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EPL Preview: A Rocking GameWeek 10

This weekend brings the English Premier League to the fore once again, as teams gear up for another crucial round of matches to ascend the points table. There are several important matches as Manchester United host old rivals Arsenal at Old Trafford, Chelsea travel to Swansea, West Ham welcome Manchester City, Tottenham play against Wigan, Liverpool host Newcastle United and a host of other mid-table teams play each other. EPL fans will have a great weekend as the fun and excitement continues from England and Wales. Here is a sneak preview and prediction of the matches to be played this weekend.

(1.) Manchester United v Arsenal at Old Trafford – 12:45 GMT/ 18:15 IST

Manchester United v Arsenal - Premier League

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – AUGUST 28: Ashley Young of Manchester United and Carl Jenkinson of Arsenal battle for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford on August 28, 2011 in Manchester, England.

Manchester United host rivals Arsenal at Old Trafford in the big game of this Match Week in the Barclays Premier League. The lunch-time kick-off is between two historic clubs, and both managers are at present the longest serving Managers for their Club and in the EPL.

In midweek on Wednesday against Chelsea in the Capital One Cup, United lost the tie 5-4 in extra time after leading until the last minute of normal time, having played really well with a young second string team. At their last PL outing on Sunday, United won 3-2 at Chelsea under controversial circumstances, beating the leaders at Stamford Bridge after 10 years and getting all three points to place themselves behind the league leaders with just  one point separating the two. Sir Alex Ferguson will want his side to carry on their winning form against a resurgent Arsenal side and the Red Devils will be hoping to make repeat last season’s mauling, where it finished 8-2 for United.

Arsenal made an epic comeback in their midweek tie with Reading in the Capital One Cup where they were trailing 4-0 before half-time and made  a superb comeback, winning it 7-5 in extra time. In their last PL outing, Arsenal scrambled a win 1-0 to QPR at home. Arsene Wenger will look to improve his side’s inconsistent form and also improve poor record at Old Trafford as they have not won there in six years. Wenger’s men will want to win against United and climb the table but it will be very difficult as Gunners have won only once in their last 10 meetings with the Red Devils.

Arsenal also need to banish the demons of last season’s Premier League visit to Old Trafford, when they suffered an 8-2 humiliation in what ranks as one of Wenger’s darkest days in his career.

It’s been an incredibly entertaining goal-filled week in which both teams have conceded five goals in the Capital One Cup, having scored lots of goals. It will be a good match between two good teams but home advantage and better attacking talent and finishing will get the home team a win where Arsenal will fight till the end. Three points for Manchester United with lots of goals is my prediction.

Players to watch out for – Van Persie, Rooney, Valencia and De Gea;  Podolski, Arteta, Cazrola and Vermaelen

Prediction – Manchester United 4-2 Arsenal

(2.) Fulham v Everton at Craven Cottage – 15:00 GMT/ 20:30 IST

Everton v Fulham - Premier League

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – APRIL 28: Damien Duff of Fulham beats Sylvain Distin of Everton during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Fulham at Goodison Park on April 28, 2012 in Liverpool, England.

Fulham welcome Everton to Craven Cottage. Both sides have made encouraging starts to the new season and sit in the top half of the table. In their last encounter, both sides played out thrilling draws where the Cottagers were twice pegged back late on to draw 3-3 at Reading, while the Toffees recovered from a two-goal deficit to claim a point against Liverpool in the Merseyside Derby.

Martin Jol will hope to carry on his good winning run at home as they have won three out of four this season and will look for another against Everton. Fulham are looking confident as they are finding the net regularly with talisman Dimitar Berbatov in the ranks and will therefore want a positive result in front of their home crowd.

David Moyes will look to end their run of draws, having drawn their last three matches in the league. Moyes’ side are on a good run and will hope for an away win with three points but it will be difficult.

Both sides appear very evenly matched and taking their previous results into account, expect an entertaining draw as it is hard to separate these teams, but it will be a tricky contest as both teams can win it.

Players to watch out for – Berbatov, Baird and Riise; Naismith, Fellani and Baines

Prediction – Fulham 2-2 Everton

(3.) Norwich City v Stoke City at Carrow Road – 15:00 GMT/ 20:30 IST

Stoke City v Norwich City - Premier League

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND – MARCH 03: Jonathan Walters of Stoke is fouled by Zak Whitbread of Norwich during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Norwich City at Britannia Stadium on March 3, 2012 in Stoke on Trent, England.

Norwich City will be looking to maintain their encouraging run of form when they entertain Stoke City at Carrow Road. Norwich have made progress as they are on a good unbeaten run, winning 2-1 against Tottenham in the Capital One Cup in midweek. In their last PL outing, Norwich settled for a draw 1-1 at Aston Villa, while Stoke were held to a goalless by Sunderland at home.

Chris Hughton’s side will hope to continue their good home run as they last won against Arsenal and will try to get three points against the Potters. Tony Pulis will look to improve Stoke’s away form as they have not won in the last 14 away matches and hope for a surprise win versus Norwich. Its going to be a tricky game as both sides can win and Norwich have the home advantage but they will face difficulty against a strong, physical Stoke defense so a boring draw is a likely possibility for this contest.

Players to watch out – Holt, Hoolahan and Turner; Crouch, Walters and Shawcross

Prediction – Norwich City 1-1 Stoke City

(4.) Sunderland v Aston Villa at Stadium of Light – 15:00 GMT/ 20:30 IST

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND – APRIL 21: Fraizer Campbell of Sunderland battles with Carlos Cuellar of Aston Villa during the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Sunderland at Villa Park on April 21, 2012 in Birmingham, England.

Aston Villa travel to the Stadium of Light to play against Sunderland this weekend. Sunderland and Aston Villa are the two bottom teams in terms of goalscoring in the league so far. Both teams are out of form and are looking to turn their fortunes. Martin O’Neill will look for a home win having and try to turn the season around with three points against lowly Aston Villa. Paul Lambert’s side will hope to get a win in an away match as they have a very poor record in away matches, so it will be difficult to score goals.

In the Capital One Cup in midweek, Sunderland lost 1-0 to rivals Middlesbrough at home, while Aston Villa won 3-2 at Swindon. In the last PL encounter, both teams had to settle for a draw as Aston Villa drew 1-1 against Norwich at home, while Sunderland were held to a scoreless draw at Stoke. This game is unpredictable as both teams are similar, having a poor attacking third and the better side on the day will decide the result, I am predicting a home win for Sunderland.

Players to watch out for – Fletcher, Johnson and O’Shea; Aston Villa – Benteke, Delph and Vlaar

Prediction – Sunderland 1-0 Aston Villa

(5.) Swansea v Chelsea at Liberty Stadium – 15:00 GMT/ 20:30 IST

SWANSEA, WALES – JANUARY 31: David Luiz of Chelsea clears the ball as Steven Caulker of Swansea closes in during the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Chelsea at Liberty Stadium on January 31, 2012 in Swansea, Wales.

Swansea host leaders Chelsea at the Liberty Stadium. Both teams will look for a win and as Chelsea want to remain as leaders. Swansea have good home record in the PL, where Michael Laudrup’s side will have to work hard against Chelsea and hope to use home advantage to their favour. Laudrup’s Swansea will be buoyed by Cup endeavours of their own after winning 3-1 at Liverpool in midweek. In their last league match, Swansea lost 1-0 at Manchester City.

On the other hand, Chelsea had two thrilling encounters against United in a week where they lost in the league on Sunday in a controversial match losing, 3-2 at home, their first defeat. But the Blues took revenge against Man United midweek in the Capital One Cup where they won 5-4 in extra time. Roberto Di Matteo will look to get back to winning ways in the league after a blip and remain top of the table as they have not lost an away match this season. Swansea are good at home but Chelsea will be too good for the Swans with the attacking talent the Blues have in their ranks so an away win for Chelsea looks to be the possible result.

Players to watch out for – Michu, Routledge and Williams; Torres, Hazard and Cahill

Prediction – Swansea 1-2 Chelsea

(6.) Tottenham Hotspur v Wigan Athletic at White Hart Lane – 15:00 GMT/ 20:30 IST

LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 31: Jordi Gomez of Wigan clashes with Jake Livermore of Spurs during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Wigan Athletic at White Hart Lane on January 31, 2012 in London, England.

Tottenham host Wigan at White Hart Lane in the league. Both teams are in good form and will look for a win in this fixture. Tottenham need three important points to stay in the top four of the table. Andres Villas-Boas’ men will look for a win having home advantage and get back to winning ways as they suffered a loss in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday, losing 2-1 at Norwich. In the PL last week, Spurs won 2-1 at Southampton and will look for a similar result.

Wigan suffered a shock defeat in the Capital One Cup in midweek on the hands of league two side Bradford, where the Latics were held to a scoreless draw and lost on penalties. In their last PL outing, Wigan won 2-1 against West Ham at home and Roberto Martinez will look for a similar performance from his side in this fixture. A comfortable home victory looks the only outcome as Spurs are on a good run and the Latics will remember their drubbing three years ago where Tottenham thrashed them by 9-1, Jermain Defoe scoring five goals.

Players to watchout for – Defoe, Bale and Walker; Kone, Maloney and Al-Habsi

Prediction – Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Wigan Athletic

(7.) West Ham United v Manchester City at Upton Park – 17:30 GMT/ 23:00 IST

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – MAY 01: Freddie Sears of West Ham United competes for the ball with Yaya Toure and David Silva (L) of Manchester City during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and West Ham United at the City of Manchester Stadium on May 1, 2011 in Manchester, England.

West Ham welcome last season’s Champions Manchester City at Upton Park this weekend. City are on a winning streak with four consecutive wins in the league and will hope to make it five out of five. While West Ham will hope for a win on account of City’s current injury woes and get a result on home soil, they lost 2-1 at Wigan, while City won 1-0 against Swansea on home turf.

The Hammers will look to keep home advantage and make it a fortress as they have a good record at Upton Park and Sam Allardyce will hope to get something out of this big match. Roberto Mancini must be confident of a win as they are in good condition, playing good football and their results are show on the table. They will be hoping for another scalp on the road, which will help them fight for top spot with Chelsea and United.

It is going to be a difficult game for both sides since the Hammers have the home advantage and City are on a winning streak. Both teams can get a result but City will have the edge in the attacking third, so chances of an away win are more. But I predict a surprise draw as City have injury concerns and West Ham’s home form will level up the contest with an entertaining match.

Players to watch out for – Carroll, Nolan and Jaasekelainen; Tevez, Nasri and Kompany

Prediction – West Ham United 2-2 Manchester City

(8.) QPR v Reading at Loftus Road Stadium – 13:30 GMT/ 19:00 IST

LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 26: Noel Hunt of Reading is challenged by Clint Hill of Queens Park Rangers during the Capital One Cup third round match between Queens Park Rangers and Reading at Loftus Road on September 26, 2012 in London, England.

QPR host the only other side still seeking their first Premier League win of the season as Reading visit Loftus Road. QPR and Reading are the only two winless teams left in the Premier League. Reading will look to bounce back from the madness of their goal thriller in midweek in the Capital One Cup where Arsenal made an epic comeback, winning 7-5 in extra time, despite Reading cruising 4-0 in the first half, but the frantic game was a classic cup tie. In their last PL outing, QPR lost 1-0 at Arsenal, while Reading drew 3-3 against Fulham at home.

Mark Hughes will hope for the first win of the season as matches are going to come thick and fast where it’s important to get three points from fellow relegation teams to get out of the bottom of the table. Brian McDermott will look to improve from last weeks goal thriller and try to concede less goals after sitting in the driving seat and will look for the first win of the season. Both teams are rock bottom of the table and are difficult to separate so its anyone’s game but with home advantage and Reading having played 120 mins in midweek, the edge will lie with QPR to get three points.

Players to watch out for – Hoilett, Taarabt and Julio Cesar; Pogrebnyak, Kebe and McCarthy

Prediction – QPR 2-1 Reading

(9.) Liverpool v Newcastle United at Anfield – 16:00 GMT/ 21:30 IST

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND – APRIL 01: Liverpool player Jay Spearing (r) and Hatem Ben Arfa in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Liverpool at Sports Direct Arena on April 1, 2012 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

Liverpool welcome Newcastle United to Anfield, where Newcastle have a very poor record, winning none from 17 matches played, only drawing two of them. Both teams have been inconsistent this season and will look for improvement in their performances. In their last league outing, Liverpool drew 2-2 at Everton in the Merseyside Derby, while Newcastle won 2-1 in the dying seconds against West Bromwich Albion on home turf. Liverpool surrendered their defense of the League Cup in midweek where they lost 3-1 to Swansea at home.
Brendan Rodgers will therefore be determined to take maximum points against a Newcastle side and will want to bounce back to winning ways having the home advantage. Alan Pardew’s side must start winning on the road to get into the top four of the table as they are not good on the road and will hope to get something at Liverpool, but it will be a very difficult task for them as they have scored only one goal in their last six visits to Anfield.

Both teams are difficult to separate as they have big names so a draw looks a possibility but a great home record for Liverpool and poor away record for Newcastle means a home win, but it will be a tight match which Liverpool will win by a single goal.

Players to watch out for – Suarez, Gerrard and Skrtel; Demba Ba, Ben Arfa and Coloccini

Prediction – Liverpool 1-0 Newcastle United

(10.) West Bromwich Albion v Southampton at the Hawthrons – 20:00 GMT/ 01:30 IST

WEST BROMWICH, UNITED KINGDOM – APRIL 28: Chris Brunt of West Bromwich Albion celebrates scoring an equalising goal during the Coca-Cola Championship match between West Bromwich Albion and Southampton at The Hawthorns on April 28, 2008 in West Bromwich, England.

In-form West Brom host out-of-form Southampton at the Hawthrons on Monday night. The Baggies are riding high courtesy a great run at the start of the season as they are 8th in the league table, while the Saints are at the bottom of the table with only one win. In their last PL outing, West Bromwich lost 2-1 at Newcastle in the dying moments of the match, while Southampton lost 2-1 to Tottenham.

Steve Clarke will look for a win, having the home advantage and an on-song side, in addition to which they face the most leaky defense in the league and will be looking to take three points. Nigel Adkins will hope for a better performance from his team and try to get a point from this match. West Brom have been unlucky in their last two league matches, losing both games in injury time and will be looking for a win against a leaky Southampton defense. A comfortable home victory for West Bromwich is on the cards.

Players to watch out for – Lukaku, Gera and Ridgewell; Lambert, Lallana and Boruc

Prediction – West Bromwich Albion 3-1 Southampton

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