Manchester United are in pole position to win the championship by default, with no-one – Manchester City, Chelsea or Tottenham – providing any kind of credible challenge to Alex Ferguson’s men.
Rangers have got to start winning if they are any serious about avoiding the drop while it’s becoming increasingly bleak for Paul Lambert and his Villa side.
QUEENS PARK RANGERS vs NORWICH CITY
QPR are unbeaten in four matches, getting six points in the process, high time they turned their draws into wins and get themselves off the root of the table. Chris Samba and Loic Remy have been drafted into the team this winter. The latter would be relied upon to get the goals that would help Rangers escape the drop while Samba would add some grit to the team.
Norwich put the battering at Liverpool and embarrassing result in the FA Cup against Luton to one side as they almost got a win against Tottenham in midweek but could only manage a draw. They have only won once in nine games, but they are in 14th place on the Premier League table and have a seven points cushion from the relegation zone. Things are tightening up at the bottom, so the Canaries need to be careful as the situation could change after a couple of bad results and Chris Hughton will definitely be wary of this.
This is going to be a very feisty encounter with Rangers fighting for their Premier League lives. Norwich City have lost their last three Premier League games away from home but could be spoilers on their day, Harry must ensure this doesn’t happen.
OctopusSaxy’s Verdict: QUEENS PARK RANGERS WIN
ARSENAL vs STOKE CITY
Matches are actually played over 90 minutes seems like this Arsenal team has been oblivious of this fact lately. Arsene Wenger needs to stop looking for excuses and find solutions as to why his team can’t seem to get into gear until the second 45 minutes.
Arsenal’s attacking play can be sensational at times but their defending has been comical of late. Kieran Gibbs’ injury has come at a worse time but Nacho’s capture should hopefully ease that loss. Thomas Vermaelen and Per Mertesacker have been very poor and whatever happened to Bacary Sagna? With the fixtures coming thick and fast, it’s important these players get their acts together quickly.
The Potters have uncharacteristically leaked 16 goals in their last six matches and consequently, have not won in their last five Premier League outings.
Arsenal have scored 16 goals in their last four Premier League matches at the Emirates Stadium, if they can tighten up at the back, they should get the better of Tony Pulis’ men.
OctopusSaxy’s Verdict: ARSENAL WIN
EVERTON vs ASTON VILLA
Only the Manchester teams and Tottenham have garnered more points than the Toffees in their last six Premier League outings. Aston Villa on the other hand just can’t seem to get any break, with just two points in their last six games.
David Moyes’ men have their eyes firmly set on getting a TOP-FOUR spot come the end of the season and games like this have to be won to achieve that, it might not be pretty but I expect a home win.
OctopusSaxy’s Verdict: EVERTON WIN
NEWCASTLE UNITED vs CHELSEA
Good win for the Magpies at Villa Park but Chelsea are definitely a better team than Aston Villa and have travelled well this season. This one could go either way but Newcastle seem to be rejuvenated and I will be sitting on the fence.
OctopusSaxy’s Verdict: DRAW
READING vs SUNDERLAND
The Royals pulled off another great escape against Chelsea, scoring two goals in five minutes to get a share of the spoils. The same storyline was played out in the win over West Brom and also in the comeback triumph at Newcastle. Brian McDermott’s men have now picked up 11 points from the last 18 available and for the first time in two months, Reading are out of the drop zone.
Sunderland have been very impressive of late with 10 points from their last six Premier League outings. The Black Cats have not lost on the road in three matches so this is going to be a very even match.
OctopusSaxy’s Verdict: DRAW
WEST HAM UNITED vs SWANSEA CITY
How awful have the Hammers being of late? Not that Swansea City have been any brilliant but they are unbeaten in their last six Premier League matches and seem to have got a more compact team than the Hammers – I think they would punish West Ham on Saturday.
OctopusSaxy’s Verdict: SWANSEA CITY WIN
WIGAN vs SOUTHAMPTON
Brilliant fight-back from the Lactics to get a point at a very difficult ground like the Britannia in midweek. The Southampton team seems to have warmed up to their new manager’s style and tactics and results have been fairly good.
Wigan have lost their last three Premier League matches at their DW Stadium but I don’t see that continuing this weekend, they should get a point in an entertaining draw.
OctopusSaxy’s Verdict: DRAW
FULHAM vs MANCHESTER UNITED
Victory in this fixture on Saturday will see Manchester United go 10 points clear by the time Manchester City host Liverpool the next day. Does this say more about the feeble challenge from their pursuers or the quality of Sir Alex Ferguson’s side?
Manchester United are undefeated in their last 11 Premier League games, with Dimitar Berbatov unavailable, I just can’t see how Fulham can upset Sir Alex Ferguson’s team.
OctopusSaxy’s Verdict: MANCHESTER UNITED WIN
WEST BROMWICH ALBION vs TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
The Baggies finished the year right up there on the Premier League table, but haven’t won since the turn of the year. Their current form must be cause for concern for Steve Clarke as his team has now slipped to ninth. I think they will be still in the hunt for a Europa place if they can arrest this slide.
Tottenham still occupy fourth place but have failed to win in three matches. With Jermain Defoe out injured and Emmanuel Adebayor in South Africa with Togo, Tottenham are short in the striking position and this could hurt them in the short run.
Not many teams have left the Hawthorns with maximum points this season but I will be bold here and put my stores up with the away side.
OctopusSaxy’s Verdict: TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR WIN
MANCHESTER CITY vs LIVERPOOL
The Champions could be TEN POINTS behind leaders Manchester United by the time they file out for this fixture on Sunday evening. It is a situation that could all but end their Premier title aspirations and the pressure wouldn’t be any bigger. With the Toure brothers and Vincent Kompany unavailable, Manchester City do look short in defence.
Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez are combining very well and against a timid-looking Manchester City defence, they should have a field day creating chances.
Manchester City are condemned to win, they play at home where they are almost guaranteed maximum points every time they turn up and even though I feel Liverpool can really hurt them, I don’t want the Premier League title race to end any time soon and I strongly hope the home team wins.
OctopusSaxy’s Verdict: MANCHESTER CITY WIN
That’s it for this weekend’s round of Premier League matches. What do you think of my Analysis and Predictions? Let me know by making use of the comments box below and if you enjoyed the piece, could you kindly make use of the share buttons below? Thanks. You could also check back on Sunday night to see how I fared with my predictions.
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