Chelsea 2 Man Utd 2
Twice I have called draws for Roberto Di Matteo’s Chelsea at difficult away grounds, and twice they have won at a canter. Wins at the Emirates and White Hart Lane suggest the European champions are genuine title contenders. Sir Alex’s Red Devils will be their sternest test yet.
Everton 2 Liverpool 1 `
Although the Reds have traditionally bossed the derby, I can’t fathom them winning this one. The Toffees are energetic, inventive and combative; attributes that are not yet in abundance at Anfield. Steven Pienaar and Marouane Fellaini will be sorely missed but I still fancy the Toffees to nick it.
Man City 3 Swansea 1
As is usually the case when a team is floundering, word on the gravepine points to dressing room anarchy at the Liberty Stadium over Michael Laudrup’s unorthordox training methods. Victory over Wigan calmed the storm, but I can’t see a team with such a poor defensive record taking anything from the Ettihad.
Arsenal 2 QPR 0
Mark Hughes’ Rangers are doomed for a relegation slugfest. They are creating enough chances to win games, but are profligate and cannot keep a clean sheet. They come up against an Arsenal outfit that will be determined to erase a 0-1 defeat to Norwich from their system.
Aston Villa 1 Norwich 0
Paul Lambert is feeling the heat, as Aston Villa have won just one of their last 18 Premier League games going back to last season. He needs to bury the hatchet with Darren Bent, and pair him with Christian Benteke if he is to overcome his rejuvenated former side.
Reading 1 Fulham 1
Brian McDermott’s Championship winners are one of only two sides – the other is QPR – that is yet to win a Premiership game. Bulky front runner Pavel Pogbrenyak must attack the ball better since Reading are the best crossers in the league. Fulham will relish exploiting their defensive frailties.
Stoke City 1 Sunderland 0
Expect a war of attrition at the Brittania Stadium. Stoke are the thoroughbreds of the league but they do not score enough goals and neither do Sunderland. I can’t see the Black Cats getting onto the score sheet when they average just one and a half shots on target per game.
Wigan 2 West Ham 2
Roberto Martinez’s side is back in the slumber that almost cost them their Premiership status last season. They play good football, but must find a way of getting strikers Franco di Santo and Arouna Kone more involved. West Ham will provide a stern examination of their survival credentials.
Newcastle 1 West Brom 0
Steve Clarke has the Brummies playing the football of their lives but they showed naivety in conceding two late goals against ten-man Manchester City. Newcastle are equipped to provide a further reality check for what is arguably the team of the season so far. A Papiss Demba Cisse goal is long overdue.
S’thampton 2 Spurs 3
It is time for Southampton to grow up to the realities of Premiership football. Their expansive game is routinely being creamed off by experienced campaigners like old boy Gareth Bale. The Saints are leaking an average of three goals per game, which makes them cannon fodder for a team like Spurs.