The Premier League is back! Intense Champions League and Europa League fixtures have kept us busy midweek. Chelsea and Manchester United are the only two English teams to get through their respective ties. Good luck to them! Now back to predicting this crazy crazy league…
Previous Matchday Scores:
Here’s a reminder of last week’s scores and a recap of how we stand. As usual, a correct outcome warrants a point, while a perfect score gets three points:
Saturday March 22nd:
*Game of the week: Best team in London?*
Chelsea v Arsenal:
Bernie: This game could be pivotal in the title race. If Arsenal win you must really feel that a league and cup double is not beyond them. Lose, and they should put all their focus into winning the FA Cup. Jose Mourinho is still yet to lose at Stamford Bridge, and many will feel that he won’t be beaten on this day. Chelsea need to pick themselves up from their defeat to Aston Villa last weekend. What a title race we are in for. Congratulations must go out to Arsene Wenger as he celebrates his 1000th game managing Arsenal. It should be historical day in the EPL, and as a result I’ll sit on the fence – 1-1.
Mohaned: This is a huge game for the top of the table. If Arsene Wenger can break the Mourinho voodoo and get a win at Stamford Bridge, then with Arsenal’s game in hand they would leap frog Chelsea in the table. If Chelsea win this one, it will become a two horse race between them and Manchester City for the title. Huge, huge game for both teams. Chelsea are the favorites here as Arsenal seem to get a mental block in big games and have not been in great form of late. Still, I can see a draw in this game. I’ll go with 1-1.
Rishay: What a clash! Mourinho got his tactics spot on at the Emirates and now the Blues will be the favourites going into this one. If they get three points against Arsenal, Chelsea might well think they’ve won the league. Arsenal however, can get one over on Chelsea and put themselves back firmly in the race for the run in. Wenger’s 1000th game in charge? I wonder if it will be a special one. 2-1 Chelsea.
Cardiff v Liverpool:
Bernie: There’s just no hope for Cardiff here. I’m a massive fan of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but he chose the wrong team to manage. Liverpool will come into this with an amazing amount of confidence after beating up Manchester United away from home. Suarez and Sturridge are likely to run riot here and their title push will receive a further boost. Cardiff, on the other hand, are probably going down. 3-1 Liverpool.
Mohaned: Free scoring Liverpool will continue their good form in front of goal. Cardiff have been scraping through games and in no way, shape, or form will bother Liverpool here. Cardiff will be lucky to stay up this season but this is a crazy rollercoaster of a league and anything is possible. That said, this game is predictable … 3-0 Liverpool.
Rishay: High flying Liverpool will think they’ve already got the three points going into this one. Who would question them? Liverpool have scored more goals than Manchester City in the league and don’t look like stopping anytime soon. Cardiff have nothing to lose in this fixture, and maybe….just maybe, they will take advantage of some complacency by the Reds, should there be any. 3-1 Liverpool.
Manchester City v Fulham:
Bernie: Beating a plucky Hull City (Tigers) team with only 10 men must have been heart-warming for Manuel Pellegrini to see. Fulham are woeful, despite beating Newcastle. I expect Magath’s men to offer very little resistance in this match. City will be looking to march on in the league now that they aren’t in any other competition. The Capital One Cup won’t be enough for them so they need to – and will – put one over Fulham this weekend and pile pressure on Chelsea. 2-0 City.
Mohaned: Fulham have been dismal. So what do they do last week? They get a win against Newcastle! Its good for them that they got the three points last week because there will be none taken this time around. City are now fully focused on the league as their last trophy of the season and will give their all to win it. With their two games in hand, I see them as title favorites. City aren’t the best away from home but still .. 3-0 City.
Rishay: Felix Magath has insisted that Fulham will attack City at the Etihad. Something tells me that he is not fooling anybody. City have games in hand and can be the leaders if they win them all. The Sky Blues will be eyeing the scalps of Fulham in this one, without a doubt. 4-0 City.
West Ham v Manchester United:
Bernie: David Moyes became the first manager to navigate a team past a two-goal first leg deficit in the Uefa Champions League. Winning against Olympiakos may just have saved his job. However, West Ham are a team in good form, unlike Olympiakos. United have had good results but never managed to build on them and they need to now. I feel that if Moyes doesn’t get it right tactically, West Ham will run right through United. He needs to use the same team that showed massive effort against the Greeks, although Mata should come in for injured hero Van Persie. I see this one ending 2-2.
Mohaned: Yes yes yes. United had a good midweek in the CL and fully deserve the praise. Now they return to the league, where to be honest, there is no motivation for them. Fourth place is definitely out of reach so its all for pride right now. RVP is playing for a new 300k contract at 31. An incredible amount at that age! Beautiful retirement package right there. Moyes is playing for his job. Every player is playing for a chance to remain in next season’s squad post the huge so-called revamp. For this game, West Ham will cause them trouble. Carroll will be a handful. I’ll go with a 1-1 draw.
Rishay: Have Man United given themselves some momentum after their thrilling comeback in the Champions League? I feel like it is too early to say, and although the Red Devils are favourites for this one, they will need to continue to put in good performances in all areas of the pitch. The Hammers can’t be taken lightly. 2-0 United.
Sunday March 23nd:
Tottenham v Southampton:
Bernie: Of the “big” teams in the Premier League, Spurs are far and away the worst, despite what the table says. They have no plan and a manager who has no clue whatsoever. Southampton have a man with a philosophy and a youth setup that is one of the best in Europe. Southampton play a possession style that really should worry Spurs. If Adebayor has a bad game Spurs have no clue, and he hasn’t been too good of late. I see the Saints capitalizing here in my upset special. I don’t actually see it as an upset but what can I do? 2-1 Southamption.
Mohaned: Tottenham are coming back from a huge effort in Portugal for their Europa League tie against Benfica. Tim Sherwood’s crazy antics are sure to continue. Maybe this time he will play Aaron Lennon as a lone striker! It’s about the only position he hasn’t tried him in. Southampton are so hot and cold. Some games they are sensational while others they look decidedly average. I think they will step up their game this week against an injured and tired Spurs squad. 2-0 Southampton.
Rishay: Spurs made a valiant effort to come back against Benfica in midweek and could consider themselves unlucky not to have taken their tie into extra time. However, Southampton know how to knock the ball around and play the possession game, and will consider themselves the dark horses in this fixture. Tottenham could well be fatigued coming into this one and it could go either way. 2-1 Southampton