Premier League Preview
Sunderland Vs Newcastle United
Sunderland go into this edition of the Tyne-Wear derby on the crest of a wave having claimed an excellent point at Anfield last time out. Steve Bruce will fancy his vastly improved squad’s chances here despite injuries to Craig Gordon, John O’ Shea, Marcos Angeleri, David Meyler and Frazier Campbell.
The Black Cats faithful will look to Sebastian Larsson, Asamoah Gyan and Stephane Sessegnon to provide the winning impetus here.
Newcastle, fresh from a well earned draw against Arsenal, have injury concerns in the shape of James Perch, Shane Ferguson and Danny Guthrie with both Steve Harper and Hatem Ben Arfa definitely sidelined.
Joey Barton has not been retrospectively punished following his part in Gervinho’s red card last time out. The combative central midfielder will need to make the headlines for the right reasons if Newcastle are to claim a victory here.
This one will be a fiery affair with little to choose between the north east’s finest. I’d fancy Sunderland to have the cutting edge and composure required for victory.
Betting Odds: Sunderland 2.20 (VC) Draw 3.40 (SJ) Newcastle 3.76 (BF)
Match Prediction: 2-1
Arsenal Vs Liverpool
The Gunners were a pale shadow of their former glorious selves both away to Newcastle last weekend and at home to Udinese midweek. With the Fabregas saga finally drawn to a conclusion and Samir Nasri nigh on a certainty to elope to Manchester City, Arsenal are in rag order for this one.
Both Jack Wilshere and Abou Diaby are certainties to miss out through injury while Kieran Gibbs and Johan Djourou are major doubts with hamstring niggles.
Alex Song and Gervinho will each serve the first match of their three game suspensions.
King Kenny will no doubt be buoyed by the frailties Arsenal have shown. The Anfield side have reported a relatively clean bill of health for this one with Steven Gerrard the only certainty to miss out while Glen Johnson is doubtful with a thigh injury.
Much pressure will lie with Luis Suarez with Liverpool virtually capitulating as the Uruguayan tired last time out.
They will also look to Charlie Adam and Stewart Downing to recapture the form shown in the opening half against Sunderland.
The first “clash of the titans” instalment of the season should go Liverpool’s way.
Betting Odds: Arsenal 2.56 (BF) Draw 3.25 (PP) Liverpool 3.00 (VC)
Match Prediction: 1-2
Aston Villa Vs Blackburn Rovers
Alex McLeish will have been encouraged by his sides opening day draw at Craven Cottage. Whilst he may not receive the warmest of welcomes from the Villa faithful he will be confident of notching up a first victory of the season.
The Birmingham based side will be hopeful Shay Given can recover from a groin injury and will have to make do without the services of Carlos Cuellar who is suffering from a knee injury.
Steve Kean has not had the best of weeks with a driving conviction/ban and a fine at the forefront of his mind.
One fears a loss at Villa Park will be another source of angst come 5 o’clock Saturday evening.
Gael Givet, Chris Samba and Ryan Nelsen are doubtful while Brett Emerton is a certainty to miss out with a hamstring injury.
If at least one of his triumvirate of central defenders pulls through Kean and Blackburn’s chances will improve dramatically.
Rovers will also look to the diminutive Mauro Formica to rediscover the goalscoring touch he so ably demonstrated last time out.
The likelihood here is Villa will have too much in Charles N’Zogbia and Darren Bent with a debilitated Blackburn defence more than likely to come unstuck.
Betting Odds: Aston Villa: 1.80 (EB) Draw 3.60 (VC) Blackburn 6.00 (BS)
Match Prediction: 3-1
Everton Vs QPR
Everton will open their Premier League campaign against a deflated QPR side at Goodison Park.
David Moyes has not strengthened his squad in the window, however, there is still the nucleus of a very good side at his disposal. With both Diniyar Bilyaletdinov and Seamus Coleman out through injury and the influential Mikel Arteta doubtful, Moyes may well have to reshuffle his midfield.
In the absence of Arteta, the Toffees will no doubt look to Tim Cahill and Louis Saha to get the campaign off to a winning start.
Tony Fernande’s millions have come too late for this one and Neil Warnock will be fearful of a repeat of that opening day trouncing at the hands of Bolton. Jamie Mackie and Rob Hulse are definitely out while Kieron Dyer is doubtful and Clint Hill is suspended.
Everton are strong favourites here and should record their first win of the season.
Betting Odds: Everton 1.53 (BS) Draw 4.04 (BF) QPR 8.00 (VC)
Match Prediction: 2-1
Swansea City Vs Wigan Athletic
Swansea will hope to recover from their mauling at the hands of Manchester City with a victory against an underwhelming Wigan side. Brendan Rodgers can take comfort from the fluidity of some of his sides play at the Etihad stadium.
Garry Monk is the only likely absentee for the Swans and their raucous support will be looking for a big performance from Scott Sinclair in hopes of getting some early points on the board.
Wigan were less than impressive in a 1-1 draw at Norwich on the opening day, however, one source of joy for Martinez was the outstanding performance of Victor Moses.
Antolin Alcaraz is the only doubt for Wigan owing to a lack of match fitness and Lactics fans will be hopeful of a starting berth for Hugo Rodellega.
Both Rodgers and Martinez will fancy their chances here, I’d fancy Swansea to nick it, playing some attractive football in the process.
Betting Odds: Swansea 2.22 (PP) Draw 3.30 (VC) Wigan 3.76 (BF)
Match Prediction: 2-1
Chelsea Vs West Brom
Chelsea will be strong favourites to administer a beating to West Brom for this late evening kick off. In the wake of the physical affair that was last weeks draw at the Britannia stadium this should be a far more tepid encounter.
Andre Vilas Boas will be without Petr Cech, Michael Essien, Daniel Sturridge and David Luiz while Ryan Bertrand is doubtful. Boas will replace Cech in goal with either Ross Turnbull or Henrique Hilario.
Fernando Torres could very well rediscover and demonstrate his goalscoring prowess in this one with Frank Lampard and Florent Malouda likely to test Ben Foster in the Baggie’s goal.
Roy Hodgson is likely to be without Peter Odemwingie, Gareth MaCauley, Jerome Thomas and Zoltan Gera.
Shane Long will once again spearhead the attack in the expected absence of Odemwingie and Hodgson will be hopeful he can showcase the form and goalscoring ability shown last weekend.
Chelsea should win easily here with Hodgson’s men sitting back in hopes of snatching a point.
Betting Odds: Chelsea 1.33 (VC) Draw 5.56 (BF) West Brom 12.00 (BS)
Match Prediction: 4-0
Norwich Vs Stoke
The Canaries will be encouraged by an opening day draw away to Wigan. Paul Lambert has few injury worries with James Vaughan and Elliot Ward the only doubts.
Grant Holt will once again lead the line and will look to capitalise on Stoke City’s European excursions, with the Potters having travelled to Switzerland for Thursday nights Europa League Playoff against FC Thun.
Tony Pulis has some injury problems in the shape of Salif Diao, Mamady Sidibe, Ricardo Fuller and Danny Higginbotham. Perhaps of greater concern to the Stoke boss will be the expected absence of Rory Delap with a hamstring injury.
Norwich will be hopeful of avoiding Delap’s aerial bombardment and may just get something out of this one.
Betting Odds: Norwich 2.60 (VC) Draw 3.30 (VC) Stoke 2.88 (VC)
Match Prediction: 2-1
Wolverhampton Wanderers Vs Fulham
Wolves will be without Adlene Guedioura, David Edwards and Sam Vokes for the visit of Martin Jol’s men.
In the addition of Roger Johnson, Wolves have demonstrated a defensive solidity and will fancy their chances against a Fulham side with an abysmal away record in recent seasons. Kevin Doyle and Stephen Fletcher will lead the line once more and will be ably assisted by Stephen Hunt and Matthew Jarvis.
Fulham are fresh from a resounding European victory and will be confident of taking something from Molineux. Danny Murphy is doubtful with a knock while Simon Davies is definitely out with a knee injury.
Clint Dempsey was in goalscoring form on Thursday night and along with Bobby Zamora and Andy Johnson will look to make an impression on a well organised Wolves defence.
This one is too close to call, a draw the likely outcome.
Betting Odds: Wolves 2.38 (VC) Draw 3.30 (VC) Fulham 3.28 (BF)
Match Prediction: 2-2
Bolton Vs Man City
Owen Coyle will have had sleepless nights about Sergio Aguero, however, it would be foolhardy to solely focus on the diminutive yet powerful Argentine. City are a side full of threats and one fears that Bolton will be swimming against a blue tide come 4 o’clock Sunday. The Trotters will be without Sam Ricketts, Tyrone Mears, Chung-Yong Lee and Stewart Holden.
Having trounced QPR on the opening weekend Bolton will come into this one free of pressure and hoping to cause an upset.
City have only one injury doubt in Nigel De Jong and Roberto Mancini’s men look a formidable force.
With Aguero, David Silva and Yaya Toure in fantastic form they should have too much for Bolton.
This will be an entertaining watch but City should just about claim the spoils.
Betting Odds: Bolton 5.00 (VC) Draw 3.60 (VC) Man City 1.83 (BS)
Match Prediction: 1-3
Manchester United Vs Tottenham Hotspur
This promises to be a fascinating encounter with both sides very much of the attacking frame of mind. Sir Alex will be without Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic so Phil Jones and Jonny Evans could deputise in the centre of defence.
Darren Fletcher, Antonio Valencia and Javier Hernandez remain out while Michael Owen is doubtful.
Harry Redknapp’s men will have a spring in their step off the back of a 5-0 destruction of Hearts.
That game will have served as a useful exercise for Spurs and they will be ready for the Old Trafford clash, however, they do have a number of injury concerns.
Ledley King, William Gallas, Wilson Palacios, Luka Modric, Tom Huddlestone and Jermaine Jenas are all doubtful while Raniere Sandro and Steven Pienaar are definitely out.
This will be end to end stuff but United should claim the points.
Betting Odds: Manchester United 1.67 (BS) Draw 3.80 (VC) Tottenham Hotspur 6.00 (VC)
Match Prediction: 2-1