Friday, October 26, 2012

Week-end preview

Here's my predictions for this week-end's round of football matches.

Arsenal v/s QPR. The Gunners are on a 2-game slump in which they have failed to score. Van Persie is being sorely missed. Truth is, they are also missing Walcott and Ox-Chamberlain through injury. A third defeat on the trot will really put pressure on Arsene Wenger. QPR managed to gain a point against Everton last week-end and will be keen to build on that positive result to finally land their first win of the season. I doubt it will happen at the Emirates though. Arsenal should get at least a point from this encounter, and it might be worth going with them for the straight win.

Aston Villa v/s Norwich. Two bad teams capable of the best and worst. Can go either way.

Reading v/s Fulham. I like Fulham as a draw-no-bet here. Martin Jol has a fully-fit squad at his disposal and I see Rodallega and Berbatov able to exploit the weaknesses of the leaky Reading defence.

Stoke v/s Sunderland. This looks to be a low-scoring affair. Stoke are very good at home while Sunderland are being a little bit of a disappointment at the moment. I was expecting Martin O'Neil's men to be higher up the table but for some reason, they are really struggling as a unit. They rode their luck to snatch a draw against Newcastle last week-end. It wouldn't surprise me if Sunderland stole the points here but Stoke definitely hold home advantage.

Wigan v/s West Ham. I believe the hosts are one the value draw-no-bets of the week-end. They have been arguably unlucky recently with points lost at Swansea where they had a controversial tying goal disalloweed, and against Everton where they conceded late after leading twice. So they are clearly knocking at the door, and they will be keen to gain full points against a West Ham team that has exposed form on their travels. Wigan as draw-no-bet is the recommendation.

Man City v/s Swansea. For all their European troubles, Man City are a serious team in the EPL and they will be keen to make amends of their mid-week failures by gunning down Swansea. A straight win for the hosts.

Everton v/s Liverpool. I cannot see Liverpool winning this. Sure, they beat Anzhi in mid-week and have kept a clean sheet for the past 3 games. In fact, I think they will be feeling the effects of their mid-week win since Rogers fielded his first-team. Everton are as good a team this year as they've ever been under Moyes. They already beat Man Utd at home and are playing with full confidence at the moment. They could easily win this game and look safe as a draw-no-bet.

Newcastle v/s West Brom. Expect Ba to score here. He's been off the score sheet for the past few games and he will be keen to exploit a West Brom defence that gives away a lot of shots per game. The Magpies played and won in mid-week with their B team, so they should go all guns blazing against the visitors. A home win is the selection.

Southampton v/s Tottenham. This can go either way as both teams have showed no consistent form whatsoever so far, so will abstain from trying to pick the result.

Chelsea v/s Man Utd. The big one. A 6-point decider really. Chelsea have home advantage and will be keen to pick apart the mediocre Utd defence. They leak badly and Hazard and Mata will certainly be relishing the occasion. Tactically, Chelsea have a great coach in Di Matteo, who understands what it takes to get a result.Ask Barcelona. Man Utd will rely on their strong attacking unit to bail them out again. Rooney and Van Persie will also look to exploit holes in the Chelsea defence that will miss John Terry. This game could very well end up in a draw. If a team were to win it, I think it would be Chelsea, but that's far from a certainty, so I'll abstain here too.

In Germany, I see a win for Bayern Munich. In Spain, I think Barcelona will suffer at Rayo but it's impossible to go against the mighty Catalans unless you're a long punter. Real Madrid are facing a mini-injury crisis at the moment but should be deep enough to garner at least a point during their visit to Mallorca.

Win: Arsenal, Man City, Newcastle, Bayern Munich
Draw-no-bet: Wigan, Everton, Real Madrid

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