A week off from the Premier League was far too long.
But don’t despair, the world’s greatest league is back this weekend and there are some dandy fixtures on the slate.
So as always I sat down, crunched the numbers and figured out exactly how every match will turn out. Sort of.
Hull City v. Chelsea (Sat 7:45am ET on NBCSN; KC Stadium)
When these two sides last met it was the first match of the season and Chelsea were sensational . . . for the first half. Then they took their foot off the gas and nearly got tiger-balmed. Well, not quite. But Hull have been mighty impressive at home and wouldn’t it be so Chelsea to drop points as soon as everyone thinks they’re clicking?
Paint me orange and call me Roary.
Hull City 2 Chelsea 2
Southampton v. West Bromwich Albion (Sat 10:00 ET on Live Extra; St Mary’s Stadium)
Remember in the beginning of the season when Southampton were Top 4 and all the Premier League newbys were adopting the Saints as their team? Ahhhh, good times.
But I’m not gonna beat up Southampton too much – I think they’re still a quality club with a lot of talent. West Brom, however . . . West Brom is weird. Real weird.
Southampton 1 West Bromwich Albion 2
Newcastle United v. Manchester City (Sun 9:05 ET on NBCSN; St James’ Park)
Newcastle are a frisky bunch of dudes. Cabaye, Santon, Tiote, Sissoko, Gouffran. These guys all have that edge — a bit of half-punk that makes them think it might just be possible to beat City.
But then you factor in that Tim Krul is out injured and a victory gets to be pretty far fetched. A draw, however, is entirely possible.
Newcastle 2 Manchester City 2
Cardiff City v. West Ham United (Sat 10:00 ET on Live Extra; Cardiff City Stadium)
Gotta admit, I’m a big fan of the Ole Gunnar hire. Who knew Vincent Tan had it in him? (Sanity, that is.)
Solskjaer led his side to an impressive 2-1 FA Cup win at Newcastle United on Saturday and has already signed the glorious Norweigian playmaker Magnus Wolff Eikrem. Fear the Wolff.
Cardiff City 2 West Ham United 0
Everton v. Norwich City (Sat 10:00 ET on Live Extra; Goodison Park)
Bobby Martinez has concerns over Barkley, Distin, Jagielka and Baines. Evertonians have concerns over losing to crap teams. No offense, Norwich. But you know . . . you’re kinda crap.
Everton 3 Norwich 2
Stoke City v. Liverpool (Sun 11:10 ET on NBCSN; Britannia Stadium)
Injuries to Agger, Sakho, Enrique, Flanagan present some problems for Liverpool but who do they need to contain? Big daddy Crouch? Yeah, I think they’ll be ok.
Stoke 0 Liverpool 2
Aston Villa v. Arsenal (Mon 3:00 ET on NBSN; Villa Park)
Tasty little Monday evening fixture here and if Aston Villa could at least pretend like playing at home gave them even a slight advantage they might be able to compete. But they don’t and they won’t.
Aston Villa 1 Arsenal 4
SQUEAKY BUM TIME
Fulham v. Sunderland (Sat 10:00 ET on Live Extra; Craven Cottage)
Dempsey + Altidore + 6 point relegation battle = American soccer fans dream. Fire up that Live Extra!!!
Fulham 1 Sunderland 0
Tottenham Hotspur v. Crystal Palace (Sat 10:00 ET on NBCSN; White Hart Lane)
Half of Tottenham’s team is injured but c’mon man! I refuse to believe they’re going to lose a derby match at home to Palace. No way, no how.
Tottenham 1 Palace 0
Manchester United v. Swansea City (Sat 12:30 ET on NBC; Old Trafford)
‘Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.’
After losing 2-1 to Swansea at Old Trafford last weekend, that has to be United’s mentality going into Saturday’s match. No Rooney. No Van Persie. No problem (well, sort of).
Manchester United 2 Swansea City 1