Arsenal vs Stoke
The Gunners may have had to rue their missed chances last week if it wasn’t for a brilliant free kick from Robin Van Persie, 8-minutes from time. The Dutchman was the sole savior for his side as it was his goal 29-seconds in that gave them the lead in the first place. He will be relied upon once again if they are to overcome Stoke. Arsene Wenger knows what to expect from Stoke, physical play at its peak, and he will be training his side exactly for such treatment. They will also have to cope up with the aerial threat possessed by Stoke.
Stoke, after a 2-0 win against Fulham will be upbeat and hoping for a decent display against the Gunners as well. Tony Pulis, however, will look to go in for maximum points provided Arsenal’s dodgy start to the season. Walters scored last week and he will again be relied upon along with Crouch & Co. to put Arsenal’s defense under pressure, while Rory Delap’s long throws will undoubtedly come in handy.
Man to Watch:
Robin Van Persie: The Dutchman has scored 5 times already this season and he will be trusted upon to carry on with his good form. He will look to break through the strong Stoke defense and give an early lead to his side. He will receive due support from Gervinho and Walcott, however it is him that Wenger will rely upon to come up with the goods.
Predictions: Arsenal 2-2 Stoke
Fulham vs Everton
Two goals in the last ten minutes denied Martin Jol from a point at Stoke. His side must up their game if they are to get three points against Everton this coming week. Andy Johnson and Bobby Zamora failed to score last week, but they will be looking to continue the form they showed against QPR. Riise is a vital member to the squad in both a defensive and attacking sense and his experience might come in handy in a game which may go either way. A win will push them closer to the top half of the table while a loss will see them sliding down even further.
David Moyes may rightly ask for a better defensive display from his side than that on show against Chelsea this past week, where they conceded no less than 4 times. However they did not lack spirit and they need more of the same inspiration as they square of against Fulham. Moyes will certainly look for maximum points from the game. It is likely to be a battle in the midfield with the likes of Fellaini and Rodwell, going toe to toe against Dempsey and Murphy. Saha will be the main man leading the attack for Everton while Leighton Baines is likely to be the main provider from dead ball situations.
Man to Watch:
Danny Murphy: The Fulham skipper will be the inspiration for his side and is likely to play a key role at the heart of the midfield. His distribution will be the key and with 2 goals and 3 assists in the league already, he proved that he certainly doesnt lack an eye for goals. He will be a main warrior in the mid-field battle which may eventually decide which way the game goes.
Prediction: Fulham 2-1 Everton.
Manchester United vs Manchester City
Coming off from the encounter against Liverpool, Alex Ferguson will undoubtedly target maximum points in order to regain their spot at the top of the table. A loss will see them trail behind by 5 points. Ferguson may decide to field more of his star players, having rested them for the previous encounter. The likes of Nani and Rooney should come back. Phil Jones may continue at the extended CDM position, trying to neutralize the threat of City’s creative players. Ferdinand should continue along with Evans at the centre of defense, as Vidic’s return is still unsure.
City will be fresh and ready for the tie, having rested most of their kep players against Villa. Nasri,Dzeko and Silva should come into the starting eleven as Aguero may have to content with a place at the bench due to questionable fitness. Kompany and Lescott must be on their toes dealing with the apce and trickery of Nani and Young, while Silva and Nasri will take on the responsibility of the attacking play. An open game is expected with both teams having a chance to win it, though the home side is considered to go into the clash with a slight advantage.
Man to Watch:
Nani: The pacy winger missed out on a start against Liverpool and will be upbeat for the tie. He will look to add to his tally of 3 goals and equal assists, as his pace and shooting from outside the box will be a threat to the City backline. He is undoubtedly a threat form either wing and his crosses will also set up the forwards to score.
Prediction: Man Utd 2-1 Man City.
Blackburn vs Tottenham
An under pressure Steve Kean, will face an in-form Spurs outfit and even after a point against QPR, Blackburn will go into the tie, sitting at the foot of the table. Kean must inspire his side to get anything out of the game, though it looks highly unlikely. The pace and flair of the Spur’s attacking men might be too much to handle for Samba and his team. However, Blackburn will hope that the combination of the experience and youth clicks and they finally give some momentum to the season.
Spur’s might regard themselves as unlucky, coming off with just a point from Newcastle, in a tight game, where any team could have come out with a win. Harry Redknapp will hope that his side makes full use of the opportunities that get created and he will rely on pace and fluent passing from his attackers to get past the Blackburn defense. Adebayor’s aerial battle against Samba will be one to watch our for while Rafael Van Der Vart will look to carry on with his goal scoring streak having scored once in each of the last three matches.
Man to Watch:
Gareth Bale: His pace and trickery might be a little to hot to handle for Salgado, with the Welshman expected to runt he show against the Spaniard. Bale scored just once this season and this might just be the clash where he chooses to burst into the scoring charts. His crosses drilled in from the left is also a big threat while he is also expected to do his fair share of defending, supporting Assou-Ekkoto at the back.
Prediction: Blackburn 0-3 Tottenham
QPR vs Chelsea
This will be the hardest test for QPR till now and Neil Warnock will be happy if the lads can come off even with an impressive display, let alone point(s). They must be strict at the back, in dealing with the likes of Lampard and Mata. Shaun Wright Phillips will be facing his former club and might choose the occasion to grasp the limelight with Barton and Helguson supporting him in attack. Survival may be the name of the game for QPR, as trying to go toe to toe with the Blues result in something they might later regret.
Chelsea will be upbeat after thrashing their boogie opponents Everton 4-1 last week. Juan Mata was particularly impressive in the game, setting up two of the goals while John Terry marked his 350th appearance with a goal. Boas will look for nothing less than maximum points and will be hoping that the clash at Manchester ends in a draw. Anything less than a win for the Blues seems unlikely, though the Chelsea defense must not be complacent against the new boys.
Man to Watch:
Didier Drogba: The Cote D’Ivory striker will be looking to give the season some needed boost, having scored just once in the league so far. His presence in the air, and ability to get to the end of balls into the box will be a threat as he will look to combine with the likes of Mata and Sturridge.
Prediction: QPR 0-4 Chelsea
The sneak-peek, part 1: English Premier League: Gameweek 9 – Part 1