Arsenal to punish Di Matteo

Saturday September 29 2012

Dutch striker Robin Van Persie has settled in well at Manchester United and is already leading the English Premiership scoring chart

Dutch striker Robin Van Persie has settled in well at Manchester United and is already leading the English Premiership scoring chart 

By Allan ssekamatte

Arsenal 2 Chelsea 1
Arsenal start as favourites in this mouthwatering London derby. Roberto Di Matteo is struggling to handle the transition in the absence of departees Raul Meireles, Michael Essien, Jose Bosingwa, Didier Drogba and Solomon Kalou. Conversely, Arsenal look stronger even in the absence of Robin Van Persie and Alexander Song.

Everton 3 Southampton 1 `
Nigel Adkins must be cursing his fixture list. The Saints have already faced and lost to the top three from last season. Just when they are supposed to be gaining momentum following a 4-1 win over Villa, they come up against an Everton that is full of goals despite Nikica Jelavic’s injury.

Fulham 1 Man City 1
Champions City are out of sorts. The decision to sell Nigel De Jong was ill-advised as Javi Garcia and Jack Rodwell are both struggling to find their feet. Fulham have meanwhile been energized by new signings Dimitar Berbatov and Hugo Rodallega. Expect a thoroughly engrossing encounter at Craven Cottage.

Norwich 0 Liverpool 1
The club’s worst start in over a century has piled the pressure on Brendan Rodgers. The Kop only have two points to show despite dominating both Man City and Man United. But they have bottomed out. The law of averages dictates that they will put their first three points on board.

QPR 1 West Ham 0

Rangers surprised many a pundit with their boundless energy against Spurs last weekend. Mark Hughes will have earmarked this as the fixture to get his side off the mark. Many of QPR’s top signings have previously played for big clubs, which should hold them in good stead against the fired up Hammers.

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Reading 1 Newcastle 2

Defensive lynchpin Fabricio Coloccini and midfield enforcer Chiekh Tiote should return to make life difficult for a Reading side that simply cannot win a game. Form has deserted Papiss Demba Cisse but his indifference in front of goal is more than compensated by Demba Ba’s return to prolific form.

Stoke 2 Swansea 0

For all their attacking flair, Michael Laudrup’s Swansea are weak defensively. Stoke are not a high scoring team, so don’t expect a goals deluge at the Brittania. Tony Pulis’ charges pushed European champions Chelsea all the way and should take full advantage of their considerable physical prowess.

Aston Villa 1 West Brom 1

Can someone tell me why it took so long for any team to offer Steve Clarke a full managerial job. His impact on the Brummies is clear for all to see. Villa need the points and will throw the kitchen sink at West Brom, but I expect them to emerge unscathed.

Sunderland 2 Wigan 1

This is Martin O’Neil’s opportunity to put three points on board. Four straight draws, including ones against Arsenal and Liverpool are a good foundation for victory. Marquee summer signing Steven Fletcher is good for a goal a game, and should punish a Wigan side not noted for their travel phobia.

Man Utd 1 Tottenham 1

For as long as I have watched the Premiership, Man United have won this game. No matter how well Spurs are playing, visits to Old Trafford breed a major mental block. Yet United are vulnerable at the back. Indecision over the first choice custodian and Nemanja Vidic’s injury mean Spurs have a chance.