Premier League Preview 2011/2012
Blackburn Rovers Vs Wolverhampton Wanderers
With both Blackburn central defenders Ryan Nelsen and Chris Samba doubtful for this game it could be a difficult opener for this Rovers side. Having displayed decent pre season form however Steve Kean will be hopeful of a winning start to the new season.
Wolves have real injury concerns in the shape of their Irish contingent, both Kevin Doyle and Kevin Foley nursing knee and ankle injuries respectively. They will most likely look to Stephen Fletcher to spearhead the attack in Doyle’s absence.
This one will likely be a cagey affair and a repeat of that enthralling relegation decider at Molineux last season is unlikely. I’d fancy a draw here.
Betting Odds: Blackburn 2.15 (VC) Draw 3.40 (VC) Wolves 3.75 (VC)
Match Prediction: 1-1
Fulham Vs Aston Villa
Fulham will be looking to improve on their eight placed finish last term and may view a supposedly vulnerable Villa side as the perfect opponents. With nigh on a fully fit squad of players to choose from Martin Jol will look to the influential Brede Hangeland, Clint Dempsey and Bobby Zamora to inspire an opening day victory for the cottagers.
Villa’s summer on the other hand has been marred by the McLeish appointment and the loss of two prodigious talents in the shape of Ashley Young and Stewart Downing. The Villans have however made astute signings in both Shay Given and Charles N’ Zogbia. With Marc Albrighton emerging as a real prospect and Darren Bent a proven goalscorer they may surprise a few people.
A close encounter but Villa to spring a surprise of sorts.
Betting Odds: Fulham 2.20 (SJ) Draw 3.30 (VC) Aston Villa 3.75 (VC)
Match Prediction: 1-2
Liverpool Vs Sunderland
Liverpool have suffered a disappointing pre season campaign conceding goals at an alarming rate to poor opposition. With a positive result against Valencia a saving grace, King Kenny will look to new signings Stewart Downing and Charlie Adam to inject that little bit of pace and guile into proceedings. The Anfield faithful will also be hopeful of a return to action for the brilliant Luis Suarez and influential Lucas Leiva after their respective Copa America exertions.
Sunderland have been busy in the transfer market with some fantastic summer signings in the shape of John O’ Shea, Wes Brown, Craig Gardner and Sebastion Larsson although O’ Shea will miss tomorrow’s game with a hamstring injury. Steve Bruce will no doubt feel a ring rusty Liverpool side are there for the taking.
Tough to call but Liverpool should just about shade this one.
Betting odds: Liverpool 1.53 (VC) Draw 4.33 (SJ) Sunderland 8.03 (BF)
Match Prediction: 2-1
QPR Vs Bolton
The first top flight match to be staged at Loftus Road since the 1995/1996 season should provide QPR with a decent opportunity at a winning start. The mercurial and infuriating at times Adel Taarabt propelled Rangers to the Championship title last season and Neil Warnock will be hoping for more of the same this term. The signing of DJ Campbell may prove pivotal in the fight against relegation and with an almost fully fit squad to choose from for tomorrow’s opener Warnock will be quietly confident.
Bolton have had a damaging pre season campaign with tricky South Korean winger Chong- Yong Lee and new signing Tyrone Mears both suffering broken legs. The loss of Johan Elmander to Turkish outfit Galatasaray could be detrimental with the pressure now falling on Kevin Davies and an inconsistent Ivan Klasnic to come up with the goals. Gary Cahill will play despite continued speculation and Coyle will be fully aware of the importance of tomorrow’s match.
The momentum is with QPR and they should get their top flight campaign off to a winning start, Taarabt to sparkle.
Betting odds: QPR 2.38 (BS) Draw 3.30 (VC) Bolton 3.30 (VC)
Match Prediction: 3-1
Wigan Athletic Vs Norwich City
Not a glamour fixture by any means but it will be intriguing to see how far Roberto Martinez’s men have come since last season. They have lost their most valuable asset in Charles N’ Zogbia, however Victor Moses has been in sensational form in pre season and will look to replace the Frenchman’s verve and trickery. This will be a big season for James McCarthy too, he must come good on his undoubted potential and billing. Hugo Rodellega will look to provide the goals once more and will cause the Norwich defence significant problems tomorrow.
Norwich and Paul Lambert have enjoyed two successive promotions and one wonders if the Premier League may be a step too far this season. There is much pressure on Grant Holt and Wes Hoolahan to get and provide the goals respectively. The loan signing of Richie De Laet from Manchester United will do little to sure up a defence that will struggle in the top flight.
Rodellega and Moses should prove too much for the Canaries, Wigan with a few to spare.
Betting Odds: Wigan 2.15 (VC) Draw 3.40 (BS) Norwich 3.75 (VC)
Match Prediction: 2-0
Newcastle United Vs Arsenal
Newcastle have a few major injury worries for this one with Steve Harper crocked so Tim Krul will deputise in goal. Hatem Ben Arfa and Danny Guthrie are also doubtful so Alan Pardew could hand competitive debuts to Sylvan Marveaux, Yohan Cabaye and/or Gabriel Obertan. The impressive Demba Ba will lead the line for the Toon tomorrow in hopes of capturing an early season scalp. Despite the loss of Jose Enrique, Newcastle seem to be on amicable terms with the troublesome Joey Barton and he could figure.
Arsenal are in poor shape coming into this one with the transfers of both Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas imminent. If that wasn’t enough for Wenger to contend with Andrei Arshavin, Theo Walcott, Thomas Vermaelen, Laurent Koscielny and Robin Van Persie are all doubtful with Abou Diaby and Jack Wilshere definitely out. Wenger will look to his young Welsh wizard Aaron Ramsey to pull the strings in the middle and will hope for some magic from the Ivorian Gervinho.
Arsenal’s injury problems and the furore surrounding both Nasri and Fabregas will hamper the start to their season, Newcastle to provide a shock here.
Betting Odds: Newcastle 4.33 (SJ) Draw 3.60 (EB) Arsenal 2.05 (VC)
Match Prediction: 2-1
Stoke City Vs Chelsea
Tony Pulis’s men will provide a stern test for Chelsea at the Britannia Stadium on Sunday. With the summer acquisitions of both Jonathan Woodgate and Matthew Upson they have strengthened an already formidable area, with the partnership of Robert Huth and Ryan Shawcross proving particularly fruitful last year. With no major injury concerns, Kenwyne Jones will lead the line and will look for support from both flanks in the form of Matthew Etherington and a revitalised Jermaine Pennant.
Chelsea have been quiet in the transfer market this summer, the protracted Luka Modric saga perhaps grabbing most attention. With an improved Sturridge suspended and Torres doubtful it looks certain that Didier Drogba will spearhead the attack. He will look to the likes of Lampard and Malouda to provide the creativity and ultimately the assists.
Villas Boas will no doubt be wary of a powerful and combative Stoke outfit but Chelsea should just about have enough big game nous for this one.
Betting Odds: Stoke 6.00 (VC) Draw 3.80 (BS) Chelsea 1.70 (VC)
Match Prediction: 1-2
West Brom Vs Man Utd
Roy Hodgson had no doubt instilled a doggedness and defensive solidity at the Hawthorns towards the back end of last season and they’ll need to continue on in such a vein if they are to overcome the champions and indeed champions elect . Shane Long could make his first appearance for the Baggies in what would be a baptism of fire for the Tipp man. Indeed Long’s chances of being thrown in at the deep end are heightened by a niggling injury to Peter Odemwingie which renders him doubtful for the season’s opener. Ben Foster has been an astute acquisition for West Brom but one fears he may be a busy man on Sunday.
United have had an ideal preparation for this one, outplaying Man City in the Community Shield and playing some stunning football in the process. David De Gea may not be tested enough here to prove his worth, with the impenetrable partnership of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic as solid as ever. Nani, Rooney and Young look a fantastic triumvirate with Young blending seamlessly into the United fold.
Only one winner here, United at a canter.
Betting Odds: West Brom 7.00 (BS) Draw 4.33 (BF) Man United 1.53 (VC)
Match Prediction: 0-2
Man City Vs Swansea City
As predictable as they come. Roberto Mancini’s side struggled last time out against the free flowing football of Fergie’s Reds. It won’t be the same this time around however as the Citizens will have far too much for a newly promoted Swansea. City are unlikely to force either Tevez or Aguero back for this one if not fully fit but that aside have a fully fit squad to choose from. Balotelli will most likely partner Dzeko in attack and with a sniping David Silva and powerful Yaya Toure in support it promises to be a long night for Swansea.
Brendan Rodgers would have hoped for an easier start to the season. With no major injury concerns however he can take his Swansea side to the Etihad stadium on Monday knowing Swansea’s season won’t rest on the outcome of such a match. They will look to the pace and crossing ability of Wayne Routledge and the assured finishing of a Scott Sinclair or a Danny Graham to snatch a goal.
Ultimately Swansea’s defence will be severely tested and found wanting against an explosive Man City attack. Man City to start with a bang.
Betting Odds: Man City 1.30 (EB) Draw 6.00 (VC) Swansea 14.00 (BF)
Match Prediction: 4-0
* (VC)- Victor Chandler, (SJ)- Stan James, (BF)- Betfair, (EB)- EuroBet