Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

Steven Beacom's Premier League predictions

It's been more interesting off the pitch this week, but for 90 minutes at least football on the field will be the focus of attention for teams around the country.

As always there are some crucial games in the Premier League, none more so than at Stamford Bridge where obviously John Terry will come under more scrutiny.

Sports Editor Steven Beacom gives his verdict on all the Premier League games while Paddy Power provides the odds.

BOLTON v FULHAM

Not the most exciting game to start with, but a big one for Bolton in their bid to climb away from the relegation battle. On home turf against a Fulham side going through an inconsistent spell, Owen Coyle’s men should have enough to take maximum points.

Beacom Prediction: 2-1

PADDY POWER ODDS: Bolton 3/10 Draw 9/4 Fulham 21/10

BURNLEY v WEST HAM

A battle of the claret and blue. I know that Burnley have an impressive home record, but I just have a hunch that the Hammers, with all their new signings will nick this one. And with it there might just be a change of fortune for Gianfranco Zola this season.

Beacom Prediction: 1-2

PADDY POWER ODDS: Burnley 7/5 Draw 23/10 West Ham 19/10

HULL v MAN CITY

Hull produced a highly committed display in midweek to draw with an out of sorts Chelsea. They will need more of the same against a City side determined to make up for losing to Manchester United in the Carling Cup by finishing fourth in the Premier League. Roberto Mancini knows that this is a must win match ahead of some tricky encounters coming his way. I can’t see the Italian being disappointed.

Beacom Prediction: 1-3

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

LIVERPOOL v EVERTON |(Saturday 12.45pm)

Remember those old Football Focus days when families would go to Merseyside derbies together, one half sporting red scarves, the other half in blue? It doesn’t really work that way now with the rivalry more intense than ever before.

There won’t be much love inside Anfield, more a case of hate filling the famous old stadium. Steven Gerrard normally delivers in these games, but he is going to need support from his team-mates if Liverpool are to get anything tomorrow because Everton are playing with supreme confidence. And worringly for the Reds, Tim Cahill is scoring again. This is a tough one to call because Everton would love nothing better than to wreck Liverpool’s hopes of Champions League football next season. As always though if Gerrrard plays as he can, Liverpool will edge home.

Beacom Prediction: 2-1

PADDY POWER ODDS: Liverpool 4/5 Draw 5/2 Everton 7/2

MAN UNITED v PORTSMOUTH

This is all Portsmouth need. With all the stuff going on off the pitch at Pompey, the last thing they would have wanted was a match away from home against a rampant Manchester United side. And worse, a United side who can go top of the Premier League with a win. Wayne Rooney is of course on fire but he is not the only one. We should have seen this coming. United always step it up in the second half of the season and with all that is going on at Chelsea at present, they will be keen to take advantage. Expect a comfortable home victory.

Beacom Prediction: 5-1

PADDY POWER ODDS: United 1/8 Draw 13/2 Pompey 22/1

STOKE v BLACKBURN

This is not one for the faint hearted. It’s the poor old ball I feel sorry for.

Beacom Prediction: 1-1

PADDY POWER ODDS: Stoke 6/5 Draw 9/4 Blackburn 23/10

SUNDERLAND v WIGAN

The way Sunderland are dropping down the table, they could find themselves in the middle of the relegation battle unless they start to pick things up. Wigan are also in danger of getting dragged into bother.

Beacom Prediction: 3-1

PADDY POWER ODDS: Sunderland 11/10 Draw 23/10 Wigan 5/2

SPURS v ASTON VILLA |(Saturday 5.30pm)

By the time this match kicks off Spurs may no longer occupy fourth position. The pressure will be on them then to get up there again. Can they handle it? The jury is still out on that one. And with Villa to be honest. They are both threatening to break into the top four, but without much conviction. This game will tell us much about both teams and indeed the ability of managers Harry Redknapp and Martin O’Neill in guiding them to the promised land of Champions League football.

Beacom Prediction: 2-2

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

BIRMINGHAM v WOLVES |(Sunday 1.30pm)

I’ll repeat that Birmingham are punching above their weight though that won’t stop them knocking out Wolves.

Beacom Prediction: 2-1

PADDY POWER ODDS: Birmingham 4/5 Draw 12/5 Wolves 15/4

CHELSEA v ARSENAL |(Sunday 4pm)

There may not be that many Arsenal fans at the Bridge on Sunday but they’ll still make their feelings heard in relation to a guy with the nickname JT. I should have had a bet on him scoring the winner at Preston last week. I’m surprised he didn’t do the same against Hull on Tuesday night. Maybe he was saving it for the Gunners.

After getting hammered last weekend by United, Arsenal know that another defeat and their title race is run this season. Chelsea know they will win need a win to move back to the top of the table. I’ve a feeling neither of them will be happy with the fixture ending in an eventful draw. Still, at least Sir Alex Ferguson will be smiling.

Beacom Prediction: 1-1

PADDY POWER ODDS: Chelsea 3/4 Draw 12/5 Arsenal 4/1

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