After the World Cup qualifiers, it is back to the Premier League this weekend with some tasty matches, especially at Anfield, Eastlands and St James’ Park.
As always Sports Editor Steven Beacom has plenty say on the top flight games. Here’s his Premier League predictions for this weekend accompanied by odds from Paddy Power.
All matches kick off at 3pm on Saturday unless stated.
BLACKBURN v ARSENAL
Win, lose, win. That’s what Arsenal have done so far in the league. The defeat came at Fulham. If the Gunners are to make any sort of challenge for the title they will have to sort their away form out. I fancy they will make a start tomorrow at Ewood Park. And after his heroics in Croatia, Arsene Wenger may even start Theo, or is that Trio, Walcott.
Beacom Prediction: 1-2.
PADDY POWER ODDS: Blackburn to win 10/3, Arsenal 5/6, Draw 12/5
FULHAM v BOLTON
It may be early in the season, but for me this is a six pointer in the relegation battle as both will be fighting it out to avoid 18th place (Hull and Stoke will finish in the bottom two). An eventful draw at the Cottage.
Beacom Prediction: 2-2.
PADDY POWER ODDS: Fulham 6/5, Bolton 12/5, Draw 9/4
LIVERPOOL v MANCHESTER UNITED (Saturday 12.45pm)
Still English football’s biggest game. United fans will love taunting the Kop about who the champions of Europe are right now. In turn the Liverpool supporters will declare that they have enjoyed that mantle “five times” compared to three for United.
The atmosphere will be outstanding. It would be great to think the game could be of the same quality.
For that to happen Liverpool must turn up. Under Rafa Benitez, Liverpool have been dreadful in league games against United.
It’s a big reason why the Anfield outfit have failed to make a concerted bid for the title.
The thing is if Liverpool win tomorrow they will go six points clear of their fiercest rivals which would be a handy lead to have.
They’ll only get it if Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard are fit and even then with Dimitat Berbatov making his United debut, it’s difficult seeing Sir Alex Ferguson’s side losing. Don’t back against him scoring. Or Wayne Rooney for that matter.
Beacom Prediction: 1-1.
PADDY POWER ODDS: Liverpool 2/1, Man United 6/4, Draw 2/1
MAN CITY v CHELSEA (Saturday 5.30pm)
You know, I’m almost looking forward to this match as much as the one at Anfield. Don’t you just love the fixture list.
After the Arabs coming in and taking over at City and outbidding Chelsea to land Robinho, a large dollop of spice has been added to this fixture.
There will be incredible euphoria pre-match amongst the City fans, most of whom will probably be dressed as Arabs in homage to their new owners who make Roman Abramovich look like a pauper. Alright that’s going too far, but you get the point.
Despite all that, and I’m sorry to burst the bubble of City fans, who I have a lot of time for, the only result I can see here is a Chelsea win. City still have a long way to go to match them and even though Shaun Wright Phillips will score for the home side, John Terry and co should put the new rich kids on the block in their place.
Beacom Prediction: 1-3
PADDY POWER ODDS: Man City 3/1, Chelsea 10/11, Draw 12/5
NEWCASTLE v HULL
Awesome fixture number three. Newcastle United really are a joke football club. What happened with Kevin Keegan has made the Magpies a laughing stock - AGAIN. There is going to be a protest about how King Kev has been treated which could mean none of the Toon Army turning up. I’m sure the Hull fans would love that, but honestly is that really the best way to go?
No man is bigger than the club, not even Keegan. The Toon Army should be supporting the shirt like never before. Instead they want to mope about and feel sorry for themselves. Some things never change. Tomorrow Newcastle will win regardless and in 10 years Kev will return and we’ll go through all this for the 157th time!
Beacom Prediction: 3-1.
PADDY POWER ODDS: Newcastle 7/10, Hull 4/1, Draw 5/2
PORTSMOUTH v MIDDLESBROUGH
After those last three, it doesn’t leave me much space for the rest. Home win - just.
Beacom Prediction: 2-1
PADDY POWER ODDS: Portsmouth Evs, Boro 11/4, Draw 9/4
WEST BROM v WEST HAM
Alan Curbishley was a decent boss a fortnight ago and even now that he has left West Ham, I still reckon he is a decent boss. He kept the Hammers up when they were doomed and he worked miracles at Charlton for years. West Brom can take advantage of all the turmoil at Upton Park because despite Gianfranco Zola coming in, I fancy trouble lies ahead.
Beacom Prediction: 2-1.
PADDY POWER ODDS: West Brom 7/5, West Ham 2/1, Draw 11/5
WIGAN v SUNDERLAND
Roy Keane to beat his old pal Steve Bruce. Bet of the day.
Beacom Prediction: 1-2.
PADDY POWER ODDS: Wigan 6/5, Sunderland 12/5, Draw 9/4
STOKE v EVERTON (Sunday 1.30pm)
Stoke may have beaten Villa at home, but those results will be few and far between for them this season.
Beacom Prediction: 0-2
PADDY POWER ODDS: Stoke 2/1, Everton 13/10, Draw 9/4
SPURS v ASTON VILLA (Monday 8pm)
This better be more entertaining than Villa’s last game against Liverpool. Am sure it will be, though it could have the same outcome.
Beacom Prediction: 1-1.
PADDY POWER ODDS: Spurs 6/5, Villa 12/5, Draw 9/4.