Stalemates in derbies
West Ham 1 Chelsea 1
Strange that one of Rafa Benitez’s most derided policies – rotation – could be the trump card in his Chelsea career if he handles it well. Chelsea released way too many senior players, so the gaffer must keep the young team fresh to extract the required results and ward off fans’ pressure.
Arsenal 2 Swansea 1 `
Michael Laudrup has the Welsh club playing even better football than they did under Brendan Rodgers as they are solid away from home. Albeit, the Gunners will be trying to atone for their insipid display at Villa Park which saw them drop two valuable points.
Fulham 1 Tottenham 1
Spurs old boy Dimitar Berbatov will be a key figure as the Cottagers try to overcome the North Londoners in a local derby. Martin Jol’s side have stuttered of late so they are keen to return to winning ways. Their vast array of attacking talent in both sides guarantees goals.
Liverpool 2 Southampton 1
Nigel Adkins’ side is enjoying a mini revival and doing it while playing an attractive brand of football. The Kop are however in imperious form and should take care of business against a team that was tipped for relegation before the season’s commencement.
Man City 2 Everton 1
Roberto Mancini survived the managerial upheavals that accounted for two of his colleagues last week precisely because of his strong home record. I expect the champions to continue with their imperious home form against a Toffees outfit eager to show they can live with the big boys. Being Everton, it will be a hardly fought contest.
QPR 1 Aston Villa 0
Queen’s Park Rangers are due a win. Their battling performances in recent weeks and Harry Redknapp’s lucky charm are a lethal combination that is enough to propel them to their first victory of the season. Adel Taraabt is a player that doesn’t deserve to be mired in such a relegation mess.
West Brom 1 Stoke City 0
Who would have believed the Brummies can challenge for European football? Sometimes belief is more important than ability and Steven Clarke has West Brom living in the clouds. It goes without saying that he has instilled a spirit of self belief in journeyman footballers and they are rewarding him abundantly.
Reading 0 Man Utd 2
Lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place. I therefore cannot see how the record champions can lose two away games in a row. Utd retains a soft underbelly which means teams will always fancy their chances but Reading simply do not have quality. Hernandez and Van Persie guarantee goals.
Norwich 1 Sunderland 1
Chris Hughton has given Norwich the defensive discipline they only dreamt about last season. Cameroonian centre-back Sebastian Basong is proving to be a talismanic signing at both ends of the pitch. Norwich generally don’t concede with him in the side and he showed an erstwhile unknown quality with the late leveler at Everton.
Newcastle 1 Wigan 0
What has happened to Newcastle? They don’t have a clue as to what has hit them. Papisse Demba Cisse has forgotten how to score goals, while Hatem Ben Arfa’s numerous dribbles and runs – he has the most in the Premiership – are coming to nought. Anything other than a victory will ring the alarm bells.