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Premiership weekend predictions

last updated Saturday 25th March 2006, 12:14 PM

Fulham head North in this weekend's Premiership programme for a game against Aston Villa. The Cottagers have no doubt been partying on the back of their surprise victory in the West London derby against Fulham Broadway last weekend. However beating the Premiership Champions may well be easier for Fulham than gaining their first away win of the season. The Thamessiders inability to win on their travels seems to be psycologic rather than ability so until the squad decides to do the business it is anyones guess as to whether they can win or not., Aston Villa are one point behind Fulham with a game inhand. The Villians beat Pompey 1-0 in their last home game but prior to that had lost 3 out of 6 home games. The Villa injury list is quite frightening and against Fulham they will be playing 2 midfielders in the back 4. With a favourable set of results over the weekend Fulham will stay 14th while a poor set could return us to 16th spot. Individual match comments below come from David Tindall and Jonathan Turner at BettingZone.

Premiership Match Day 31 Results
Home Away Res
Saturday 25 March 2006
Liverpool Everton 12.45
Aston Villa Fulham 15.00
Chelsea Man City 15.00
Sunderland Blackburn 15.00
Wigan West Ham 15.00
Portsmouth Arsenal 17.15
Sunday 26 March 2006
Middlesbro Bolton 13.30
Charlton Newcastle 14.00
Man Utd Birmingham 16.00
Monday 27 March 2006
Tottenham West Brom 20.00
Pos Team Pld W D L F A Pts Gd
1 Chelsea 30  24  58  19  75  39 
2 Man. Utd. 29  19  58  29  63  29 
3 Liverpool 31  18  42  21  61  21 
4 Tottenham 30  14  10  43  28  52  15 
5 Arsenal 30  15  10  48  23  50  25 
6 Blackburn 30  15  11  41  36  49 
7 Bolton 28  13  39  28  48  11 
8 Wigan 30  14  12  35  36  46  -1 
9 Everton 30  13  13  28  38  43  -10 
10 West Ham 29  12  11  44  44  42 
11 Man. City 30  12  14  39  35  40 
12 Newcastle 30  11  13  30  35  39  -5 
13 Charlton 30  11  13  34  41  39  -7 
14 Fulham 31  10  16  40  51  35  -11 
15 Aston Villa 30  10  12  34  41  34  -7 
16 Middlesbrough 29  13  39  49  34  -10 
17 W.B.A. 30  17  27  45  27  -18 
18 Birmingham 29  17  23  41  24  -18 
19 Portsmouth 30  18  24  51  24  -27 
20 Sunderland 30  24  19  54  10  -35 
Liverpool v Everton (KO 12.45 Saturday 25 March 2006)
It's hard to remember when the Reds and the Blues went into a derby clash with both in such sparkling form. Liverpool have gone goal-crazy, winning their last three games 5-1, 3-1 and 7-0. Everton, meanwhile, have rocketed up the table and since Liverpool beat them 3-1 at Goodison on December 28th they've won six out of six at home in the Premiership. Probably the decisive factor here in Liverpool's home advantage. Rafa Benitez's men have taken 39 points out of a possible 48 at home and conceded just six goals in 16 games. Everton, meanwhile, have netted just 10 times away from home and lost seven out of 15. Despite their upturn in fortunes their recent away form is nothing special with two draws and a defeat in their last three in the Premiership. Benfica made light of Liverpool's impressive home record but in hindsight they caught the Reds on an off night. With all their strikers now finding the net for fun, Liverpool look an unstoppable force at present. Verdict: Liverpool 2 Everton 0
Aston Villa v Fulham (KO 15.00 Saturday 25 March 2006)
After their memorable win over champions Chelsea on Sunday there will be plenty of people taking a close look at the chances of Fulham piling the pressure on Villa boss David O'Leary by grabbing the three points here. We won't be joining them though because just three of the Cottagers' 35 points this season have come on their travels and that's a record that simply can't be ignored. It's a real shame because Villa do look there for the taking as there are real signs that the wheels are starting to come off, with three successive defeats including a 4-1 mauling at Everton last time. O'Leary's men do have an outstanding record against Fulham though, winning all four Premiership games at Villa Park and losing just one in nine overall. There's just one point and one place between this pair in the table and in the circumstances a closely-fought draw looks the way to go. Verdict: Aston Villa 1 Fulham 1
Chelsea v Man City (KO 15.00 Saturday 25 March 2006)
Chelsea got back to winning ways in midweek by taking out Newcastle 1-0 in the FA Cup but given that the Magpies offered virtually nothing in terms of an attacking threat we shouldn't get carried away with either the result or the clean sheet (only their third from 17 matches this year). The fluency which marked the Blues' displays in the first half of the season simply isn't there at present and it was no surprise that the goal came via a set-piece. They should be up to carving out another narrow success here though as City have been lamentable away from home (nine defeats in 14 Premiership games), have lost their last two in the league and are now out of the FA Cup after their meek surrender at home to West Ham on Monday. They've at least pushed Chelsea more than most in recent clashes - being the only side to beat them last season and not losing by more than a single goal in the last five. The lack of goals in those five games is noticeable (just four in total) so we make no apologies for again putting up skipper John Terry to get on the scoresheet in a low-scoring Chelsea win. Verdict: Chelsea 1 Man City 0
Sunderland v Blackburn (KO 15.00 Saturday 25 March 2006)

There's a strong temptation to get with Rovers here because they are one of the form teams in the Premiership and take on a Sunderland outfit that's the only side in England not to have won at home in the league this season. Blackburn have won four of their last five (and should have made it five out of five given their dominance at Spurs) and one of those victories came against the rock-bottom Mackems. Blackburn Rover striker Craig Bellamy grabbed both goals in that match and is currently in unstoppable form, netting in four of his last five matches. He seems to be thriving playing with Florent Sinama Pongolle and his searing pace can again cause a static Sunderland rearguard all sorts of problems. Verdict: Sunderland 0 Blackburn 3

Wigan v West Ham (KO 15.00 Saturday 25 March 2006)
You can't praise these two sides highly enough given what they've achieved since their promotion to the Premiership. Both are in the top half of the table, Wigan reached the Carling Cup final and the Hammers booked their place in the semi-finals of the FA Cup earlier this week. Two games within 48 hours at the start of the week indicates that West Ham might be vulnerable but Wigan themselves showed earlier in the campaign that if you are winning then tiredness isn't the factor it might be. There are also a few other conflicting signals - Wigan won 2-0 at Upton Park in the reverse fixture but are yet to beat the Hammers in three attempts at the JJB. Verdict: Wigan 2 West Ham 3
Portsmouth v Arsenal (KO 17.15 Saturday 25 March 2006)
Portsmouth were being written off as relegation certainties only a fortnight ago but two wins out of two have sparked a glut of 'Harry Houdini' headlines. Redknapp's men have certainly restored confidence after snatching a last-gasp victory against Manchester City before taking advantage of an under-strength West Ham last Saturday. But a reinvigorated Arsenal side is a totally different proposition. The Gunners are absolutely flying now and their defeat of Real Madrid in the Champions League has given them fresh belief in their bid to snatch a Champions League spot. They can continue to make up the ground on chief rivals Spurs with victory here.Verdict: Portsmouth 1 Arsenal 3
Middlesbro v Bolton (KO 13.30 Sunday 26 March March 2006)
Boro have a 10-point gap on third bottom Birmingham but probably still need a couple of wins to be absolutely sure of safety. However, they will find it hard to keep their minds free of next week's UEFA Cup quarter-final against Basle so Bolton may be able to cash in. Seven of the eight FA Cup quarter-finalists lost in the Premiership prior to this week's last eight ties and that's the most there could have been as two of them - Newcastle and Liverpool - played each other. That shows that Cups can definitely become a priority when they reach the latter stages and it would come as no surprise to see Steve McClaren rest some key men on Sunday - especially as their fixture backlog was added to after their FA Cup stalemate against Charlton on Thursday evening. Bolton, meanwhile, have only one focus and that's the Premiership. Sam Allardyce's men have games in hand and a Champions League spot isn't out of their grasp. Boro needed a last-minute goal from George Boateng to snatch a draw in this fixture last year but this time Bolton look a good bet to take all three points. Verdict: Middlesbrough 0 Bolton 2
Charlton v Newcastle (KO 14.00 Sunday 26 March 2006)
Charlton couldn't find a way past Middlesbrough on Thursday night but their name still went into the hat for Friday's FA Cup semi-final draw. Newcastle's did not after their defeat at Chelsea and after the initial upturn in fortunes under Glenn Roeder they've now lost three on the spin. With the Magpies drifting aimlessly in the Premiership, they will find it hard to pick themselves up after that Cup exit and their season is in danger of petering out with the players having no real motivation to impress Roeder, who will surely not get the job next season. Charlton have picked up 14 points out of 18 at The Valley since losing to Arsenal on Boxing Day so have the home form to put Newcastle away. They would be a confident pick except for the fact that the Magpies have a good record at The Valley and are unbeaten there in the last four seasons. However, we need to look at the current circumstances and a demotivated Newcastle look there for the taking. Verdict: Charlton 2 Newcastle 0
Man Utd v Birmingham (KO 16.00 Sunday 26 March 2006)
This and next week's clash with Chelsea isn't exactly what Birmingham would have chosen following their 7-0 FA Cup humiliation by Liverpool in midweek. It's hard to put into words just how bad the Blues were on Tuesday night but that result had been coming because Birmingham had only beaten basement pair Sunderland and Portsmouth in their previous ten games against Premiership opposition. The defence seems to have completely lost the plot while just three goals in their last seven games underlines how toothless the attack has become. And the bad news for Steve Bruce is that his side meet a Manchester United outfit which is in a rich vein of form and relatively fresh after just three matches so far in March. The Red Devils have won their last eight on the trot at Old Trafford and Wayne Rooney's display last time out at the Theatre of Dreams against Newcastle will have sent shivers down the spine of the former United defender. Their recent record away to United (six successive defeats and not a single goal scored) doesn't give a scrap of encouragement either and it's impossible to tip anything other than a comfortable home win. Verdict: Man Utd 4 Birmingham 0
Tottenham v West Brom (KO 20.00 Monday 27 March 2006)
More to follow ..........
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