Premier League Preview: Gameweek 11

Listen to Episode 4 (published 6th November) of The Hit Row Z Podcast – now on iTunes – subscribe and share!

Welcome to my Premier League Preview for Gameweek 11. Arsenal pulled five points clear of their rivals last weekend but face a stern test at Old Trafford, while struggling Crystal Palace and Sunderland both have a chance to make home advantage count as they look to dig themselves out of an improbably big hole at the foot of the table.

Aston Villa v Cardiff
A win against your biggest rivals is never going to do your chances any harm, but Malky Mackay will not have let himself celebrate too much as the dark clouds still continue to gather overhead. The men from the Welsh capital face a Villa side who haven’t scored in their last four matches, and will need Christian Benteke to once again show the heroics that arguably saved their season last year.

I sense a 1-0 home victory at Villa Park on Saturday.

Chelsea v West Brom
Jose Mourinho declared that he’d made 11 mistakes at St James’ Park as the Blues suffered a shock defeat against a deserving Newcastle side. West Brom travel to London after securing a comfortable win last weekend, with the ever-impressive Saido Berahino leading the charge for all three points against a doomed Palace.

However I can see both sides experiencing reverse fortunes this weekend as Chelsea run out 2-0 winners.

Crystal Palace v Everton
The Toffees have only conceded one goal in their last three Premier League fixtures, in contrast to the eight Palace have conceded. Caretaker boss Keith Millen will desperately need the fans’ voices to gee up his men, who in truth, already look defeated. Star man Romelu Lukaku faces a fitness race to make the starting eleven after sustaining a thigh injury – presumably damaging himself on the head of a Frenchman?…With Arouna Kone out too, Roberto Martinez may give Jelavic the nod, who will need to take his opportunity if he is to remain at the club past next summer.

I sense a muted Selhurst Park will observe a 1-0 away victory.

Liverpool v Fulham
The new SAS failed to make a dent in Arsenal’s stubborn defence on Sunday after putting on a striking masterclass the week before. They face a Fulham team who were carved open so embarrassingly easy against a previously under fire Man Utd side. The problem Martin Jol has is that his side display signs of undeserved arrogance. Berbatov’s lack of motivation, Reither’s petulant stamp on Januzaj and Scott Parker thumping the floor after he definitely wasn’t fouled in the build up to van Persie’s goal.

The Dutch manager’s days continue to be numbered – 2-0 to Liverpool.

Southampton v Hull
It was ironic that the meanest defence in the league should be undone by a goalkeeper’s clearance and a huge gust of wind. Still the Saints held on and will be hoping to return to winning ways against a Hull side who have firmly planted their heels in the mid-table mud. Southampton remain unbeaten in their last seven and I fully expect them to stretch that record in Gameweek 11.

Saints to win 2-1.

Norwich v West Ham
One man starting to feel his shirt collar getting tighter is Chris Hughton, whose three new strikers have only managed six shots between them so far this season. Yikes. The Hammers are themselves lacking a finisher up top as injuries and form keep their goal difference modest. Can’t help but feel an uninspiring game around the corner and Norwich could do worse than not concede seven this week.

Bore 0-0 draw at Carrow Road.

Tottenham v Newcastle
Alan Pardew’s clairvoyance on Saturday was almost as surprising as the score, as the Geordies’ undefeated home record against Mourinho continued. Newcastle looked good value for their win and are sure to play a counter attacking strategy against Spurs, while lining up with two lines of defence to soak up the pressure. Tottenham didn’t quite lose against Everton last week as I’d predicted, however they did reaffirm their lack of spark up front. They are due a defeat, but I don’t think it will come against Newcastle.

1-1 and a well-earned point for the visitors.

Sunderland v Man City
Gus Poyet’s men failed to capitalise on their derby day win against Hull and they meet a dynamic Man City side who showed little mercy against the quivering Canaries. Agüero, David Silva and Yaya Toure continue to be at the heart of all things good this season and Pellegrini will surely relish facing up to a relatively immobile and leaky defence. Sunderland will have to pull out their performance of the season to stop the City steam train, and I can’t see it happening.

Expect Sunderland fans to leave their seats early, 4-1 to the title challengers.

Man Utd v Arsenal
In the head  fixture of Superb Sunday, both mangers will be out to prove something – Wenger that he can once again beat a top team, and Moyes that he can beat anyone. I kid, I kid – back to back wins have shown the best of RRVP and Januzaj is slowly starting to flourish at a time where genuine creative spark from the midfield evades United. This fixture has a history of being a bit tasty and if Arsenal score first, I can see the home players struggling to keep their heads, but, as against Stoke, they must.

An action-packed 2-2 is on the cards, with a cheeky red card thrown in for good measure.

Swansea v Stoke
Perhaps two of the dullest sides in the league this year bring the curtain down on the weekend’s fixtures, but Superb – it ain’t. Swansea’s derby defeat added insult to injury (quite literally in the case Michu this week) after a lack of form leaves them floating only three points above the dotted line zone. Stoke’s fate, scoring goalkeepers or not, is even worse as they find themselves one point and one place from the drop zone. Early six pointer? You betcha.

I can see the Swans scraping a 1-0 win to slightly ease the pressure on Michael Laudrup.

Listen to Episode 4 (published 6th November) of The Hit Row Z Podcast – now on iTunes – subscribe and share!

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