Tottenham v Sunderland
It seems no matter whoâ€™s in charge or whoâ€™s playing Spurs are as reliable as British Rail. One week itâ€™s swift first class service, the next a few leaves on the track and theyâ€™re buggered. Sunderland have become a much more solid unit under Bruce and theyâ€™ll fancy their chances of getting something at White Hart Lane. So do I and Iâ€™m calling this one a draw. 2-2 perchance.
Aston Villa v Bolton
After losing to West Ham, Martin Oâ€™Neill will be looking for a positive reply. A Champions League spot is an unrealistic goal for the midlanders but having bagged four goals in their last two home games with Bolton, recent history indicates theyâ€™ll win this game in style. Iâ€™m not so convinced as Bolton have only conceded six goals away from home and on the back of consecutive 4-0 defeats to Chelsea, Gary Megson will be concentrating on keeping it tight. Itâ€™ll be tricky but Villaâ€™s solid defence and their attacking options points to a home win. Just about.
Blackburn v Portsmouth
My antipathy towards Sam Allardyce has me hoping for a Portsmouth win but this game smacks of a draw and a 0-0 one at that. *Yawn*
Man City v Burnley
If City donâ€™t end their run of draws against a Burnley side who are as dangerous as puppy covered in marshmallows away from home, then there may be another couple of billion spent on players in January. City -2 goals is well worth a sniff in a game where they should be expected to run riot.
Wolves v Arsenal
The way theyâ€™re playing at the moment this should be a stroll in the park for the Gunners but Wolves will look to turn this in to an uncomfortably physical game. Closer than many might expect but the Gunners should tough it out for the win. A late goal or two could make it look more dominating than it actually is.
Chelsea v Man United
These games are always tough to call and while everything in me says Chelsea should have too much for a United team who Iâ€™m still waiting to be impressed by this season. They did well to come back against CSKA but they were very poor at times and Chelsea wonâ€™t be as generous as the less experienced Russian side. Drogba will be a big threat to Unitedâ€™s patchwork defence and the Blues midfield should dominate proceedings. Saying that itâ€™ll probably be a close affair but Iâ€™m going for Chelsea to win 2-1.
Hull v Stoke
The fact that this is being touted as a game that Hull need to win to save the managerâ€™s job means we should see the kind of fighting spirit from the home side that they really should have been showing all season. Theyâ€™ve been decent enough at home and I fancy them to nick the win. Letâ€™s just hope it doesnâ€™t inspire anymore out of tune warbling from Brown.
West Ham v Everton
The Hammers have finally hauled themselves out of the relegation zone and the form Everton are in at the moment, Zola will be optimistic about staying out. The little Italian has stuck to his footballing principles and should be commended for doing so and if they can sort things out at the back, the threat of relegation will be a vague memory come the New Year. Moyes needs to get his side back to winning ways before Everton are dragged in to the bottom three. Can he get a response from his players after losing to Benfica? West Ham will deserve the win but that doesnâ€™t mean theyâ€™ll get it. Draw.
Wigan v Fulham
Two good solid sides with vaguely realistic hopes of nabbing a European place at the end of the season. The Laticsâ€™ trouncing at the hands of Portsmouth last week could have knocked their confidence while Fulhamâ€™s performance in Rome, despite losing,Â could be a boost for theirs. Tight but I fancy Fulhamâ€™s defence to hold out and help them to the win.
Liverpool v Birmingham
Despite what some pundits would have you believe, Liverpool were poor against a Lyon side who were playing for the draw until the Reds scored. Their defence is all over the place and there is the very real danger that they could lose their sixth game of the season here. However Birmingham have been unable to do the business away from home and may well be on the end of a European backlash from Liverpool. If Aquilani and Torres play I see a comfortable home win.
By Rob Dore
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