My predictions for the Saturday games were well below par, only 2 correct predictions is below the standard I expect to achieve. Hopefully I will redeem myself with the Sunday games.
West Bromwich Albion v Wolverhampton Wanderers – 12.00
This lunch time kick off is the first of the days three games and is probably the hardest to predict, two sides that are expected to consolidate their positions in the league facing off against one another, both teams have sufficient motivation for this one and both will be looking for the full 3 points.
West Brom have a few injury worries but more importantly they are expecting Chris Brunt to return to the starting lineup, his presence will be crucial as he has the extra class that could make all the difference in a game like this. Roy Hodgson will be looking for his side to pick up all the points and move them out of the relegation zone, he knows as well as any other manager that even at this early stage, not being in the bottom 3 is a psychological boost to the players and club.
Mick McCarthys side has injury worries of their own and he will be hoping that Craddock and Foley will be able to feature in this game as both are important players. Roger Johnson has proved to be a very wise purchase and he will be looking to have a good game against a dangerous West Brom attack, I believe the match up between him and whoever he faces up against, Long or Odemwingie, will be crucial to the outcome of the match.
I believe home advantage has a part to play in this one so I’m not going to over think it too much and will go for a home win.
Arsenal v Sunderland – 13.30
This is a match up between two sides eagerly looking to improve their league position, both have made significant changes to the make up of their squad and neither side has shown signs of gelling properly yet. Both managers have had supporters calling for their heads, in Arsenals case, ever so slightly more politely.
I don’t see this game ending in a draw so one manager will have even more pressure piled upon them.
Arsenal are the better side and also have home advantage so I’m calling this one in favour of them, in fact I fancy them to pull Arsenal apart and could win this game by a 3 goal margin. Bendtner will not be able to play against his parent club so Sunderland will have no-one up front who could cause the creaky Arsenal back line some problems.
Clear home win.
Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur – 16.00
Tottenham don’t like playing Newcastle, that much is clear, the number of defeats Tottenham have suffered at the hands of the Magpies shows that something more than just statistical variance is at work here, maybe it’s the long trip north but that wouldn’t explain the losses on home soil. Even when Spurs were flying high and Newcastle strugglign at the wrong end of the league, results tended to favour the team in black and white.
This season I feel something has changed in the Spurs mentality, perhaps it’s simply down to the introduction of Scott Parker but I feel that Tottenham no longer have a soft core that can be exploited and also the tendency to roll over against weaker sides has been eradicated.
That’s not to say Newcastle stand no chance, they are up in the upper echelons of the Premiership on merit and will be looking to stay there for a while yet. Tottenham have a lengthy injury list and it’s by no means certain that Adebayor will be fit to play, the on loan Man City striker is pivotal to Tottenhams hopes this season and his absence would be keenly felt in this match.
Starting line ups will be important here clearly but if Tottenham can get Adebayor on the pitch and if Sandro is ready to play a part at some point in the game, I feel they can pick up 3 points, otherwise I can see a draw happening. I’m going to put all my eggs in one basket and go for the away win though.