Premier League Preview – The Saturday games

Wolverhampton v Swansea – 12.45 After a better than normal start to the season, Wolves are on a losing run and have dropped down the table, last weeks loss to West Brom has left them one point better off than Bolton who currently sit in the bottom 3.  Swansea have shown that they can play good football and pick up points in this division. Injury wise, Wolves are in a better position than Swansea though bizarrely, Swansea have performed better since their squad got a little stretched, perhaps it’s the need to pull together that has bonded them as a group. This could be a game for ball players in central midfield so it will be interesting to see if Mick McCarthy will risk playing Milijas in there to have just a touch more class up against a footballing side like Swansea. Wolves are around evens for this match and that’s where I’d be looking to put my money, home win.

Aston Villa v West Bromwich Albion – 15.00

With all the focus on the Derby up north, everyone seems to have forgotten that another derby is being played this weekend, the major difference between the two matches is the values in the squads but don’t let that make you think that this is in any way a lesser match, in the Midlands, this will be the match that catches most peoples attention. This game will not lack commitment and with both sides led by managers who like to put together tough to beat teams, this game could end up a bit of a slog, both sides have match winners in them though and although neither side will want to lose, they won’t exactly be playing for a draw either. Derbies are too unpredictable for me to be placing any money on but purely on a prediction basis, I’m expecting a draw in this one.

Bolton v Sunderland – 15.00

Boltons win at Wigan will have eased the pressure on Owen Coyle a little but there is still some way to go before respectability is achieved, with a fully fit squad I don’t think Bolton would be in their current position but that is a luxury not afforded to Bolton right now, key players are out for an extended period of time and their replacements are not of the same quality. Sunderland haven’t had an easy season so far either, struggling to find form and consistency, it seems the squad still hasn’t found its rhythm yet. Manager Steve Bruce will be grateful that Bendtner will once again be available to him and with quality striking options limited, it seems the on-loan Arsenal striker will get plenty of game time this season. Word is that neither side is considering changing manager any time soon no matter how much Sunderland fans would like to see that happen. I’m not expecting a classic here and will probably avoid this game, I’ll be looking out for a home win here though.

Newcastle v Wigan – 15.00

Newcastle are enjoying a fruitful season so far and good displays against Arsenal and Tottenham have shown it’s not just because they have played what are viewed as weaker sides. They did well to fight back from a goal down twice last weekend and in the end had enough chances to win. Wigan are having a nightmare time, when they saw the relative strengths of the sides that got promoted, they must have thought they stood a relatively good chance of putting some ground between them and talk of relegation, instead the newly promoted sides look to be thriving whilst Wigan are back down in the bottom 3, Roberto Martinez must be wishing he’d taken the Villa job when it was offered. Newcastle are clearly going to be the favourites for this one and rightly so in my opinion, odds of 1.58 for a home win are sufficiently low enough to make me going looking for value elsewhere but any bet I decide on will be in the home sides favour.

Liverpool v Norwich – 17.30

The last game of the day and one that could see an upset in my opinion.  I can see this being a case of “after the Lord Mayors show” for Liverpool here and that might lead to them taking their eye off the ball and letting Norwich in for either a shock win or a decent draw. I’ve been really impressed by Paul Lambert and the way he’s put together a footballing side that plays with a touch of grit as well, they caused problems to Manchester United recently and that will have given them cause for optimism here even if they are playing away. I thought Liverpool were given a morale boost when they saw the United line-up last weekend and a draw ended up looking the least they deserved, Charlie Adam had his best game in a Liverpool shirt with Gerrard alongside him and that partnership looks like one that could grow to be ever more important as the season goes on. Liverpool are strong favourites to win here but I’ve got an inkling they are going to end up a little disappointed so I’ll be looking to lay the strong favourites close to kick off.]]>