Premier League Preview – Sundays "other" games

Arsenal v Stoke – 13.30 If you were going to match Arsenal up against a team they could struggle against right now, a side full of six footers that play direct football and look to take full advantage of set-pieces would be high up the list.  So, Arsenal are probably not best pleased about this upcoming fixture, their defence still looks weak when pressed and Mertesacker hasn’t adapted to the Premier league yet and the pace has seen him get caught out. So, why aren’t I going to be betting on this one?  Well, put simply, I have no confidence that Stoke are going to improve their away form and Arsenal still have enough decent players in the team to give anyone a game, at some point the Gunners are going to click and give someone a tonking, do I think it will be in this game? No.  Am I prepared to bet on that? Not a chance. Push me for a prediction and I’ll go for the draw but I won’t be putting money on it and without help from the experts, I would suggest you don’t either. Fulham v Everton – 13.30 Fulham and Everton face off in another lunch time kick-off (is half past one the new three o’clock?) and both sides will be looking to pick up all three points here, both sides have a real chance as well, Fulham perhaps have the more dangerous side, with better established strikers and creativity coming from wide positions but Everton have a squad that have been together for some time now. David Moyes has done a fantastic job at Everton on a very low budget and at some point, someone is going to come along and pinch him, he deserves a chance at a club where he will be able to spend proper money, the few times he has spent big, he’s done well in my opinion. Martin Jol is at the other end of the spectrum, he’s only recently joined Fulham, after stints in Germany and back in Holland, and he’s been backed by his chairman, given money to bring in new players like Bryan Ruiz and Pajtim Kasami. Opinion is split as to how good a job he is doing in the early stages of his tenure but given time I’m sure he’ll have Fulham playing good football and should keep them in the Premiership. For not though, both teams need the points and this could be a scrappy game, it seems the bookies are as unsure on this one as I am with the home team a generous 2.1 in places.  I won’t be betting on this one, I like my money too much, but I will go out on a limb and predict a scrappy, one goal win to Everton. Blackburn v Tottenham – 15.00 Blackburn surprised me last week by picking up a point at QPR, I didn’t think they were capable but they proved me wrong, somehow I don’t see them even equalling that result in this game.  They are still in relegation form as well as a relegation spot and Blackburn fans better get used to that bottom 3, I don’t see them leaving it, at any point this season. Spurs may have played in the Europa league midweek but proper first team involvement was limited and I expect they will be targeting all 3 points from this game and looking to catch Liverpool who will be disappointed with their draw against Norwich.  Spurs have two games in hand against the two teams directly above them and they will be looking to take full advantage of a game against relegation candidates. In recent years it is against teams like this that Tottenham would drop points, I can’t see that happening here as with Scott Parker in midfield they have a bit more drive than someone like Jermaine Jenas could provide and Adebayor gives them more of a cutting edge, something they have lacked since Berbatov departed. I’m tempted to stick a small wager on Spurs -1.5 with good odds available around 3.13. Q.P.R. v Chelsea – 16.00 Another derby, there seems to be clashes between two clubs from London every week recently and this one is as enticing as most of the others before them. In their last London derby, Q.P.R. got smashed for six by Fulham and I’m sure they will have that preying on their minds when they take on Chelsea who are still in with a title shout, especially if the Manchester derby ends in a draw. This looks to be a fairly straight forward selection for an away win, derby madness muddies the waters a little and the odds of a Chelsea win are too short for me to consider going for the straight away win market.  I’m going to stay out of this one and hope my other bets come in to add to my winnings from Saturday.]]>