First off, I welcome everyone to join us in the EPL Talk Chat this weekend. Starting Saturday from 7:20 am and Sunday from 8:20 am.
Now onto the predictions. All times are Eastern and TV Schedules are subject to change without notice.
Everton v Liverpool (Saturday 7:45 am, Live on Setanta Sports from 7:30 am. Replay, Monday 6:00 pm): One thing seems certain about this game, a red card or two. Everton cannot afford the slow start they had against Hull City last Sunday. Liverpool will more than likely mark Yakubu out of the game if he’s the lone man up front, so it’s going to be up to Cahill and Arteta to effectively get into the attack. With Liverpool only averaging one goal a game, now would be a good time to come out of that shell. However on the road, I’m not liking those chances. The last time these two teams drew was January of 2004, I expect that in this game. Everton 1 Liverpool 1.
Aston Villa v Sunderland (Saturday 10:00 am. On delay Setanta Sports 4:00 pm, Monday 4:30 am, 2:45 pm): Aston Villa did not beat Sunderland last season and will be looking to do so at home. Roy Keane’s side over the last week hasn’t been all too convincing, yet has picked up two victories. With Aston Villa probably naming the same starting eleven that has featured this season in all the games, I don’t see how Sunderland are going to be able to get a result. Tainio, Nosworthy and Leadbitter are all out. With those three forced changes alone, I can only see one result. Aston Villa 3 Sunderland 1.
Fulham v West Ham United (Saturday 10:00 am, Live on Setanta Sports Xtra and Setanta Broadband 2. On Delay: Setanta Sports 2:15 pm, Monday 6:15 am, Tuesday 9:15 am): This will be a truer test for Zola than was Newcastle United last weekend. However this is a trickier tie to predict than one would assume. In the last five meetings of these two clubs at Craven Cottage, Fulham has only scored once. West Ham are joint leaders in goals scored, but haven’t recorded a point on the road this season…Fulham haven’t dropped one at home. I expect Bullard to be the difference maker here. Fulham 2 West Ham United 1
Manchester United v Bolton Wanderers (Saturday 10:00 am. Live on Setanta Sports from 9:45 am. Replays: 5:45 pm, Sunday 5:00 pm, Monday 7:45 pm): Manchester United have scored four goals in their four league matches this season…they could very well double it against Bolton at Old Trafford on Saturday. Elmander is facing a late fitness test, but coming off an injury against Manchester United is going to be a daunting task. With Ronaldo looking to be in the starting lineup in the league for the first time this season, I expect Manchester United to look more metered than they have so far this season. This one won’t be pretty. Manchester United 4 Bolton Wanderers 0.
Middlesbrough v West Bromwich Albion (Saturday 10:00 am. No TV): Middlesbrough have to be the most unlucky side in the Premier League this season. They have played some decent football only to be on the losing end of matches they should have gotten at least a point out of. Mido should return to the lineup for this one. West Brom will get chances against Boro’s backline, but I don’t think they have the class up front to get a share of the spoils. Middlesbrough 1 West Bromwich Albion 0.
Newcastle United v Blackburn Rovers (Saturday 10:00 am. On delay Fox Soccer Channel 8:00 pm and Monday 1:00 pm and Thursday 3:00 pm): I almost feel like I need to theme music to M*A*S*H when looking at the Newcastle United squad as it reads of one that’s all in the infirmary. With Martains out, Michael Owen is going to have to do it all up front. He’s capable of doing it, but against Blackburn’s back four that’s going to be a challenge. Santa Cruz needs to get back on form or it could be a long day for Blackburn. Jason Roberts had a fast start, but has faded as of late. Don’t expect many in this one. Newcastle United 0 Blackburn Rovers 1.
Stoke City v Chelsea (Saturday 10:00 am, live on Fox Soccer Channel. No Replay): I see this as a big trap game for Chelsea. With Carvalho, Deco and Essien out, Chelsea’s spine has been severely breeched. Stoke City aren’t afraid to attack at home, but have to get better on set pieces. I expect them to defend as they did at Anfield, but Chelsea somehow steal one at the death. Stoke City 0 Chelsea 1.
Arsenal v Hull City (Saturday 12:30 pm, live on Fox Soccer Channel. Replay Tuesday 3 pm): For Hull City, this has Wigan Athletic written all over it. Arsenal are scoring at will and keeping the goals out at home. Myhill will be peppered from minute one and I don’t think the back four will do him many favors. To me the only question is will someone for Arsenal score a hat trick? Arsenal 5 Hull City 0.
Portsmouth v Tottenham Hotspur (Sunday 8:30 am, live on Setanta Sports. Replays, 6:45 pm, Monday 8:00 am): This is a key game for both sides. Portsmouth have been leaking goals left and right while Tottenham are looking for their first win in the League. I’m still worried about where Tottenham are going to get goals from, and that’s what makes the difference for me. Portsmouth 2 Tottenham Hotspur 0.
Wigan Athletic v Manchester City (Sunday 11:00 am, live on Fox Soccer Channel. No Replay): Can Zaki keep Wigan Athletic on his shoulders? Manchester City will be looking to rebound after the Carling Cup defeat (granted with weakened squad). Wigan cannot allow teams to get off to quick starts as that’s been their weak point all season. My head says draw, but my gut says Manchester City winner. Wigan Athletic 1 Manchester City 2.
Banker Game: Manchester United v Bolton Wanderers
Insurance Game: Everton v Liverpool
Season Stats: 26 of 49 correct (53 percent), 2 of 5 bankers (40 percent) 3 of 5 insurances not losing points (60 percent).
Full match reviews this week from me: Everton v Liverpool and Wigan Athletic v Manchester City
I hope to see you all in the chat!