English Premier League: EPL Week 10 Previews and Predictions
Manchester City's demolition of Manchester United on their home turf at Old Trafford was the highlight of the weekend as far as matches in the EPL. While United fans will feel this is the worst thing to happen to them in ages, there are 29 games left and plenty of time for the Citizens to drop a point or two and the Red Devils make up a few.
Norwich City scored against the run of play to draw with Liverpool who will feel they should have won the game easily, but they just could not convert their shots into goals. The lack of finishing from the Reds has been their worst enemy so far this season and has cost them several wins already.
Chelsea without a doubt will be coming back with a vengeance in their second London Derby in two weeks after a horrendous outing against Queens Park Rangers. This week, they take on an Arsenal side that looks to be finding their continued salvation on the the scoring boots of Robin Van Persie who has put the club on his back for most of the season so far.
Newcastle remained undefeated but will face off in a tough battle against Stoke City, while Tottenham will have to tangle with Queens Park Rangers at White Hart Lane.
It will be another excitement filled round in the EPL as anything can happen on any given weekend.
Everton vs. Manchester United
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The Toffees gave a fine display in their 3-1 victory over Fulham at Craven Cottage. Royston Drenthe scored the opening goal in spectacular fashion and may well be pushing for a regular place in the lineup under David Moyes.
Meanwhile, back up in the Northwest, Manchester United suffered the pounding of the season at the hands of Manchester City. The same venue that saw the 8-2 thrashing of Arsenal at the hands of United, served as their own bowl of karma when their surging neighbors came over for a visit.
There is no doubt that Sir Alex Ferguson will do everything he can to ensure that they avoid another embarrassment of that sort, and most likely, Everton will be the whipping boy with which the Mancs try to work out their frustration.
Match Prediction: Everton 1 - 4 Man United
Everton Starting XI: Tim Howard, Tony Hibbert, Sylvain Distin, Phil Jagielka, Leighton Baines, Apostolos Vellios, Phil Neville; Jack Rodwell, Tim Cahill, Leon Osman, Denis Stracqualursi.
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.
Players to Watch: Denis Stracqualursi and Danny Welbeck
Game of the Week No. 1, London Derby: Chelsea vs Arsenal
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Chelsea were frustrated to no end at Loftus Road against Queens Park Rangers. The sending off of both Jose Bosingwa and Didier Drogba looked rather sketchy as both were fouls, but whether they were worthy of straight Reds is very questionable.
Regardless, the Blues will have their work cut out for them against an Arsenal side that is trying to find their feet. Robin Van Persie has been all that he can be for them as he continues to be their lift, but he is always one crunching tackle away from another injury, and I would not be surprised to see Chelsea bear down on him physically.
Another London derby is sure to get the blood pumping in the early game showcase for ESPN2.
Match Prediction: Chelsea 3 - 2 Arsenal
Chelsea Starting XI: Petr Cech, Branislav Ivanovic, John Terry, David Luiz, Ashley Cole, Juan Mata, Frank Lampard, John Obi Mikel, Raul Meireles; Nicolas Anelka, Fernando Torres.
Arsenal Starting XI: Wojciech Szczęsny, Andre Santos, Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny, Johan Djourou, Mikel Arteta, Alex Song, Aaron Ramsey; Gervinho, Robin Van Persie, Andrei Arshavin
Players to Watch: Frank Lampard and Robin Van Persie.
Manchester City vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers
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Manchester City in all honesty should run all over Wolves. However, that was thought to be the case when they went to face Fulham at Craven Cottage and slumped to a second-half draw. Given their recent victory over Manchester United, they have got to press their advantage with another win.
Wolves finally got another point in a 2-2 draw thanks to second-half goals from Kevin Doyle and Jamie O'Hara. They unfortunately do not have home-field advantage this weekend and will be most likely chewed up and spit back out by the Citizens.
Match Prediction: Manchester City 4 - 0 Wolves
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.
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.
Players to Watch: David Silva and Jamie O'Hara
Norwich City vs. Blackburn Rovers
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Norwich nearly stunned the Anfield crowd as a surging 10 minutes almost saw Anthony Pilkington and Grant Holt steer all the headlines against Liverpool. The Canaries continue to impress with another fine display, and Pilkington looks like one of the best buys of the season.
Blackburn Rovers continue to fumble through this season as another three points were dropped this past weekend to Spurs. Steve Keane has a target on his back, and why they ever got rid of big Sam Allardyce we still will never know.
Match Prediction: Norwich 2 - 1 Blackburn
Norwich City Starting XI: John Ruddy; Leon Barnett, Kyle Naughton, Marc Tierney, Russell Martin; Bradley Johnson, David Fox, Wesley Hoolahan, Anthony Pilkington; Grant Holt, Steve Morison.
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.
Players to Watch: Anthony Pilkington and Mauro Formica
Sunderland vs. Aston Villa
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Sunderland got their first away points of the season with a victory over Bolton Wanderers thanks to goals from Stephane Sessegnon and Nickolas Bendtner. The Black Cats have a lot of ground to make up before they can feel safe back in the middle of the table.
Meanwhile, Aston Villa slumped to their second straight loss against West Bromwich Albion. The Villains looked to be a surprise team until their loss to Manchester City two weeks ago, and now, they are starting to drop down the table as had been expected.
Match Prediction: Sunderland 2 - 2 Aston Villa
Sunderland Starting XI: Simon Mignolet; John O'Shea, Wes Brown, Titus Bramble, Kieran Richardson; Sebastian Larsson, David Vaughn, Jack Colback, Stephane Sessegnon; Conor Wickham, Nickolas Bendtner.
Aston Villa Starting XI: Shay Given; Alan Hutton, James Collins, Richard Dunne, Stephen Warnock, Fabien Delph, Stiliyan Petrov, Barry Bannan, Charles N'Zogbia, Darren Bent, Gabriel Agbonlahor.
Players to Watch: Sebastian Larsson and Gabriel Agbonlahor
Swansea City vs. Bolton Wanderers
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Swansea City continue to pick up points from all levels of competition as they went to Wolverhampton and came away with a draw, while nearly taking a win if it were not for a superb strike from Jamie O'Hara. The Swans will be playing what could be a relegation preview against Bolton Wanderers this weekend.
The Trotters are in an absolutely dreadful position this season, while they were expected to have a solid middle of the road season after last year's early hopes saw them slump to the bottom half in the last handful of games. However, no one expected them to crumble as they have without Stuart Holden in the middle.
Match Prediction: Swansea 2 - 1 Bolton
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.
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.
Players to Watch: Danny Graham and David N'Gog.
Wigan Athletic vs. Fulham
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Wigan made a valiant effort to hold Newcastle United back, but there was no stopping the Magpies eventual breakthrough that came at the hands of their newest midfield tinker man—Yohan Cabaye. The Latics have had a long and tough season already, and it is not looking up at the moment.
Fulham likewise have been in a frustrating run with the only bright spot in their 3-1 defeat to Everton being the first EPL goal for Bryan Ruiz. Bobby Zamora's last-gasp, almost winner came back off the bar only to see Louis Saha and Jack Rodwell both score in injury time to crush the hearts of the home team and home fans.
Match Prediction: Wigan 1 - 3 Fulham
Wigan Athletic Starting XI: Ali Al Habsi, Adrián López Rodríguez, Maynor Figueroa, Gary Caldwell, Emmerson Boyce, James McCarthy, Ben Watson, Mohammad Diame, Victor Moses; Hugo Radollega, Franco Di Santo.
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.
Players to Watch: Hugo Radollega and Andrew Johnson.
West Bromwich Albion vs. Liverpool
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At the moment no team can be more frustrated by the lack of finishing off their chances than Liverpool. The Reds should have beaten Manchester United two weeks ago but just could not convert their shots on goal. Again this past weekend, they racked up 29 shots, nine on goal, and it seemed like they just could not buy a second goal.
Roy Hogdson will play the host to his former club once again at the Hawthorns and will hope to stifle their ambitions once again. The loss of Shane Long for six weeks will upset the partnership with Peter Odemwingie, but scoring 15 goals last season proves he has what it takes to get the job done.
Match Prediction: West Brom 2 - 3 Liverpool
West Bromwich Albion Starting XI: Ben Foster, Jonas Olsson, Nicky Shorey, Gabriel Tamas, Steven Reid, Paul Scharner, Graham Dorrans, Chris Brunt, Zoltan Gera, Somen Tchoyi, Peter Odemwingie, Shane Long.
Liverpool Starting XI: Pepe Reina, Martin Kelly, Jamie Carragher, Martin Skrtel, Jose Enrique; Lucas Leiva, Dirk Kuyt, Charlie Adam; Steven Gerrard, Stewart Downing; Luis Suarez.
Players to Watch: Peter Odemwingie and Luis Suarez
Game of the Week No. 2, London Derby: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Queens Park Rangers
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Tottenhan continue to push up the table as they took over fifth place from Liverpool after a Rafael van Der Vaart Brace lifted them over Blackburn Rovers last weekend. Spurs look better each week at the moment and the forward play from right back Kyle Walker has been outstanding.
Joey Barton and Queens Park Rangers got the best of Chelsea in the first West London Derby in years. Granted the Blues were dealt a tough blow of poor decisions from the match official, it sets up QPR for an interesting second London Derby in a row against Spurs at White Hart Lane.
Match Prediction: Tottenham 3 - 1 QPR
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.
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.
Players to Watch: Rafael van der Vaart and Shaun Wright-Phillips
Game of the Week No. 3: Stoke City vs. Newcastle United
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Stoke City and Newcastle both suffered last-minute defeats in the Carling Cup midweek. For the Magpies, it is their first defeat all season in all competitions, and they will hope to bounce back against the Potters.
However, Stoke City are likely to go after Newcastle the same way they have most of their opponents this season. Tony Pulis so far has gotten great results out of his side as many questioned their resilience over the long haul of additional European matches as well as their regular league and cup ties.
Newcastle will look to keep pace with Chelsea in fourth place or surpass them this weekend, and Yohan Cabaye looks prime to marshal his midfield to another victory.
Match Prediction: Stoke City 1 - 2 Newcastle United
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.
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.
Players to Watch: Jonathan Walters and Yohan Cabaye
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Two more London Derbies are on the docket this weekend with Queens Park Rangers hoping to prove their fluke victory over Chelsea was due to more than the two red cards handed out to the Blues.
Arsenal have a chance to reclaim their right to say they can be top four if they can defeat Chelsea.
Once again, the countdown begins to the early matches on Saturday morning.