Hello scorers, hope you've all had a good week. I reckon this weekend will be an interesting one, I'm in fact tipping none of the top six teams to win. Before I get into the games, I'd like to mention Jamie Carragher, who has had a fantastic career with Liverpool. People pass on a lot of credit to players like Scholes and Giggs at Man United, but Carragher has been almost an ever-present in the Liverpool defence since he broke into the first team, and has had a very successful 23 year career as a one club man. I think he'll make an excellent pundit or coach. Respect.
Tottenham v Newcastle
With Jermain Defoe out for 3 weeks, I think Tottenham may struggle because he's been their main goal threat. If Adebayor, who's out of form at the moment, becomes unavailable then they don't have a recognised striker. Therefore, I'm backing Newcastle to snatch a point here because their new French signings have evidently rejuvenised them, with back-to-back wins since their arrival, after a slightly concerning run of form. The Toon have the ability to get a result here, 1-1.
Chelsea v Wigan
For me, the shock is on the cards here. Chelsea are without a win in 4, the fans are calling for Rafa's head and there have been rumours about the return of Mourinho to Stamford Bridge. This won't help Chelsea in their preparation for this match, as they play a Wigan team who have the ability to go out and play the top teams with no fear. I think this will be the shock result of the weekend, 0-2 Wigan.
Norwich v Fulham
A draw was the first result that came to my mind for this game. Norwich have steadied the ship a bit after some bad results getting respectable draws against Tottenham and QPR, whereas Fulham have lost 3 of their last 4. Having said that, the three defeats were against the Manchester clubs and they did beat West Ham a couple of weeks ago to keep themselves fairly adrift of the relegation battle. On the same points tally, neither side can quite afford to lose this if they want a comfortable enough run-in, so they both may approach this game with some trepidation, resulting in a goalless draw.
Stoke v Reading
Stoke showed vague signs of becoming tough to beat again, by losing just to the odd goal at the Emirates, but I don't think they'll keep a clean sheet here. Reading are in very good form at the moment and continued their habit of scoring late goals against Sunderland. I now think their self-belief, and of course Adam Le Fondre's goals, could keep them them up. I'll go for a draw here, 1-1.
Sunderland v Arsenal
Sunderland's defensive tactic is often to sit back, soak up the pressure and occassionally hit teams on the counter attack. I wonder if this may prove quite successful against Arsenal, who play with a reluctance to find the penetrating pass early, and I'm just not sure whether the Gunners will find a way through. I would expect them have a lot of possession, but after losing late at Reading I foresee an organised defensive display from Sunderland, so I'll go for goalless.
Swansea v QPR
It's interesting that QPR are unbeaten in 5 league games in 2012, having played the likes of Chelsea, Tottenham and Man City, but they've only actually won 1 of those. I do predict that at some point, these draws will turn into either wins or defeats, because draws aren't enough for them, so they'll have to start attacking teams soon. Their main problem is that Loic Remy is injured and Bobby Zamora has always got a knock, I don't think they'll score enough goals to stay up. 3-0.
Southampton v Man City
Pochettino must be wondering how he hasn't got his first win yet, and I think he can consider himself unfortunate. They played very well in his first game against Everton, were seconds away from beating Wigan and Alex Ferguson said they were the best team to come to Old Trafford! To motivate his team so well in the circumstances shows great character from the man, so I've got a feeling they can get a result out of Man City. I think the title race is over, and City will miss Kompany at the back, so controversially I'm going to back Pochettino to get that elusive first win, by beating the champions 2-1.
Aston Villa v West Ham
I'm surprised that this game is being played on a Sunday, because I don't think it'll be up to much. If I was a Villa fan - thank god I'm not but if I was - I would be very worried about West Ham's ability from set pieces. Villa still have little experience in defence, and West Ham are a very strong physical team. It will be a daunting situation for Villa's young guns to be fighting for a potentially future-defining three points, with the fans on their backs and up against the physical presence of a team like West Ham. I just don't think they'll cope with the pressure, so 0-1, and with the transfer window closed, you would ask: what now for Villa?
Man Utd v Everton
United often seem to have a big enough squad to not allow forthcoming/recently played Champions League matches to become a distraction, but I do think it'll play on their mind in this case. I think van Persie and at least one of Ferdinand or Vidic will be rested, the players may be subconsciously be thinking about the Madrid match. Also, if Phil Jones plays on the right side of midfield, which would be crucial in their attempts to block Everton's strong left side of Baines and Pienaar, he won't be at his full fitness having developed shingles recently. The opportunity is there for Everton to go and pick up a result. 2-2.
Liverpool v West Brom
I can only see a pretty big win for Liverpool here. They've redeemed themselves from losing at Oldham in the cup by coming close to beating Arsenal and Man City. On the other hand, West Brom's seemingly decomposing defence won't be able to handle Suarez and Sturridge's pace and level of understanding. I'll go 3-0 the Reds.