Saturday, 3 November 2012

Sack Race Gathering Pace

Although it has not quite reached make or break time for the EPL managers, this weekends fixtures could see a big shift at the top of the Sack Race market. Out in front are Mark Hughes (5/4) and Nigel Adkins (11/8) but for me the stand-out bet has to be Brian McDermott at 16s. QPR's season can only get better and their next 3 fixtures offer an excellent opportunity to build momentum. Southampton are not facing any of the Big 4 in November and after two successive promotions Adkins has deserved at least half a season in the top flight (it doesn't sound like much but that is the reality of the Premier League). This month, Reading have three away fixtures against lower-table opponents. I can see them coming away with no points from those games and if they fail to win at least one of their home games then McDermott's time could be up....
Arsenal are lost and incomplete without RVP but could Wilshire be the
missing piece? 

Man Utd vs Arsenal
What away to kick-off the weekend. Neither manager has quite worked out their best starting elevens yet but with United it doesn't seem to matter who they pick or what formation they play - the goals are always going to come. Arsenal, on the other hand are yet to find a forward who can consistently perform week in week out. With both sides conceding five in the mid-week Capital Cup fixtures I expect plenty more goals today. Santi Cazorla is more than capable of unlocking a weak United defence  but it won't be enough to match Van Persie's tally.
Man Utd Win

Fulham vs Everton
This is a tricky one because although Fulham are very strong at home, Everton have been equally impressive on the road. Steven Pienaar returns form suspension to add that extra dimension to the Toffees' midfield. Dimitar Berbatov has been declared fit and after impressing from the bench against Reading, Bryan Ruiz is expected to return to the starting line-up. The statistics suggest this should be a high scoring game, but I think both sides will cancel each other out.

Norwich vs Stoke
I'm certain this will be the last game shown on MOTD, Saturday evening. Norwich are on a good run at the moment but Stoke are so content to play the majority of the 90 minutes in their own half making them very difficult to breach and very unlikely to score. Tony Pulis has indicated that he is intent on being more aggressive away from home but this still looks like a low scoring draw to me.

Sunderland vs Aston Villa
This game offers Martin O'Neill a great opportunity to get the ball rolling again. Paul Lambert's side are looking increasingly like the mind-numbingly dull outfit of last season. This could be another morbid affair, but if you are hoping for fireworks you can be sure Lee Cattermole will bring the sparklers and if Sessegnon scores, we will see his Catherine Wheel.
Sunderland Win

Swansea vs Chelsea
Swansea will really fancy this one off the back of a plucky defeat to City and a glorious victory over Liverpool. Chelsea could be without the influential Juan Mata but with the likes of Moses and Marin waiting in the wings DiMatteo need not bother risking the Spaniard. Swansea have conceded in all but one of their home games this season and they seem all too reliant on Michu for goals.
Chelsea Win

Tottenham vs Wigan
Bale Force!
I think Wigan's 3-4-3 formation could play perfectly in to the hands of Bale and Lennon as it leaves so much space for the speedsters to run into. Spurs are not scoring enough at home yet but Wigans' only points on the road have come against Southampton.
Tottenham Win

West Ham vs Man City
Man City have the best form in the league with 4 wins in their last 4 games. In the back of his mind Mancini will know that they are all but out of the Champions League and will not be resting anyone this weekend. West Ham will be hard to break down at home but City have too much fire power. The tussle between Carroll and Kompany will be epic.
Man City Win

When Giants Collide
QPR vs Reading
QPR have been woeful at home this season and this has to change if Mark Hughes wants to keep his job. Reading have shown in their last two games that they are capable of scoring goals........ and conceding just as many. Expect a big win for Rangers on Sunday!

Liverpool vs Newcastle
This fixture has a reputation for producing high-scoring thrillers in the past, however I do not expect Sunday's fixture to be a classic as in five home games this season, Liverpool have only scored 4 goals and conceded 6. I have a lot of respect for Brendan Rodgers and although it will take time I expect his side to finish the season very strongly. His counter-part, Alan Pardew, has been very lippy of late and his relationship with his players is questionable. The Helium in the Newcastle balloon is running out and their manager's prediction of a top 4 finish is way off.
Liverpool Win

West Brom vs Southampton
Surprisingly the Baggie's seem to have fantastic squad depth this season. If Shane Long fails a late fitness test then the imperious Romelu Lukaku represents a more than adequate replacement. Southampton have conceded at least 3 goals in all their away games so far and this will be no different.

Fulham/Everton Draw and Man City, Liverpool and Tottenham all to Win @ 13/1
Norwich/Stoke Draw and QPR, Man Utd all to Win @ 10/1
Chelsea, Sunderland and WBA all to Win @ 6/1


  1. Loved the guy fawkes theme.... after his midweek disappointment against his old club Lee Cattermole is due back in the headlines but expect the fireworks at Old Trafford to overshadow everything else

  2. Let's hope for Brian McDermott's sake he doesn't get the sack. Championship managers last about 11 weeks but Premier League managers normally get until Christmas. New Reading boss Zingarevich looks as restless in the directors box as Abromavich and he will already be rueing Tuesday night as 'what should have been' rather than 'what might have been'.
    There is no doubt seven goals against leaves a lasting scar on the squad and the coaching staff. So if Reading can't profit from their 'easy' run of fixtures expect the owner to hand over his play thing for someone else to have a go from December