This weekend’s Premier League preview

by Kevin Coleman

After such a thrilling weekend of action last week, will gameweek six continue the trend? Manchester City and Manchester Utd lock horns in the highly anticipated local derby, while Chelsea and Tottenham do battle at the Bridge.

Burnley v Sunderland

Sunderland travel to Turf Moor hoping to inflict Burnley’s third loss in a row, on the back of a 4-1 trouncing of Hull City. Stephen Caldwell is still missing for. Fellow centre-back Michael Duff is fit again after an ankle injury but is unlikely to dislodge Andre Bikey and Clarke Carlisle at the heart of the defence. Lee Cattermole is a major doubt for Steve Bruce, who is still without Marton Fulop but Craig Gordon is fit to keep his place in goals. George McCartney is also a doubt.

We predict: Sunderland win

Our Fantasy Player Pick: Wade Elliot / Darren Bent

Arsenal v Wigan

Robin van Persie returns to the Arsenal line-up after missing their midweek Champions League win against Standard Liége. The Dutch forward sat out the game with a knee problem, but is ready to return after scoring last weekend against Manchester City. Manuel Almunia is struggling to overcome a virus to be available in time, while Wenger is still without Andrey Arshavin. Wigan have a fully fit squad to choose from, with Martinez not expected to make many changes after last week.

We predict: Arsenal win

Our Fantasy Player Pick: Robin van Persie / Hugo Rodallega

Aston Villa v Portsmouth

After a pointless start to the season, Portsmouth face the tough task of ending their atrocious run against Aston Villa on Saturday. John Carew is pushing for a recall to the starting line-up, while Emile Heskey is also available. Richard Dunne, James Collins and Stephen Warnock are all set to make their home debuts after the derby win last week. Paul Hart has no new injury worries this week. Steve Finnan is back in training, but won’t be selected, while Aruna Dindane is undergoing a fitness programme after a knee problem.

We predict: Aston Villa win

Our Fantasy Player Pick: Richard Dunne / Jamie O’ Hara

Bolton v Stoke City

After picking up their first points of the season last week, Bolton will look to double that in what’s certain to be a gritty game against Stoke. Sean Davis is suspended for Bolton, and are still without John O’ Brien and Ricardo Vaz Te. Thomas Sorensen is set to start for Stoke after limping off last week, while James Beattie is a big doubt after bursting a blood vessel in his leg. Liam Lawrence and Matty Etherington are both in contention for starts.

We predict: Stoke have surprised so far, away win.

Our Fantasy Player Pick: Matty Taylor / Tuncay Sanli

Hull City v Birmingham

Both these sides lost last week, Hull conceded four against Sunderland while Birmingham lost in the local derby against Villa. Jan Vennegoor of Hesslink is in contention for his first start since joining Hull, while Dean Marney returns from a knee injury. Jimmy Bullard is a few weeks away from making a long awaited return from knee surgery. Alex McLeish says Birmingham’s treatment room is “bursting at the seams” ahead of Saturday’s trip to Hull City. James McFadden (thigh) and defender Franck Queudrue (hamstring) are the latest players to join an injury list that already includes Cameron Jerome (ankle), Gregory Vignal, Marcus Bent (both hamstring) and Martin Taylor (ankle). Christian Benitez may make his first start since his £8m move in the summer.

We predict: Er, draw

Our Fantasy Player Pick: Karem Ghilas / Sebastian Larsson

West Ham v Liverpool

Saturday’s evening kick-off sees West Ham who lost last week to Wigan host Liverpool who are on the back on a home win against Burnley. Herita Ilunga is available after recovering from a jaw injury, as is Kieran Dyer and Valon Behrami but Luis Jiminez is missing. Liverpool may field the same team in three games, although Ryan Babel may get the nod. Fabio Aurelio is fit again and should make the bench, and Daniel Agger is back in training but won’t be considered.

We predict: Liverpool win

Our Fantasy Player Pick: Alessandro Diamanti / Glen Johnson

Man Utd v Man City

Unbeaten Man City travel across the city to contest the eagerly anticipated Manchester Derby, with United on the back of a win against Spurs. Rio Ferdinand is a major doubt after missing the midweek game against Besiktas, while Dimitar Berbatov and Darren Fletcher are set to return to the team. Paul Scholes is suspended after his red card last week. Carlos Tevez faces a late fitness test to meet his old club after returning to training this week. Emmanuel Adebayor is the big absentee due to his suspension, while Robinho and Roque Santa Cruz remain sidelined.

We predict: Impossible to tell, sticking my neck out with a City win. (Neil says Utd win!)

Our Fantasy Player Pick: Wayne Rooney / Shaun Wright-Phillips

Wolves v Fulham

Wolves will be looking for their second win of the season after Fulham came from behind to defeat Everton last week. Wolves are set to be boosted by the return of winger Michael Kightly, striker Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, right-back Kevin Foley and central defender Jody Craddock. Segundo Castillo could make his Wolves debut, while Stefan Maierhofer could start after coming off the bench to score last week. Fulham have a fully fit squad to choose from apart from Paul Konchesky who is sidelined with a knee problem, and may require surgery.

We predict: Score draw

Our Fantasy Player Pick: Michael Kightly / Damien Duff

Everton v Blackburn

Everton have picked up just three points from their opening four matches and will be desperate for a win when Blackburn Rovers come to town. Lucas Neill is unlikely to make an appearance due to lack of match fitness, while Phil Neville is a long term absentee after injurying his knee midweek. Russian midfielder Diniyar Bilyaletdinov’s injury is also being assessed, after being subbed against AEK Athens. Sam Allardyce has the luxury of choosing from a fully fit squad as Benni McCarthy and Steven N’Zonzi return from injury.

We predict: Everton to pick up their second win.

Our Fantasy Player Pick: Tim Cahill / Morten Gamst Pedersen

Chelsea v Tottenham

These two sides were unbeaten up until last week when Spurs were beaten by Manchester Utd. Chelsea have been on top form, and welcome back Jose Boswinga and Didier Drogba who were suspended in midweek. Joe Cole, Yuri Zhirkov and Paulo Ferriera are all one week away from returning, but Alex is still out. Luka Modric, Michael Dawson and Jonathon Woodgate are all injured for Spurs, but Heurelho Gomes and Gareth Bale are close to returning.

We predict: Chelsea win

Our Fantasy Player Pick: Didier Drogba / Jermain Defoe

….what do you guys think? Comment us with your thoughts and predictions below…

6 Responses

  1. i reckon Spurs might ‘get a result’ at Chelsea, as they say in the business.

    great work as always.

  2. Kevin Coleman Kevin Coleman says:

    I don’t know, Chelsea are on ‘top form’, wouldn’t expect them to lose to Spurs at home.

  3. Only disagree with a couple:
    Hull v Birmingham, I’d predict a Hull victory, much stronger up front
    Wolves v Fulham: Fulham victory for me

  4. Kevin Coleman Kevin Coleman says:

    LOL!

    I got 6/10.

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