EPL Predictions & Team News 20/21 Oct
After a days extended international break we are back to the nitty, gritty of the EPL this weekend and we have somewhat of a novelty, with a total of 8 games on Saturday. Very few however seem to be box-office classics with only the London and North East derbies registering on the richter scale. Super Sunday it certainly isn’t!
With regards to my own predictions last time out; they were actually pretty good, especially on Saturday with only a late equaliser from the spot by Leighton Baines for Everton against Wigan stopping a 100% prediction rate. Not bad hey??!
Spurs v Chelsea – Saturday 20 October 2012 – 12.45 KO
Most people will bill this game as a battle between AVB and Red Rom, who correctly or incorrectly dispensed of his services after only a few months of his tenure last season. I am however taking a slightly different view and billing this as battle of the ‘simulators’, with some of today’s best exponents of diving on display in what is the game of the day, with Bale, Ivanovic and Oscar already coming under the spotlight for diving this season. Perhaps the score could be 6.0, 5.9, 5.9, 6.0!
Bobby Di Matteo is also looking to be the first Chelsea manager to win at White Hart Lane since 2005.
Team News: Vertonghen is set to continue at left back for Spurs, whilst Naughton, Livermore and Assou-Ekotto could all make the bench. Bertrand and Lampard are both doubts for the visitors after missing midweek internationals.
Betting Prediction: 1-1
Dream Team Star Man: Fernando Torres
Fulham v Aston Villa – Saturday 20 October 2012 – 15.00 KO
The Cottagers are very much of a mixed bag these days and their season will depend a lot on how fit and interested they can keep Berbatov. However they will have to defend better than they did against Southampton last time out when they threw away 3 points. Aston Villa on the other hand have had a poor start and it seems inconceivable that they were knocking on the door for a Champions League place only a couple of seasons ago. Manager Lambert desperately needs to sort out his problems with Darren Bent, as without his goals the only new league they will be looking at is the Championship.
Team News: Berbatov should return for the home side, whilst Shay Given could be recalled after being dropped and Ireland could also return from a wrist injury for Villa.
Betting Prediction: 0-0
Dream Team Star Man: Shay Given
Liverpool v Reading – Saturday 20 October 2012- 15.00 KO
With Borini out with a metatarsal injury that requires surgery, this is probably a good game for the Reds to work out how to score with only one recognised forward. Brendan Rodgers is now on the big stage, and managing against a club he previously had an inconspicuous spell in charge of. The Berkshire boys will be hoping to keep Liverpool’s poor recent home record going.
Team News: Question marks over the fitness of Kop keeper Pepe Reina, but Enrique could return at left-back. Leigetwood may return for the Royals.
Betting Prediction: 1-0
Dream Team Star Man: Steven Gerrard
Manchester United v Stoke – Saturday 20 October 2012 – 15.00 KO
Sir Alex’s boys possibly suffered the most from the farce of England being stuck in Warsaw for another night, with Carrick, Rooney and Cleverly all starting in the delayed international, and Welbeck coming on as sub. Ex-United youngster Ryan Shawcross will hopefully have made the most of his international call-up and done his homework on how to stop Rooney and Co for Stoke boss Tony Pulis.
Team News: Chris Smalling could make a welcome return for United, whilst Ashley Young is nearing full fitness. Michael Owen is a doubt on his return to Old Trafford.
Betting Prediction: 3-1
Dream Team Star Man: Robin Van Persie
Swansea v Wigan – Saturday 20 October 2012 – 15.00 KO
Two clubs with a similar philosophy on football, both of whom have come from the bottom league of professional football to the top in the last 20 years. Not only that but both suffered the fate of losing arguably their best player during pre-season in Allen and Moses with moves to bigger clubs.
The Swans have had the better start to the season, whilst Wigan have improved a lot whilst gaining a credible point against Everton. This is sure to be the last fixture of Match of The Day, unless it can be turned into a goal-fest.
Team News: Neither side report any new injury worries and could remain unchanged.
Betting Prediction: 2-1
Dream Team Star Man: Michu
West Brom v Manchester City – Saturday 20 October 2012 -15.00 KO
Today is the day West Bromwich Albion’s 100% home record goes, and I say that with about 85% conviction. West Brom have become the ’Kings of the Counter-Attack’ this season, and despite having the lowest average possession stats in EPL, they currently sit a lofty 6th in the table. Their players are organised and Olsson at the back has been very dependable so far this season, and this will need to continue against the current Champions.
Last time out I said the only thing you could guarantee with City is that Aguero would start up top, hence why he was dropped for the last game. Mancini did soon see the error of his ways and replaced the ineffective Balotelli at half-time, which in turn led to him having his first strop of the season. Say what you like about Super Mario but he certainly is box office.
Team News: Lukaku is out for the Baggies, whilst Brunt, Ridgewell and Reid could all recover from their respective injuries. City have worries over David Silva and Rodwell, but may have Maicon and Garcia fit.
Betting Prediction: 0-2
Dream Team Star Man: Sergio Aguero
West Ham v Southampton 15.00 – Saturday 20 October 2012 – 15.00 KO
Big Sam has already billed this game as a ‘six-pointer’ even though we are only in October, but that’s Sam for you, a man who loves the sound of his own voice. I do wish he spoke a lot more like his Twitter parody account ‘notBigSam’ (@TheBig_Sam). It would certainly bring a bit more interest into watching post-match interviews, which is sadly lacking since Ian Holloway’s Blackpool were relegated.
On the pitch, Southampton will be looking to repeat last season’s win at The Boleyn, but will have to defend better than they did last time out against Fulham.
Team News: Vaz Te is out until the New Year with a shoulder injury, but Demel should recover from a knock but O’Brien is still doubtful for the Hammers. The Saints have big problems with Ramirez and Jack Cork definitely out, Clyne remains doubtful.
Betting Prediction: 1-0
Dream Team Star Man: Andy Carroll
Norwich v Arsenal – Saturday 20 October 2012 – 17.30 KO
Arsenal make their second successive Saturday evening appearance, and as we tuck in to our takeaways before our better halves try and wrestle the remote away to put Strictly on, I predict this could be a Good Game, Good Game.
Arsenal have started the season reasonably well and Norwich are shipping goals left, right and centre. The Gunners have Poldoski and Santi, who both have over 40 international caps and by contrast Norwich have Jackson and Morison who I have both seen playing in the Conference. Arsenal also have Giroud who should now have a little bit of Gallic confidence about him after goals against West Ham and one against Spain in midweek. All things are pointing one way??
However we do like to see one upset each week, and this is my one! I think Norwich can actually scramble a point out of this one, as long as they hold out for the first 15 minutes.
Also did you know Lucas Podolski is the only EPL player to be subbed in every game this season?
Team News: The game has probably come a week too early for Wilshere and Sagna, whilst Walcott also joins Gibbs and Szczesny on the physio table, but Diaby could return after missing the previous game. Snodgrass and Kane both miss out for the home side.
Betting Prediction: 1-1
Dream Team Star Man: John Ruddy
Sunderland v Newcastle – Sunday 21 October 2012 – 13.30 KO
Even though this is a fierce local derby, this should be a walk in a park compared to the torrid abuse the Sunderland full-back had to endure Serbia midweek whilst on England U21 duty.
Sunderland seem to be draw specialists at the moment, and Newcastle have yet to hit anywhere near the heights of last season, so I reckon this could be a draw unless one of Fletcher, Cisse or Ba have a blinder.
Team News: Brown and Bardsley could both feature for the home side. Newcastle will hope to be able to recall Taylor, Krul and Coloccini all going well.
Betting Prediction: 1-1
Dream Team Star Man: John O’Shea
QPR v Everton – Sunday 21 October 2012 – 16.00 KO
The R’s have got to grab a win this week after such a poor start to the season. ‘Uncle’ Tony has already given Mark Hughes the vote of confidence twice; perhaps if your Chairman does it via Twitter it does genuinely mean he has his support! But until QPR start getting some wins under their belt, Harry Redknapp will be waiting in the wings and ready to give Sky Sports an interview through his car window. I can see the line now ‘I’ve always had a soft spot for QPR, since the days of Marsh and Bowles’.
Everton who have amazingly scored and conceded the most headed goals this season, have problems of their own, with main man Fellani out injured for a couple of weeks. To get something out of this they will be hoping Jelavic will be ready to go after sitting on the bench in Croatia’s win over Wales in midweek.
Team News: Clint Hill is a doubt, but Fabio could take his place on return. Diakite is also back after suspension. Fellani and Gibson are both out for Everton.
Betting Prediction: 2-0
Dream Team Star Man: Bobby Zamora
There we have it, my predictions, let me know what you think!