Arsenal 2 -Sunderland 0
Sunderland began the season superbly with Darren Bent leading the way in the top goalscorer charts. But a dramatic loss of form has seen them dragged into a relegation battle. I think they have enough to stay up but won’t get the points at the Emirates on Saturday. I’m backing Wenger’s men to bounce back from their midweek disappointment in Portugal.
Everton 1 – Manchester United 1
Everton showed they can be a match for anyone in their recent game against Chelsea, but they will be wary of former hero Wayne Rooney in Saturday’s early kick-off. The England striker is in the form of his life and bagged another two in Milan midweek. I think he will score, but fancy the Toffees to nick a point.
Portsmouth 1 – Stoke City 1
Just to be playing is a bonus for Pompey with that winding up order hanging over them. Despite all the drama they do possess some spirit and showed it when they grabbed that last gasp equaliser against Sunderland last week. They will be playing an in-form Stoke side unbeaten in 2010 and I predict it will stay that way.
West Ham 2 – Hull City 1
Both these sides have had difficult campaigns with poor results and financial uncertainty off the pitch. Home form will be crucial to each side’s survival. The Hammers should be boosted by the arrival of three forwards and an impressive recent win against Birmingham. I’m backing Zola’s men to steal the points.
Wolverhampton 0 – Chelsea 3
Chelsea’s away form as been shaky of late and they will be looking to get their title challenge back on track after that defeat to Everton. Wolves manager Mick McCarthy will treat anything they get out of this game as a bonus but will be wary of fielding a “weakened” team after his punishment for doing so at Man United in November. Strong team or not I fancy Chelsea all the way at Molineux.
Aston Villa 2 -Burnley 0
The Carling Cup final odds might make Villa underdogs for their game against Man United next weekend, but that won’t stop fans dreaming of silverware. However, they also have a Champions League place to play for and they will see this game against travel sick Burnley as a great opportunity to bag three points. The Clarets would be in the top half of the table if their away form matched their home results, but they are without a win away from Turf Moor all season and I can’t see that changing here. 2-0.
Fulham 1 – Birmingham City 1
Are these sides punching above their weight? Both have done fantastically well this season on relatively small budgets and both have a chance of qualifying for Europe. Fulham are the Europa League this season, of course, and had a decent result in midweek, defying the football odds to beat Shakhtar Donetsk 2-1. These two teams should cancel each other out though, so I’m going for a draw.
Blackburn 2 – Bolton 1
A rough and ready affair is expected as these two Lancashire rivals clash at Ewood Park. Bolton boss Owen Coyle has clocked up just one win during his short time in charge, but he is looking to build a side that will be able to play their way out of trouble. Sam Allardyce’s men will, unsurprisingly, take a more direct approach to the game and I expect it to pay off this time.
Manchester City 2 – Liverpool 2
Arguably the biggest game of the weekend as City look to steal a march over Liverpool in the race for fourth place. Both sides looked unconvincing in midweek as question marks persist over their ability to go the distance. Both will need a win out of this one, but neither will get it.
Wigan 1 -Tottenham 0
Wigan fans need no reminding about what happened the last time these sides met, although most may have blocked it out of their memories. Jermaine Defoe’s five goal haul helped Spurs to a 9-1 win which should be enough motivation for Roberto Martinez’s men to play for revenge. The dodgy DW Stadium pitch is likely to make football difficult, despite both sides’ best efforts, and I fancy Wigan to spring a minor surprise here.