Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Steven Beacom's Premier League predictions

Bar Arsenal at a push, the Champions League was hardly exciting, was it? We hope the Premiership provides more entertainment this weekend.

Sports Editor Steven Beacom gives his verdict on all the top flight games with Paddy Power providing the odds. All matches kick off at 3pm on Saturday unless stated.



ARSENAL v WIGAN

Terrific comeback from the Gunners in Liege in midweek. Of course they play scintillating football but for me they remain an accident waiting to happen at the back. For all that they should comfortably overcome Wigan at the Emirates.

Beacom Prediction: 4-1

PADDY POWER ODDS: Arsenal to win 2/9 Draw 5/1 Wigan to win 11/1



ASTON VILLA v PORTSMOUTH

Villa may have had a shocking opening day in this season’s Premier League, losing at home to Wigan, but they’ve been perfect since. Three wins out of three, including away to Liverpool, and Martin O’Neill’s men are on the march. It shouldn’t stop tomorrow with Portsmouth the visitors. Pompey are the only pointless team in the division (you know what I mean) and already looks certs for relegation. Just like derby rivals Southampton it wouldn’t surprise me to see them sliding down to League 1 in the near future. To think Pompey won the FA Cup last year!

Beacom Prediction: 3-1

PADDY POWER ODDS: Villa 2/5 Draw 16/5 Pompey 8/1



BOLTON v STOKE

Bolton were overjoyed when they clinched their first win of the season at Portsmouth last week and now they will fancy grabbing their second. Stoke will have other ideas. Brilliant at home, they can be tough to break down on the road.

Expect Tony Pulis and his team to earn a draw.

Beacom Prediction: 1-1

PADDY POWER ODDS: Bolton 23/20 Draw 9/4 Stoke 12/5



BURNLEY v SUNDERLAND (Saturday 12.45pm)

In recent weeks Burnley have been hammered at Chelsea and Liverpool. They will get used to that on their travels over the next eight months. It’s at Turf Moor that they must deliver in order to stay up. So far, so good on that score given that Owen Coyle’s side have beaten Manchester United and Everton on their own patch. Sunderland shouldn’t be a big problem then! Not so sure. If the Clarets claim a draw against a Sunderland side in fine scoring form they should be content.

Beacom Prediction: 2-2

PADDY POWER ODDS: Burnley 13/8 Draw 9/4 Sunderland 13/8



HULL v BIRMINGHAM

These two will be involved in a relegation scrap in the final months of the season. A victory here for either side would certainly help their cause come May. Both may just have to settle for a point.

Beacom Prediction: 1-1

PADDY POWER ODDS: Hull 13/10 Draw 9/4 Birmingham 21/10



WEST HAM v LIVERPOOL |(Saturday 5.30pm)

Boy, did Liverpool labour in the Champions League on Wednesday night. They’ll have to perform much better at Upton Park to get a result and I include Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres in that. Both were poor. The Hammers will feel they can get something here and if they score first, they might be right. Class should tell, but it could be tight.

Beacom Prediction: 1-2

PADDY POWER ODDS: West Ham 11/2 Draw 13/5 Liverpool 4/7



MAN UNITED v MAN CITY |(Sunday 1.30pm)

Tasty. Really tasty. It’s a pity Carlos Tevez probably won’t play, but I guess you can’t have everything. I know the idiotic antics of that clown Emmanuel Adebayor took all the headlines last weekend, but City really did make a statement with that 4-2 victory over Arsenal. It said: We’re here and ready to take you ALL on. Manchester United would love to show them they are wrong.

The rivalry between red and blue in Manchester has always been intense, but the ante has been well and truly upped since City started spending money like it was going out of fashion. Prior to the build-up for this derby Sir Alex Ferguson has been pretty dismissive of City. And despite his sulky behaviour in Europe, Wayne Rooney will be the man Fergie will feel can prove him right. Another firebrand, Craig Bellamy, will be just as crucial to City’s chance of success. I’m going for United to win a compelling clash with a few controversial moments thrown in for good measure and maybe even a red card or two. Come on, you love it.

Beacom Prediction: 3-2

PADDY POWER ODDS: United 4/6 Draw 5/2 City 9/2



WOLVES v FULHAM |(Sunday 2pm)

Like a few others already mentioned, success for Wolves this season will be staying up. If they do that Mick McCarthy will be in the running for manager of the year.

Beacom Prediction: 2-1

PADDY POWER ODDS: Wolves 6/4 Draw 9/4 Fulham 9/5



EVERTON v BLACKBURN (Sunday 3pm)

The Toffees have had an awful start to the league, but the home crowd should help them secure a hard fought victory.

Beacom Prediction: 2-1

PADDY POWER ODDS: Everton 3/4 Draw 12/5 Fulham 9/5



CHELSEA v SPURS |(Sunday 4pm)

After you have watched United and City go toe-to-toe, sit back and enjoy this London derby. Spurs made an excellent start to the campaign but came unstuck at home to United last weekend and I fancy the Blues might just have too much for them on Sunday. Didier Drogba, fresh due to his Champions League suspension, is a good bet to score.

Beacom Prediction: 3-1

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

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