Manchester United have thrown down the gauntlet to the rest of the league. Coming up to the busy festive period, they are already six points clear at the top of the table after beating the noisy neighbours and taking their long unbeaten home run last weekend.

EPL Predictions & Team News 15 - 17 DEC 2012

This week, with Chelsea being involved in the money spinning two-bob World Club Championship, we only have nine games!

Newcastle v Manchester City – Saturday 15 December 2012 – 12.45 KO

Both these sides have a lot to prove, City need to get back on track after last week’s defeat to United, whilst Newcastle are plummeting like a stone towards the relegation zone and now sit only a point above Sunderland who were looking like relegation fodder a week ago. Those 7 year contracts for all your staff don’t look such a good thing now, eh Mike!

Premier League Team News: Alan Pardew rates Ben Arfa no better than 50/50 with a hamstring injury whilst Gareth Barry is suspended for City, captain Vincent Kompany will almost certainly miss out.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-1
Dream Team Star Man: Tim Krul

Liverpool v Aston Villa – Saturday 15 December 2012 – 15.00 KO

The Reds got lucky last week at West Ham and must consider those 3 points a Brucy Bonus, whilst Villa progressed to the League Cup Semis, and managed to score 4 away from home. Could this be the kick-start to both these sides seasons?

Premier League Team News: Suarez is back from his suspension to lead the line for Liverpool, who have doubts over Enrique after he went off injured against West Ham. Gabby Agbonlahor is a problem for Villa.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 2-0
Dream Team Star Man: Luis Suarez

Manchester United v Sunderland – Saturday 15 December 2012 – 15.00 KO

United, after their massive win last week, take on the club that used to have a reputation for being a retirement home for unwanted United stars and John O’Shea! Sunderland themselves will go into this with a bit more confidence than late after a good midweek win over Reading.

Premier League Team News: Jonny Evans is out for a while, but the big plus is Vidic is expected to come in after 3 months out injured. Sunderland have problems over Adam Johnson and Danny Rose.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 2-0
Dream Team Star Man: Robin Van Persie

Norwich v Wigan – Saturday 15 December 2012 – 15.00 KO

I’m not quite sure what happened to Norwich in the League Cup midweek, flying in the league at present and unbeaten in nine, you thought they would have relished the chance of making the Semis and having a shot of European football again. I even heard Jeremy Goss had started dusting down his boots. Wigan currently find themselves back in the bottom three after a recent dip in form.

Premier League Team News: Harry Kane could make the bench for The Canaries who should have Steve Whittaker fit. No new problems for Wigan, who should have Ramis and Caldwell back for the festive period.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 2-1
Dream Team Star Man: Grant Holt

QPR v Fulham – Saturday 15 December 2012 – 15.00 KO

QPR are on a record breaking run at the moment, but unfortunately for all the wrong reasons! They now have the record of the worst start to a Premier League season ever! And remember there have been some poor teams in this league over its 20+ years, so to be worse than Swindon is an achievement. Fulham’s form of late hasn’t been great with only 1 win in 8, so the law of averages says the Hoops have got to win this one, right?

Premier League Team News: No new problems for QPR, but Cisse could start. Redknapp will also have to choose between Green and Cesar in goal. Diarra had injections midweek but still may not be fit enough for The Cottagers.

Premier League Betting Prediction: 2-1
Dream Team Star Man: Djibril Cisse

Stoke v Everton – Saturday 15 December 2012 – 15.00 KO

Stoke have continued their impressive form recently and have won their last three home games, but with Everton coming in off the back of an amazing injury time reversal against Spurs, this may prove tough for The Potters.

Premier League Team News: Owen came through 70 minutes of football in midweek and has an outside chance of making the bench for Stoke who have Shotton suspended. Mirallas is out for Everton after suffering a recurrence of a previous injury against Spurs.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-1
Dream Team Star Man: Steven Pienaar

Tottenham v Swansea – Sunday 16 December 2012 – 13.30 KO

The Premier League’s top scorer must be looking forward to playing Spurs, whose defensive record is amongst the fifth worst in the EPL this season. Surely the days of just outscoring the opposition were supposed to be gone when Daniel Levy appointed the ‘so-called’ master tactician AVB. I think home advantage should see Spurs through, especially as they have a few players back from injury. However, expect a few nerves in the home end if they aren’t leading by two goals towards the end of the game as you wouldn’t trust them with a dog lead at the moment.

Premier League Team News: Tottenham could welcome back both Parker and Ekotto whilst Dawson could also feature after overcoming a hamstring problem. However Bale is still a big doubt. The Swans are reporting no new problems.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 2-0
Dream Team Star Man: Moussa Dembele

West Bromwich Albion v West Ham – Sunday 16 December 2012 – 16.00 KO

Is Big Sam sleeping with someone at Sky, or maybe Karren Brady is tapping up some of her Apprentice boss Siralun’s old contacts, as West Ham do seem to be on TV permanently! Last Week they somehow managed to throw away 3 points when Mo Diame went off injured, but will be hoping the curse of manager of the month kicks in after Steve Clarke picked up Novembers award for November.

Premier League Team News: Steve Clarke has Ben Foster nearing full fitness and may have to make a decision over his keepers, whilst Liam Ridgewell is a problem. West Ham will have to replace Momo Diame who has a hamstring problem.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-1
Dream Team Star Man: Mark Noble

Reading v Arsenal – Monday 17 December 2012 – 20.00 KO

Let’s start of this review by taking an informed and mature look back at The Gunners midweek cup exit against Bradford. Ha Ha! Ha Ha! Ha Ha!

It’s probably a good thing Arsenal are away from home this week, with the natives starting to turn at the Emirates, board members questioning other board members and Arsene Wenger allegedly not speaking to his assistant Steve Bould. Reading are now in desperate trouble with only 1 win in 16 this season. Expect a duller game than the 5-7 League Cup game earlier this season!!

Premier League Team News:
Roberts and Pogrebnyak could feature for The Royals, but Jimmy Kebe’s comeback is still delayed. Walcott is still a doubt for Arsenal (I may as well Copy and Paste this every week!), but Girouds back problems has eased and will lead the line.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 0-2
Dream Team Star Man: Olivier Giroud

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