Picking Premier League matches is hard work and frankly, I’m crap at it.
But I love the banter and figure at the very least I can provide you with some fodder to tear me up with in the comments.
So let’s get it on.
Newcastle United v. West Bromwich Albion (Sat 12:30pm ET on NBC; St James’ Park)
Weird times at Newcastle United.
The club is playing well, hopes of European nights are creeping into fans’ minds, the rancor concerning Joe Kinnear is dying down but two of their best players, Yohan Cabaye and Fabricio Colocinni, are both rumored to want out of St. James’ Park.
West Brom, on the other hand, keep getting the short end of the stick. With a unique array of firepower between Saido Berahino, Shane Long, Stephane Sessegnon and Morgan Amalfitano, among others, they’re a side who can beat anyone.
This could be a sneaky good match. Newcastle are heavy favorites but something tells me this weekend the Baggies finally get something to go their way.
Newcastle 1 West Bromwich Albion 2
SQUEAKY BUM TIME
Aston Villa v. Sunderland (Sat 10:00am ET on Live Extra; Villa Park)
Impressive comeback by Aston Villa last Monday at West Brom but perhaps if Paul Lambert started Andi Weimann, Gabby Agbonglahor and Fabian Delph – rather than bringing them off the bench as a 57th minute triple sub – they wouldn’t have been in the hole to begin with.
This weekend expect all three men to start, which means Christian Benteke can return to his favored lead striker role, which means Sunderland’s defense will have to be in top form, which I don’t see happening.
Aston Villa 2 Sunderland 1
Everton v. Stoke City (Sat 10:00am ET on Live Extra; Goodison Park)
Last week’s derby was an emotional journey for Everton but they’ll need to put it in their rear-view if they’re to take all three points against Stoke City.
The Potters were impressive in their 2-0 win over Sunderland, even if they did benefit hugely from the ridiculous sending off of Wes Brown.
Gut-check time for the Toffees. If they have hopes of a Top 4 finish, matches like this are a must win.
Everton 2 Stoke City 1
West Ham United v. Fulham (Sat 10:00am ET on Live Extra; Upton Park)
Don’t look now but the only thing separating West Ham from the relegation zone is the five goal difference between them and Fulham. With both clubs on 10 points and desperate to separate themselves from the bottom of the table this match has the potential to be a real belter.
West Ham United 2 Fulham 1
Norwich City v. Crystal Palace (Sat 10:00am ET on Live Extra; Carrow Road)
Can’t wait to see Tony Pulis’ baseball cap, track suit and tugboat-sized sneakers on the sideline this weekend. The former Stoke boss will be installing Route 1 football at Crystal Palace and with the players gaining confidence by the week, it might just work.
But as pressing as issues are at Selhurst Park, they’re nearly as dire at Carrow Road. Chris Hughton needs to keep his job. Norwich City needs to stay clear of the relegation zone. Beat the clubs who they should beat and the Canaries should come out top bird in this match.
Norwich City 2 Crystal Palace 1
Tottenham Hotspur v. Manchester United (Sun 7:00am ET on NBCSN; White Hart Lane)
Last year Spurs had United’s number, defeating the Red Devils at Old Trafford and scrambling for a late point at White Hart Lane.
This year it’s difficult to foresee a repeat performance. Last week’s shellacking aside, Tottenham are a side that simply lack cohesion among the players. What should be an entertaining, high-flying side has become dull, unimaginative and predictable. And now, with many believing AVB’s days are numbered (an opinion I don’t agree with, by the way), question marks are omnipresent throughout North London.
It’ll be closer than you think but expect United to capitalize on their mid-week thrashing of Bayer Leverkusen.
Manchester United 1 Tottenham 0
Chelsea v. Southampton (Sun 11:10am ET on NBCSN; Stamford Bridge)
If Chelsea’s mid-week loss to Basel has you thinking they’re on the decline, think again. Jose Mourinho’s side had already qualified for the next round of the Champions League before Wednesday’s loss and while they will want to finish atop their group, that can still happen with a win over bottom-of-the-barrel Steau.
Jose Mourinho’s men were dominant in the 3-0 win over West Ham last weekend and while I expect this match to be tight, I think ‘The Special One’ keeps that precious Stamford Bridge unbeaten streak in tact.
Chelsea 2 Southampton 1
Cardiff City v. Arsenal (Sat 10:00am ET on NBCSN; Cardiff City Stadium)
True to form, the Bluebirds have once again made Cardiff City Stadium a fortress this year. The two Manchester sides failed to win there and Steven Caulker ensured derby success over Swansea with a towering header.
Cardiff will be thinking that with Arsenal playing three matches in one week, the Gunners will be prime for the picking as well.
Ain’t happenin’, pal.
Arsenal are too comfortable on the ball. Too mentally strong.
Cardiff City 0 Arsenal 2
Hull City v. Liverpool (Sun 9:05am ET on NBCSN; The KC Stadium)
With a lack of attacking danger and a defense on the mend, things don’t look good for Hull in this one.
Hull City 1 Liverpool 4
Manchester City v. Swansea City (Sun 11:10am ET on Live Extra; Etihad Stadium)
Manchester City at home.
Swansea City coming off a Thursday night Europa League match plus injuries to Michu and Wilfried Bony.
Manchester City 4 Swansea City 1