English Premier League: Week 9 EPL Match Previews and Predictions
Manchester United managed to snag an equalized against Liverpool last weekend thanks to a substitute strike from Javier Hernandez. Had the Mexican international not found the back of the net, Liverpool surely could have been the first team to knock United off their pedestal this season.
However, Manchester City supplanted United at the top of the table after a pummelling of Aston Villa at Etihad Stadium. Both teams remain undefeated going into Sunday's Manchester Derby and it will be an interesting match indeed as the Citizens look to put a damper on the Red Devils title hopes.
Newcastle United continued to show their class, as they came back to secure a draw against Tottenham in front of the Toon as Saint James' Park to remain undefeated and in fourth place.
Arsenal finally got a win, and Norwich looks like the top team of the new boys to stay up as they beat fellow promotion club Swansea to take hold of the best new club record with 11 points.
This week again sees great action across the board, as we look at all the matchups for Week 9 in the English Barclay's Premier League.
Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Swansea City
Swansea only have a point advantage over Wolverhampton in the table as they sit 13th and 16th respectably at the moment.
The Swans continue to prove they just may have the ability to stay up, while Wolves are yet to grab a point since their bright start in August where they earned all seven of their points.
It is a must win for Wolves as they are in need of points. If they are going to stay up, they have got to start by beating the newly promoted sides before anything else.
Match Prediction: Wolves 2-2 Swansea
Wolverhampton Wanderers Starting XI: Wayne Hennessey, Stephen Ward, Christophe Berra, Roger Johnson, Richard Stearman: Adam Hammill, Jamie O'Hara, Karl Henry, Matt Jarvis; Kevin Doyle, Steven Fletcher.
Swansea City Starting XI: Michel Vorm, Neil Taylor, Steven Caulker, Ashley Williams, Angel Rangel, Nathan Dyer, Leon Britton, Kemy Agustien, Joe Allen, Danny Graham, Scott Sinclair.
Players to Watch: Matt Jarvis and Scott Sinclair.
Aston Villa vs West Bromwich Albion
Roy Hodgson's West Bromwich Albion finally clawed their way out of the basement with a 2-0 victory over Wolves this past weekend. Peter Odemwingie looks to be starting to return to form and the Baggies will need him at full strength against Villa.
Aston Villa suffered a difficult loss at Etihad. How they bounce back from ending their unbeaten run will be a big factor in how they are expected to finish this season, and what can be expected of them for the next 30 games.
Match Prediction: Aston Villa 2-1 WBA
Aston Villa Starting XI: Shay Given; Alan Hutton, James Collins, Richard Dunne, Stephen Warnock, Fabien Delph, Stiliyan Petrov, Jermaine Jenas, Charles N'Zogbia, Darren Bent, Gabriel Agbonlahor.
West Bromwich Albion Starting XI: Ben Foster, Jonas Olsson, Nicky Shorey, Gabriel Tamas, Steven Reid, Paul Scharner, Graham Dorrans, Zoltan Gera, Somen Tchoyi, Peter Odemwingie, Shane Long.
Players to Watch: Gabriel Agbonlahor and Peter Odemwingie.
Bolton Wanderers vs Sunderland
Bolton finally got another three points as the sent Wigan to the bottom of the pile this past weekend with a 3-1 victory.
David N'Gog scored his first goal for his new club and will hope to start pushing for more as Wanderers try to climb back out of obscurity. Their negative 10 goal differential is the worst in the league, they have to improve upon that to start making any progress.
Sunderland have been equally as disappointing this season in the EPL, both clubs are struggling to show any real signs that they can avoid being in the relegation battle.
The Black Cats fell at Arsenal in a frustrating loss. Despite the fantastic effort of Sebastian Larsson's free kick goal, they were outclassed when Robin Van Persie scored from his own free kick to secure a brace for the Gunners.
Match Prediction: Bolton 2-2 Sunderland
Bolton Wanderers Starting XI: Jussi Jaaskelainen, Paul Robinson, Gary Cahill, Zat Knight, Dedryck Boyata, Nigel Reo-Coker, Martin Petrov, Fabrice Muamba, Chris Eagles, Kevin Davies, David N'Gog.
Sunderland Starting XI: Simon Mignolet; John O'Shea, Wes Brown, Titus Bramble, Kieran Richardson; Sebastian Larsson, Lee Cattermole, Jack Colback, Craig Gardner; Stephane Sessegnon, Nickolas Bendtner.
Players to Watch: David N'Gog and Sebastian Larsson.
Newcastle United vs Wigan Athletic
Newcastle United continued their unbeaten run with a late equalizer, courtesy of club legend Shola Ameobi to hold a strong traveling Tottenham side to only a point.
This week they face last place Wigan, in what should be a definite win for the Magpies at home.
Wigan's only true weapon in Hugo Rodellega is still out for another month or so, and it is truly damaging any hope of the Latic's staying up.
Match Prediction: Newcastle 3-0 Wigan
Newcastle United Starting XI: Tim Krul: Danny Simpson, Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini, Ryan Taylor; Gabriel Obertan, Jonás Gutiérrez, Ismael Cheik Tioté, Hatem Ben Arfa, Leon Best, Demba Ba.
Wigan Athletic Starting XI: Ali Al Habsi, Adrián López Rodríguez, Maynor Figueroa, Gary Caldwell, Emmerson Boyce, James McCarthy, Ben Watson, Shaun Maloney, Mohammad Diame, Victor Moses, Franco Di Santo.
Players to Watch: Demba Ba and Shaun Maloney.
Liverpool vs Norwich City
Liverpool have to feel frustrated that they did not manage to hold off United, for what would have been a dream return victory for Steven Gerrard after his great free kick goal. Many people will say it is only because Ryan Giggs moved, but if you look at his last free kick goal against them, Darren Fletcher also was a guilty party to blame.
It matters not who moved, it was a goal.
Norwich City proved that they have what it takes to knock off their lower rivals when necessary. The Canaries moved into the top half with a victory over Swansea.
It should be a win for the Reds but the Canaries are sure to put up a solid fight. Lucas Leiva will be out of the lineup due to serving a one match suspension for having earned five yellow cards so far during the season. It is likely to see Dirk Kuyt or Craig Bellamy take his place.
Match Prediction: Liverpool 3-1 Norwich City
Liverpool Starting XI: Pepe Reina, Martin Kelly, Jamie Carragher, Martin Skrtel, Jose Enrique; Dirk Kuyt, Charlie Adam; Steven Gerrard, Stewart Downing; Andy Carroll, Luis Suarez.
Norwich City Starting XI: John Ruddy; Leon Barnett, Kyle Naughton, Marc Tierney, Russell Martin; Bradley Johnson, David Fox, Elliot Bennett, Wesley Hoolahan, Anthony Pilkington; Steve Morison
Players to Watch: Steven Gerrard and Anthony Pilkington.
Arsenal vs Stoke City
Robin Van Persie single handily willed the Gunners to victory over Sunderland last weekend and he may have to be that man again this week against Stoke City. However, he will face a tough physical battle against any of the Potters defenders from Ryan Shawcross to Robert Huth.
Stoke will again hope to continue to push up the table after another solid result. A 2-0 win against Fulham last weekend helped them take a seventh place spot. After having already taken points from both Manchester United and Liverpool, they will expect to have a chance to take some from Arsenal at home.
Match Prediction: Arsenal 2-2 Stoke City
Arsenal Starting XI: Wojciech Szczęsny, Kieran Gibbs, Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny, Andre Santos, Mikel Arteta, Alex Song, Aaron Ramsey; Gervinho, Robin Van Persie, Andrei Arshavin
Stoke City Starting XI: Asmir Begovic; Jonathan Woodgate, Ryan Shawcross, Robert Huth, Marc Wilson; Jermaine Pennant, Rory Delap, Wilson Palacios, Matthew Etherington; Peter Crouch, Jonathan Walters.
Players to Watch: Robin Van Persie and Peter Crouch.
Fulham vs Everton
Fulham were stifled away at Stoke City last week and fell to a third defeat on the season in the prescience of one of the toughest crowds in all of England at the Britannia. Martin Jol will home the home field of Craven Cottage is more akin to allowing the Cottagers a result.
Everton fell to another frustrating defeat as it is their third on the bounce after being defeated at Stamford Bridge 3-1 against Chelsea. The lack of an out and out striker continues to plague David Moyes and that has to be the number one priority for him come January.
Match Prediction: Fulham 2-1 Everton
Fulham Starting XI: Mark Schwarzer; Stephen Kelly, Brede Hangeland, Chris Baird, John Arne Riise, Damien Duff, Danny Murphy, Steven Sidwell, Clint Dempsey; Andrew Johnson, Bobby Zamora.
Everton Starting XI: Tim Howard, Tony Hibbert, Sylvain Distin, Phil Jagielka, Leighton Baines, Marouane Fellaini, Phil Neville; Jack Rodwell, Tim Cahill, Leon Osman, Denis Stracqualursi.
Players to Watch: Bobby Zamora and Tim Cahill.
Blackburn Rovers vs Tottenham Hotspur
Blackburn Rovers escaped a loss to Queens Park Rangers thanks to a late equalizer from defender Chris Samba. Three weeks ago a 4-3 victory over Arsenal was call to think that Rovers could somehow have something more inside of them. But, again they look the bottom feeders that they are in the bottom spot of the league.
Tottenham will be disappointed not to take three points against Newcastle United, but will be happy to have not lost all three points in front of a tough crowd at Saint James Park. Spurs went ahead twice thanks to Rafael van der Vaart and later Jermaine Defoe but it just was not enough. They are the heavy favorites to take all three points at Ewood Park.
Match Prediction: Blackburn Rovers 0-3 Tottenham
Blackburn Rovers Starting XI: Paul Robinson; Michel Salgado, Scott Dann, Chris Samba, Gael Givet; Steven Nzonzi, David Dunn, Mauro Formica; Ruben Rochina, Yakubu, David Hoilett.
Tottenham Hotspur Starting XI: Brad Friedel; Kyle Walker, Younes Kaboul, Sebastian Bassong, Benoit Assou-Ekotto; Rafael Van Der Vaart, Luka Modric, Scott Parker, Gareth Bale, Jermain Defoe, Emmanuel Adebayor.
Players to Watch: Chris Samba and Rafael van der Vaart.
Queens Park Rangers vs Chelsea
Queens Park Rangers will play host to Chelsea in a London Derby at Loftus Road this coming weekend. Rangers will be disappointed not to have gotten out of Ewood with all three points, but they continue to keep fining was of manufacturing results as they push for continued promotion next season.
Chelsea are firing on all cylinders in both the league and in Europe. A 3-1 victory over Everton, they finally avoided dropping points to David Moyes for the first time in several seasons. The Blues had been terrible at finding a second goal to put away Everton, but did so at home this past attempt.
The Blues continued their success as a Fernando Torres brace and a superb effort from Raul Meireles were three of five goals scored against Genk in their midweek group stage battle. QPR will have a mountain to climb to take points against Andre Villas-Boas team.
Match Prediction: QPR 0-4 Chelsea
Queens Park Rangers Starting XI: Patrick Kenny; Luke Young, Anton Ferdinand, Daniel Gabbidon, Fritz Hall; Shaun Derry, Adel Taarabt, Joey Barton, Alejandro Damian Faurlin; Jay Bothroyd, Shaun Wright-Phillips.
Chelsea Starting XI: Petr Cech, Jose Bosingwa, John Terry, David Luiz, Ashley Cole, Juan Mata, Frank Lampard, Ramires, Raul Meireles; Nicolas Anelka, Daniel Sturridge.
Players to Watch: Joey Barton and Frank Lampard.
Manchester Derby Game of the Week: Manchester United vs Manchester City
Last season, the Manchester Derby match at Old Trafford saw Wayne Rooney score his best goal of the campaign, in magnificent bicycle kick that put the Red Devils on their way to a victory.
This year, it will be one of the toughest matches for either side as they both remain unbeaten, but Manchester City just leapfrogged United to reach the top of the league.
The real question is if the combination of Samir Nasri, David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko will be enough to break through and defeat their illustrious neighbors.
Match Prediction: Manchester United 2-2 Manchester City
Manchester United Starting XI: David De Gea, Phil Jones, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra, Ashley Young, Darren Fletcher, Anderson, Nani; Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck.
Manchester City Starting XI: Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany, Micah Richards, Joleon Lescott, Gaël Clichy; David Silva, Yaya Toure, Samir Nasri, James Milner; Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko.
Players to Watch: David Silva and Wayne Rooney.
We are set for another great weekend of action in England. The two top teams will battle it out to see just who is the best of the best at the moment, while their three closest challengers all have a chance to close the gap.