Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Steven Beacom's Premier League predictions

It's not often on Champions League week that England’s representatives fail to win but Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United couldn’t muster a victory between them.

Still, they’ll all qualify for the knockout stages and, in the meantime, can focus on domestic matters with two of them meeting at the Emirates tomorrow.

As always on Friday, Sports Editor Steven Beacom gives his verdict on all the Premier League fixtures and Paddy Power provides the odds.

All games kick off at 3pm on Saturday unless stated.

ARSENAL v MAN UNITED|(Saturday 12.45pm)

If Arsenal lose, that will be four league defeats already this season and they will be out of the title race. Simple as that. Maybe they could catch one side, but not three in the high class shape of Chelsea, United and Liverpool. After falling to pieces at Stoke last weekend and Arsene Wenger having his yearly sulk at the physical nature of English football, I would say this is a defining fixture for the north London outfit. It’s hugely important to United too.

Always a compelling clash, not least for the post-match comments of the managers, I have a hunch that the Red Devils are going to deliver a significant blow. Former Spurs star Dimitar Berbatov (pictured) will get an even more ferocious welcome than Cristiano Ronaldo normally does at the Emirates. Those two and Wayne Rooney could wreck Arsenal’s title dream just 12 games into the season.

Beacom Prediction: 1-2

PADDY POWER ODDS: Arsenal 2/1 United 6/4 Draw 11/5

HULL v BOLTON

Two defeats in a row for Hull. Mind you, they were against Chelsea and Manchester United. How they react will tell us if they are going to be involved in a relegation battle come May.

Beacom Prediction: 1-1

PADDY POWER ODDS: Hull 6/5 Bolton 12/5 Draw 9/4

LIVERPOOL v WEST BROM|(Saturday 5.30pm)

Big match this one for Liverpool. On the face of it, Rafa Benitez’s side should cruise to victory, but after losing rather unluckily to Spurs last weekend and then drawing rather luckily against Atletico Madrid in midweek, they desperately need a win to keep the self-belief built up early in the season. Steven Gerrard will be influential of course. He could do with having Fernando Torres back to take a bit of the strain while Robbie Keane continues to struggle for form.

Beacom Prediction: 3-1

PADDY POWER ODDS: Liverpool 1/4 WBA 12/1 Draw 4/1



SUNDERLAND v PORTSMOUTH

Two outstanding captains, Roy Keane and Tony Adams, will go head to head as managers at the Stadium of Light. Just put them out on the halfway line charging for a 50/50 ball. That would be the best way to settle this and more entertaining.

Beacom Prediction: 1-1

PADDY POWER ODDS: Sunderland 11/8 Portsmouth 2/1 Draw 9/4



WEST HAM v EVERTON

After four defeats in a row, Gianfranco Zola is under pressure. Too nice to be a manager, the Italian needs to get nasty with his underperforming players, otherwise Everton will take home maximum points.

Beacom Prediction: 2-2

PADDY POWER ODDS: West Ham 8/5 Everton 9/5 Draw 11/5



WIGAN v STOKE|(Saturday 12.45pm)

Somehow I can’t see Steve Bruce complaining like Arsene Wenger if a few tasty tackles and Rory Delap throw-ins cause Wigan problems. Then again that’s because Wigan will deal with those problems.

Beacom Prediction: 2-1

PADDY POWER ODDS: Wigan 10/11 Stoke 10/3 Draw 12/5

ASTON VILLA v MIDDLESBROUGH (Sunday 3pm)

Villa’s schedule has been difficult lately, and that’s what I’m putting their disappointing defeat to Newcastle down to. Can’t see Boro making it a north east double.

Beacom Prediction: 3-1

PADDY POWER ODDS: Villa 8/11 Boro 4/1 Draw 5/2



BLACKBURN v CHELSEA|(Sunday 1.30pm)

After Chelsea’s last loss they responded by hammering the opposition in the next couple of matches, so I’m not sure I would like to be Blackburn right now. Rovers need to start well to make a game of it, otherwise Deco, ridiculously sent off in Rome, will rip them to shreds.

Beacom Prediction: 1-2

PADDY POWER ODDS: Blackburn 6/1Chelsea 1/2 Draw 3/1

FULHAM v NEWCASTLE|(Sunday 4pm)

In this fixture last season Joey Barton scored a penalty in the last minute of the game to give Newcastle victory. I wouldn’t be surprised if Barton was making the headlines again on Sunday. For good or bad reasons and that is the problem. Barton has the raw materials to become a fine midfielder if only he could focus on being a footballer and not a trouble maker on and off the pitch.

Beacom Prediction: 1-1

PADDY POWER ODDS: Fulham 6/4 Newcastle 15/8 Draw 9/4



MAN CITY v SPURS (Sunday 3pm)

Don’t know about you, but every time this fixture comes up I think of the brilliant 1981 FA Cup final replay. Showing my age there, but if the younger readers amongst you have not seen it, get on YouTube to watch Ricky Villa’s winner in that particular game. Since Harry Redknapp took over last month, Tottenham have secured seven points out of nine, but still find themselves bottom of the table. They won’t stay there, though I wouldn’t back them to beat the most inconsistent team on the planet on Sunday.

Let’s revive some of those 1981 memories and have another 3-2 epic, this time with City coming out on top with another South American, in the shape of Robinho, scoring a wonder goal.

Beacom Prediction: 3-2

PADDY POWER ODDS: City 6/5 Spurs 12/5 Draw 9/4

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