Belfast Telegraph

Steven Beacom Premiership Predictions

The Premier League is back after some eventful international matches. will liverpool stay top? will chelsea bounce back from their defeat to aston villa? and will northern ireland, sorry fulham, bounce back after their defeats in the euro 2008 qualifiers?

Belfast Telegraph Sports Editor Steven Beacom runs his expert eye over all this weekend's games in the top flight.

(All games kick-off tomorrow at 3pm unless stated)

Birmingham v Bolton

This one looks like a relegation battle. And if Bolton lose, the pressure is going to intensify on Sammy Lee. Birmingham won't pick up many wins on the road so home form is going to be crucial to them.

Beacom Prediction: 1-1

Chelsea v Blackburn (Saturday 5.15pm)

If there is one team that the top four hate playing it is Blackburn. Reason? They don't fall over the feet of the superstars and let them score any time they want. You have to hand it to Mark Hughes and his side. Having said all that I fancy Chelsea to bounce back from the Villa defeat. All is not well at Stamford Bridge and the Michael Ballack situation is bizarre. Still, the Blues should come through a tight affair.

Beacom Prediction: 2-1.

Everton v Man Utd (Saturday 12 noon)

Cristiano Ronaldo is back from suspension for United and they could do with him. The Red Devils have been uninspired so far this season and been fortunate to pick up a couple of wins. They are going to hit form sooner or later and Sir Alex Ferguson will fancy his side doing just that at Goodison Park. Everton have made a cracking start to the season and will go into this game in confident mood. Had they played United a week ago I'd have fancied the Toffeemen to do the business. Not now. United to win with a goal for the returning Ronaldo.

Beacom Prediction: 1-2.

Portsmouth v Liverpool (Saturday 12.45pm)

Liverpool are top of the Premier League for the first time since Rafael Benitez became manager. The big question Kopites want answering is, will they stay there? Well, we'll find out a lot about the Liverpool side at Fratton Park tomorrow.

Unlike Pompey, most of the Liverpool players will have been involved in midweek internationals so they aren't going to be as fresh as they could be, but that is where mental strength comes in.

And if Liverpool are to win the title they are going to need quite a lot of that. Could be an interesting afternoon.

Beacom Prediction: 2-3.

Sunderland v Reading

Sunderland number one Craig Gordon was one of many heroes for Scotland in their amazing win over France in midweek.

If Sunderland are to stay up this season he will need many more performances like the one in Paris.

As for Reading, they have been stuttering of late. They are clearly in that difficult second album phase but a win at the Stadium of Light would get them going.

Beacom Prediction; 1-1.

Tottenham v Arsenal (Saturday 1.30pm)

The Arsenal fans are going to enjoy this one. Well, at least before kick-off. Expect them to be taunting Spurs about their poor start to the season and Martin Jol's precarious position.

It will get worse or better if you are a Gooner should the visitors go and win the game.

I have a hunch though that this may be a turning point for Tottenham. It needs to be.

If they lose to their bitter rivals, Jol is going to come under increasing pressure.

Arsenal are looking good without Thierry Henry, but they might miss him tomorrow.

Beacom Prediction: 2-1.

West Ham v Middlesbrough

Didn't Craig Bellamy play superbly for Wales in their 5-2 win in Slovakia in midweek? Maybe at last he is going to fulfil all that expectation. Hammers fans would love that. Good bet for a home win here.

Beacom Prediction: 3-1.

Wigan v Fulham

David Healy, Chris Baird and Steve Davis will be keen to enjoy that winning feeling tomorrow after those Northern Ireland defeats. And they have a good chance to do it at Wigan, who despite an encouraging start are destined for a relegation battle.

Beacom Prediction: 1-2.

Man City v Aston Villa (Sunday 4pm)

Sven v Martin. Watching them will be better than the match.

Beacom Prediction: 2-2.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph