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Premiership Saturday Preview - 10.09.05

last updated Friday 09th September 2005, 9:04 AM

Fulham return to Newcastle this weekend looking for a repeat of their 4-1 victory last season.

Most of the media talk before the game has been of Micheal Owen's arrival and all the goals he will score. However the performance of Owen and his team-mates in Belfast won't be the best preparation for Fulham's visit.

Also Owen will know that in the six Premiership games he played for Liverpool against Fulham he got just one goal.

The Cottagers will be boosted with the arrival of France international central defender Philippe Christanval on a three-year contract and Luis Boa Morte signing a new 5 year contract.

The worry for Chris Coleman will be how his squad reacts after many of them being on International duty in places from America to the Solomon Islands.

Individual match comments come from Dave Tindall and Jonathan Turner for BettingZone.

Premiership Weekend Games
Home Away K.O T.V.
Saturday 10 September 2006
Birmingham Charlton 15.00  
Chelsea Sunderland 15.00  
Everton Portsmouth 15.00
Man Utd Man City 15.00  
Newcastle Fulham 15.00  
Tottenham Liverpool 15.00  
West Brom Wigan 15.00  
Middlesbro Arsenal 17.15 ppv
Sunday 11 September 2006
Bolton Blackburn 16.00 Sky1
Monday 12 September 2006
West Ham Aston Villa 20.00 Sky1
Pos Team Pld W D L F A Pts Gd


Chelsea 4 4 0 0 8 0 12 +8
2 Man City 4 3 1 0 6 3 10 +3
3 Charlton 3 3 0 0 7 1 9 +6
4 Man Utd 3 3 0 0 5 0 9 +5
5 Bolton 4 2 1 1 6 4 7 +2
6 Tottenham 4 2 1 1 4 2 7 +2
7 Arsenal 3 2 0 1 6 2 6 +4
8 Aston Villa 4 1 2 1 4 4 5 0
9 West Ham 3 1 1 1 4 3 4 +1
10 Liverpool 2 1 1 0 1 0 4 +1
11 Blackburn 4 1 1 2 3 5 4 -2
12 Middlesbro 4 1 1 2 3 5 4 -2
13 Birmingham 4 1 1 2 4 7 4 -3
14 Fulham 4 1 1 2 3 6 4 -3
15 West Brom 4 1 1 2 4 8 4 -4
16 Wigan 3 1 0 2 1 2 3 -1
17 Everton 3 1 0 2 1 3 3 -2
18 Portsmouth 4 0 1 3 3 7 1 -4
19 Newcastle 4 0 1 3 0 6 1 -6
20 Sunderland 4 0 0 4 2 7 0 -5
Birmingham v Charlton (15.00 KO)

Watching Charlton score a deserved 3-0 win at Middlesbrough last time out made it pretty obvious that here is a team that is set up perfectly to do well away from home. They have a solid defense, Danny Murphy pulls the strings in midfield and there's plenty of pace on the break thanks to Dennis Rommedahl, Jerome Thomas and in-form goalscorer Darren Bent.

That victory made it three wins out of three for Charlton and they look to have an excellent chance of extending their 100% record against a Birmingham side who have already lost their first two homes games of the campaign - 3-0 to Middlesbrough and 2-1 to Manchester City.

Despite such contrasting form, it's Birmingham who the pundits make the clear favourites to take the three points.

Charlton have impressed so much that we may as well go for the jugular and predict an away win. Charlton won there two seasons ago and drew last term so St Andrews is a ground they like.

Verdict: Birmingham 1 Charlton 2

Chelsea v Sunderland (15.00 KO)

Chelsea had some problems after international breaks last season but surely they won't waste the chance to rack up another three points against Sunderland.

This looks an absolute 'gimme' on all the evidence so far with Jose Mourinho's champions starting with four straight wins and Sunderland four staight losses.

Verdict: Chelsea 4 Sunderland 0

Everton v Portsmouth (15.00 KO)

Trying to put the the disappointment of Champions League failure behind them is going to be tough for Everton. When Newcastle went out in the third qualifying round two seasons ago, the hangover was obvious as they took just two points from their next four games. Everton's first outing since their heartbreak in Villarreal has already produced a 1-0 defeat away to Fulham and Saturday's fixture, against a team they know they should beat, looks like an accident waiting to happen.

Pompey have suffered a pair of 2-1 defeats - at West Brom and Manchester City - in their two away fixtures so far but have shown enough to suggest they could nick a point at Goodison. The good news for Everton though is that they've beaten Pompey four times out of four since the Fratton Park side won promotion to the Premiership.

Everton 1 Portsmouth 1

Man Utd v Man City (15.00 KO)

City fans have legitimate reason to talk a good game ahead of Saturday's derby showdown given their fast start to the season under Stuart Pearce. But the inner demons, armed with the knowledge that City haven't won at Old Trafford since 1974, will be battling to have their voices heard too. Pearce deserves huge credit for the job he's done so far but it may be asking too much to rustle up an away win at their greatest rivals.

One of the fascinating sub-plots on Saturday is the whether Andrew Cole can find the net against his former team. Cole has netted in two of City's last three games.

The problem with going against United is that they've won five out of five this season without conceding a single goal. Ruud van Nistelrooy is back in the goals again and has netted four times in his last four outings against City - just for good measure he was also on the mark for Holland on Wednesday night.

Manchester United 2 Manchester City 1

Newcastle v Fulham (15.00 KO)

There's a renewed feeling of optimism on Tyneside following the £16million signing of Michael Owen but it may pay not to get too carried away. Newcastle haven't managed a single goal yet in four games and it's to be hoped that they don't leave all the scoring to Owen given that he's yet to reach the 20-goal mark in a Premiership season.

The Magpies have also got several other problems to contend with this weekend - Kieron Dyer and Emre are still struggling with injury while new signing Nolberto Solano is suspended. The good news is that they meet a Fulham side that's also conceding far more goals than it's scoring but they did at least claim their first victory of the season against Everton last time. They also managed a 4-1 success at St James' Park in the last Premiership campaign though anyone who saw that match will know the scoreline didn't accurately reflect Newcastle's dominance in the opening hour.

It's still hard to work up any enthusiasm for the Magpies to win.

Newcastle 0 Fulham 0

Tottenham v Liverpool (15.00 KO)

Tottenham's unbeaten start to the season was ended by Chelsea last time out but there was no disgrace in that defeat by the champions. The early sending off of Mido hardly helped Spurs' cause but they can take plenty of positives from both that display and claiming seven points from their opening matches with Portsmouth, Middlesbrough and Blackburn.

European commitments have limited Liverpool to just the two Premiership outings and a draw with Middlesbrough and win over Sunderland doesn't really tell us whether they are going to be able to make more of a challenge to the 'big four' this season.

It's therefore hard to argue there'll be much to separate these two at the end of the campaign and with all three meetings between the pair last term ending all square the bet here has to be for it to end with honours even again.

Verdict: Tottenham 1 Liverpool 1

West Brom v Wigan (15.00 KO)

It's been a mixed bag of results so far for Bryan Robson's West Brom following last season's escape act but don't read too much into their last two defeats. They fielded a weakened side against champions Chelsea (a development which fans should keep a close eye on this season) and were then beaten in their derby clash with Birmingham.

But before that they'd drawn away to resurgent Manchester City and beaten Portsmouth and it's up front that they should have too much firepower for Wigan. For while Robson was able to spend £3million on taking Nathan Ellington from the Latics, he's also got Geoff Horsfield, Kevin Campbell, Robert Earnshaw, Kanu and Diomansy Kamara as options up front.

That's in stark contrast to Wigan boss Paul Jewell who has been scratching around for a new striker since Ellington's departure - and the £2million move for Leicester's David Connolly smacks of desperation. With the confidence gained from last season's survival battle and a home record that shows just two defeats in their last 11 at the Hawthorns, the Baggies should just prove too strong here.

Verdict: West Brom 2 Wigan 0

Middlesbro v Arsenal (17.15 KO)

This is the live game on Saturday evening and we can't see past an Arsenal win.

Their defeat at Chelsea means the Gunners are already playing catch-up in the Premiership title race but this is a fixture that has been kind to them in recent years. They've won their last five league clashes at the Riverside (and by a 12-0 aggregate margin) and have also scored for fun against Steve McClaren's men at Highbury.

The pressure is on Boro after a slow start to the campaign and they were comprehensively outplayed by Charlton last time out as they lost 3-0 at home in front of the TV cameras. Also worth bearing in mind is that their UEFA Cup campaign last season suggested Boro have trouble adjusting to not having a full week to prepare so the midweek international break is likely to hinder them more than the Gunners.

McClaren himself was unable to do anything about England's abject defeat in Belfast and Arsenal increasing the gloom looks more than likely.

Verdict: Middlesbrough 0 Arsenal 2

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