Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Steven Beacom's Premier League predictions

After an eventful period of international football, it’s back to the FA Premier League this weekend with Manchester taking on north London in two intriguing games.

Sports Editor Steven Beacom gives his verdict on all the top flight games and Paddy Power provides the odds.

All matches kick-off at 3pm on Saturday unless stated.

BLACKBURN v WOLVES

When Sam Allardyce and Mick McCarthy played they took no prisoners so expect a full-blooded encounter when their teams meet at Ewood Park. Wolves have made a decent start to life in the Premiership, though they could come unstuck here.

Beacom Prediction: 2-1

PADDY POWER ODDS: Blackburn to win 5/6 Draw 12/5 Wolves to win 10/3

LIVERPOOL v BURNLEY

There is one of those rare events this weekend when the “big four” all play on a Saturday. Liverpool will certainly fancy their chances at home to Burnley. To date this season the Reds have won one and lost one at Anfield, the defeat coming because they failed to get an early goal against Villa. They scored in the opening minutes against Stoke and beat them |4-0 which underlines how crucial the first 15 minutes will be to Burnley, who are a whopping 14/1 to emerge victorious.

Beacom Prediction: 3-1

PADDY POWER ODDS: Liverpool 1/5 Draw 5/1 Burnley 14/1

MAN CITY v ARSENAL

This should be a good watch. As Arsenal make the trip back to Manchester, they will wonder how they didn’t take maximum points on their last visit, when they threw it away at Old Trafford, somehow losing 2-1 to United. The Gunners played some scintillating football that day and will be confident they can repeat the performance, only with a better end result. For City this is their first game of the season against one of the big boys, so Mark Hughes will have them fired up and then some. We’ll know a little more about them after this one.

Beacom Prediction: 2-2

PADDY POWER ODDS: City 19/10 Draw 9/4 Arsenal 7/5

PORTSMOUTH v BOLTON

This one is already a relegation scrap. They haven’t a point between them, but that will obviously change tomorrow — with Pompey coming out on top.

Beacom Prediction: 2-1

PADDY POWER ODDS: Pompey 6/4 Draw 9/4 Bolton 9/5

STOKE v CHELSEA

Stoke have started this season like they ended the last one, winning at home. I know some felt they would suffer from that difficult second season syndrome, but with their form at the Britannia Stadium, allied to the brilliant attitude of Tony Pulis and his players, I’m confident they will stay up with something to spare. Having said all that, they won’t get anything against table-topping Chelsea, who just a few weeks into the campaign are clearly the team to stop.

Beacom Prediction: 1-3

PADDY POWER ODDS: Stoke 15/2 Draw 16/5 Chelsea 2/5

SUNDERLAND v HULL

Could be surprisingly entertaining at the Stadium of Light.

Beacom Prediction: 3-2

PADDY POWER ODDS: Sunderland 4/5 Draw 12/5 Hull 7/2

SPURS v MAN UNITED |(Saturday 5.30pm)

It’s the toss of a coin, but Tottenham’s clash with United is just about the game of the day beating City v Arsenal. Harry Redknapp’s team have a perfect record to date — played four, won four. If they make it five out of five, we really can start taking them seriously in terms of being in for the long haul this season. I don’t have to remind Spurs supporters, however, about all the false dawns at White Hart Lane down the years. Amazingly Tottenham last won the title in 1961. Astonishing really for a club of their size. United know all about going for decades without winning the league, though thankfully for Red Devil fans it never reached those proportions. United always fancy themselves at the Lane and will do so again, especially Dimitar Berbatov returning to his old stomping ground. Former Liverpool strikers Peter Crouch and Robbie Keane might just play a key role in earning Redknapp’s men a point, and if they don’t Jermain Defoe will.

Beacom Prediction: 1-1

PADDY POWER ODDS: Spurs 9/4 Draw 12/5 United 23/20

Wigan v West Ham

After winning at Aston Villa on the opening day, Wigan fans had high hopes for the new campaign, but it’s all went a little pear shaped since. Things should be a bit better after Saturday.

Beacom Prediction: 2-1

PADDY POWER ODDS: Wigan 5/4 Draw 11/5 West Ham 9/4

BIRMINGHAM v ASTON VILLA (Sunday noon)

Not one for the faint-hearted. These two really hate each other and with Birmingham back in the big time there will be a cracking atmosphere at St Andrews. Heck, there may even be a full house, or is that too much to ask? Alex McLeish v Martin O’Neill also brings back memories of Old Firm derbies. My hunch is that the Ulster Bhoy will win this one.

Beacom Prediction: 1-2

PADDY POWER ODDS: Birmingham 9/4 Draw 11/5 Villa 5/4

FULHAM v EVERTON |(Sunday 4.15pm)

This pair have struggled a bit in the early weeks. Everton will soon rise up the table, for Fulham it may take a little while, but there won’t be much between them at Craven Cottage on Sunday.

Beacom Prediction: 1-1

PADDY POWER ODDS: Fulham 6/4 Draw 11/5 Everton 9/5

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