Premier League Preview & Predictions Round 5: Weekend Highlighted by Manchester and West London Derbies
20 September 2013
Kickoff times are EDT. PLET stands for Premier League Extra Time. All games available live on NBC Live Extra. Check your provider for availability.
Norwich City v Aston Villa (Saturday 7:45 am, NBCSN): This just feels like a no brainer. Norwich City has an obvious hole in their defense that Christian Benteke should be able to exploit, but eventually his run of goals has to come to an end. Norwich City also has a problem up front. Ricky van Wolfswinkel hasn't settled, and Johan Elmander isn't exactly a bundle of goals. If Gary Hooper can see some time, he might make a difference, but I expect it to be minimal. For the early kickoff on Saturday, it might be wise to stay in bed. While this one will be cagey, I expect it to be honors even. Prediction: Norwich City 1 Aston Villa 1
Liverpool v Southampton (Saturday 10:00 am, NBCSN): This looks like the perfect match for Liverpool to work out a few things. With Coutinho out, Liverpool will need to work out another plan of attack. Southampton has some major goal scoring problems, and Liverpool's defense won't make it any easier on them. With Daniel Sturridge on a fine vein of form, alongside the knowledge that this is the last game Luis Suarez is suspended, this game could easily be decided before halftime. I expect that to be the case. Prediction: Liverpool 2 Southampton 0
West Ham United v Everton (Saturday 10:00 am, PLET): I guess the question for West Ham is a simple one; can Jussi Jaaskelainen do it again? Lukaku should make his debut for the side that took Chelsea out last weekend, and should make an immediate impact. I bet he's happy to be away from a side full of dysfunction. At least West Ham United will have to push for a goal at some point because that's the only way they will decide to make an effort at goal. Prediction: West Ham United 1 Everton 2
Newcastle United v Hull City (Saturday 10:00 am, PLET): Hull City have a few key pieces missing (Taylor, Koren, Figueroa, McShane), while Newcastle will only miss Gutierrez. As long as Hull have Huddlestone and Livermore in the center of the park, they'll keep it close. However, I see Ben Arfa carrying Newcastle to three points. Prediction: Newcastle United 1 Hull City 0
West Bromwich Albion v Sunderland (Saturday 10:00 am, PLET): Is it ever too early in the season to call a game a major six pointer? So far, these two are proving the answer to that is no. Paolo Di Canio has made every wrong move so far for the visitors, and I don't see that changing here. Steve Clark will have Sessegnon available, and with wanting to put one over on the old club fresh on his mind, it's just enough of a difference for me to believe West Brom get all three points in an ugly one. Prediction: West Bromwich Albion 1 Sunderland 0
Chelsea v Fulham (Saturday 12:30 pm, NBCSN): Well Jose, you've become the butt of some very true jokes based upon the last three Chelsea performances. Between throwing players under the bus, not playing your absolute best 11, and then outright lying that you were the better side. If I know Jose, he's going to think this Fulham fixture will be a walk in the park, and the players are going to do exactly what they've done the last three games. I'm going to put this as mildly as I can: if Juan Mata starts for Chelsea, they win. If Mata doesn't, which is what I expect, expect Fulham to hang around, and steal a point at Stamford Bridge. And yes, if Chelsea does somehow win without Mata playing, you all have carte blanche to make a mockery out of me. Prediction: Chelsea 1 Fulham 1
Arsenal v Stoke City (Sunday 8:30 am, CNBC): Our first CNBC fixture of the season could be an emotional one for Aaron Ramsey. Arsenal is flying high in the league, and I expect a Ramsey to finish the circle by taking a few Ozil passes and finishing at least two of them. I just don't see how Stoke City keeps this close or interesting. Prediction: Arsenal 3 Stoke City 0
Crystal Palace v Swansea City (Sunday 8:30 am, PLET): Could this be a case of Swansea City having the post European blues? Not with this Crystal Palace side. I get what Ian Holloway is trying to do with these players but they are not talented enough to execute it on a consistent basis. This could end up being the most entertaining game of the weekend, and I'm not entirely sure for what reason. With Bony and Michu starting to click, I see Swansea seeing this out. Prediction: Crystal Palace 1 Swansea City 3
Cardiff City v Tottenham Hotspur (Sunday 11:00 am, PLET): Could lightning strike twice for the Bluebirds? Tottenham have a couple of fitness questions in midfield, Cardiff have none. I'm going to answer no to that question for one simple reason: Soldado is due for a breakout game. Cardiff City doesn't have the steadiest of defenses. The biggest difference between Manchester City then and Tottenham on Sunday will be Spurs back four is solid and will frustrate the hosts. Prediction: Cardiff City 0 Tottenham Hotspur 1
Manchester City v Manchester United (Sunday 11:00 am, NBCSN): I guess the question is how boring is this going to be? David Moyes has already proven he has no guts to actually make a go in these games, and Manchester City appears to have little bite to break down a side with the talent of Manchester United. If Kagawa starts for United, then Manchester United will have two players on the pitch that will make enough of a difference to win this. If Kagawa doesn't start, expect another nil draw. I do expect Kagawa to start, and the pair of Rooney and Kagawa to make Manchester City's afternoon miserable. Prediction: Manchester City 0 Manchester United 2
These are my thoughts on the weekend to come. What are yours? Let me know in the comments below.