Premiership Preview: Tottenham, Arsenal, Newcastle United, Manchester United and Liverpool to win, West Ham and Chelsea to lose

Remember the time when you just couldn’t wait for football to come back?

Depending on your allegiances, that feeling has either faded fast or reached an all-time high – less than a week after the 07/08 season has started, the future is a bit clearer and as usual, a season of over-achievement and heartbreak awaits.

All the Premiership games are previewed below – and you are welcome to join in, by copy-pasting the list below in the comments and offering your own predictions.

Weekend Matches

Portsmouth vs Bolton Wanderers
Birmingham City vs West Ham United
Fulham vs Middlesbrough
Reading vs Everton
Tottenham Hotspur vs Derby County
Wigan Athletic vs Sunderland
Newcastle United vs Aston Villa
Manchester City vs Manchester United
Blackburn Rovers vs Arsenal
Liverpool vs Chelsea

Alright then, on with the preview:

Saturday 18 August 2007

Portsmouth vs Bolton Wanderers

While Pompey have looked rusty, they improved against United and will be favourites for a win.

Bolton can only rely on their character to get themselves back up – but I wouldn’t bet on them beating their funk in an away game at Fratton Park.

Also Read: full Portsmouth vs Bolton match preview

Soccerlens Prediction: Portsmouth to win.

Birmingham City vs West Ham United

Birmingham are not strong defensively (not strong enough, rather) and as a result it will be a good opportunity for West Ham to punch through and get an away win. The only downside is that while West Ham are short of goals at the moment, their defence also lacks confidence and as a result it’s Birmingham who are more likely to come through as winners.

Also read: full Birmingham City vs West Ham preview.

Soccerlens Prediction: Birmingham City to win.

Fulham vs Middlesbrough

Fulham managed a win against Bolton and it looks like a season of scrapping, huffing and puffing for Fulham (again). With the investments made in the squad (and with Davis and Healy playing well), Fulham should pose a stiff challenge to Boro’s injury-ravaged defence.

Middlesbrough, injuries or not, have a job to do and that starts with eliminating defensive errors from their game. Yes, the first-choice defenders are injured (and out till September) but short of getting Southgate back into a pair of shorts, Middlesbrough have to get their house in order and there can’t be any excuses for gifting goals to the opposition.

I expect a tough, bruising game and a lot of it will depend on Downing and how much havoc he can cause against Fulham. For me, this is Downing’s year at Middlesbrough and while he has the talent, he needs to be producing results on a consistent level.

Wonder if Boro will play Mido or not – if they do, it could be a surprise Boro win.

Soccerlens Prediction: Fulham to win if they can take Downing out of the game, draw otherwise.

Reading vs Everton

The odds seem to be in Reading’s favor, what with their home form, Everton’s tendency last season to let games drift away from home and the fact that Reading have just played two big games and will be pumped for this one (not to belittle Everton’s away win at WHL in any way though).

Chelsea had done to Reading what I expected – matched their discipline and then overran them with their quality. Everton will need to play a very good game to match Chelsea’s efforts and for all their good work I don’t see them having the striking firepower to break down Reading’s defence (although Duberry’s injury will be a problem). Arteta and Osman on their day can penetrate any defence but will they be enough?

Should be a great game to watch, although I feel both sides will neutralise each other and it’ll turn into a tight, tactical game.

Soccerlens Prediction: Draw. Actually all 3 results are so close here that I have no idea at all.

Tottenham Hotspur vs Derby County

There are some people who will look at Tottenham’s last two results, their injury list, factor in their bias against the Spurs and jump to the conclusion that Tottenham will lose.

I’m not one of those, so as much as I like Derby’s style, I think Tottenham will win this one.

Also read: full Tottenham vs Derby preview.

Soccerlens Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur. If Derby win though, you can bet your asses that I’ll write about it 🙂

Wigan Athletic vs Sunderland

Not much to say about this game except that it should be another open and in-your-face game. I’d expect Sunderland’s defence to neutralise whatever attacking options Wigan have and from then on it’s a case of Chopra and Stokes putting it past Bramble.

Soccerlens Prediction: Sunderland to win, although the bookies are predicting a Wigan win.

Newcastle United vs Aston Villa

From Ed Harrison’s preview of the game:

The team right now is full of confidence from their 3-1 opening day win at Bolton, but Sam is not getting carried away – unlike some of the fans. He thinks it will be a very different game than at Bolton and the onus will be on Newcastle to break the Villa down.

Sums it up quite nicely. Villa will come to St James’ Park for an old-school wrestling match and it’s up to Newcastle whether they play Villa’s game or play their own game and run circles around the Villan defence.

Villa have the quality to make Newcastle pay for any errors, and it’ll be interesting to see how Big Sam’s new-look defense lines up at home for the first time in the Premiership.

I’ll try to watch this game, but if I don’t get to do that, you can always catch Ed’s match report over at the Newcastle blog.

Soccerlens Prediction: Newcastle United for the win.

Sunday 19 August 2007

Manchester City vs Manchester United

I’ve written a detailed preview for the Manchester City vs Manchester United game here, so please read that.

Soccerlens Prediction: Manchester United to win – seriously though, what did you expect me to say here?

Blackburn Rovers vs Arsenal

Both clubs come off from winning away games in Europe, and after good starts to the season the two sides will be confident of a rousing battle at Ewood Park on Sunday.

Arsenal are expected to start with Eduardo Da Silva alongside RVP up front (or will that be a 4-5-1?) and it’ll be interesting to see how the new striker (who will, for this season at least, be looked upon as Henry’s replacement) performs.

Not too sure if Arsenal have taken all the kinks out of their playing style – sure, they kick back now and are scoring at the end of games, but as I only saw the first half of the Fulham game I’m not too confident that they can overturn Blackburn, and that too away from home.

The Rovers will be out to win, no matter what fans and Arsenal players say, but as long as Arsenal’s defence can hold out, I expect them to win.

Soccerlens Prediction: Arsenal to win, and the hype to start all over again.

Liverpool vs Chelsea

If you were Rafa Benitez, and you knew that Chelsea were missing Terry, Makelele, Ballack and Essien, would you risk Steven Gerrard? Personally I wouldn’t, but what do I know?

Another chance for Rafa to put one over Mourinho, and an excellent shot for Liverpool to jump into the title race head-first.

Liverpool have always been able to raise their game for Chelsea and while this promises to be another fascinating (and tight) encounter, the odds are stacked against Chelsea.

Soccerlens Prediction: Liverpool win, barely.

Alright guys, time to make your own predictions – here’s the list of matches again:

Portsmouth vs Bolton Wanderers
Birmingham City vs West Ham United
Fulham vs Middlesbrough
Reading vs Everton
Tottenham Hotspur vs Derby County
Wigan Athletic vs Sunderland
Newcastle United vs Aston Villa
Manchester City vs Manchester United
Blackburn Rovers vs Arsenal
Liverpool vs Chelsea

Copy-paste, and off you go.

Manchester United - all the 'SIGNS' point to a City-thrashing
Tottenham will scrape but win against Derby - seriously!


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