BPL: Week Four Preview and Predictions
The champions, Manchester United, will be hoping to bounce back from a 1-0 defeat to bitter rivals Liverpool, as they face Crystal Palace at Old Trafford. Under Sir Alex Ferguson, it was a United trademark to respond to defeat with resounding victory. This means David Moyes side will be looking for a comfortable win over Ian Holloways newly promoted team. The match could also see the debut of new signing Marouane Fellaini, who joined from Everton on transfer deadline day.
Wayne Rooney should again be unavailable for selection as he recovers from a head injury. Crystal Palace impressed last time out, picking up a 3-1 win over Sunderland before the international break. Despite that, Manchester United will have a point to prove to their title rivals and a big win could be on the cards in this game.
Prediction: 3-0 Man United
Manchester City faces a tough away trip to the Britannia Stadium as they go in search of three points against an improving Stoke City. Stoke have won two on the bounce and could move into the top four with a win over the Blues. Manchester City, who currently sits third in the table, will hope to improve on two less than stellar performances against Cardiff and Hull. Their quality in the attacking areas should be enough to see Pellegrinis side pick up a hard fought victory.
Prediction: 2-0 Man City
Arsenal will make the trip to the North East to face Sunderland. Arsene Wengers side won their previous two Premier League matches, including a 1-0 win over North London rivals, Tottenham, before the international break. Arsenal will also be buoyed by the expected debut of record singing Mesuit Ozil. Sunderland, who has yet to win this season, will be without defender John OShea who was sent off in their 3-1 loss to Crystal Palace two weeks ago. I expect Sunderland to struggle in this one, and Paolo Di Canios side could be facing a relegation scrap this season.
Prediction: 3-1 Arsenal
Jose Mourinho and his Chelsea team face a strong challenge as they travel to Merseyside to play Roberto Martinezs Everton. Chelsea has made a predictably solid start to the season, and currently occupy second place in the league. Everton, on the other hand, have drawn three consecutive matches and are still in search of their first win. The Toffees could be assisted by the debuts of James McCarthy and Gareth Barry in the midfield. Goodison Park is one of the toughest places to play in the Premier League, and Chelsea faces a real examination in this one.
Tottenham will be looking to get back to winning ways, as they welcome Norwich City to White Hart Lane. Spurs suffered their first loss of the season before the international break, going down 1-0 to Arsenal. Tottenham will need time for their new summer signings to properly gel into the team, and I expect them to improve as the season goes on. Norwich has continued to grow as a Premier League team, and I believe they will be comfortably safe from relegation this season. However, Spurs will be too strong in this match.
Prediction: 2-1 Tottenham
Elsewhere on Saturday, Aston Villa host Newcastle United. Paul Lamberts belief in developing his young players is starting to come to fruition and Villa look like a team on an upward swing. Both Fulham and West Brom will be looking to kick start their seasons as they battle it out at Craven Cottage. The Baggies will have new signings Stephane Sessegnon and Victor Anichebe available for selection. Newly promoted Hull City, host fellow new boys Cardiff City at the KC Stadium. Both teams have made steady starts to the season but I think these two similar teams could cancel each other out.
2-0 Aston Villa
0-0 Fulham v West Brom
1-1 Hull v Cardiff
Sundays only match sees Southampton welcome West Ham United to St. Marys. Both teams have picked up four points so far this season, and they will both be going for a win in this match. However, the continued absence of Andy Carroll will be a big blow for the Hammers.
Prediction: 2-1 Southampton
Mondays match brings us an entertaining matchup between Swansea and Liverpool. This tough away fixture will be another test of Liverpools early season title credentials. The Swans have been one of the surprise packages over the last two seasons. Brenden Rodgers could also be without in-form striker Daniel Sturridge, who missed Englands World Cup qualifiers because of injury. Despite that, Liverpools overall quality and organization should be enough to see them over the line
Prediction: 1-0 Liverpool
Source: BBC Sport. sportsmole.co.uk
Manchester United v. Crystal Palace can be heard on Sports Talk 1040 in Tampa, and Sports Talk 1080 in Orlando. Coverage starts at 7am.