Having correctly predicted the score of Liverpool vs Arsenal and Man Utd vs Newcastle, plus getting the correct result for 3 other games, my score for week one was 9 points, and I’m hoping to improve on that this week. The scoring is explained at the bottom of my Premier League Analysis post.
The week gave us a huge surprise, as nobody was expecting Blackpool to batter Wigan, were they? But will the Tangerines use this result to push on forwards, or will they get cocky and think that the Premier League is a walk in the park? Chelsea were the other big winners of last week, and have really laid down the gauntlet for Manchester United to come and get them. Both teams will expect another three points this week, but one may slip up. Here’s my perception of the second weekend in the 10/11 Premier League season.
Arsenal vs Blackpool
Ian Holloway’s Blackpool will have taken so many positives from the Wigan game and are still in dream land. I think this week is where they come back down to earth though. An Arsenal side who were extremely lucky to get a point at Anfield on Sunday will need to get three points in this one if they are to declare their title ambitions. If they don’t get the victory here, it will be the bottom half of the league for the Gunners, who havn’t won the League since 2004. The Tangerines will be lucky to get anything out of this one, as Arsenal have turned the Emirates into a difficult stadium to come to. Sorry Blackpool fans, but I think you’ll be on three points for a couple of weeks now. I’ll go for a 3-0 victory for the Gunners, as they could rest a few players once the game is past Blackpool.
Birmingham vs Blackburn
After Tim Howard’s howler for Everton gifted Blackburn three points last weekend, Rovers will have received confidence from the home win. The trouble is their away form. After Birmingham’s promotion, many thought they would be stuck in a relegation fight last season. Instead, they managed to finish in the top half of the league and make St Andrews a fortress. After a late goal by Liam Ridgewell gave the Blues a point at Sunderland on Saturday, they should finish this weekend on four points. Alex McLeish is the right man for the job, and it looks like there are good things to come from Birmingham. I doubt Blackburn will have enough firepower in the game, but may give the Blues a run for their money. A 2-1 victory for Birmingham is my guess.
Everton vs Wolves
As I’ve just mentioned, Tim Howard was at fault for the Blackburn goal last week. He will be out to prove his is still a top goalkeeper, and nothing would demonstrate that more than if he were to keep a clean sheet this week. Wolves, after a great victory over Stoke last week, will know they have the credentials to stay up this season. A point at Goodison would be great for them, but with the Toffees needing the points more, the determination could lead them towards the win. Louis Saha will look to get Everton off the mark for the season, and a couple of goals wouldn’t have do the trick here. 2-0 to the Toffees.
Stoke vs Tottenham
Stoke’s form at the Brittania kept them way out of the ‘drop zone’ last season, and they will need to carry this form into the 10/11 season if they want to stay in this league. I can definitely see weaker teams that Stoke City, but they will still have to play well. Tottenham can always pose a threat to teams, and were extremely unlucky not to have taken all the spoils against Manchester City last week. Jermain Defoe looks as lively as ever, and this could be the week he breaks his duck for the season, though the Potters can be brilliant defensively. With Abdoulaye Faye and Ryan Shawcross at the back, they will make it difficult for Spurs. Despite this, it only takes on mistake and Tottenham will punish you, and for that reason I think they will get the three points they desire. 1-0.
West Brom vs Sunderland
Many football experts have said that West Brom will go down this season, and after a horrifically poor defensive performance against Chelsea last week, I don’t think they are far wrong. Manager Roberto Di Matteo should have restored some confidence though, and the Baggies could scrape a point here. Sunderland will still be down after the 2-2 draw with Birmingham last week, when at 2-0 up it looked like the points were in the bag. Without suspended Lee Cattermole, and having offloaded striker Kenwyne Jones, there will be plenty of pressure of Darren Bent to get at least 15 this season. Playing away is always difficult, and I think this game will be tight, and both teams will be more focused on defending. Unfortunately for the neutral a 0-0 draw is on the cards here.
West Ham vs Bolton
After being beaten comfortably by Aston Villa last week, West Ham need some points on the board. Bolton will also be looking for something to add to the point they got against Fulham. The Hammers will be desperate to avoid the relegation scrap at the end of the season, having finished 17th last time. Avram Grant does have the managerial qualities though, and his team are the bookies favourites in this one. Strikers Frederic Piquionne and Carlton Cole were in great form last season, and 10 goals a piece should steer West Ham to safety. Owen Coyle’s came to Bolton when they were also in the relegation scrap, but seemed to hoist them up the table gradually. After a point last weekend, I think Upton Park will be too much for Bolton. 2-0 West Ham.
Wigan vs Chelsea
Wigan go into this match with a goal difference of ten less than Chelsea, after a single game. Although the hosts won this fixture 3-1 last season, I can’t see a repeat performance from the Latics. Chelsea know that there can’t be any slip-ups if they are to retain their Premier League crown this season, and dropping points at Wigan won’t be in their plans. The hosts do have goal threat in Hugo Rodallega, although the Colombian has been linked with moves out of the DW Stadium. I don’t need to mention Chelsea’s goal threat having seen the show they put on last week, and it could be the same again for Carlo Ancelotti’s team. With Wigan being beaten 4-0 at home against Blackpool, I think that Chelsea will be out to beat that and put 5 past Wigan. It may just be one or two nil, but there’s no denying that Chelsea have the ability to get more. Can they get five? Yes. 5-0.
Newcastle vs Aston Villa
The Magpies need some points on the board fast if they are going to stay up this season. They lost last week, but at Old Trafford not many teams come away with anything. Manager Chris Hughton could be axed if results don’t go his way, and he will want to reassure fans that Newcastle can stay up with something in his first Premier League home game. Aston Villa performed remarkably well under Kevin MacDonald last week, and he could be looking into the full time job if the performances keep coming. Both teams will look to win this one, but unfortunately only one team can. Despite selling James Milner, I think Aston Villa have enough quality to get another win under their belt. 1-0 Villa.
Fulham vs Man Utd
After last week’s draw at Bolton, Fulham would bite your hand off if you offered them the same result here. Man Utd, as they do in every game, will be looking to win, and will need to be at their best after losing this fixture 3-0 last season, their heaviest defeat of the campaign. You can’t see past a United victory though, as they won’t want to slip up and give Chelsea a lead on them in the race for the title. Mark Hughes will know all about Alex Ferguson after playing under him for Manchester United, but should still struggle against Fergie’s team, who have the ability to dominate games. Wayne Rooney should be off the mark before long, and I’m going for a 3-1 victory for United in this one.
Man City vs Liverpool
City were very fortunate to come away from Tottenham with a point. I can’t recall many shots on target, and if it wasn’t for goalkeeper Joe Hart then they would have been battered. The team hasn’t quite gelled yet, and it will probably take a few weeks for that to happen. Liverpool were not as fortunate last week, with Pepe Reina’s own goal denying them 3 points. New signing Milan Jovanovic could fill the void left as a result of Joe Cole’s red card, but the Reds should still leave with something. Both teams drew in their opening fixtures this season, and I think they’ll still be even after 90 minutes. 1-1.
So with the title very much still up for grabs, I think that it will be a few weeks yet before the men and the boys are separated. Thanks for reading the blog. Don’t forget to hit subscribe at the top right if you enjoyed the post, and leave a comment below if you wish. All comments have to be read before they are published, and I take great interest in reading what people have to say.