Belfast Telegraph

Steven Beacom's Premier League predictions

This season has been more intriguing for off the field stories than for what has happened on the pitch. The whole John Terry/Wayne Bridge thing just won’t go away and lo and behold they are due to come face to face with each other tomorrow.

Sports Editor Steven Beacom gives his verdict on that and all the other Premier League matches, plus throws in the Carling Cup final for good measure.

All games kick-off at 3pm on Saturday unless stated.

CHELSEA v MAN CITY (Saturday 12.45pm)

Well, we all know how this one is going to be billed, don’t we? Team Terry v Team Bridge. To heck with the race for the Premier League title or the battle to finish fourth, this one is personal.

You know that line-up at the start when they all shake hands? For once it is going to be interesting. Will Wayne shake JT’s palm or will he go for the throat. You can’t make this sort of stuff up.

As for the match, which is really a sideshow unless during it they have a 50/50 tackle, both teams need to win. After their slip up at Everton last weekend, Manchester United are right back on Chelsea’s tail.

I would suggest to Carlo Ancelotti that his side need to be four points clear by the time they go to Old Trafford. A win over City would give them that cushion once again.

Ancelotti has received much praise this season, but for his Italian buddy Roberto Mancini it has been all criticism lately. City are out of the FA Cup and must finish fourth for this season to be considered in any way successful. Carlos Tevez should return from his family problems and I expect him to have a say in the outcome. Who’ll win? Draw written all over it with Terry and Bridge then wondering how to approach each other when the final whistle blows.

Beacom Prediction: 1-1.

PADDY POWER ODDS: Chelsea 1/2 Draw 3/1 City 6/1.

BURNLEY v PORTSMOUTH

As every week passes you wonder if it will be Pompey’s last game. What a mess.

Beacom Prediction: 2-2.

PADDY POWER ODDS: Burnley 6/5 Draw 12/5 Pompey 11/5.

BIRMINGHAM v WIGAN

Apparently next season Birmingham are going to be in a position, with new players and greater squad strength, to challenge for a Champions League spot. Yeah, and I’m Jackie Chan!

Beacom Prediction: 2-1.

PADDY POWER ODDS: Birmingham 10/11 Draw 23/10 Wigan 16/5.

BOLTON v WOLVES

One of those relegation six pointers you may have read about here in the past. I fancy Bolton to nick it.

Beacom Prediction: 2-1.

PADDY POWER ODDS: Bolton 10/11 Draw 23/10 Wolves 16/5.

STOKE v ARSENAL |(Saturday 5.30pm)

I made a promise to myself a few weeks ago never to back against Stoke at the Britannia again. My head says Arsenal will win because Stoke’s players will surely be shattered after their extra-time FA Cup win over Manchester City in midweek. And of course the Gunners will be out for revenge after being knocked out of the Cup themselves by Stoke a few weeks ago. I’m staying true to the promise though. Stoke to get a hard earned point.

Beacom Prediction: 1-1.

PADDY POWER ODDS: Stoke 4/1 Draw 5/2 Arsenal 8/11.

SPURS v EVERTON |(Sunday 1pm)

Big game, this one. The way the other contenders have been playing recently, if Everton can maintain their fine run that has seen them beat Chelsea and United, they could finish in the top four. These two drew at Goodison earlier in the season and it could be same again at the Lane.

Beacom Prediction: 2-2.

PADDY POWER ODDS: Spurs evens Draw 23/10 Everton 11/4.

LIVERPOOL v BLACKBURN |(Sunday 3pm)

Liverpool showed a distinct lack of ambition at Manchester City last weekend. The game was there for the taking and they failed to grab it. The only positive note was that Fernando Torres returned. He scored a cracker against Rovers last season and could do the same on Sunday if he is given a start. By the way, if you think John Terry and Wayne Bridge have problems with each other, have a chat with Rafa Benitez and Sam Allardyce about their feelings.

Beacom Prediction: 3-1.

PADDY POWER ODDS: Liverpool 4/11 Draw 7/2 Rovers 8/1.

SUNDERLAND v FULHAM

Sunderland to win, just on the basis that Fulham will have little left after last night’s efforts in the Europa League.

Beacom Prediction: 2-1.

PADDY POWER ODDS: Sunderland 5/4 Draw 9/4 Fulham 11/5.

ASTON VILLA v MAN UNITED (Carling Cup final Sunday 3pm)

This should be a fantastic final. I know Villa don’t play the most exciting brand of football, but on the counter attack they can be fun to watch. And you would think with United’s experience at Wembley, Villa will be up against it for long periods.

Martin O’Neill has enjoyed a love affair down the years with the League Cup and has already beaten United this season, so he will fancy his chances. In the great scheme of things this is definitely a bigger game for Villa than it is for United, but even so I think the class and quality of Wayne Rooney on the Wembley stage might just tell. Also it could be the last time Paul Scholes plays at the famous old stadium if Sir Alex Ferguson uses him, and remember he always scores against Villa!

Beacom Prediction: 1-2.

PADDY POWER ODDS: Villa Draw United.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph