Predictions for English Premier League Gameweek 10
It's that time of the week again when I attempt to predict the outcomes of the upcoming Premier League games. I managed to get no perfect predictions last week, but I did manage six correct ones and four incorrect. It leaves me fourth in my predictions league and still in with a shout.
Here's a look at how the predictions league table stands:
Manchester United V Arsenal
Saturday November 3, 12:45p.m. GMT, Old Trafford, Manchester
United somehow managed to close the gap on leaders Chelsea by winning 3-2 away to them last week. They had a lot of help from the referee and they have the chance to top the table by beating Arsenal in this game. They have been irresistible going forward at times this season, but they have looked very shaky in defence.
It seems Robin van Persie is again a must-have player for any fantasy manager.
Arsenal just about scraped out a very nervy 1-0 win at home to QPR last week. They will need to perform an awful lot better to lay the ghosts of last season's 8-2 defeat in this fixture to rest. They have the best defensive record in the league so far, but they have struggled to score goals despite getting seven in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday night.
Santi Cazorla looks the Arsenal player most likely to shine, but Theo Walcott could do likewise if he can get a run in the team.
Regular readers will know I always predict an Arsenal win and I think they will manage to somehow get all three points in this game.
Prediction: United 1-2 Arsenal
Fulham V Everton
Saturday November 3, 3p.m. GMT, Craven Cottage, London
Fulham have had a good start to the season and they are always a difficult team to beat at home. Only the top two teams have scored more goals than Fulham so far, with 19 goals in nine games. They will give Everton a real run for their money.
Dimitar Berbatov could be an excellent buy for fantasy managers now that he is fit again.
Everton are only one point outside the top four and have only lost once in their first nine games. They have played some good football and look like they have a real chance of making the breakthrough to a top-four finish.
Leighton Baines, Steven Pienaar and Marouane Fellaini have all performed admirably for Everton so far.
This could be a very good game, and I think it will end in a draw.
Prediction: Fulham 2-2 Everton
Norwich City V Stoke City
Saturday November 3, 3p.m. GMT, Carrow Road, Norwich
Norwich are just outside the relegation zone with seven points from nine games. Only Sunderland have scored less goals than them and Southampton are the only team to have conceded more goals than them. They need to improve at both ends of the pitch if they are going to stay up.
Norwich players aren't exactly setting the fantasy football world alight but Grant Holt could be worth a punt.
Stoke have only won once in their opening nine games and they have become the draw specialists in the league. Their defence is only bettered by Arsenal and Sunderland, but they are having trouble scoring goals.
Stoke's defensive players are worth considering for any fantasy manager.
I can see this game ending in yet another draw for Stoke.
Prediction: Norwich 1-1 Stoke
Sunderland V Aston Villa
Saturday November 3, 3p.m. GMT, Stadium of Light, Sunderland
Sunderland are the lowest scorers in the league and only Steven Fletcher has found the net for them so far. However, they have the second best defensive record too and there are very few goals in the games they play. Like Stoke, they have drawn six of their games so far.
Sunderland's defensive players are the best bet for fantasy managers, with Fletcher possibly being worth a shot too.
Villa have five defeats in nine games and have only scored seven goals in the process. They are only just outside the relegation zone and the pressure on Paul Lambert will increase if they don't improve soon.
Villa players are better off avoided at the moment for fantasy managers.
I think Sunderland will just about scrape a win from a dour affair.
Prediction: Sunderland 1-0 Villa
Swansea City V Chelsea
Saturday November 3, 3p.m. GMT, Liberty Stadium, Swansea
Swansea haven't quite reached the heights of last season, but they're still a tough proposition at home. Their defence hasn't been as good this season and they will miss Michel Vorm after his injury last week. They are sure to have a go at Chelsea, but that could be their undoing.
Miguel "Michu" Perez Cuesta is Swansea's outstanding performer so far, with Wayne Routeledge following closely behind.
Chelsea suffered their first league defeat in very controversial circumstances at home to United last week. They have 10 points from four away games so far and seem perfectly set up to play away from home. They could make life very difficult for Swansea in this game.
Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Branislav Ivanovic are the outstanding fantasy performers for Chelsea, although Ivanovic can have his bad days.
I think Chelsea have too much firepower and will win by a few goals.
Prediction: Swansea 1-3 Chelsea
Tottenham Hotspur V Wigan Athletic
Saturday November 3, 3p.m. GMT, White Hart Lane, London
Spurs got back to winning ways last week and are back in the top four again. They have plenty of attacking flair and Gareth Bale seems to be their go-to player at the moment. They will look to get all three points at home against a team they are expected to beat.
Bale is the in-form Spurs player at the moment and probably a must-have for fantasy managers.
Wigan have lost their last three away games in a row. They are just outside the relegation zone yet again and their target is probably just to avoid the drop. They have some bad memories of a very large defeat in this fixture a couple of seasons ago.
Arouna Kone is probably the Wigan player most likely to perform for fantasy managers.
I can't see anything other than a Spurs victory in this game.
Prediction: Spurs 2-0 Wigan
West Ham V Manchester City
Saturday November 3, 5:30p.m. GMT, Upton Park, London
West Ham have done very well since their return to the Premier League. They have taken 10 points in five home games so far and have been a tough team to handle. They will do all they can to put pressure on a City defence that hasn't been as tight as it was last season.
Kevin Nolan is the outstanding fantasy performer for West Ham so far.
City were far from impressive in beating Swansea last week, as their confidence suffered after performing badly in the Champions League. They are still unbeaten in the league this season, but their away games have all been very close. They will have to cope with the aerial bombardment thrown at them by today's opponents.
Yaya Toure and Carlos Tevez are the two City players who have performed well so far, but their defence seems to be turning things around and their defenders could be worth considering too.
I think West Ham will give City a tough game and hold them to a draw.
Prediction: West Ham 1-1 City
Queens Park Rangers V Reading
Sunday November 4, 1:30p.m. GMT, Loftus Road, London
QPR head in to this game rooted to the bottom of the table without a win so far. They aren't too far behind Reading, though, and a win could be just the tonic they need to kick-start their season. They are still having problems scoring goals and they need a few to save Mark Hughes from the axe.
I can't see any QPR players worth recommending to fantasy managers.
Reading have at least managed one win so far since being promoted, but they are in the relegation zone too. Their defence has been shaky and it won't have been helped by conceding seven goals against Arsenal in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday night. A win would be a huge boost for them and surely see them move clear of the relegation zone, for the moment at least.
At a push, Jobi McAnuff might not be a bad buy for fantasy managers.
I think QPR will break their duck and finally move off the foot of the table with a win.
Prediction: QPR 2-1 Reading
Liverpool V Newcastle United
Sunday November 4, 4p.m. GMT, Anfield, Liverpool
Liverpool just can't seem to get a decent run going and their midweek Capital One Cup defeat to Swansea typified that. The distractions of Europa League football aren't easy to deal with and they need a few wins to even threaten a top-four finish. Two wins in nine games simply isn't good enough for a club with their history and ambition.
Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez continue to be the Liverpool players most likely to perform for fantasy managers.
Newcastle haven't quite hit the heights of last season and it's probably got something to do with the Europa League too. They're not playing the same good football they did last season, but they have the players to do so. They will be hard pushed to get anything out of this game, but it's not beyond them.
Demba Ba is the stand-out fantasy candidate among the Newcastle players with Hatem Ben Arfa as a good backup.
I think Newcastle can do enough to hold Liverpool to yet another home draw.
Prediction: Liverpool 1-1 Newcastle
West Bromwich Albion V Southampton
Monday November 5, 8p.m. GMT, The Hawthorns, Birmingham
West Brom have won four of their five home games so far, with only the champions winning on their ground. They have played some good football and are in a very healthy position in the league. They will see a home game against the leakiest defence in the league as an ideal opportunity to get back on track after two defeats in a row.
James Morrison is probably the best fantasy bet among the West Brom players, with Shane Long a possibility too if he can overcome his current injury.
Southampton have the worst defence in the league and they have lost all four of their away league games so far. They have conceded 16 goals in those four games and unless they can improve defensively, they will continue to struggle.
Adam Lallana is probably the best fantasy bet among the Southampton players.
I can't see anything other than a West Brom win in this game.
Prediction: West Brom 3-1 Southampton
That's it for this week but as always, feel free to tell me where I may have gone right or wrong as the case might be.
See you next week.