The clocks have gone back and we’re a quarter of the way through the season already. England was also battered by the storm St. Jude this week. For those of you who don’t know your Roman Catholic Patron Saints, St. Jude is the one for desperate cases and lost causes or Crystal Palace as I prefer to call them!

EPL Predictions & Team News 2 - 3 Nov 2013

Newcastle v Chelsea – Saturday 2 November 2013 – 1330 KO

Talking of lost causes, Newcastle face an in-form Chelsea side who managed to win every game they played in October and they are starting to get used to the style of football and expectations thrust on them by Jose Mourinho.

Newcastle are going to need something special to get anything out of this and with centre halves Coloccini and Taylor both struggling for fitness, it means the less than impressive pair of Williamson and Yanga-Mbiwa trying to stop Torres, Hazard and co.

Premier League Team News: As mentioned above Newcastle have a bit of a crisis in defence with the two centre backs out and young local left back Dummett is also injured after tweaking a hamstring. Chelsea changed 10 players for their midweek cup win and could change as many again as they have no new injuries or suspensions.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-2
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Fernando Torres

Fulham v Manchester United – Saturday 2 November 2013 – 1500 KO

Fulham come into this fixture on the back of two losses in a week, it really is one step forward and two back for Martin Jol at the moment. Jol is back under a bit of pressure if the press is to be believed, but as many sides have shown this season, United are vulnerable if you take the game to them. Stoke had a good go last week, but United showed a bit of guts and determination to win through but the gap between their defence and midfield at the moment looks huge and despite being out of form, Berbatov still has the quality to exploit this space.

Premier League Team News: Fulham have suffered a big blow with skipper Hangeland not recovering from a trapped nerve in his leg, however Aaron Hughes could come in for his first start since August. Rodallega is also out for The Cottagers. Ferdinand and Vidic could be back together at the heart of the United defence, whilst Robin van Persie has overcome a few niggles and should start. Welbeck is out still though with a knee problem.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-2
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Javier Hernandez

Hull v Sunderland– Saturday 2 November 2013 – 1500 KO

Steve Bruce has stoked up an otherwise dull fixture by saying he should never have taken the Sunderland job after being a Newcastle fan as a kid. He’s also had a very unlucky week losing twice to Spurs, once on penalties in the cup and by a penalty which was softer than a pumpkin by fireworks night last Sunday. Sunderland recorded their first win of the season in the Wear/Tyne derby last week and showed a bit of backbone to take the win after Newcastle seemed to be on the front foot.

Premier League Team News: Brady and Aluko face late fitness tests for the home side who are still without first choice keeper McGregor. Livermore will return after being unable to face Spurs last week but Graham is unable to face his parent club. Sunderland are likely to be unchanged from last weekend as long as Fletcher has no adverse reaction to a knock he took.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-1
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Jake Livermore

Manchester City v Norwich – Saturday 2 November 2013 – 1500 KO

The big news today is that Joe Hart has been dropped after another clanger last weekend cost City a share of the spoils against Chelsea, however I think this is a little bit of a smoke screen to mask the fact that City have not been firing well all season and currently sit 7th. I do feel a touch sorry for Hart and the talk coming out of The Etihad this week is that he isn’t enjoying the training under his new keeping coach.

Norwich have their own problems at the moment and a heavy midweek cup defeat was compounded by picking up a couple of injuries.

Premier League Team News: Pantilimon makes his first Premier League start for City in place of Hart, whilst City are still missing Garcia, Kompany and Jovetic. The Norwich treatment table has been the busiest place in East Anglia this week with Redmond and Snodgrass picking up midweek injuries adding to Tettey who has a long term knee problem and van Wolfswinkel who has a damaged foot.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 2-0
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: David Silva

Stoke v Southampton – Saturday 2 November 2013 – 1500 KO

I’ve got this down as my shock of the weekend, purely on the basis that Southampton’s good form has got to come to an end at some point! Stoke looked like they had a lot more belief at Old Trafford last week, but perhaps I am being a bit flippant about The Saints, they deserve their 5th place at present and were clinical when dispatching Fulham.

Premier League Team News: Rob Huth hasn’t suffered any reaction to playing a full 120 minutes in midweek and will start for Stoke but Wilkinson is out. Osvaldo, Davis and do Prado are all doubtful for Southampton.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 2-1
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Peter Crouch

West Bromwich Albion v Crystal Palace – Saturday 2 November 2013 – 1500 KO

The wheels came off The Baggies 5 match unbeaten run in style last week when Liverpool and the new ‘SAS’ took them to pieces, but they will be happy to be back at home and facing a Palace side that have now lost six on the bounce.

Managerless Palace actually looked better against Arsenal last week and the 2-0 result in the end may have flattered The Gunners.

Premier League Team News: Skilful midfielder Amalfitano is out for The Baggies after coming off last weekend against Liverpool. Sinclair will return after missing three matches. Delaney is Palace’s main worry as he is managing a foot injury.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 3-1
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: James Morrison

West Ham v Aston Villa – Saturday 2 November 2013 – 1500 KO

So was the League Cup draw fixed? I must admit keeping the big four of United, City, Chelsea and West Ham apart did raise some eyebrows!!

The Hammers home and away form has been very contrasting this season, away from home they are have still only conceded 1 goal and that was a very dodgy penalty, but at home they’ve lost 3 on the bounce.

Villa are also struggling of late and come into this on the back of consecutive 2-0 losses.

Premier League Team News: The false number 9 tactic looks like making another appearance at Upton Park this week with Carroll and Petric both injured and Cole not fit to start. Vaz Te has also dislocated his shoulder for a second time in a year and will be replaced by either Joey Cole or Matt Jarvis. Villa have injury problems and are without Agbonlahor, Luna and Bennett as well as their long term problems.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 2-1
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Mark Noble

Arsenal v Liverpool – Saturday 2 November 2013 – 1730 KO

Certainly the most intriguing game of the day and perhaps more surprisingly either of these sides could finish the day top of the table.

Arsenal have now lost a couple of cup games in the past few weeks against good opposition and the loss of Mathieu Flamini to injury seems to have disrupted the shape of their side. This perhaps leaves the defence a little more exposed, which is probably not the greatest thing when coming up against Sturridge and Suarez.

Liverpool do have the mouth-watering prospect of being able to bring in Coutinho behind the forward pairing after a shoulder injury but will probably start with him on the bench. I will be intrigued to see how Suarez and Coutinho pair together as on paper it looks brilliant, however it will be interesting to see if they get in each other’s space too much.

Premier League Team News: The Gunners injuries are starting to stack up at present the list looks like this Flamini, Gnabry, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Diaby and Podolski. Arteta is back from suspension though after being sent off last week. With Coutinho now fit for Liverpool it leaves only Jose Enrique out.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-1
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Oliver Giroud

Everton v Tottenham Hotspur – Sunday 3 November 2013 – 1330 KO

Two evenly matched sides could make this a very good match, the styles of football have swapped a lot over the last couple of games with Spurs now becoming the side that seems to grind out results with Everton looking the more open and attacking side.

Everton have still only lost one this season against Manchester City and with Lukaku up front have the direct sort of forward who can square up Dawson.

Premier League Team News: Kone is out for The Toffees, however Heitinga returns after missing a couple of games with a muscle problem. Chadli, Rose and Adebayor are all out for Spurs, but Townsend is fit despite his clash with a photographer last weekend.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 0-0
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Hugo Lloris

Cardiff v Swansea – Sunday 3 November 2013 – 1600 KO

Hmmm, I think I may have to stop tagging my tweets for this column on Twitter with the hashtag #EPL with the first all non-English fixture in Premier league history.

This has the potential to be the 4th good television fixture of the weekend and I for one hope there is a little bit of needle in it. Normally you would make Swansea a big favourite for this fixture with their top flight experience, however with Michu not firing on all cylinders at the moment I think Cardiff could take something out of this. Cardiff will need to keep a full quota on the pitch, which may be a worry for Malky Mackay with the likes of Bellamy and Medel in the side.

Premier League Team News: The only injury problem for The Bluebirds is Cornelius who has a long term ankle problem. Swansea have skipper Williams fit for the derby but are without Hernandez and Davies
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-1
Sky Sports Fantasy Star Man: Craig Bellamy

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