Saturday, February 9, 2013

Premier League Predictions for Saturday, 2/9/13

Play match. Pack bags. Disperse to all corners of the world. Play match. Pack bags. Return to club. Play match.

That's pretty much the last week in the life of a national team soccer player playing in the Premier League and the results from this weekend's fixture list will undoubtedly illustrate how grueling a lifestyle this is to lead. Heavy legs, knocks, jet lag, and rumbly basements (read: tropically induced intestinal trouble) will conspire to sprinkle throughout the team sheets a number of unusual players in unusual positions. Or they won't and instead will conspire to create some unusual performances from usually stellar players. It all makes for great viewing.

The predictions:

"3-2?! Have you gone Berserk?"
Tottenham v Newcastle - The French Revival is well and truly underway for Monsieur (De)Pardew's Newcastle squad and I don't see that slowing down. Tottenham are well up the table, but aren't exactly setting the world on fire with their attacking performances. Clint Dempsey just played 90 minutes in a Honduran sauna, Gareth Bale led Wales to a win over Austria, and Emmanuel Adebayor is barely back from the African Cup of Nations. Newcastle had their own stars away on national team duty, notably Yohan Cabaye and Moussa
Sissoko, but I feel like the pointy end of Tottenham's spear will be rather duller than the pointy end of Newcastle's...even at White Hart Lane. This leads me to this week's Governor William J. Le Petomane Insane Prediciton of the Week (And right out of the gates too!): Newcastle to win 3-2. AVB's beard at three days' growth.

Chelsea v Wigan - My love affair with Roberto Martinez is long and well documented, but with center back issues and the fact that Roberto Martinez still manages Wigan, I don't see the Latics getting anything here...unless they break Demba Ba's nose for the second week in a row. Chelsea to win 3-0.

Please, Santo Jol, you need me up top!
Norwich v Fulham - In their first meeting this season, Fulham torched the Canaries 5-0. Phil Mison at ESPN wrote a great recipe for canary dinner, but I'm not sure I share his optimism. I've been critical of Dimitar Berbatov and the way he is deployed for the Cottagers, especially against superior sides. Norwich is certainly not that, but in the last two matches, both played at Craven Cottage, Fulham has looked much brighter and more confident going forward. In the West Ham match, I attribute this to Martin Jol playing two strikers. In the Manchester United match, I attribute this to Jol not being able to select Berbatov. I suspect Fulham may travel to Carrow Road and revert to the one striker system, in which case Norwich gets the win 2-1. If, on the other hand, Jol bucks up or if Berbatov doesn't pass his late fitness test, Fulham draws 2-2. Gah! Pick one! As much as it pains me, Canaries win 2-1.

Stoke v Reading - When did the Potters decide to start letting in a shit ton of goals? A month ago Asmir Begovic watched his defenders kick, punch, eye gouge, and generally brutalize everything that came near his goal. The Britannia was a fortress. Now it's sort of a decorative shed with a bronzed rooster on top of it. Against Reading, however, I see Stoke getting back to winning ways. 1-0 Potters.

Sunderland v Arsenal - I grow weary even thinking about predicting Arsenal matches. Also, I grow weary of Arsenal fans dissecting my Arsenal predictions. How's this one, Gooners? Arsenal 2-1.

Swansea v QPR - I'll be a monkey's uncle. Here we are in February and QPR are showing signs of life. Granted, it's life that's come at an extraordinary premium, will probably still see the club go down, and then sink into the throes of financial ruin, but it sure as hell is fun to watch now! In the meantime, Swansea can't buy a goal. I call another draw for 'Arry's expensively assembled pensioners. 1-1.

Southampton v Manchester City - I think City knows Pepe Reina gifted them a lifeline in the Premier League chase and a slip up against Southampton is something they simply cannot afford. With Manchester United playing Everton this weekend, City will be hoping for a win and a United hiccup against a very capable Toffees side. I see at least half of that equation as a stone cold lock. Manchester City 2-0.

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