Blimey, we are back to the never ending world of the English Premier League after a brief hiatus from action due to 3rd round of the FA Cup and a couple of major surprises in the League Cup. I say major, but I guess Villa losing wasn’t that much of a shock!!

EPL Predictions & Team News 12 / 13 Jan 2013

Also it’s good to see 8 games fixtures on a Saturday for a change, with 7 kicking off at the traditional 3pm. We’ve also got a proper Super Sunday this week as well.

Make sure you look at your Fantasy sides as a lot of players are away for Africa Cup of Nations, so it’s time to start thinking about those transfers.

QPR v Tottenham – Saturday 12 January 2013 – 12.45 KO

There has been a lot of press on this game already with ‘Arry facing his former club for the first time and extra fire by his comments which may or may not have been aimed at his Spurs successor.

Spurs for their part are in very good form, and had a nice return from the festive period, however could this be a perfect storm for them with the return of an ex-manager and the curse of AVB winning manager of the month?

Premier League Team News: Spurs’ new training facilities seem to be paying dividends as they only have Kaboul and Gallas in the treatment room at present. QPR have Junior Hoilett unavailable with a hamstring injury whilst Diakite is on Africa Cup duty.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-1
Dream Team Star Man: Ryan Nelson

Aston Villa v Southampton – Saturday 12 January 2013 – 15.00 KO

After a horrible end to 2012, Villa once again looked like they were getting back on track with a draw against Swansea and a morale boosting FA Cup win against Ipswich, however the defensive frailties kicked back in and they suffered that embarrassing midweek cup defeat to Bradford.

The Saints have their own problems and are conceding at will at the moment.

Premier League Team News: Darren Bent is injured again, but Villa are hopeful captain Ron Vlaar will play some part. Fonte and Lallana are definitely out for Southampton but Rameriz and Clyne should be fit.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 2-1
Dream Team Star Man: Charles N’Zogbia

Everton v Swansea – Saturday 12 January 2013 – 15.00 KO

12 days into the transfer window and Everton haven’t sold Fellaini, that’s got to be good for them despite supposed interest from Chelsea with a reported buy-out fee in his contract. Anyway, I expect The Toffees to maintain their push for a European spot, with Swansea suffering from a Capital One Cup hangover after their midweek excursions against Chelsea.

Premier League Team News: Leighton Baines should play despite nursing an ankle injury and Mirallas is rated as 50/50. The Swans are reporting now new problems.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 2-0
Dream Team Star Man: Leon Osman

Fulham v Wigan – Saturday 12 January 2013 – 15.00 KO

Without meaning to sound disrespectful to either of these sides, this is hardly the fixture that sold the EPL around the world!

Fulham’s away win at West Brom on New Year’s Day was unexpected, especially coming on the back of 4 games without a win and Martin Jol will be hoping to add another 3 points to continue his sides steady season. Wigan however come into this game on a run of just 1 win in 8 league games and find themselves sitting in a relegation place.

Premier League Team News: Schwarzer and Riise both return to the First XI after missing Fulham’s FA Cup tie, however Frei and Diarra are missing. Roger Espinoza should make his début for The Latics.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 3-1
Dream Team Star Man: Dimitar Berbatov

Norwich v Newcastle – Saturday 12 January 2013 – 15.00 KO

A year is a long time in football, and Alan Pardew must be hoping his side could turn back time to a year ago, when everything was running along smoothly. His problems have been made worse this transfer window with Demba Ba already leaving and Captain Coloccini wanting to return back to Argentina. Norwich must be looking at this fixture as a way of getting back on track after 4 successive defeats.

Premier League Team News: Canaries skipper Grant Holt should play some part in this fixture although hip injuries rule out Whittaker and Surman. Debuchy should start for Newcastle after his recent move and Coloccini will return despite making his intentions to leave clear.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-1
Dream Team Star Man: Robert Snodgrass

Reading v West Bromwich Albion – Saturday 12 January 2013 – 15.00 KO

Royals fans will be hoping the rumours linking them with a loan move for Danny Welbeck come true as they are lacking someone of his pedigree, however they do seem to be able to score goals, so maybe it is at the other end Brian McDermott should be looking? West Brom come into this fixture still sitting pretty in 7th and need a win here to hang on to any chance of claiming a European spot.

Premier League Team News: Hope Akpan could be thrown straight into Reading’s relegation battle after his move from Crawley as could other new boy Carrico Leigetwood misses the game through injury though. Thomas could replace Gera for The Baggies who is out for the season. Olsson is a doubt and Mulumbu is away in Africa.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-1
Dream Team Star Man: Shane Long

Stoke v Chelsea – Saturday 12 January 2013 – 15.00 KO

Not exactly the fixture Chelsea want to be playing after their morale sapping midweek defeat to Swansea, but I have a sneaky suspicion they will become the first time to win at Stoke this season. Stoke for their part have been on stunning form recently and Tony Pulis could perhaps feel hard done by not to have won the Manager of the Month award for December.

Premier League Team News: No new problems for Stoke who should recall Begovic after being rested last week. John Terry is back in the squad for Chelsea but won’t start. Cech has a fitness test and Moses and Mikel are both on international duty.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-3
Dream Team Star Man: Demba Ba

Sunderland v West Ham – Saturday 12 January 2013 – 15.00 KO

Big Sam has wasted no time in bringing in bodies to his depleted squad during the transfer window. 12 days in and he has already managed to bring in 4 players, although there are question marks over the ability of Chamakh and Wellington, however the re-signing of Joey Cole seems to have kept the natives happy. Sunderland are quietly sneaking away from a relegation scrap but after 2 league defeats on the bounce will be looking at this fixture as a way to make the gap even more comfortable.

Premier League Team News: Hamstring problems are order of the day in the North East with Rose and Cueller both suffering from the injury last week. John O’Shea is still doubtful with his hamstring problem as well. Chamakh could make an instant start for West Ham, for whom Joey O’Brien is a big doubt. Maiga is missing after linking up with the Mali squad.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 2-1
Dream Team Star Man: Steven Fletcher

Manchester United v Liverpool – Sunday 13 January 2013 – 13.30 KO

In my opening lines I promised you a Super, Super Sunday and this is not a bad way to kick it off, let’s hope Gary Neville is commentating on this one! United go into this fixture 21 points clear of Liverpool so the gulf in class is clear to see, and I can already hear the Scousers moaning that ref Howard Webb has cost them the game with a poor decision.

Premier League Team News: Nani and Anderson both return for United after long lay-offs, but Rooney is still very doubtful with his knee problem. Sturridge could make his league debut for Liverpool after scoring in the FA Cup last week. Borini is also back in the squad for the first time since October.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 3-0
Dream Team Star Man: Robin van Persie

Arsenal v Manchester City – Saturday 13 January 2013 – 16.00 KO

I could have been cruel and billed this game as Feeder club v Parent club, so I will! Arsenal will be praying they have got an agreement sorted with Theo Walcott over his contract before this game otherwise he could be getting paid in to Manchester Building Society this time next year.

Premier League Team News: Giroud faces a late fitness test for the home side who could also have Diaby back to play some part. Gervinho is away with Ivory Coast who have also called up the Toure brothers. Nasri and Aguerro are also out but Kolarov could return.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-1
Dream Team Star Man: Theo Walcott

There we have it, a stunning weekend of football and a great start to 2013!! Check back next week for more of the same!!

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