Premier League predictions

With Chelsea not in action the Premier League’s big boys have a chance to put pressure on the league’s early leaders this weekend. The stand out fixtures are surely David Moyes’ Manchester United facing age old rivals Liverpool, while the North London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham will no doubt offer entertainment and drama and you can back your favourites on William Hill. Wayne Rooney finally broke his silence after United’s draw with Chelsea to thank the fans for their support, but there is still no news on any potential…

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Newcastle Focus – Shaky cup performance heaps more worry on Magpies

Newcastle have not had a good start to their 2013-14 campaign – they had a dreadful time away to Manchester City and were less than convincing against West Ham. To make matters worse, they needed late goals from the Ameobi brothers to overcome League Two side Morecombe after a poor display. Dan Gosling twice cleared off the line during that game and Newcastle were lucky to not find themselves on the end of an upset. Fans are growing more disgruntled with the club because of the lack of transfers this…

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Crystal Palace vs Sunderland – Match preview and team news

Crystal Palace head into their last game before the international break looking for their first Premier League points of the season at home to Sunderland, and with Ian Holloway and Paulo Di Canio as the respective managers, this promises to be a lively encounter. Poor defending proved costly for Palace away to Stoke City last weekend, after Marouane Chamakh gave them the lead with his first goal for the club. They have been hindered by their lack of pace, especially on the wings, and the absence of Glenn Murray, whose…

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Newcastle vs Fulham – Match preview and team news

After being severely tested by League Two opposition in the Capital One Cup during the week, Newcastle United and Fulham meet in the Premier League. Two late goals saw the Magpies past Morecambe, although they have not yet found the net in the league. Indeed, they failed to muster a shot on target against West Ham, and there is plenty of negativity surrounding the club at present, highlighted by the lack of new signings. Newcastle will see this as a must win game. Fulham scraped past a determined Burton Albion…

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Norwich vs Southampton – Match preview and team news

After losing to the 10 men of Hull City last week, and putting six past Bury in the Capital One Cup, Norwich City face a Southampton side who have made an encouraging start to their second season back in the Premier League. There was disappointment for Chris Hughton at the KC Stadium as his side failed to break newly-promoted Hull’s stubborn resistance. But as it was last season, their home form will contribute significantly to how they fare this time around. However, they now look a more entertaining team to…

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West Ham vs Stoke – Match preview and team news

Unbeaten West Ham United take on Stoke City, who collected their first Premier League points under new manager Mark Hughes against Crystal Palace last time out. West Ham will be disappointed not to have maximum points after failing to convert their dominance into goals against Newcastle United. It is their defensive solidity that has impressed, however, as the likes of James Collins and Winston Reid have only allowed one shot on target over their two games. Stoke edged newly-promoted Palace last weekend, with two goals that were synonymous with Tony…

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Cardiff vs Everton – Match preview and team news

After their shock win over Manchester City, Premier League new boys Cardiff City face another home game this weekend, against an Everton side still looking for their first league win under Roberto Martinez. Cardiff showed impressive organisation against Man City, and capitalised on City’s failure to deal with crosses. Fraizer Campbell’s two goals showed how important he may be for the Welsh club this season, while Craig Bellamy’s experience will also prove invaluable. With regards to Everton, it has been a week dominated by Manchester United’s attempts to sign Leighton…

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Man City vs Hull – Match preview and team news

Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City go into their second consecutive Premier League match against newly promoted opposition, this time in the form of Hull City, and are hoping not to suffer the same fate as they did against Cardiff. After the team showed so much promise in taking apart Newcastle in their opening game, Man City were stunned by a very organised Bluebirds side, who ruthlessly took advantage of City’s defensive woes. The 2011-12 champions are expected to win here, and cannot afford to slip up. Hull arrive under no pressure,…

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Everton Focus – Capital One Cup win follows familiar pattern under Martinez

Everton’s Capital One Cup win over Stevenage took a similar trajectory to the other two competitive games played under Roberto Martinez – enough positives to suggest the new manager is on the right track, but enough negatives to lend credence to the doubters who have yet to be convinced. Some mitigating circumstances must be considered. First, much like West Brom although less explicably since it was, after all, a cup game, Stevenage were content to defend with every outfield player behind the ball and invite Everton to break through, playing…

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Man Utd Focus – Do the Reds need Fellaini and Baines?

The summer transfer window slams shut on Monday, with Manchester United yet to secure a significant signing. The Premier League champions are reported to have had a renewed bid of around £38m for Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines rejected, but do the Reds really need to invest that amount of money in the Everton duo? The combined fee is no doubt weighted towards the cost of taking the 25-year-old Fellaini to Old Trafford, who had a £23m release clause in his contract that expired earlier in the summer. If that…

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Liverpool Focus – Vital few days begin with Man Utd fixture

Second-placed Liverpool host fierce rivals Manchester United this weekend as Brendan Rodgers hopes to record his first Premier League point over the Red Devils as the Anfield outfit’s manager. The former Swansea boss guided the Merseysiders to two slender top-flight defeats against the eventual champions last term, but with Liverpool – and Daniel Sturridge in particular – in encouraging form, this promises to be a lively and competitive contest. Liverpool’s preparation for the upcoming fixture has hardly been ideal – the Reds were forced into extra time by Notts County…

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Tottenham Focus – Options for Villas-Boas in the North London derby

Sunday sees the earliest scheduled North London derby for 20 years. In recent years Tottenham may have still be working on bringing players into the club at this time of the season. However, there has been a role reversal this summer; Spurs have completed the majority of their business. At the time of writing, Arsenal seem yet to start. However for all their lack of activity, Arsenal have quality in their starting XI and smarting from recent criticism will undoubtedly look to the derby to gain bragging rights. Whether they…

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Arsenal Focus – Challenging Champions League draw should be looked forward to not feared

After comfortably completing the job against Fenerbahce on Tuesday evening, Arsenal can now looking forward to a 16th consecutive season in the group stages of the Champions League, where they have been drawn to face Marseille, Napoli as well as last season’s finalists, Borussia Dortmund, in Group F. Challenging tests indeed which considering the Gunners’ lack of summer transfer business with just days to go until the window closes (though Mathieu Flamini’s long-mooted return on a free transfer has now been confirmed) has seen many Arsenal fans covering their eyes…

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Aston Villa Focus – Dynamic Villa require a creative spark

While they have showed some very encouraging signs in their opening three Premier League games and seem high on confidence, Aston Villa’s performances have still provided evidence to suggest that they are still lacking in one or two areas. The most notable example is the absence of a playmaker. The current Villa midfield is made up of pace and solidity, but contains nobody really capable of producing eye of the needle passes in order for the likes of Christian Benteke and Andreas Weimann to get in behind a defence, something…

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Man City Focus – Rough week with Hart out-of-sorts and tough Champions League draw

It has been a tough week for all concerned at Manchester City. First they demonstrated their defensive frailties without Vincent Kompany and Matija Nastasic against Cardiff on Sunday. Manuel Pellegrini watched his side go down 3-2 in the early season upset at the Cardiff City Stadium. Then it was revealed on Wednesday that they would be placed in pot three of the Champions League draw, meaning that they could find themselves in another group of death. The draw pitted City against holders Bayern Munich, CSKA Moscow and Viktoria Plzen, so…

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Tottenham boss Villas-Boas praises Defoe

Tottenham Hotspur Head Coach Andre Villas-Boas has waxed lyrical about the depth in his squad, Sky Sports has reported, with Jermain Defoe coming in for particular praise after the team’s 8-0 aggregate Europa League win over Dinamo Tbilisi. Spurs had a 5-0 advantage from the first leg ahead of the return fixture at White Hart Lane on Thursday evening, and rather than rest of the hefty score line, Spurs pushed for more goals which duly arrived. Defoe claimed a brace while Lewis Holtby also netted. “We couldn’t be complacent. All…

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Guardiola confirms Premier League ambition

Pep Guardiola has confirmed that he would like to coach in the Premier League one day, Sky Sports has reported, although the former Barcelona trainer insists he has much to achieve with Bayern Munich before he ventures to England. Guardiola is set to renew his rivalry with Jose Mourinho on Friday evening when Mourinho’s Chelsea meet Guardiola’s Bayern in the UEFA Super Cup, the showpiece match held by European football’s governing body between the Europa League winners, Chelsea, and the Champions League winners, Bayern. Both sides claimed their trophy under…

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Sinclair criticises former Man City boss Mancini

Scott Sinclair has revealed he asked former Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini why he was signed from Swansea City if he had no intention of allowing him to appear for the former Premier League champions, Sky Sports has reported. Sinclair, who completed a loan move to West Brom earlier in August, joined City in a transfer worth just over £6m last summer but found playing time hard to come by under the Italian, eventually recording 190 minutes of action in the whole of the league campaign. Sinclair says he questioned…

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King defends Tottenham over Bale transfer saga

Former Tottenham Hotspur defender Ledley King has defended the club’s handling of winger Gareth Bale’s proposed world record move to Real Madrid, and praised their transfer activity for this summer. Real Madrid are expected to complete the £86m signing of Bale in the coming days, after several weeks of negotiation. The Welshman was said to be ‘furious’ after the transfer was delayed on Tuesday, with Tottenham looking to secure a replacement before agreeing to sell the 24-year-old. And Tottenham’s handling of the negotiations have been criticised by some, but King,…

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Arsenal striker Podolski faces two month injury lay-off

Arsenal have been dealt a major blow ahead of Sunday’s North London derby with Tottenham Hotspur after receiving the news that striker Lukas Podolski will be out for 10 weeks due to a hamstring injury, Sky Sports has reported. Podolski sustained the injury seconds into the second-half of Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Fenerbahce on Tuesday in the second leg of their Champions League qualifying tie. Despite manager Arsene Wenger initially predicting an absence of around three weeks, further examination on the injury has shown that is much worse than first…

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PFA confirm Taylor’s job is safe after gambling claims

The PFA are to release a statement confirming that long-serving chief executive Gordon Taylor will remain in his position, after The Sun alleged on Thursday that he has a gambling addiction, BBC Sport is reporting. The newspaper has published a story which reports that Taylor, 68, made around 2,000 bets, including some on football, amounting to a spend of about £4m in two and-a-half years. However, the PFA’s management committee has said that it is a personal matter, and they believe that it has not led to a conflict of…

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Tottenham interested in signing Man Utd striker Hernandez

Tottenham Hotspur have approached Manchester United to enquire about the possibility of signing striker Javier Hernandez, with the Premier League champions wanting £15m, the Daily Mirror has reported. The 25-year-old arrived at Old Trafford from Chivas in his native Mexico in the summer of 2010. Despite being a regular goal scorer throughout his time with Man Utd, first team opportunities have become increasingly limited, with Hernandez making only nine Premier League starts last season after finding himself behind Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Danny Welbeck in the pecking order.…

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Ajax allow Eriksen to speak to Tottenham

Tottenham Hotspur have moved a step closer to signing Ajax playmaker Christian Eriksen, Yahoo Sports has reported, after the Dutch club allowed the Premier League side’s chairman, Daniel Levy, to speak with the player about moving to London. It is understood that Tottenham have offered in the region of £8m for the Denmark midfielder, below Ajax’s valuation, but while the two sides come to terms over the fee the player has held talks with his proposed new club. Ajax’s director of football, former Arsenal winger Marc Overmars, confirmed Eriksen was…

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Suarez could make Liverpool return against Man Utd in League Cup

Luis Suarez is in line to make his return from suspension against Manchester United after Liverpool were sent to Old Trafford by the draw for the next round of the Capital One Cup, ESPN has reported. Suarez has missed the start of the season as a result of the 10-game ban he received for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic in April, but his suspension will be up the week of September 23, with the League Cup fixtures to be played on the 24th and 25th of the month. The Uruguay…

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