going to take the three points.
Fulham 2 Blackburn 0: This is finally the week. Clint Dempsey is soon to become Fulham's all-time leading scorer at Craven Cottage. Expect an impressive double from him this week to put him on top of that list.
Newcastle United 2 Everton 1: Everton were stunned by Reading this week in the FA Cup. That embarrassment, coupled with a five-match winless streak on the road, is enough reason for me to predict them losing. Newcastle still have a chance to sneak into the sixth spot, and they need to keep winning at St. James' Park for that to happen.
West Ham United 2 Stoke City 1: You see what I'm talking about? Week after week, I praise Avram Grant, and he slowly has the Hammers figuring things out. With the return of Hitzlsperger, they are a much more complete squad. Stoke City have lost five Premiership matches on the road, and West Ham should make that six.
Manchester City 3 Wigan Athletic 0: Both teams are playing for respect. Well, that and important spots on the table. City need to prove that they are finally legit and not just someone in United's shadow. Wigan need to prove they belong in the Premiership. In the end, City are just too talented for Wigan and should dominate from start to finish.
Wolves 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2: This is tough. Wolves understand that they need to escape the relegation zone, but I don't think that climb starts this week. Spurs fell out of the top four, and their goal differential is easily the worst of the top five teams. Therefore, if they want to return to the Champions League next year, they have to start getting three points each week. This is a statement match, and I expect Spurs to come through.
Blackpool 1 Chelsea 3: Chelsea are riding a supreme high. They know they weren't at the top of their game for 90 minutes, but they still won against Manchester United. Now, they need to solidify their form with a road victory. Blackpool are going to be tough, but, with no Charlie Adam, I think Chelsea should take care of business, especially in the second half.
Everton 1 Birmingham City 0: This is the second match of the week for both teams, and I don't expect much entertainment from it. Both teams are probably going to keep things packed in, and it should be a slow match. That being said, I think both teams will face a reversal of fortune from their first game of the week. Don't be surprised if Leighton Baines buries the game-winner right before the half.
Last Week: 5-1-3 (W-L-D)
Season: 116-66-65 (W-L-D)
Well, that's all I have for this week. I should have some extra time over the next couple weeks, and I should be able to put together my power rankings. Thanks for reading and feel free to let me know what you think!