Weekend Premier League Preview – Arsenal Should Kick Into Winning Ways
Tom Byrne once again previews the weekend's Premier League action and gives us his predictions...
Arsenal v Swansea
This should be the game in which Arsenal get their season back on track, and whilst I think they should win, it may prove difficult initially unless they can find an early goal. Swansea outplayed Man City at Eastlands and the 4-0 loss did not reflect the pattern of the game. If Arsenal keep patient and the fans don’t get anxious they should see off Swansea in the second half. It will be interesting to see which of the 5 latest additions Wenger opts to use in this game. With Gibbs back to full fitness for a week or two, Andre Santos should start on the bench. Mertesaker should start after Vermaelen’s latest injury and Arteta is a shoe in. Benayoun should start from the bench, but Park has not yet arranged his visa so may not feature at all.
Everton v Aston Villa
Usually a good game with lots of goals, however both teams have lost big players over the summer. Villa have had a little longer to acclimatise to losing Young and Downing, while this is Everton’s first game after losing Arteta, not that they had much of a squad before he left. The addition of Royston Drenthe could be an interesting one for Everton and the rest of the league. After forcing through a move to Real Madrid following the European under 21 tournament four years ago he had stagnated until being sent on loan to Hercules last seaosn where not a game went by without him throwing some kind of strop – quite the change from the mild mannered Arteta!
Man City v Wigan
One of these teams holds the longest unbeaten runs in the Premier League – and it isn’t Man City! Wigan’s run should come to an abrupt end this weekend with Man City running amok as they did against Spurs, although this time Carlos Tevez could start alongside Dzeko, Nasri et al. The only potential respite for Roberto Martinez’s team may be if Mancini decides to rest some of his stars ahead of their opening Champions League fixture against Napoli.
Stoke v Liverpool
Both teams have had a good start to the season and Stoke managed to further strengthen in the last few days of the transfer window. I can’t see too many teams getting anything from the Britannia this year although I think Liverpool should nick a point. Peter Crouch is likely to get his debut against one of his numerous former clubs and I fancy him for a goal. It will be interesting if Liverpool try and go like for like and use Andy Carroll as a battering ram or if they opt for the trickery of Luis Suarez.
Sunderland v Chelsea
Nicolas Bendtner could do his parent club a massive favour in his first game for Sunderland. It will be interesting how he adapts to the North East – apply himself and have a good year and he could be playing in the Champions league again next season. Fail to back up his amazing self confidence and his father could struggle to find him a team next year. Despite his arrival, I don’t think that Sunderland have enough to trouble Chelsea, who have been winning games despite playing poorly (if they were going that in 7 months people would be muttering about it being the mark of Champions).
Wolverhampton v Tottenham
Wolves are a formidable team at home, last year they ended Man United’s unbeaten run and beat Chelsea and Spurs and I expect them to repeat that victory this season. Spurs haven’t really got going yet this year and with Harry Redknapp seemingly more interested coaching England legends against Wales legends, I think they may have to wait another week to get their first points of the season.
Bolton v Man United
Norwich v West Brom
West Brom have had a good start to the season but have not translated the form into points partly due to having Chelsea and Man United as their first two games. They will need to get their first points on the board soon if they are going to improve on last season’s finish and push on into the top half of the table. Not that Norwich will be a push over after coming within ten minutes of a point away to Chelsea two weeks ago.
Fulham v Blackburn
Blackburn are well on the way to becoming the leagues whipping boys as despite the signings of Yakuba and Scott Dann, I can’t see them stopping the rot away to Fulham who are solid if unspectacular at home. Blackburn will struggle to create opportunities without a hamstrung Morton Gamst Pederson. With Arsenal at home next week, they could potentially reach October without any points on the board
QPR v Newcastle
This game will be amusing for no other reason that philosopher Joey Barton’s attempts to show that he really wanted to move to QPR and he didn’t want to go anywhere else. QPR have had a good couple of weeks despite their loss to Wigan and I would expect them to get their second 3 points against a very average Newcastle team. Fresh from receiving a partial refund on their season tickets, QPR fans should provide a rousing atmosphere for their team.
Last week I got 7 correct predictions, but no perfect scores
Aston Villa v Wolves Prediction: 1-1 Result: 0-0
Wigan V QPR Prediction: 0-1 Result: 2-0
Blackburn v Everton Prediction: 1-2 Result: 0-1
Chelsea v Norwich Predication: 4-0 result: 3-1
Swansea v Sunderland Prediction: 0-1 Result: 0-0
Liverpool v Bolton Predication: 2-1 Result: 3-1
Newcastle v Fulham Prediction: 1-0 Result: 2-1
Tottenham v Man City Prediction: 1-3 Result: 1-5
West Brom v Stoke Prediction: 2-0 Result: 0-1
Man Utd v Arsenal Prediction: 2-0 Result 8-2