Saturday, 18 December 2010

Premiership Preview 18/12/10

Saturday's Games:

Liverpool v Fulham (Match called off)
Wigan v Aston Villa (Match called off)

The wintery weather has claimed two of today's games but the remaining four fixtures should provide plenty of entertainment.

Wenger needs a win today
Arsenal v Stoke is obviously the biggest of the games as Arsenal look to reclaim their spot at the top of the Premier League before Manchester United travel to Chelsea on Sunday. Arsenal, despite their ability and skill, always seem to struggle against big, physical sides like Stoke, Blackburn and Bolton. These teams close down the fragile Arsenal players as quickly as possible and put in hefty challenges when they can to disrupt the flowing football that is so crucial to the Gunners' success.

However, if Stoke don't play as hard and as fast as they can, Arsenal have the ability to cut them apart and turn this game into a drubbing. Arsenal have been painfully inconsistent this season but are miraculously still in the title race. I can't see them faltering today with such a big opportunity to go top once more. I reckon Arsenal will take this game by two or three goals. Whatever the result, it should be a very interesting affair as two contrasting teams clash at the Emirates stadium.

Newcastle and Sunderland will look to continue their impressive seasons with games against Birmingham and Bolton. Sunderland may find the going difficult against Bolton, who boast a ton of Premiership experience throughout their side. Led by the effective Kevin Davies, Bolton are currently sitting in 6th place, two points ahead of today's opponents. I fancy a draw here as both teams are full of running and effort and will probably cancel each other out. However, that superior experience may swing things Bolton's way.

Newcastle talisman Andy Carroll
Newcastle claimed a fine win last weekend over Liverpool at St. James' Park in Alan Pardew's first game in charge. Today they face a Birmingham side who have been struggling of late. An easy win for the high flying Magpies? Im not so sure. Newcastle fans will be the first to tell you that the Toon Army have been throwing away points against sides they should be beating, like West Brom and Blackpool, all season. So, while Newcastle will be hoping today is the day that trend comes to an end, I suspect that instead Birmingham will snap their recent slide.

The last game is a clash between Blackburn and West Ham. The Hammers have been struggling all season and this is one writer who hopes they get relegated. They have been clinging on for too long in the Premiership and I'd like to seem them gone. Blackburn, on the other hand, recently sacked their manager, 'Big' Sam Allardyce. 

Sam Allardyce is out of a job...again.
While many pundits are dumbfounded by this news, because Blackburn are doing OK, I welcome it. Allardyce is a blight on the game. His boring long ball strategies are a sin and his overly physical tactics are thuggish. Blackburn are a side who are a bore to watch week in, week out and I agree completely with the new owner's decision to rid himself of one of the most overrated managers in the league in an effort to change his team's playing style. Allardyce should be managing in Leagues one and two where his playing style is more welcome. If he ever gets the England job, I'm switching nationalities. That being said, I can see Blackburn taking this game today and further compounding West Ham's miseries.

Enjoy the football!

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