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Weekend Matchups Preview

By | 31st October 2008

Andy JohnsonAfter a midweek that saw two fantastic finishes, a couple upsets, and a few solid performances, I feel that those games definitely equaled, if not surpassed the expectations coming into them. We saw Tottenham, down 4-2 with 5 minutes to play, score 2 goals to tie it, at Arsenal. Just as exciting, we then saw Premiership Talk’s Wednesday Wonder, Marouane Fellaini, score a 90th minute goal to beat Bolton in their own stadium. Also, Stoke and Middlesbrough had huge wins over Sunderland and Manchester City, respectively. How much better can these matches continue to get? We will surely see come Saturday.

Saturday, November 1st

Everton v. Fulham (12:45): The secret is out: Marouane Fellaini is here, and he will be a fixture in the Premier League for a very long time. First it was his header goal to level the game against Manchester United. Then it was his 90th minute goal to beat Bolton. What more can this Belgian do? I’m sure we will find out soon enough. Everton are making their push for a comfortable table position, and a win this Saturday against Fulham would be huge. Fulham haven’t been playing all that bad lately, though. With 5 points in their last 3 games, Fulham are showing that they will not just fall by the wayside. However, Yakubu hasn’t scored in a few games for Everton, and with Fellaini on fire, look for Yakubu to jump into the mix this weekend and put one into the back of the net. I wouldn’t be surprised with a draw, but Everton is looking good, and since it’s a home game, I’m taking Everton.

Chelsea v. Sunderland (15:00): The beginning of a new streak. Chelsea will be out for another home win to start another. People may think that Chelsea are vulnerable at home now, but you know what I would say to those people? “You’re CRAZY!” Look for Chelsea to win handily at home, especially since Sunderland are feeling down since their midweek loss to Stoke. Chelsea won easily on Wednesday to a Hull City team that has been making some noise since the beginning of the season. Now Lampard, Kalou, and the rest of the crew move on to a Sunderland team who have been playing decently this season. I can’t see Sunderland doing much of anything in this match, though. Chelsea will be too pumped up for this game, so look for a solid shutout at Stamford Bridge.

Manchester United v. Hull City (15:00): Can Hull win another game against a Big Four team? I’m not so sure. After losing handily at home to Chelsea on Wednesday, it looks like they won’t be beating any powerhouse teams anytime soon. I’m not writing them off for the season, though. I still believe that they will win a lot more games, and everybody will continue to be surprised. I will not be surprised anymore. With that said, I can’t see them beating Manchester United on Saturday. Manchester United just came off of an easy win against West Ham at Old Trafford. The only reason the score was only 2-0 is because West Ham did move the ball very well in that game. Hull will need to score early and often if they are to have any chance of winning because once Rio and the rest of the back line get warmed up, I can’t see much of anything being put on net. Look for Berbatov to score a goal, and if you didn’t see his Berbatrick last game, you must be living under a rock. Manchester United win this game with the help of the tricky Bulgarian.

Alfonso AlvesMiddlesbrough v. West Ham United (15:00): Although West Ham lost at Old Trafford on Wednesday, they did not go down easy. West Ham was moving the ball very well in that game, and they deserved a goal. However, they did not take advantage of the opportunities they created for themselves. Middlesbrough is a little bit of a different team than Manchester United. The crowd at The Riverside Stadium will be looking for another win after a huge victory against Manchester City on Wednesday. I think the City win will translate into another important win for them at home. Although West Ham should be confident given how they played at Old Trafford, I just don’t think it will carry over as much into the game as Middlesbrough 2-0 against Manchester City will. Look for Alfonso Alves to score again, but this time not from the penalty spot. Middlesbrough win this one.

Portsmouth v. Wigan (15:00): This game may not be as highly toted as other games this weekend, but this could turn out to be one of the more exciting games this weekend. Portsmouth have been in cold form over the last month. Meanwhile, Wigan have lost every game this month, and they are in desperate need of a win. It will be Amr Zaki’s job to rally the troops and start scoring some goals. Given Wigan’s recent run I would expect a Portsmouth win, but don’t count Wigan out. They can score goals, but they need to shore up their defense. They have been giving up goals in bunches as of late, so if they are able to get their defense in order, they may have a chance. Portsmouth will end up winning this match.

Stoke City v. Arsenal (15:00): Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy. That is the only way I can describe Arsenal at the end of their game against Tottenham on Wednesday. Up 4-2 with 5 minutes left, and they give up 2 goals to end the game in a draw. Harry Redknapp just wants to thank you, Arsenal, for injecting even more life into his club. Meanwhile, Stoke are sitting above relegation for the time being. They have two important wins this month. Just last week they beat Sunderland at home, and two weeks ago they beat Tottenham at home. With that said, a win against Arsenal seems highly unlikely. Although Arsenal did give up 4 goals, they also scored 4 goals, so it’s not like their offense is slowing down. Taking on Stoke tomorrow should be a treat for them. I would expect another 3 goals out of them, but this time there will be no late game rally by the opposition. Stoke will be shutout this game.

West Brom v. Blackburn (15:00): This game needs some goals if it has any chance of being exciting. I would rather watch paint dry than turn my television on to watch this game. Both teams are playing miserably at this point. Both teams have about as much success finding the back of the next as I do finding a needle in a haystack. Roque Santa Cruz needs to get a hat trick to get his team going, but I really don’t see that happening. These teams are on their way down. They need help desperately. I wouldn’t be surprised if neither team score and it was 0-0 when the final whistle blows, but I’ll be nice and assume that they will score one goal each. Yeah! 1-1! What a thriller! Next…

Harry RedknappTottenham v. Liverpool (17:30): In what I am calling the match of the week, we see two teams who are sitting at opposite ends of the table, but both seem to be sharing the same amount of confidence. Tottenham, sitting dead last in the standings, have tripled their point total over the last two games. After a huge 4-4 draw at Arsenal on Wednesday, and their first win of the season against Bolton last Sunday, Tottenham have a new found energy that they are bringing to the pitch. Give the credit to Harry Redknapp or not, but Tottenham seem to be playing much better now, and look for this momentum they are building to translate into a big win for the team. Now I’m not saying it’s a definite that Tottenham will upset Liverpool in the friendly confines of White Hart Lane, but that is what I’m leaning towards. Granted Liverpool just beat Chelsea, at Stamford Bridge, on Sunday, and then Portsmouth at home on Wednesday. However, now that Tottenham know what winning feels like, they will be hungry for more, and I feel that sooner rather than later, Tottenham will run their way up to a comfortable position on the table. I’m putting this match on “Upset Alert.”

Sunday, November 2nd

Michael JohnsonBolton v. Manchester City (16:00): The only Sunday game this weekend brings an important game for both teams. After 2 straight disheartening losses for Bolton, they seem to be a team in shambles. Manchester City on the other hand, just really need one win to get themselves going again. They are just one game removed from a Robinho hat trick and an easy win, so look for City to get back into the winning mood again. Each week I try to think that Bolton will actually win a game, but they are one sorry looking team. I can’t imagine Bolton winning against City this weekend, so that is why I’m expecting an important away win for Manchester City.

Monday, November 3rd

Newcastle v. Aston Villa (20:00): Newcastle seem to be turning it around slowly but surely. Their only loss of October was against Sunderland, who have been playing very well this season. Also, that was the only game that Newcastle was unable to put 2 goals into the back of the net, so another 2 goals on Monday is surely expected, if a win is truly in their sights. Villa, currently sitting quite comfortably in 4th place, have been playing extremely well this season. Their only loss of October came against Chelsea. This should prove to be a very good game. I would lean toward a draw just because both teams are playing so well right now. I would only hesitate to favor Newcastle solely because they are playing at home. Expect both teams to play their hearts out in order to keep their momentum going. I can see a draw.

This weekend may not bring as many exciting games to the table as the midweek games, but this is an important weekend where the contenders will start to try and separate themselves from the pack, and the lower teams on the totem pole will look to start their move up the table. Comment on this article with what you think will happen this weekend, and try your luck in the Premiership Talk Predictions Game!

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