Another week has passed and it was a really good week for football, unless you happened to catch the West Brom v Spurs game!  Goals galore and a midweek win over Brazil for the first time since Gary Lineker nodded home the winner.  The Premier League is back to as near tradition as it can get this week, 7 games on a Saturday and 5 of those kicking off at 3pm!

EPL Predictions & Team News 9-11 Feb 2013

Tottenham v Newcastle – 09 February 2013 – 1245 KO

This has the hallmarks of a good game for the neutral, with Tottenham coming into the game on the back of 9 unbeaten in the league and Newcastle on back to back wins including last week’s goalfest against a flaky Chelsea side.

Luckily for Spurs, Togo were knocked out of the Africa Cup of Nations last weekend so have an ‘exhausted’ Adebayor back in their ranks to compensate for the loss of out of form Jermain Defoe through injury.

Premier League Team News: Adebayor will have to prove his fitness before starting, so Spurs may go in with Dempsey playing in the fake number 9 position.  Spurs have also been buoyed by the news that Kaboul is fit to start training.  Newcastle will welcome Tiote straight back into their side after ANC duty.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-1
Dream Team Star Man: ‘One Man Team’ Gareth Bale

Chelsea v Wigan – 09 February 2013 – 1500 KO

Rafa Benetiz now has a worse points per game ratio this season than Roberto Di Matteo, the man he replaced and without trying to sound like a tired old hack looking to make a story, you have to say anything but a victory against a Wigan side without a win in five will be disastrous.

The Latics are now odds on for relegation, and could find themselves adrift in the bottom three by Sunday.

Premier League Team News: John Terry is out for Chelsea and Nigerian duo Moses and Mikel are still unavailable.  Caldwell is a doubt for The Latics after missing Scotland’s midweek game whilst Kone has apparently returned back from African Cup of Nations duty a little underweight bizarrely enough!
Premier League Betting Prediction: 4-1
Dream Team Star Man: Fernando Torres

Norwich v Fulham – 09 February 2013 – 1500 KO

The Canaries have truly fallen off their perch after a great mid-season run, but more recently have only picked up three points from their last eight league games and will be targeting this fixture as a must win to give themselves a bit of breathing space from the pack below.  You could almost say the same thing about Fulham however they did show a lot of resilience when beating West Ham two games ago and will be confident they can scrape together 10 more points that will see them in the EPL for another season at least.

Premier League Team News: Ryan Bennett is fit again for Norwich, who have doubts over both Pilkington and Tetley. Kai Kamara could make the bench after signing from MLS. Sidwell and Richardson are both fit for Fulham who still have doubts over the fitness of Berbatov. Martin Jol will also see how Bryan Ruiz is after arriving back late from International duty.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 2-1
Dream Team Star Man: Wes Hoolahan

Stoke v Reading – 09 February 2013 – 1500 KO

If you ever hear a writer complaining about writers block, ask him to write something that sounds enthusiastic about this fixture.  I promise you, you’ll never hear a peep from them again!

Reading are one of the form teams at the moment, with 4 wins from their last six games and Adam Le Fondre is on fire scoring 6 from the bench already this season.  No one has ever scored seven in an EPL season!!

Premier League Team News: The fantastically named Brek Shea could make his Potters debut this weekend, whilst Mark Wilson may feature after returning to reserve team action this week after a broken leg.  The Royals have Noel Hunt back for this game.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-1
Dream Team Star Man: Ryan Shawcross

Sunderland v Arsenal – 09 February 2013 – 1500 KO

Arsenal were resilient last week when overcoming Stoke, and will have to show that sort of mental toughness again.  Nacho Monreal looked a tasty player in his first Premiership outing but could be up against it as Sunderland will look to utilise their wide men like Adam Johnson.

Premier League Team News: Both McLean and Cueller have late fitness test for Sunderland who could also have Lee Cattermole back in the squad.  Koscielny is a doubt for Arsenal after being replaced in France’s midweek game with a calf problem, and Vermaelen is definitely out.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-2
Dream Team Star Man: Jack Wilshere

Swansea v QPR – 09 February 2013 – 1500 KO

This is the week ‘Arry has to bung an extra forward into his starting XI as draws are no longer good enough for QPR.  Since he has taken over at QPR, the points tally has improved but 13 points form 12 games is barely above relegation form as it is.

The Swans could now start suffering from what used to be known as ‘The Charlton effect’ , they have enough points on the board to all but guarantee themselves safety and a Wembley final to look forward, but could now find the end of the season a long way away, especially as Michu is firing them in.

At this point, I must tip my cap at a jaunty angle towards the Norwich fans who started the chant of ‘Odemwingie, he would have scored that’ after Taarabt’s penalty miss last weekend!

Premier League Team News: Vorm could return in goal for The Swans who may have to do without the services of Leon Britton.  QPR will risk Loic Remy who has been suffering from a groin problem but are still without Malian midfielder Diakite.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-2
Dream Team Star Man: Loic Remy

Southampton v Manchester City – 09 February 2013 – 1730 KO

As a complete neutral to this game I must say, for the sake of the EPL we need City to win this game as it will keep both the top and bottom ends of the table a lot more interesting.

City have really missed the driving influence of Yaya Toure whilst he has been away on international duty, and will be thankful to see him back. The Saints continue to play some decent football but are without a win in three outings for new boss Pochettino.

Premier League Team News: The Saints have a few problems with young full-back Clyne and Shaw set to miss out.  Ramirez is also extremely doubtful.  City on the other hand, seem to have cleared their treatment tables and only have Richards out. Kompany should start.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-3
Dream Team Star Man: Yaya Toure

Aston Villa v West Ham United – 10 February 2013 – 1330 KO

Villa looked a changed team for long periods of their game against Everton at Goodison last weekend, but then got undone as usual from a set-piece. Villa would have fancied this game a lot more if Andy Carroll wasn’t back in the Claret of West Ham. His holding up of play against Swansea was second to none and his headed goal from a corner could already be praying on a nervous Villa defence already.

Premier League Team: Paul Lambert will have to do without the services of Richard Dunne for this fixture, but may be able to recall both Delph and Westwood to the squad.  West Ham have had no new injury worries but are still without influential defender James Collins.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 3-2
Dream Team Star Man: Andy Carroll

Manchester United v Everton – 10 February 2013 – 1600 KO

Everton showed a bit of the United get out of jail spirit that has been so prevalent this season against Villa last weekend, and I expect the same sort of tenacity mixed with guile again and honestly think this is where the shock of the weekend lies, especially if Sir Alex decides to rest a few bodies ahead of their big midweek fixture in Madrid.

I’ve said it before in my previews, there is no better left handed partnership in the league than Baines and Pienaar, certainly there are better players but together it’s a bit like the old Beckham/Neville partnership of United.

Premier League Team News: United are near enough back to full strength, but may choose to rest players ahead of Champions League duty whilst Everton boss Davis Moyes will check on Fellaini’s ‘injury’ that made him miss Belgium’s midweek friendly.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 1-2
Dream Team Star Man: Leighton Baines

Liverpool v West Brom – 11 February 2013 – 2000 KO

So Jamie Carragher has decided to retire at the end of the season and hats off to him, he may have played in World Cups, won Champions Leagues but for me I will always love him for phoning up TalkSport and giving Adrian Durham some stick! (http://youtu.be/tnOOOfyctGw).

Liverpool are starting to make ground on the teams above them, but have they got enough about them to make up 9 points on Spurs, as well as leapfrogging both neighbours Everton and Arsenal to nick 4th place?

Premier League Team News: Popov starts his suspension after his Spit the Dog impression last week, whilst Steve Clarke has the Odemwingie problem still to solve. Sterling and Sturridge should both be fit for Liverpool after pulling out of the U21s and Full Team respectively in midweek.
Premier League Betting Prediction: 2-0
Dream Team Star Man: Luis Suarez

Anyway that’s my take on the week, let me know your opinions!! (@MrJonPace)


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