Acid French test for Liverpool
Posted Saturday, October 19 2013 at 01:00
Aston Villa 1 Spurs 1
How Andre-Villas Boas’ evolving Spurs side reacts to last week’s surprise reversal at home to West Ham may well define the North London club’s season. Michael Dawson was fingered as the player at fault for the 0-3 reality check that had many a pundit downgrade the team’s title chances. Paul Lambert’s improving Villa side should be good for a point and should welcome back Chrsitian Benteke.
Chelsea 2 Cardiff 0
Jose Mourinho has taken quite a battering for his decision to loan out Romelo Lukaku. The Belgian enhanced his burgeoning reputation with a powerful brace as his country qualified for the World Cup. Chelsea’s front runners Samuel Eto’o, Fernando Torres and Demba Ba are keen to end a dismal run that has seen them score just one of the club’s last 29 League goals.
Arsenal 3 Norwich 1
Chris Hughton will have revenge on his mind as his Canaries return to the Emirates Stadium with memories of their heart-wrenching loss still fresh in their minds. Norwich were fifteen minutes away from recording a famous victory before a controversial penalty undid their efforts. Arsenal are a different kettle of fish this season, with Mathieu Flamini adding solidity to midfield flair.
Newcastle 1 Liverpool 1
Controlling Liverpool’s quick starts to games is crucial to Newcastle’s hopes of getting a result in today’s early kick off. The 18-time champions tend to fade badly after the breather, so the Magpies will set out to stifle Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez in the early exchanges. Lone summer signing Loic Remy will provide Newcastle’s main attacking threat.
Everton 2 Hull 1
Hull City’s high-octane, no-holds-barred performances have caught all and sundry by surprise, but it is hard to see them thriving at Goodison Park. Roberto Martinez has helped Everton find the right balance between slick passing and raw aggression. Striker Romelu Lukaku has forged a good understanding with England starlet Ross Barkley. Steve Bruce’s Tigers will hustle the Toffees though I can’t envisage them getting a result. Everton will edge it.
Palace 2 Fulham 2
Haven’t see too much to push the boat out about from these two beleaguered London clubs. Fulham boss Martin Jol earned a stay of execution when his side stopped Stoke City 1-0 before the international break. Ian Holloway’s Palace have meanwhile looked anything but a Premier League club with one stuttering performance after another. He needs to give Dwight Gayle as much playing time as possible. I can see these Londoners battling to a goals-filled draw.
West Ham 1 Man City 2
Manuel Pellegrini’s Royal Blues are struggling on the road, with just one victory in six. This is a record he needs to address if his title favourites are to live up to their high billing. Sam Allardyce’s Hammers are on cloud nine after obliterating Tottenham’s title pretensions in a wonderful display of counter-attacking football. Still, I can’t see lightning striking twice. West Ham’s lack of a proper out and out striker is complicating Big Sam’s work.
Swansea 2 Sunderland 0