Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Steven Beacom Premiership Predictions

Christmas is coming and that means matches galore. the festive programme kicks off tomorrow with a cracking north london derby in store.

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

Arsenal v Spurs (Saturday 12.45pm)

A Few weeks ago I would have said that this was going to be a cakewalk for the Gunners - a chance to rub Tottenham noses in it. I fancy a tougher struggle for Arsene Wenger's men now.

You have to hand it to Juande Ramos. He arrived at White Hart Lane with Spurs in disarray. It hasn't taken him long to sort them out. Suddenly a much more organised outfit, they are in the Carling Cup semi-finals and moving up the table.

You have to wonder though if they will continue their decent run against the league leaders.

Wenger will of course put out his first choice XI but Spurs would find it difficult against Arsenal's second string.

Boy, did they impress in the League Cup at Blackburn in midweek.

Arsene's scouting system is easily the best in the world. And the football his side are playing is in that category as well.

Spurs, though, playing with real confidence will give it a go, but Arsenal's extra class should see them home.

Beacom Prediction:

Aston Villa v Man City

When Sven-Goran Eriksson left England, he should have been replaced by Martin O'Neill, not Steve McClaren.

Mind you, had that happened we wouldn't be looking forward to the Swede and Ulsterman going head to head tomorrow because Martin would be wondering how to get the best out of the English players in the European Championship finals. Yes, of course they would have qualified with him in charge.

And yes, I believe Villa will beat City. There should be a few goals in this one.

Beacom Prediction: 3-2

Bolton v Birmingham

The form of both these teams has improved lately with new managers coming in but Gary Megson and Alex McLeish will be well aware that they are still involved in a relegation battle.

By the way, it's great to see Damien Johnson back from injury for Birmingham.

The midfielder was badly missed by Northern Ireland in the latter part of the Euro 2008 campaign.

McLeish will benefit from Johnson's work ethic and his skill, which is often overlooked.

Beacom Prediction: 1-1

Fulham v Wigan

When Lawrie Sanchez was the manager of Northern Ireland, many times in press conferences he used the phrase " this is a must win game."

I imagine he feels the same about this one.

Bottom line from what I have heard is that if Fulham don't win, he is out on his ear.

Fulham haven't had much fortune this season, so maybe the luck will turn just in time for Lawrie, although Wigan did score FIVE last weekend so they are bound to enter the match with spirits high.

My hunch is though that Fulham will win although even that many not save him long term.

Beacom Prediction: 2-0

Liverpool v Portsmouth

When these sides met at Fratton Park earlier in the season, Rafael Benitez left Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard on the bench. Don't expect the same scenario this time. It has been a pretty dreadful week for Liverpool.

First they lost to Manchester United in the league and then came a Carling Cup defeat to Chelsea with Peter Crouch getting sent off after showing some aggression for a change, albeit in an appalling manner.

Liverpool need 12 points out of 12 over Christmas to keep their title hopes alive. Getting the first three against Pompey won't be easy as they are magnificent away from home.

Torres and Gerrard should see them through, but if they go a goal down, it could be another miserable afternoon for the Kop supporters.

Beacom Prediction: 2-1

Middlesbrough v West Ham

Boro have enjoyed a bit of a mini revival recently while the Hammers are going through a bit of slump. Home win you would think. Not a bit of it.

Beacom Prediction: 1-2

Reading v Sunderland

Beacom Prediction:

Man Utd v Everton (Sunday 12 noon)

Everton have been in scintillating form recently. With Mikel Arteta and Tim Cahill pulling the strings in midfield, I'm sure they will give United a tricky game, but fresh from a controversial week for the Old Trafford outfit, you have to think they will collect maximum points.

They beat Liverpool last week and the United fans would love to make it a Merseyside double.

By the way happy Christmas to the Everton supporter who sends me letters each week. Don't think you are going to like this prediction, but as you have pointed out in your letters, I've been wrong before.

Beacom Prediction: 3-1

Newcastle v Derby (Sunday 2pm)

After Joey Barton scored his last minute winning penalty against Fulham last week, he said: "it was great to score late doors." I kid you not. Late doors eh? Newcastle have done that a few times recently.

They'll do it a little earlier on Sunday.

Beacom Prediction: 2-1

Blackburn v Chelsea (Sunday 4.10pm)

Rovers have been poor lately. Mark Hughes won't accept that. Expect a reaction.

Beacom Prediction: 1-1

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph