Friday, 4 March 2011

Predictions For Premier League Gameweek 29.

It's that time of the week again when I attempt to predict the outcome of the upcoming Premier League games. As usual my predictions last week turned out pretty bad in the end. I did well on Saturday afternoon, but after that it all went rapidly downhill. I managed one perfect score, four correct outcomes, and four wrong outcomes overall.

Regular readers will know I've been running a prediction league since the start of the season, and that's the reason I've been predicting the outcomes of all the Premier League games. With only ten weeks to go the league is beyond me, as I sit in fourth place, a long way behind Stephen Bradley at the top. He's so far ahead that I don't think he could actually lose even if he tried to.Here's a look at how my prediction league table looks.

NC 1
_Bradley08 1425 +65 0
NC 2
essexgooner1965 1090 0 0
NC 3
preetgreet 1045 +5 0
NC 4
Nickmc1980 915 -20 0
Up 4
aranmichael 915 +40 0  
NC 6
billygooner_29 850 0 0
NC 7
COSGOONER 710 -10 0
NC 8
Sinesladael 700 -10 0
NC 9
Imjola 685 +70 0
NC 10
oakhamgooner 560 -20 0

Birmingham v West Brom
Birmingham v West Brom 
Birmingham will have a nice shiny trophy to parade to their fans before this local derby. After beating Arsenal in the Carling Cup final last Sunday they can now concentrate on their attempts to pull away from the relegation zone in the league. They are only two points above the drop zone, but they have a couple of games in hand on most of the teams around them. Their ability to score goals from set pieces could be crucial in this game, as West Brom are very prone to conceding from them.

West Brom are in worse relegation trouble than Birmingham, as they are a point behind them having played a game more. Their away form has been very poor, but they have been saved by super sub Carlos Vela in their last two games. It will be interesting to see if the Arsenal loanee can command a starting place this time around, and maybe gain some revenge for his team mates Carling Cup final defeat.

I think Birmingham will cause West Brom enough problems from set pieces to get an all important win.

Prediction: 2-1

Arsenal v Sunderland
Arsenal v Sunderland
Arsenal have a chance to close the gap at the top of the table to only one point at home to Sunderland. It's a big game for them after they lost the Carling Cup final last Sunday, but they showed great character to put that defeat behind them and beat Orient 5-0  on Wednesday night. With Robin Van Persie and Theo Walcott out injured Arsenal will have their work cut out. The chances are that Cesc Fabregas and Alex Song will sit this game out too which could cause Arsenal problems. They still have the second best home record in the Premier League, and they have to concentrate on this game before they travel to play Barcelona on Tuesday night.

Sunderland have leaked a lot of goals recently, and the last thing they will want is to travel to the second highest scorers in the Premier League. They have slipped down to eighth in the table, but a win could move them as high as sixth if other results go their way. Their away form is very poor with only three wins in 14 games, and they will need to produce their very best form to have any chance of even getting a draw in my opinion.

Despite the fact that Arsenal have a huge game on Tuesday night, as well as a host of injuries I still expect them to have too much for Sunderland.

Prediction: 2-0

Bolton v Aston Villa
Bolton v Aston Villa
Bolton had fallen away a little since Christmas, but since Daniel Sturridge joined on loan from Chelsea they seem to have picked up again. Sixth place is still very much within their sights, and their home form is still very impressive this season.
Aston Villa have moved a few points clear of the relegation zone in recent weeks, and I thought they would make a game of their FA Cup tie with Man City on Wednesday night. However, their manager decided to rest most of his first team, and they paid the price with a 3-0 defeat. Surely he doesn't think they can make up the six points to sixth place, and qualify for Europe that way. Their away form is still very poor, and only Blackburn have conceded more goals on their travels than Villa this season.

I have a funny feeling that Villa will manage to get themselves a point out of this game.

Prediction: 1-1

Fulham v Blackburn
Fulham v Blackburn
Fulham have a pretty impressive defensive record yet again this season, with only the top four having conceded less goals than them. Their home form is pretty impressive too, and if they could just turn some of their draws into victories they would be in a much league position.

Blackburn have played 14 games away from home this season, and they have conceded 35 goals in those games. They have lost 10 of those games, and they're gradually slipping closer to the relegation zone. It's going to take at least 40 points to avoid relegation this season, and Blackburn need to start getting some on their travels.

Fulham have to be clear favourites to win this game, and I think they should do it easily enough.

Prediction: 3-1

Newcastle v Everton
Newcastle v Everton
Newcastle have only won four of their fourteen home league games this season, but they are the second highest scorers at home. They're one of the clubs that are challenging for sixth place, and a couple of wins in a row would do them an awful lot of good. The table is so tight that a couple of losses in a row would leave them perilously close to the drop zone though.

Everton continue to shoot themselves in the foot every time they get a good result this season. They knocked FA Cup holders Chelsea out of this year's competition, and then lost at home to Championship side Reading in the next round on Tuesday night. They're slap bang in the middle of the table with 11 games to go, and it could go either way for them. Their biggest problem besides their inconsistency is their inability to score, and they have to sort that out very soon.

I think this game has a draw written all over it which won't do either team much harm or much good either.

Prediction: 1-1

West Ham v Stoke
West Ham v Stoke
West Ham must wonder what they have to do to climb out of the relegation zone this season. They beat Liverpool 3-1 last week, but they're still second last. Their home form has been pretty good of late, and a win in this game would surely see them above 18th place at last. There's also the added prospect of a trip to Stoke RFC next weekend for an FA Cup quarter final, and they will want to go into that game having beaten them.

Stoke RFC have a very poor away record this season, but it's never easy to beat them. They are a big physical side who make no excuses for playing long ball football, and concentrating on set pieces in particular. They will know that West Ham can struggle from set pieces, and they will look to exploit that. Despite the fact that they are in a mid-table position they will only be three points ahead of West Ham if they lose.

I think it's not going to be easy for West Ham, but they should just have enough to give themselves a real Premier League lifleine by winning.

Prediction: 2-1

Man City v Wigan
Man City v Wigan 
City need to win to get back on track for a Champions League place, as both Chelsea and The Spuds are now within striking distance of them with a game in hand each. Their home record has been pretty good, but it could be better, and the draw against Fulham last week was a big blow for them. With so many good attacking players to choose from City must be favourites to bang in a few goals against a Wigan team that conceded four against "Manure" last week. Their defence will have to cope without Kolo Toure, as he has failed a drug test, and he is suspended pending further investigations.

Wigan have a pretty good defensive record away from home, but their failure to score goals is their biggest problem. They were more than a little unlucky to lose to league leaders "Manure" last week, and a better referee would have sent Wayne Rooney off when the teams were still level. The fact remains that they are rooted to the bottom of the table, and they are probably favourites to be relegated right now.

I expect City to have too much for Wigan, and end up winning easily enough.

Prediction: 3-0

Liverpool v Man Utd
Liverpool v Man Utd 
Liverpool's recent good run came crashing to an end last week when West Ham beat them 3-1. They don't need to be told how important this game is for both clubs and the fans as well. Their home form in the Premier League is still very good, and they will hope to have Andy Carroll available to make his debut for them. A win will help them to stay secure in sixth place, but Champions League qualification is probably too big a task for them at this stage.That is why this might be a good time for Liverpool to unleash their £35m striker Andy Carroll for the first time. If he is injury-free, why not? Carroll is not definitely match-fit but he is only going to get that by playing.

"Manure" were beaten by Chelsea on Tuesday night after leading 1-0 at half-time. They also lost Nemanja Vidic to a red card, and he will  have to sit this game out. Their away form is not that of potential champions, and a failure to win this game could really harm their chances of overtaking Liverpool as the team with the most league titles. They will know how the Arsenal game has gone before they play, and they could well be looking anxiously over their shoulders after this game.

I hope there's a strong referee in charge of this game, as I have a funny feeling one's going to be needed. I think "Manure" will continue their poor away form, but manage to get a point.

Prediction: 1-1

Wolves v Tottenham
Wolves v Tottenham 
Wolves have had some great result at home to some of the best teams in the Premier League this season. They have won as many games at home as the Spuds have, but they are 18th in the table while the Spuds are fifth. A win in this game will probably get them out of the relegation zone, but I don't think they will relish the prospect of possibly being favourites to get that result.

The Spuds will have one eye on their Champions League game at home to AC Milan on Sunday, and that's not such a good idea. All their good work in this season's Champions League will be undone if they fail to qualify for next season. To do so they have to beat teams in the relegation zone on their travels. The Spuds away form isn't great, and their negative goal difference on their travels is nothing to be proud of either. With Man City struggling at the moment a win in this game would give them a real chance of pushing for fourth place yet again.

I think The Spuds will manage to do what "Manure", Chelsea and Man City couldn't do, and get a point away to Wolves, but it won't be easy.

Prediction: 2-2

Blackpool v Chelsea
Blackpool v Chelsea 
Blackpool's star player is still suspended, and they will sorely miss Charlie Adam in my opinion. They were well beaten away to Chelsea earlier in the season, and I think it could be a similar scenario in this game. Their defence is fairly weak, and Chelsea will be riding high after beating "Manure" on Tuesday night. Despite their superb style of play Blackpool are slipping dangerously towards the relegation zone, and they need to arrest that slide very quickly.

Chelsea have some very good goalscorers in their team, and Blackpool always give up plenty of chances. I expect Chelsea to take enough of those chances to make life very difficult for Blackpool, and Fernando Torres might even get his first goal for them too. The league is probably out of sight for Chelsea, but third place is a definite target, and they have far more experience than the other teams challenging for it.

I think Chelsea will win this game with a few goals to spare.

Prediction: 1-4
Everton v Birmingham.
Everton get to play their game in hand at home on Wednesday night, and it's a game that they really need to win. With Marouane Fellaini out for the rest of the season they might struggle in midfield a little, but their opponents tend to bypass that part of the pitch.

Birmingham have an FA Cup quarter final three days after this game, and the thought of another trip to Wembley may well distract them. After waiting so long for a trophy they will be looking forward to another chance of winning one, and I think it might put them off their game. They still pose a threat to any team with their aerial ability, and that could be their saving grace in this game.

I think this game should end up all square like so many other games have done this season. It will help the cause of both teams, but only just.

Prediction 1-1
As you can see from the final fixture there are extra games this week for both Everton and Birmingham. If you're an avid fantasy footballer like me it might not be a bad idea to put one or two of their players in your team if you have a chance to do so. Who those players might be is an entirely different question though.

That's it for today.
See You Tomorrow.

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