Thursday, 10 February 2011

Weekend Madness Preview in the English Premier League

Article first published as Weekend Madness Preview in the English Premier Leauge on Technorati.
Another Weekend that Could Give Ample Excitement to Top Last Weekend's Drama in the EPL

by Rhydon Atzenhoffer
February 10, 2011

Saha on Form for Everton
Could this weekend possibly top the excitement of last weekend in the Premier League. That would be hard to say, but it is possible. Last week we saw Manchester United, the only undefeated team left, fall to bottom of the table Wolves. Arsenal squandered a four goal lead to Newcastle United in the second half to suffer a shocking draw. Liverpool defeated Chelsea in a masterful display of tactical prowess from Kenny Dalglish to move the Reds to sixth place, and outside hopes of Champions League qualification. Louis Saha scored four goals for Everton as they defeated Blackpool 5-3.

Saturday saw 41 goals scored, the most in a single day of Premier League Football in history, with 2 more goals scored between the two games on Sunday. The drama thickened once again as the top sides nearly all faltered, and the entire table became even less spread. This has been one of the most evenly match Premiership's in recent memory with only nine points separating last place and 8th.

But there is no way this weekend has a chance of topping last weekend right? Wrong. The weekend starts off with the Manchester Derby, and goes from there into another weekend chock full of games that will see teams fighting tooth and nail for every point they can grab onto.

The Games

Manchester United vs Manchester City - The Manchester Derby

The first game of the weekend, and possibly to be one of the most exciting. Carlos Tevez and the Citizens go to Old Trafford to face off against his former club. The Red Devils have only been running in what looks like second gear this season as they have failed to truly take off. Is this the weekend we see Wayne Rooney finally come back to life, or will Tevez and new partner Edin Dzeko silence the Red side of Manchester?

Prediction: United 2 - City 3 - Tevez and Crew take it to his former club.

Arsenal vs Wolves

Can Doyle Top Arsenal Next
Arsenal was struck down to a draw last weekend after loosing a 0-4 lead at St. James Park. Newcastle stormed back to show everyone that the loss of Andy Carroll was not the end of time on the Toon. Wolves upset the only unbeaten team in the league in Manchester United last weekend, and now have a chance to upset another Top Four club to possibly climb out of the drop zone. Will the Gunners drop their guard like the Red Devils last week or will Arsene Wenger have a plan?

Prediction: Arsenal 2 - Wolves 1 - McCarthy's boys needed the home crowd advantage.

Birmingham vs Stoke City

St. Andrews plays host to a battle of mid table scrappers. The Blues came away with a 0-1 victory at Upton Park over West Ham, but it could have gone either way. The Potters gained ground on a faltering Sunderland thanks to their hard nosed never say die attitude. Can Tony Pulis keep them moving up the table and get them into eight, or will Birmingham move three more points towards safety?

Prediction: Birmingham 1 - Stoke 2 - The Potters play stingy defense allowing a solid victory.

Blackburn vs Newcastle

The Rovers suffered another set back as they fell relegation battling Wigan 4-3 while Newcastle showed their heart and soul in a comeback draw against Arsenal. Both teams sit level with 31 Points and only with a victory can Blackburn usurp Newcastle's hold on tenth place in the table for their own.

Prediction: Rovers 1 - Magpies 2 - Newcastle uses last weekend to inspire a second straight victory.

Blackpool vs Aston Villa

The Tangerines have been in a slump lately having fallen to 15th and just two points clear of the drop zone. Despite excellent efforts they just haven't been able to hold off the opposition. Aston Villa have been on a mission since the arrival of Darren Bent to lead the line. Despite a hard fought match against Fulham leading to a late scored equalizer, the Villains are starting to make more sense.

Prediction: Blackpool 2 - Villa 2 - Despite it all the Seasiders stave of another successive defeat.

Liverpool vs Wigan

Wigan pulled off a victory last weekend to keep their hopes alive of staying up. However, it was the Reds that managed the most impressive victory of the two with their tactically sound dismantling of Chelsea. Four straight victories and four straight clean sheets have the Reds pushing for a chance at Champions League action despite all the odds this season.

Prediction: Liverpool 3 - Wigan 0 - The Reds stay on a role achieving Five Straight under Dalglish.

West Brom vs West Ham

The Baggies and the Hammers face a must win for both teams. If the Baggies win they stay out of the drop for now, but a victory for the Hammers could see them move out of the relegation zone and put their opponents in it. Robbie Keane and Wayne Bridge need to start earning their keep if there is hope that the Hammers will survive to play premiership football in their newly appointed stadium some day.

Prediction: West Brom 1 - West Ham 2 - Keane makes it happen and Avram Grant finally gets to feel some pressure taken off his shoulders for at least five minutes till he realizes his next game is against surging Liverpool

Sunderland vs Tottenham Hotspur

Steve Bruce has been reeling in the two recent defeats of his squad as he has seen Chelsea and Stoke City take two straight from his side in the previous week. He is still holding onto seventh and a chance to see his Black Cats play across the Chanel in the Europa League despite the recent poor form. Harry Redknapp's Spurs grabbed a late winner over Bolton to stay level with Chelsea at 44 points and hold off Liverpool who are knocking at their door even though six points back.

Prediction: Sunderland 2 - Tottenham 2 - The Stadium of Light does the home team well and they hold off Gareth Bale and company to secure they hold their place one more week at least.

Bolton vs Everton

The Wanderers suffered a late loss to Tottenham thanks to Niko Kranjcar last weekend, however Daniel Sturridge gave a fine showing in his first appearance on loan from Chelsea. Owen Coyle has a knack for getting the most out of loaned in youngsters. Remember Jack Wilshere last season? David Moyes has been praising the recent contribution of believed post prime Louis Saha whom netted four goals last week and five in his last two.

Prediction: Bolton 3 - Everton 2 - The Wanderers find their lost form and edge past the Toffees at the Reebok to stay in eighth in the table.

Fulham vs Chelsea - Another West London Derby

Can Chelsea Get it Right?
After their disappointing loss to Liverpool, and the failure of Fernando Torres to make a sound contribution in his debut, the Blues will have to go back to the drawing board. Their narrow play was just not enough to break down anything at the weekend. Clint Dempsey continues to lead Fulham and their resurgence as Mark Hughes has them finally turning the corner. A little faith in their new manager has seen promise as his tactics are beginning to take hold.

Prediction: Fulham 2 - Chelsea 1 - Another defeat follows for the Blues. Didier Drogba's comments of loss of belief after last weekends loss pretty much pave the way for Ancelloti to get the sack from Roman Abromovich.

There you all have it. Two Derby upsets, a lot of possible moving and shaking in the table, maybe a manager sacking, whats not to love as we get set for another weekend of action across the pond.

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