Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Steven Beacom's Premier League predictions

If you have got your breath back from the Manchester derby, settle down and then saddle up for what should be another rollercoaster ride at the Emirates on Sunday with Arsenal taking on United.

Sports Editor Steven Beacom gives his verdict on that fixture and all the other Premier League clashes while Paddy Power supply the odds.

All games start on Saturday at 3pm unless stated.

Birmingham v Tottenham

The marvellous run that Birmingham had been on ended in midweek with Alex McLeish’s men getting hammered by Chelsea.

I’ve said before that Birmingham have been punching above their weight, so it will be interesting to see how they react to the crushing 3-0 defeat, albeit against a side who are likely to end up as champions. McLeish will want a response while Harry Redknapp will want consistency from his players in their quest to earn a Champions League place. They might just cancel each other out in what promises to be an attractive affair.

Beacom Prediction: 2-2

Paddy Power Odds: Birmingham 19/10 Draw 23/10 Tottenham 7/5

FULHAM v ASTON VILLA

Villa haven’t scored for a while in the league. They’ll break that duck at the Cottage, but a draw is on the cards.

Beacom Prediction: 1-1

Paddy Power odds: Fulham 9/5 Draw 9/4 Aston Villa 6/4

Hull v Wolves

Relegation six pointer written all over this one.

Wolves will be heartened by earning a draw with Liverpool in midweek, but Hull with home advantage should sneak it.

Beacom Prediction: 2-1

Paddy Power odds: Hull 6/5 Draw 23/10 Wolves 9/4

Liverpool v Bolton

Liverpool are turning into a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get.

I’ll tell you this, Rafa Benitez could be doing with a player with the pace of Forrest Gump.

Steven Gerrard said that the Reds were back after the scoreless outing at Wolves but I’m not sure if he was trying to convince himself or others. Bolton will fancy this, but Liverpool should still be strong enough thanks to a certain Mr Gerrard.

Beacom Prediction: 3-1

Paddy Power odds: Liverpool 4/9 Draw 10/3 Bolton 6/1

West Ham v Blackburn

Another relegation six pointer. Don’t you just love them. Gianfranco Zola v Sam Allardyce. Could there be a bigger difference in how these two played football? Draw.

Beacom Prediction: 1-1

Paddy Power odds: West Ham 11/10 Draw 23/10 Blackburn 5/2

Wigan Athletic v |Everton

They may have been knocked out of the FA Cup by Birmingham, but in the league Everton are on the march. There are no real stars in the Everton side, but they get the job done.

Beacom Prediction: 1-2

Paddy Power odds: Wigan 19/10 Draw 23/10 Everton 7/5

Burnley v Chelsea

(saTurday 5.30pm)

Could this be the bet of the weekend? Burnley, who have a brilliant home record and have already beaten Manchester United at Turf Moor are 10/1 to beat the Blues.

It’s an attractive price, but personally I just can’t see it. Maybe if Owen Coyle was still in charge I’d have been tempted but Brian Laws is the boss for goodness sake. Chelsea to win and stay top piling the pressure on both Arsenal and United who play the following day.

Beacom Prediction: 1-3

Paddy Power odds: Burnley 10/1 Draw 4/1 Chelsea 3/10

Manchester City v Portsmouth (sUNDAY, 1.30PM)

City are going to have to wait until May to make it to Wembley. I genuinely believe they’ll get there for the FA Cup final after the disappointment of losing to Manchester United in the Carling Cup semi. United deserved their success but City played their part in a brilliant game of football. Pompey continue to lurch from one crisis to another in terms of their financial problems and on the pitch things aren’t much better. I can’t see anything else here but a comfortable home win.

Beacom Prediction: 4-1

Paddy Power odds: Manchester City 3/10 Draw 4/1 Portsmouth 10/1

Arsenal v Manchester |United (SUNDAY, 4PM)

This is one of the great football matches of any season. Agreed, it doesn’t have the fiery nature that was evident when Patrick Vieira was going head-to-head with Roy Keane, often literally, but it is still a clash to be savoured.

Arsenal will have been disappointed to have only taken a point against Aston Villa a few days ago and know that if they are serious about mounting a title challenge they must gain at least that against United. My feeling is that they will be up against it because Sir Alex Ferguson’s side will enter the fixture on a real high. The 3-1 win over City was incredibly impressive with star performances all over the pitch.

Obviously Wayne Rooney took a lot of credit for his winning goal, but for me Ryan Giggs was the most influential player on the pitch. Just how does he do it? He’s 45 now for crying out loud. I reckon United will win this one unless Cesc Fabregas produces one of those awesome performances he is capable of.

Beacom Prediction: 1-2

Paddy Power odds: Arsenal 7/5 Draw 23/10 Manchester United 19/10

SUNDERLAND V STOKE CITY (MONDAY, 8PM)

Beacom Prediction: 2-1

Paddy Power odds: Sunderland Evans Draw 23-10 Stoke 14-5.

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