Chelsea and Arsenal safe bets
Posted Friday, October 18 2013 at 01:00
Chelsea vs. Cardiff
Like Norwich just before the international break, Cardiff is one of those lowly teams that are destined to find Chelsea hard to live with this season, a hallmark of Jose Mourinho sides. Chelsea’s early season wobble is firmly behind them now, and they should have too much for their visitors. And that Samuel Eto’o goal? Well …
Arsenal vs. Norwich
In their typical style, Norwich put up a battling performance against Chelsea last time out but came up short. Mesut Ozil is a doubt for this one but Santi Carzola will assume the mantle should the German playmaker miss out, and after the narrow escape at West Brom the Gunners should return to winning ways.
Newcastle vs. Liverpool
Premiership defences are finding it nigh on impossible to stop Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez, while the third act of this trio - Victor Moses - is putting in a lot of under-appreciated mileage too. I don’t see Newcastle keeping them out either, and the return of Lucas Leiva should give Liverpool even more balance. The Magpies will cause their own problems however, in this scoring stalemate.
West Ham vs. Man City
The poorest travellers among the Big Six are finally going to come good on the road. West Ham thrashed Tottenham in the London derby and have unravalled a true gem in Man United academy graduate Ravel Morrison, but they will find Man City’s style difficult to cope with on the narrow Upton Park pitch. Away win.
Aston Villa vs. Spurs
The youthful enthusiasm and athleticism of Paul Lambert’s Aston Villa have had them in fine fettle so far this term, and at Villa Park they have been hard to contend with. What Christian Benteke had taken away from them he is likely to bring back Sunday, but he will not be at his best and Tottenham will take advantage. Embarrassed at home by West Ham, Spurs will make amends away.
Man United vs.Southampton
Last season, Man United needed Van Persie heroics to come from two goals down at Southampton, and then needed De Gea heroics to edge their better playing visitors at Old Trafford. With their current crisis of confidence, they are going to need heroics, individual and collective, on both ends of the pitch to get anything from this one. Draw.
Roma vs. Napoli
Roma made a mockery of my belief that they would lose their first points of the season at the Guiseppe Meazza. But Napoli will be hoping that what Inter Milan couldn’t do the international break has - breaking the capital side’s rhythm. If any team is going to get points off Roma it is Napoli anyway, and I fancy them to take something back to Naples.
AC Milan vs. Udinese
Milan have fallen on hard times, and how Massimiliano Allegri is still in a job is a puzzle, although clearly the club’s problems are not of his making. He was furious when his side lost to French Ligue 2 side Caen in a friendly in midweek, but the returning Kaka and his mates will atone this weekend. Home win.
Bayern vs. Mainz
Bayern have disappointed punters expecting them to be scoring three or more goals a game, what with all the attacking talent available to Europe’s finest. That disappointment should end this weekend as Pep Guardiola’s men finally let loose. ‘Over’
Dortmund vs. Hannover
This will not be an easy one for Jurgen Klopp’s Dortmund as the unpredictable Hannover can be a match for anyone on their day. Still however, anything less than three points for a club with such a good home record would be a huge surprise.
French ligue 1
Nice vs. Marsielle
Nice have had a strong start to the season and are just three points behind their visitors high up in the top half of the table. Still however, I see Marseille ‘stealing’ all three points.