Wolves vs Swansea
This time, both teams are coming off from away defeats, while Swansea were second best against fellow new boys Norwich in a game that ended 3-1, Wolves left The Hawthorns with a 2-0 defeat.
Wolves are slowly sliding down the table with each passing week as they are now 16th and just 2 points away from the bottom. Mick McCarthy has reasons to be worried (having lost each of their last 5 games) and thus needs to get the combination right in order to get the attacking play going, which may see Experienced Steven Hunt getting a start. He will also be hoping that the likes of Ward and Johnson can come up with a Clean sheet and take all three points in this home tie.
Brendan Rodgers side lacked the determination and the fight that they showed at Stoke two weeks ago, and hence never threatened to take a point of the game last week. Swansea must look at this game as an opportunity to come up with maximum points facing a depleted Wolves outfit. They must be quick out of the blocks and avoid trailing behind early if they are to get something out of the game. They will once again look up to the likes of Sinclair and Graham to provide the needed boost.
Man to Watch:
Scott Sinclair: One of the most creative players in the team, he has the pace to cause trouble in any defense. He has scored twice along with two assists this season and shows good chemistry along with his fellow attackers. He has a good vision and can provide the final pass and will be looking to terrorize the Wolves defense as they meet the coming week.
Prediction: Wolves 1-1 Swansea.
Aston Villa vs West Brom
Aston Villa failed to threaten the Citizens last week despite Manchester City resting numerous of their key players. Villa did create a few chances early on but Alex McLeish would be hoping that his players come up with a better performance and secure the three points at home. They will look for a more secure defensive display than that in the previous game while Agbonlahor and Bent will be trusted with the responsibility of finding the net upfront. The manager may look to tinker the tactics a little bit which may mean that the likes of Albrighton or N’Zogbia getting a start.
West Brom will be fresh and ready for the encounter coming off an excellent result against Wolves. Their skipper Brunt and Odemwingie were the ones to score and the Baggies will again be relying on the duo to come up with the goods. Shane Long has had a good start to the season and is a constant threat at the opposition defence and will be looking to team up with the likes of Scharner and Jerome Thomas to create opportunities. Roy Hodgson is unlikely to change his winning combination though Jones is on a 50-50 chance on making it to the next week.
Man to Watch:
Gabriel Agbonlahor: The striker ahs already notched up four goals in the campaign this season, and will be looking to add stuff to his tally. His pace and trickery provides a different dynamism to the attack and despite a disappointing last season, he looks upbeat this time around. He would be looking to combine with Bent and Heskey and lead the attacking line for Villa.
Prediction: Villa 2-0 WBA.
Bolton Wanderers vs Sunderland
After 11 losses from 12 games, Boltons have finally managed to secure three points, much to the delight and relief of their manager Owen Coyle. Starting the week at the foot of the table, Bolton, after the win, now stand on the 18th spot, in the drop zone only by virtue of goal difference. Coyle will be looking for a similar performance from his boys against the Black Cats at home, a win which may take them out of the relegation spots. They are aware that the opposition manager Steve Bruce is also under pressure at his club and may look to turn it into their advantage. Ngog is likely to keep his place, meaning Ivan Klasnic will again start off from the bench, while Martin Petrov and Chris Eagles will look to control the midfield once again.
Steve Bruce will rue his sides missed chances against the Gunners which sees them placed just one spot above the drop zone by a superior goal difference. Despite it being an away game, Bruce will urge his side to go for a win and ease the pressure on him which is building with each passing game. Sebastian Larsson had a fantastic game last week, but he will miss out this week, having been suspended till 20th of the month. O’Shea and Brown will bear the responsibility of tightening things up at the back and guarding their territory against the likes of Davies and co.Nicolas Bendtner is likely to return to the line up having missed out on the game against his parent club.
Man to Watch:
Kevin Davies: With just one goal this season so far, the Bolton captain has failed to live up to the expectations which undoubtedly resulted in a poor team performance. Having missed a penalty last week, the skipper will be well aware that he needs to step up his game and start scoring goals if his team is to come out of the current struggle. He will win his fair share of headers and will also be a threat from dead balls.
Prediction: Bolton 1-1 Sunderland
Newcastle United vs Wigan Athletic
Having conceded just 4 times before last week, Newcastle earned a hard fought point at home against visiting Spurs last week. They could have come out with all three points if Coloccini hadn’t missed from close range deep into extra time. However Alan Pardew will be happy with his team’s performance and will expect nothing less than a win as they entertain the Latics at home. Demba Ba scored against last week, taking his season’s tally to 5 goals and will look to break through the Wigan defense in an attempt to add goals to his growing tally. Shola Ameobi will be pushing for a start as well, having scored after introduced from the bench last week; while Ryan Taylor and Steven Taylor will again be relied upon to be strict at the back with an impressive Krul at goal.
Roberto Martinez is looking like a man – short of ideas – as his side have slumped to the 19th spot in the table and look like a team lacking ambition. The Latics need inspiration from somewhere if they are to pull something off against Newcastle and it requires no telling that they will be going into the match as under dogs. Rodallega came off the bench last week and might get a starting spot next week. Martinez will however be looking for an improved display from his defense who looked average against Bolton last week.
Man to Watch:
Demba Ba: The Senegalese forward had a dream to kick-start to the season and have lead the line well for his team where many were expecting a big money striker into the club after Carroll’s departure. He has the strikers presence and gets to the end of passes well and will be looking to do more of the same come this gameweek. He will surely keep Alcarez and co on their toes an will slot home with a sniff of a chance at goal.
Predictions: Newcastle 3-1 Wigan
Liverpool vs Norwich
The Reds shared the points at home against the fierce rivals from Manchester, but Kenny Dalgish would expect nothing less than a win against the new boys at home. Steven Gerrard started the clash last week and will again feature this week, while the rest of the side should be retained. Andy Carroll did not see any game time last week but is likely to feature this time around. Anything less than three points will be deemed as a surprise !
Norwich are coming off from a 3-1 win at home against fellow new boys Swansea. Pilkington scored twice and will be looking to be the savior for his side once again though the task is a lot harder this time around. Paul Lambert will be happy if his side manages to come up with even a point, which will require tremendous concentration and a brilliant defensive display. They will also need to make most of the chances they create if they are to put up a fight.
Man to Watch:
Luis Suarez: The Uruguyan was lively against Untied and will be a threat to the Norwich defense. His quick feet and pace may be too much to cope with for the Norwich defense, who will have their hands full keeping the pocket dynamite quiet. Another lively and skillful display from the forward won’t be too much to ask for.
Prediciton: Liverpool 4-0 Norwich
Continue reading: English Premier League: Gameweek 9 – Part 2