We’ve made February already, and the title race already appears to have turned into a damp squib with City dropping points in London midweek. Since those fixtures have been and gone, we’ve had the end of the transfer window which was largely forgettable apart from Odemwingie-gate and QPR lining themselves up with a ridiculous wage bill for Championship football next season. Even the Darth Vader of the transfer deadline day Spurs Chairman Daniel Levy failed to use his dark arts and produce a deal at the last minute! Maybe AVB needs to learn some Jedi mind tricks from ‘Arry.

EPL Predictions & Team News 2/3 Feb 2013

QPR v Norwich – Saturday 2 February 2013 – 1245 KO

Shepherds Bush was certainly a more excitable place during transfer deadline day than it has been during most of this season, and they have broken their transfer record twice in a month to try and buy-off relegation. Losing the influential Ryan Nelson to MLS could still prove to be the most expensive bit of business Uncle Tony Fernandes did all month. Norwich may look back at the window with some regret after trying and failing to add a top class striker to their books and instead went in at the last minute for Leeds’ Becchio.

Premier League Team News: The QPR announcer may have the hardest job on Saturday with loads of new faces available including Samba, Jenas and Townsend, luckily for him though Korean signing Yun Suk-Young won’t be rushed into the fray.  Hoilett is also back for The Rs but Nelson and Faurlin have now departed and Mackie is ill.  Becchio is available to start after signing from Leeds in a swap deal with Steve Morison, and Steven Whittaker is fit to play again
Premier League Betting Prediction: 2-1
Dream Team Star Man: Adel Taarabt

Arsenal v Stoke – Saturday 2 February 2013 – 1500 KO

I’d like to start off by comparing The Gunners with Paul McCartney.  10 years ago they were an unstoppable force of England, known throughout the world for their talent, however now they seem to be stuck in a rut not knowing exactly what they should be doing and producing only glimmers of their past talent. However all is not lost for them yet and they could still go on a decent run and pip Spurs to 4th place which I guess would be akin to McCartney’s release of the Frog Chorus.

Anyway this fixture is always a cracker not so much for the football played but for how much Tony Pulis can annoy Arsene Wenger!

Premier League Team News:  New signing Nacho Monreal could get to dip into EPL action straight away with Gibbs out for 6 weeks.  Vermaelen is a doubt with an ankle problem but Arteta should return.  Gervinho is still at AC of N.  Stoke have no new problems ahead of this fixture
Premier League Betting Prediction: 3-1
Dream Team Star Man: Jack Wilshere

Everton v Aston Villa – Saturday 2 February 2013 – 1500 KO

What can really be said about Villa at the moment, they now are sitting 19th in the EPL and have picked up only two points in the last seven games, however there does seem to be a glimmer of light in that they do seem to be able to put together some decent stuff at times.  They battered Newcastle in the second half in midweek and did the same thing against The Baggies only a couple of weeks ago.  If they can just get someone to take responsibility at the back from set-pieces they could be mid-table.

Everton had a quiet transfer window and missed out on signing the midfielder Fer, who is nicknamed ‘The Bouncer’ however they have kept hold of the crown jewels in Fellaini.

Premier League Team News: Out of form Jelavic may be kept on the bench again by boss David Moyes, who still has Hibbert and Coleman out injured.  Darron Gibson may also be given a starting spot after making his comeback in midweek from a long injury break.  Villa are set to include new signing Sylla and Dawkins in their squad  and influential defender Dunne could return.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-1
Dream Team Star Man: Leon Osman

Newcastle v Chelsea – Saturday 2 February 2013 – 1500 KO

The French Foreign Legion came up trumps in midweek for Newcastle with a morale boosting win against Villa, Alan Pardew will be looking to kick on against a desperately out of sorts Chelsea who conceded late against Reading on Wednesday.

Premier League Team News:  The Newcastle squad is now nearly at full fitness and they should only be missing Ben Arfa and Tiote this weekend. Chelsea will be looking to experience to see them through this game with Cech and Terry returning to the starting XI.  Mata should also be in the team after beating a knock.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-2
Dream Team Star Man: Frank Lampard

Reading v Sunderland – Saturday 2 February 2013 – 1500 KO

Amazingly Reading now sit outside the bottom three for the first time in living memory largely due to the goal scoring exploits of super sub Adam Le Fondre.  But 3 wins in 5 is a good return for any team in a relegation battle.  If the goals dry up for Le Fondre though who will score?

Sunderland also come into this game in similar form and the sides look pretty evenly matched.

Premier League Team News: The Royals’ Noel Hunt is rated at no more than 50/50 to play in this fixture whilst Brian McDermott has the decision whether to play Le Fondre from the start.  The Black Cats will throw Danny Graham straight into their starting line-up  however Cattermole has had a relapse of his knee problem and will sit this one out.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-1
Dream Team Star Man: Danny Graham

West Ham v Swansea –Saturday 2 February 2013 – 1500 KO

The Hammers seem to have lost their early season bounce and quickly need a win to keep some breathing space from the relegation battle. Swansea will be tough to crack especially at The Boleyn as The Swans have the best away defensive record in the league, but expect West Ham to get up close and personal from the start.

Premier League Team News: Andy Carroll could start his first fixture since November but defensively they have worries with Collins, Potts and McCartney all missing.  Pogatetz could make his debut though.  The Swans are now without Danny Graham who has gone to Sunderland in a £5m deal.
Premier League Betting Prediction:  1-0
Dream Team Star Man: Kevin Nolan

Wigan v Southampton – Saturday 2 February 2013 – 1500 KO

Roberto Martinez will be targeting a home fixture against Southampton as a must win if Wigan are to escape the drop zone but The Saints have looked in tasty form recently and were unlucky not to claim any points away at United in midweek.  Neither of these sides uprooted trees on deadline day, however Wigan did bring back old boy Paul Scharner on loan from Germany.

Premier League Team News: Scharner will come straight into the Wigan back line as they are light there at the moment with Boyce, Alcaraz and Ramis all missing.  Kone is also unavailable as on International duty.  Lallana is fit to start for Southampton after coming off the bench in midweek and new signing Forren may feature at some point.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-1
Dream Team Star Man: Franco Di Santo

Fulham v Manchester United – Saturday 2 February 2013 – 1730 KO

Fulham stopped their dip in form in midweek when overcoming a West Ham side that were camped in their half for most of the second period. Boss Martin Jol has also brought in Dutch International Urby Emanuelson on loan from AC Milan on Thursday.

Alex Ferguson’s table toppers could see themselves 10 points clear of noisy neighbour Manchester City if they take maximum points at The Cottage.

Premier League Team News: Berbatov is out of this fixure against his former club after going off injured in his side’s midweek win.  This adds to Fulham increasing unavailable list that includes Richardson and Diarra.  United are able to welcome back Ferdinand and Evans to the squad but Ashley Young is still injured
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-3
Dream Team Star Man: Wayne Rooney

West Bromwich Albion v Tottenham – Sunday 3 February 2013 – 1330 KO

As I eluded to in my intro, perhaps the biggest talking point of deadline day was about a non-signing and because of his ill-advised, yet amusing actions Peter Odemwingie has been asked to stay away from The Hawthorns until next week.  Probably wise!!!

Spurs have lost a spark in their last two fixtures against Leeds and Norwich, maybe AVB will soon realise footballers don’t want post-it notes passed onto the pitch midgame, unless they have the phone number of a mystery blonde who is sitting in the directors box.

Premier League Team News:  Odemwingie apart, West Brom have no problems to report and are strengthened by Mulumbu’s early return from African Cup of Nations.  Jermaine Defore is still carrying a pelvic injury but will start.  Lewis Holtby could be given license to give Spurs what they have been missing with summer departures of Modric and Van der Vaart if given a starting spot.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-1
Dream Team Star Man: Lewis Holtby

Manchester City v Liverpool – Sunday 3 February 2013 – 1600 KO

Without a shadow of a doubt the stand-out fixture of the weekend, City will be disappointed they couldn’t break down a resolute QPR midweek whilst Liverpool blew a 2 goal advantage against Arsenal in an entertaining game and were lucky to hold on in the end.

Premier League Team News: City Captain Kompany again misses out and his spot at the back will be filled by Nastasic if he is passed fit. If not Garcia will play out of position again.  Influential City powerhouse Yaya Toure is still on international duty along with his brother.  Liverpool will be without new signing Coutinho but Enrique will continue his comeback.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 2-1
Dream Team Star Man: David Silva

Well that’s my round-up of everything I think will happen this week, let us know what you think will happen!!


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