So, we’ve had midweek international fixtures without missing the hustle and bustle of the Premier League, that’s what we like to see! Let’s get straight down to business, we have two stand-out matches on Saturday this week, a North London derby and The Sack Race.

EPL Predictions & Team News 17-18 Nov 2012

Arsenal v Tottenham – 17 November 2012 – 12.45 KO

This is the most drawn fixture in Premier League history and the smart money may well be on the same tomorrow. To be honest I think both sets of fans would take a face saving draw before kick-off comes round tomorrow lunchtime.

As well as draws, we have also had some high scoring games in this fixture as well, with last year’s being no exception. The home side winning 5-2, however as neither side are in the greatest form, and murmurs of discontent from both sets of fans I can see this being a lot tighter.

Team news: Walcott and Sagna both faces fitness tests for the Gunners, Szczesny should return in goal after playing in U21s loss to West Ham. Wilshere will also return from suspension. Spurs have doubts over Defoe, Walker and Lennon with the latter pair missing England duty with their respective injuries.
Betting Prediction: 1-1
Dream Team Star Man: Jack Wilshere

Liverpool v Wigan – 17 November 2012 – 15.00 KO

I was pretty impressed with the way Liverpool played against Chelsea last week, before kick-off it was hard to imagine them getting anything from the game and in the end they were maybe unlucky not to nick all 3 points. With Suarez in great form they have a focal point for the team to play through at the moment, but you do wonder where the goals will come from if he has a bad day.

Team News: Reina will start in goal, whilst defensive pairing of Skrtel and Agger should both be passed fit. Shaun Maloney could return after missing the midweek internationals for The Latics, but McArthur probably won’t get to take part.
Betting Prediction: 2-0
Dream Team Star Man: Luis Suarez

Manchester City v Aston Villa – 17 November 2012 – 15.0 KO

City look a different proposition with David Silva in their starting line-up, when he plays it seems to free up Yaya Toure and in turn lift the whole side. Although they have been way below their best, they are currently one of the form sides in the league and should comfortable extend a fantastic run which sees them unbeaten at home in 35 EPL games. Villa to their credit looked good in the first half against United last week and seem to have found a system which works for them, but this is another big challenge for Paul Lambert and his young side will come up short.

Team News: City’s injury problems are receding, Milner, Lescott, Nasri and Clichy could all be fit for this one. Villa’s list however is horrendous. Bennett looks the most likely to be fit out of all their absentees.
Betting Prediction: 3-1
Dream team Star Man: David Silva

Newcastle v Swansea – 17 November 2012 – 15.00 KO

The Magpies seem to really be missing the spark from last season’s magnificent form that saw them finish 5th. Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba are really struggling to play together; it is like they almost cancel each other out. Swansea on the other hand must be pretty happy with how the season has started. The second season syndrome has yet to take hold and if they win at St. James’ they will go above their hosts and into the top half of the table.

Team News: Gutierrez is definitely out injured for the home side along with Cabaye and the suspended Coloccini. Chico and Danny Graham have late fitness tests for the Swans.
Betting Prediction: 1-1
Dream Team Star Man: Hatem Ben Arfa

QPR v Southampton – 17 November 2012 – 15.00 KO

This should be interesting, the two sides locked together at the bottom of the table, and already falling adrift from Aston Villa who sit in 17th. Both teams have thrown money at it this year, so a lack of ambition can’t be blamed on the Chairman. Will something give if there is a losing manager Saturday?

My personal feelings are that if QPR fail to get a win, Mark Hughes can expect his P45 first thing Monday morning. If Saints lose, they will stand by Nigel Adkins, and so they should, back to back promotions are an amazing achievement. However they do need to adjust their style slightly, as they just aren’t good enough to play from the back as much as they try to.

Team News: Dyer and Mackie will probably make the bench for QPR, but Mbia will serve the last game of suspension. Nigel Adkins has ruled Richard Chaplow out for this game but the Saints have no other new problems.
Betting Prediction: 3-0
Dream Team Star Man: Esteban Granero

Reading v Everton – 17 November 2012 – 15.00 KO

As we predicted last week it now seems the Russian owners of Reading are starting to get a little impatient after a complete bore against Norwich last week, but overall perhaps a little unfairly. This time last year The Royals weren’t even setting The Championship alight, and now they are in the Premier League. Everton have only lost one of their last six away games but draw too many and I am leaning that way with my predictions this week.

Team News: Jimmy Kebe’s groin is Reading’s main worry, whilst Kevin Mirallas is unlikely to recover from his hamstring injury for The Toffees.
Betting Prediction: 1-1
Dream Team Star Man: Jobi McAnuff

West Bromwich Albion v Chelsea – 17 November 2012 – 15.00 KO

Baggies Head Coach Steve Clarke sees himself in charge for the first time against the team he served so well as a player and then as a coach. His West Brom side are hard to beat, especially at home, with a haul that currently stands as 16 points from a maximum of 18. Chelsea need a win here to re-ignite their title challenge after consecutive league draws.

Team News: Ben Foster is again ruled out in goal for West Brom which is a big blow, however Mulumbu and Morrison should overcome knocks that kept them out of midweek international duty. Chelsea captain John Terry is out for a while with knee ligament damage however Luiz will return after missing last weekend through illness.
Betting Prediction: 1-2
Dream Team Star Man: Juan Mata

Norwich City v Manchester United – 17 November 2012 – 17.30 KO

Norwich are in the pre-Strictly TV slot, but unlike the dancers in the show this week, there is little chance of the Canaries making an appearance at Wembley this year (Harsh!! – Joe)! United are somehow still top of the table despite seeming to be losing every time you seem them play. ‘Chicharito’ is on fire for them at the moment and will be hoping to match Suarez’s three goals he scored at Carrow Road earlier this season. Do you think he will go higher, or lower?

Team News: No new problems for Norwich, United have a big doubt over the fitness of Wayne Rooney which could see Hernandez start. Van Persie could also be rested to let his thigh injury recover.
Betting Prediction: 1-3
Dream Team Star Man: Javier Hernandez

Fulham v Sunderland – 18 November 2012 – 16.00 KO

What is it with the football scheduling on TV at the moment, I’ve got used to early and late game on Saturday, then on a Sunday it’s split 1pm and 4pm to throw me all off balance. I watched part of Leicester v Forest in the Saturday early slot last week and thought someone had turned the Premier League clock back to the late 90s.

Anyway, Fulham seem to have some goals about themselves at the moment, with Berbatov looking his usual class act and Bryan Ruiz starting to come good. I nearly typed Bryan Roy in my preview then, I really do have 90s Forest on the brain? Whatever happened to Andrea Silenzi?

Quick Fact! There have been four red cards in the last four meetings of these clubs.

Team News: Chris Baird is suspended for The Cottagers, and Kieran Richardson is extremely doubtful to face his old side after being subbed last weekend. Cattermole and Fletcher both face late tests for Sunderland.
Betting Predication: 2-0
Dream Team Star Man: Bryan Ruiz

West Ham United v Stoke City – 19 December 2012 -20.00 KO

Monday night football, what an invention that was. I went to one of the first of these at Highbury back in my youth, and even got to see The Shamen play at half-time as well!

Back on the pitch, West Ham have had their best start to a season in 26 years, and there is something about The Boleyn under floodlights. However if Stoke manage to get Michael Owen fit he will no doubt terrorise The Hammers as usual, his record against them currently stands at 13 goals in 17 appearances!

Team News: The Hammers side have huge problems after picking up 6 injuries in their last 2 fixtures. Jonathan Walters is Stokes main doubt whilst Dean Whitehead is suspended.
Betting Prediction: 2-1
Dream Team Star Man: Kevin Nolan

Anyway that’s my predictions for another week, I’m now off to log into Spotify and listen to Ebenezer Goode. Sorted!


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