Aston Villa v Norwich, Live on Sky Sports 2,
Paul Lambert will have mixed emotions about beating Norwich who are a team struggling themselves. He knows that his problems would be magnetised enormously if Aston Villa don’t win at home. Everything he will think about and be focused on is Villa winning. He can deal with the guys that come up from Norwich, the players and the board, after the game. But his focus will be on taking three points at the weekend. Even though Norwich did so well last week against Arsenal, Villa will still have too much in this game at evens.
Arsenal v QPR, Live on Setanta Sports,
This is the perfect fixture for Arsenal to some extent. Good teams don’t lose two in a row and when they do, they definitely don’t lose three in a row. QPR are not good enough to go to the Emirates and beat Arsenal. The Gunners will be hurting after the last two results. They have been very poor and have taken a lot of criticism. Players and managers don’t like that and they’ll respond this weekend with a performance. One day QPR will surprise us all because they have an enormous amount of quality but it hasn’t quite gelled yet. When it does they could easily kick on and win four or five out of seven or eight and move up the league. It won’t be this week though and Arsenal are the bet at 2/5.
Wigan v West Ham
Sam Allardyce will set West Ham up to be tough to beat away from home and the midfield will be packed. Wigan will have to work very hard and there won’t be many goals in this game, but Roberto Martinez’s team can win it at 13/10.
Reading v Fulham
Reading are still winless and Fulham are rightly favourites. Brian McDermott’s side are due a win though and Fulham aren’t great travellers. They’re better away than they have been previously but they are still vulnerable when they are not at Craven Cottage. Reading can win this game and get their first win of the season at tasty odds of 15/8.
Stoke v Sunderland
Stoke take on a Sunderland side that are very unlikely to get goals. If Steven Fletcher doesn’t get a goal then who does? It is extraordinary to think that Demba Ba is the second highest Sunderland goalscorer after his own goal last week! It’s not a one-man-band in this league and someone needs to step up and help Fletcher. Although to be fair to Sunderland, they are better at defending than attacking at the moment, so they will be tough to beat.
Going away to Stoke is a massive test. The crowd is one of the best in the country and give the team plenty of support. Punters will be keen to side with Stoke but this could easily be a low scoring draw at 9/4.
Man City v Swansea, Live on ESPN,
Manchester City were shocking at the Amsterdam Arena but the 10 men of were magnificent against West Brom at the Hawthorns four days earlier. That quality disappeared but it will be back on Saturday. Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero will be unleashed against Swansea with Edin Dzeko on the bench, and this side will know they are due a huge performance and result. This is a performance that needs to put the talk from the fans to bed.
It won’t necessarily be a drubbing. Swansea are a funny side, they look like they could win 3-0 or lose 3-0. There are things that are due though. City are due a clean sheet, they haven’t had one yet which is staggering. This is the weekend they could get it. If Tevez and Aguero play well they could get three or four and this will be a comfortable victory for City at 1/4.