EPL Predictions & Team News 23-24 Nov 2012
Well last week I billed QPR versus Southampton as the Sack Race fixture, but Chelsea got the jump on everyone with their sacking of Roberto Di Matteo, closely followed by Mark Hughes’ departure from QPR. Who would have ever thought a club under the stewardship of Mo Al Fayed, would lead to it becoming the most stable club in West London.
Sunderland v West Bromwich Albion – 23 November 2012 – 12.45 KO
When is it too early to start saying someone was giving away Christmas presents early? Well Hangeland’s red card for Fulham certainly was for Sunderland last time out and they capitalised brilliantly. I now expect them to go on a little surge up the table. The Baggies have been superb so far this season and shown how counter-attacking football can be played, however with Martin O’Neill being slightly negative I fear West Brom may struggle to break Sunderland down.
Team News: The home side may welcome back James McFadden after a hamstring injury whilst Steve Clarke has already ruled Mulumbu out of this fixture, whilst keeper Foster is also a big doubt.
Betting Predictions: 2-0
Dream Team Star Man: Adam Johnson
Everton v Norwich – 23 November 2012 – 15.00 KO
Take nothing away from either of these sides, but I expect a full blood and thunder typical 80s style English game from these two. Everton have slipped short of their excellent early season form, whilst Chris Hughton’s turnaround at Carrow Road has been nothing short of sensational after beating both United and Arsenal.
Team News: Everton hope to increase their attacking options with at least one of Anichebe or Mirallas being fit, however Fellaini misses the game after picking up 5 yellow cards. Turner is rated touch and go by Norwich.
Betting Prediction: 1-1
Dream Team Star Man: Leighton Baines
Manchester United v QPR – 23 November 2012 – 15.00 KO
Who is going to be in charge of Rangers tomorrow, it’s all a bit obvious isn’t it? ‘Arry will now spend the next two seasons reminding us how QPR were winless when he took over the reins. One thing is for sure though, Jamie Mackie is not Luca Modric so don’t go expecting miracles Hoops fans!
Team News: Both Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling should feature after recovering from injuries. QPRs extensive list has been made worse by the news that Bobby Zamora could be out for up to 3 months.
Betting Prediction: 2-0
Dream Team Star Man: Danny Welbeck
Stoke v Fulham – 23 November 2012 – 15.00 KO
Stoke have their critics, but you won’t find many knocking their training ground manoeuvre from a corner against West Ham on Monday, I wonder how long until they try that again? Fulham seem to be leaking goals at the moment and without Hangeland at the back I can see Crouchie having a field day up front.
Team News: Michael Owen is still not fit, however there is no truth in the rumour that it is moustache related! Whilst Andy Wilkinson is touch and go after picking up a back injury against West Ham. Captain Hangeland starts his suspension today for Fulham who will also miss Bryan Ruiz through injury.
Betting Prediction: 2-0
Dream Team Star Man: Peter Crouch
Wigan v Reading – 23 November 2012 – 15.00 KO
Nearly a third of the way through the season and both these teams find themselves outside the relegation and if they manage it come May¸ it would be a remarkable achievement. Reading need to reproduce their form against Everton last week to have a chance of beating Wigan who already have London scalps of West Ham and Spurs this month.
Team News: Di Santo is a doubt, whilst Wigan are even more doubtful on the fitness of Caldwell. The Royals will be hoping to welcome back Jimmy Kebe.
Betting Prediction: 1-1
Dream Team Star Man: Adam le Fondre
Aston Villa v Arsenal – 23 November 2012 – 17.30 KO
Anyone who reads this column regularly will know 2 things. 1) I think Villa are going to really struggle this season and 2) I like to try and get a Bruce Forsyth pun in this game slot.
To say I’m predictable might also be true, but this is only going to go one way, even with Arsenal’s flaky form. They have qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League with a game to spare so should be able to relax a little more now. So I reckon 3 points for The Gunners, whilst the best Villa can hope for is a cuddly toy.
Team News: No good news for Villa as Bennett and Dunne still out, whilst Arsenals Walcott misses out with a shoulder injury.
Betting Prediction: 1-3
Dream Team Star Man: Lukas Poldolski
Swansea v Liverpool – 24 November 2012 – 13.30 KO
Brendan Rodgers did a great job with Swansea and may have been smart thing getting out while he did, but the fact remains that the Swans are now flying higher than they finished last season and currently ahead of their opponents today.
Team News: Swansea will hope that the extra day before this fixture gives Chico enough time to recover from injury. Danny Graham is a doubt due to illness. Andre Wisdom should be fit after being subbed midweek as a precaution.
Betting Prediction: 1-1
Dream Team Star Man: Leon Britton
Southampton v Newcastle – 24 November 2012 – 15.00 KO
Alan Pardew returns to St Marys after an indifferent spell in charge of the Saints, however he did sign Rickie Lambert for them and he has been so instrumental in guiding Southampton back up the divisions. His current charges however are certainly having a bit of a hangover in the league and sit in mid table, but a growing list of injuries is impeding their progress.
Team News: Chaplow and Richardson will probably miss out due to lack of match fitness, whilst Newcastle have numerous doubts including Gutierrez and Papiss Cisse. Coloccini is still suspended and Ben Arfa’s hamstring problem rules him out.
Betting Prediction: 1-0
Dream team Star Man: Rickie Lambert
Tottenham v West Ham – 24 November 2012 -16.00 KO
Now, I have a theory on these two clubs. I think they have employed managers still on Chelsea’s payroll to take them down piece by piece from the inside. (AVB, Grant, Zola)
Tottenham will have to revert to back to one up front due to Adebayor’s rush of blood to the head last week in their drubbing by Arsenal, however this may suit them as West Ham will play with their usual set up of Noble, Diame and Nolan trying to boss the game.
Team News: Adebayor is suspended, but Dembele may start after overcoming a hip injury quicker than expected. Hammers hope to have at least one of their wide men Jarvis or Benayoun fit, however O’Neil may start anyway after impressing in midweek.
Betting Prediction: 2-1
Dream team Star Man: Jermain Defoe
Chelsea v Manchester City – 24 November 2012 – 16.00 KO
So Rafa has returned to the EPL, after a short spell in Italy, how will the Chelsea fans take to him? If they left sacking Di Matteo another week, perhaps Roberto Mancini would have been available.
It will be interesting to see how Chelsea set up this week with Hazard going off the boil a little, and can Rafa get the best out of Torres or is it something more serious than that with him now? Manchester City, despite flattering to deceive a little are still flying in the EPL.
Team News: Daniel Sturridge may miss out leaving Chelsea a bit like their new gaffer. A little thin up top!! Vincent Kompany is a big doubt after an injury saw him on crutches in midweek.
Betting Prediction: 2-2
Dream team Star Man: David Silva