>Premier League predictions 11-12 November

>The Premier League fixture compiler has thrown up what should be an excellent weekend of football, as with three local derbies, and two clashes that give four of the top five clubs to take the points off each other this weekend.

Aston Villa v West Brom
Saturday’s traditional three o’clock kick offs see Aston Villa welcome neighbours West Brom to Villa Park.  Not much has been said about Villa’s abysmal performance on Monday against Liverpool, with the focuse more on the way old-time Anfield favourite, and current Villa manager, Gerrard Houlier reacted to the defeat.  The Frenchman appeared to ignore his own travelling support and applauded the Anfield faithful, which has only added to the pressure he faces as his side sit towards the bottom half of the league. A derby victory here would be the perfect way to start to win over the Villa fans who are yet to be impressed by him. However, in West Brom they face a side who are coming off on the back of a 4-1 victory over Everton and a 3-1 win over Newcastle.  Derbies always have that extra edge to them, and VN can only see a score draw being the end result of this one.
Prediction: Villa 2-2 West Brom

Everton v Wigan
Everton host Wigan at Goodison with only two points separating the sides in fifteenth and eighteenth.  Everton are struggling to get a good run of form going compared to previous seasons, although they achieved a valuable point against the out of form Chelsea last weekend, with Beckford grabbing the all important goal. Everton do struggle for goals as do Wigan. The Latics are one of the most inconsistent teams in the league, but now and again do play some impressive football.  However, Everton should have to much for Wigan and grab the three points with a comfortable victory.
Prediction: Everton 2-0 Wigan 

Fulham v Sunderland
Fulham take on Sunderland at Craven Cottage with Mark Hughes desperately seeking three points.  The former Manchester City manager has failed to win many games since his appointment, and his side have become draw specialists. Fulham find themselves above the relegation zone on goal difference only, and need to start winning games to move clear.  Sunderland have got their season back to winning ways thanks to their one nil win over West Ham last weekend and are hard to beat.  Therefore a low scoring draw is probably going to be the eventual outcome.
Prediction: Fulham 1-1 Sunderland

Stoke v Blackpool
Blackpool travel to Stoke comfortably poised in relative safety.  The tangerines continue to impress and they continue to do themselves justice wherever they play.  Stoke, who have consistently argued that they have been on the wrong end of some refereeing decisions, have worked their way up to tenth in the league following some recent wins.  Fuller appears to be finding form, and they look solid over the pitch. Despite could showings from Blackpool, VN predicts Stoke will have too much and overcome Blackpool.
Prediction: Stoke 2 -1 Blackpool.

West Ham v Manchester City
West Ham currently lie bottom of the league and are struggling for points. City meanwhile find themselves three points off top.  The typical tag that has followed City  for decades could once again prevail here, as this is the sort of fixture City should win comfortably but could yet end up dropping points.  If Mancini’s men are to be taken seriously they need a win here while the other title challengers face each other. The pressure will be off West Ham who are not expected to win, and could end up nicking at least a point.
Prediction: West Ham 0-2 Manchester City

Newcastle v Liverpool
All eyes will be on St James Park this Saturday evening as Alan Pardew takes control of his first game as Newcastle manager.  Pardew replaced the controversially sacked Chris Hughton  this week, with many Newcastle supporters not happy with this appointment. Liverpool meanwhile ripped apart Aston Villa on Monday night, and will want to build on that victory here. With the Toon fans likely to be in a boisterous mood following this week’s events, Liverpool should take full advantage and take all three points.
Newcastle 0-2 Liverpool

Bolton v Blackburn
Another derby game this weekend sees two Lancashire teams battle it out against each other.  Bolton go into the game after losing last weekend, while Blackburn go into it on the back of a three nil win over Wolves.  Bolton have overturned their image of playing one dimensional football, but while Blackburn are impressive at home they struggle away.  With local bragging rights at stake VN can see another draw.
Prediction: Bolton 1-1 Blackburn

Wolves v Birmingham
The second Midlands derby of the weekend sees relegation contenders Wolves take on Birmingham.  Wolves suffered a heavy defeat last weekend and are struggling to find their next victory and  now take on a Birmingham side that are spirited and organised, but lack the ability to kill off teams. Anything can happen in a derby game, it would be no surprise if their was at least one red card in what promises to be a fiery encounter.  However, VN thinks Birmingham have more than their neighbours and should win.
Prediction: Wolves 1-2 Birmingham

Tottenham v Chelsea
Tottenham will never have a better chance of taking all three points off Chelsea than this weekend.  Chelsea are struggling for points and have the worst form in the league. The defence looks shaky, the midfield are failing to dominate, and the goals have dried up.  Spurs meanwhile are on a high. They play free-flowing football, score goals for fun, as well as concede them. They are also on a high after finishing top of their Champions League group.  Tottenham beat Chelsea last season in their crucial run in for that fourth Champions League spot when Chelsea were hunting for the league.  Chelsea seem to have lost every bit of momentum they had gained this season. Harry Redknapp will realise opportunities like this do not come around every day, and will make sure his side have the best chance of taking all three points.
Prediction: Tottenham 2-1 Chelsea

Man Utd v Arsenal
Sunday also sees Arsenal travel to Old Trafford. United were unable to play last weekend due to Blackpool’s frozen pitch, while a Samir Nasri masterclass was enough to win all three points against Fulham for the Gunners.  These games are usually fairly open, and are always good to watch.  United in recent seasons have tended to be much stronger than their opponents, and VN can’t see anything changing here.
Prediction: Man Utd 2-0 Arsenal

By Oliver Holmes


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