Premier League Preview: Gameweek 9

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Welcome once again to my Premier League Preview for Gameweek 9. We were treated to plenty of goals last weekend, with Wilshere and Kasami’s the two standouts. It’s been an eventful week already with European drama and another Premier League managerial casualty, what could possibly go wrong this weekend?…

Crystal Palace v Arsenal

Most people will think this fixture is a formality and I would have to agree with them. Palace have offered very little to prove they have the fight to stay in the division, and will now be without Ian Holloway who left the club this week. Unlucky for them, they face an Arsenal side who continue to play with verve and swagger, sweeping aside opponents as if they were snow on a windscreen. Wilshere’s wonder goal last weekend left puddles of drool countrywide, and I expect the Gunners to slice through the chasm-like Palace defence like a hot knife through olive oil spread.

I think Arsene will be celebrating his 64th birthday week with a 3-0 away win.

Aston Villa v Everton

Villa have been fairly inconsistent this season and as such are a difficult outfit to predict. Benteke’s tentative return last weekend wasn’t enough to for Paul Lambert’s side to prevail against a buoyant Andros Townsend – what a month he’s having. Everton’s away from hasn’t been nearly as impressive as their home form, however they didn’t panic when all-level against Hull last weekend and I don’t expect their concentration to drop again this Saturday. Villa will be hoping Benteke is closer to 100% fit if they are hopeful of all three points.

I expect a tight game, and I expect Everton to just edge it. 2-1.

Liverpool v West Brom

Having failed to break down a resolute Newcastle defence last week, Brendan Rodgers will be hoping to get back to winning ways at home to a revived West Brom, who are unbeaten since 1st September. I expect Liverpool to line up once again with five at the back, and will be hoping Lucas – one of their unsung heroes this season – returns from paternity leave. 100 Premier League goal Gerrard, Suarez and Sturridge threw the proverbial kitchen sink last week, and I expect with home support, similar efforts may reap more rewards on Saturday.

2-1 Liverpool, but expect West Brom to push them right to the 90th minute.

Man Utd v Stoke

Another dreaded home game looms from Moyes’ United, albeit against a profligate Stoke side. There seems to be a stigma in the air at Old Trafford and Moyes needs to banish the home demons, and quickly. The Scot failed to heed my advice and play either Kagawa or Zaha against Southampton, who earned a well-deserved point thanks to United’s lack of concentration for the full 90. Stoke will be stubborn and physical and play for a 0-0 draw so the home side will need all their guile and creativity to play through the giants of Shawcross and Huth. If United score early, expect a deluge – otherwise, this may be a nervy one.

I’m going to call 2-0 home win, with both goals coming in the second half.

Norwich v Cardiff

It’s all going wrong for Norwich at the minute and Chris Hughton is yet another manager hoping for reprieve at home. No doubt he will have replayed their capitulation against Arsenal numerous times this week and I expect their defence to be far more alert come the weekend. Cardiff will hope Jordan Mutch’s outstanding form can continue at Carrow Road, and it’s fair to say they went down to an outrageously unfair first goal at Stamford Bridge, although inevitably I don’t think that would’ve made any difference to the final result.

For me, Norwich are too good to be occupying a relegation place and a 2-0 win should see Cardiff replace them below the much feared ‘dotted line’.

Southampton v Fulham

Both teams come into this fixture with momentum and I’m expecting an open game. Southampton’s fine form continued with a hard-earned draw at Old Trafford (I did call 1-1 last week…just saying) and Fulham recorded back-to-back victories for the first time this season with the help of a sensational volley from Swiss midfielder Pajtim Kasami. Jack who??…

I’ll boldly predict a scoring draw at 2-2, with Dani Osvaldo finding the net for the Saints.

Sunderland v Newcastle

Superb Sunday kicks off in confrontational style as the Black Cats and Magpies (that hardly seems a fair fight) lock horns in the Wear-Tyne derby. With last season’s knee-sliding reverse fixture still fresh in the memory, the Geordies will be hoping for a repeat of the stout defensive display they showed against Liverpool. They will have to manage without Coloccini, who’s injury may be worse than first feared and suspended Yanga-Mbiwa. Enter Paul Dummett, who will backing himself after a superb showing at the weekend. Drastic times call for drastic measures, and Gus Poyet has been talking up the abilities of Wes Brown who may make a shock return to the side after 21 months out of the starting 11.

Bias aside, I’m calling a narrow Geordie victory at 1-0 with at least one red card. I also expect all horses within a ten-mile radius to bolt before the final whistle blows.

Chelsea v Man City

Superb Sunday continues with easily the game of the weekend. Mourinho and Pellegrini lock horns at Stamford Bridge in a fight to the death. Well, almost. Both clubs recorded comfortable victories last weekend against teams who, in the end, offered little resistance. Sergio Agüero looked like a man possessed at Upton Park and across the capital Eden Hazard led the Blues in a comeback against an initially wilful Cardiff outfit. It’s a tough game to call, especially given both sides have managed three clean sheets each in the league so far this season.

But with home advantage and given Man City are without defensive stalwart Vincent Kompany, I do think Mourinho’s men will just shade it. 1-0 Chelsea.

Swansea v West Ham

Swansea’s demolishing of Sunderland on Saturday saw them leap frog the inconsistent West Ham, who still linger only a point of the relegation zone, or the dotted line zone as I will now call it. Morrison showed only glimpses of his recent brilliance against Man City but did set up a spectacular acrobatic goal for Ricardo Vaz Te. De Guzman was the stand out player at the weekend and I think he will play an important part against the Hammers, keeping Diamé sufficiently busy with his defensive duties. The Swans will hope Bony can turn his penalty conversion into something of a run, with Laudrup quietly encouraging Michu that he can join in with the goalscoring too if he fancies.

I can’t separate these two, so I’ll go 1-1 at the Liberty Stadium.

Tottenham v Hull

Don’t be deceived by Tottenham’s current league standing – they are in crisis. A scoring crisis. They are joint-second lowest scorers in the top half of the Premier League and Roberto Soldado has only just scored his first goal from open play. Could this be the first start for Erik Lamela, whose attacking prowess could help feed Soldado more effectively? Super Andros will undoubtedly give Maynor Figueroa a tricky afternoon down the right hand side. Danny Graham’s knee won’t be ready in time for the clash, but that may be a blessing in disguise given the form of Sagbo and Aluko.

Despite a midweek trip to Moldova, I still expect Tottenham’s strength in depth to overcome a hardworking Hull side. 2-0 Spurs.

No ‘MNF’ this week, sorry everyone…

Listen to Episode 2 of The Hit Row Z Podcast – now on iTunes – subscribe and share!

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