Premier League Preview: Manchester City and Chelsea Highlight The Weekend's Action

24 September 2010

Things won't be as testy as the non handshake between John Terry and Wayne Bridge last season when Chelsea travel to Eastlands Saturday. Credit Image: © Alan Walter/Daily Mail/ZUMA Press)
This weekend's Premier League action is highlighted by the early kickoff at Eastlands between Manchester City and Chelsea, but also sees two local derbies as well. With Champions League coming up midweek, and teams looking to respond from their results from the Carling Cup, their is an even greater chance at a couple of shock results.

Note all times are Eastern and the TV schedule is subject to change without notice.

Saturday 7:45 am: Manchester City v Chelsea (Live on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com). The game of the weekend is the first one this weekend, as Chelsea look to rid the ghosts of last season when Manchester City did the double over Chelsea. Chelsea look set to be without Kalou and will be without Lampard for this lunchtime kickoff. John Terry will more than likely replace Ivanovic in central defense, and I would expect Anelka to also come into the squad. I would expect Roberto Mancini to play the same squad that picked up a 2-0 victory at Wigan last Sunday.

Manchester City’s biggest concern is up front. The lost of faith in every striker other than Carlos Tevez has been baffling to say the least. This side has missed more than their fair share of chances this season, and did not look all that impressive in their last home match against Blackburn. Joe Hart, while allowing only two goals so far this season, has previously shown he’s not against making a big mistake.

If you’re a Chelsea fan, the biggest worry you have to have is that Chelsea are already looking at the two fixtures to come: Marseille in the Champions League midweek before Arsenal next Sunday. While this is the first big ‘test’ as many have called this, I seriously wonder how much of a test this is. Sure, they don’t want to drop points ahead of their match with Arsenal, but I think that’s when their big test truly will be.

When it’s all said and done, I think Chelsea will have just enough to see off Manchester City. Drogba and Malouda are in fine form right now. Ramires has shown a competent replacement for Lampard. The only worry on the pitch for Chelsea is Jon Obi Mikel, and his propensity for red card tackles. If I was Mancehster City, I’d do my best to exploit that. I think Chelsea will get the opener before halftime, and with City having to break out of it’s shell, countered for a second before Tevez makes the last five minutes interesting. Prediction: Manchester City 1 Chelsea 2.

Saturday 10:00 am
Arsenal v West Bromwich Albion (Live on Fox Soccer Channel)
: West Brom have not scored away from home so far this season, while Arsenal have scored ten already at home. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out who wins this. The only question is by how many. Prediction: Arsenal 3 West Bromwich Albion 0.

Birmingham City v Wigan Athletic (Live on FoxSoccer.tv, On delay Fox Soccer Channel 5:00 pm)
: Was Wigan’s previous away fixture a fluke? I think so. Birmingham City have the patience to break down Wigan’s defense, and roll out comfortable winners. Prediction: Birmingham City 1 Wigan Athletic 0.

Blackpool v Blackburn Rovers (Live on FoxSoccer.tv)
: I’d like Ian Halloway to define the words ‘heated debate’. After being whipped by Chelsea 4-0 inside the first 45 minutes at Stamford Bridge, they played much better against a more than disinterested Chelsea in the second half. Blackburn’s direct nature may give Blackpool problems, but I think Blackpool will find a way to pick up yet another point. Prediction: Blackpool 1 Blackburn Rovers 1.

Fulham v Everton (Live on FoxSoccer.tv, On delay Fox Soccer Plus 4:00 pm): I think Fulham’s an attacking injury too far to pick up a point. I also don’t see this game ending nil-nil. I think this is the match that starts to steady the ship for Everton. Prediction: Fulham 0 Everton 1.

Liverpool v Sunderland (Live on Fox Soccer Plus and FoxSoccer.tv): I think Roy Hodgson is very sincere in his apology to Liverpool supporters after being embarrassed by Northampton Town. I also think Liverpool will take out their frustration on Sunderland in this one. Prediction: Liverpool 2 Sunderland 0.

West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur (Live on FSE and FoxSoccer.tv. On Fox Soccer Channel at Noon): West Ham have had a good week that saw them pick up their first league point and advance in the Carling Cup. While Tottenham have not been all that impressive so far this season, they should have no problems seeing off West Ham. However, if Harry gets too worried about the Champions League midweek, things will get harrier than they ever have the right to be. Prediction: West Ham United 0 Tottenham Hotspur 2.

Sunday 7:00 am: Bolton Wanderers v Manchester United (Live on Fox Soccer Plus and FoxSoccer.tv)
. Owen Coyle will try and play a little football against Manchester United on Sunday, and get burned badly for it. Last season this game ended 4-0 to Manchester United, and while I don’t see that as the full time score, it won’t be far off the mark. Prediction: Bolton Wanderers 0 Manchester United 3.

Sunday 9:05 am: Wolverhampton Wanderers v Aston Villa (Live on Fox Soccer Plus and FoxSoccer.tv). Nothing like a tough physical derby to get the juices flowing on a Sunday. Wolves will provide plenty of tackling, Villa players will be still looking to impress Houllier, and I think the result will be Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 Aston Villa 1.

Sunday 11:10 am: Newcastle United v Stoke City (Live on Fox Soccer Channel). Newcastle United are on a high that they won't be coming off of against Stoke City. I think Andy Carroll is going to have some fun with Stoke’s defense. Prediction: Newcastle United 2 Stoke City 1.

How do you see this weekend shaking out in the Premier League? Let us know in the comments below.

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Johnathan Starling, the self proclaimed 'most brutally honest man on the net, dishes out his own unique brand of opinions, and analysis on the Premier League, Bundesliga, and all things US Soccer.

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