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Weekend Premiership predictions

last updated Friday 10th February 2006, 4:44 PM
Fulham will be enjoying home comforts on Saturday, in the Premiership Match Day 26 programme,e with the visitors being West Brom.On recent form The Cottagers have little to fear of The Baggies. Chris Coleman's squad have not lost at home, in the Premiership, since Man Utd visited back at the beginning of October a run of 8 games. They did lose two Cup games during that period one of them, 3-2 in the League Cup, was against West Brom.West Brom have performed slightly better than Fulham, in Premiership away games, but that is no real compliment in light of The Cottagers' inability to achieve a win away from home this season. Of course Bryan Robson will try to use the League Cup victory as a motivator but as long as Fulham concentrate and don't take a win for granted they should be able to take all the points.With a favourable set of results over the weekend Fulham could go into 13th spot in the Premiership while a set of poor results could see us drop to 16th.Elsewhere Fulham Broadway could do Fulham a favour by beating Boro, Aston Villa could draw 0-0 with Newcastle, Everton could get beat by Blackburn and Man City could draw at home to Charlton. Individual match comments below come from David John, David Tindall and Jonathan Turner at Bettingzone.
Premiership Match Day 26 Games
Home Away KO T.V.
Saturday 11 February 2006
Wigan Liverpool 12.45 ppv
Arsenal Bolton 15.00  
Aston Villa Newcastle 15.00  
Everton Blackburn 15.00  
Fulham West Brom 15.00  
Middlesbro' Chelsea 15.00  
Portsmouth Man Utd 17.15 ppv
Sunday 12 February 2006
Sunderland Tottenham 13.30 sky1
Man City Charlton 16.00 sky1
Monday 13 February 2006
West Ham Birmingham 20.00 sky1
Pos Team Pld W D L F A Pts Gd
1 Chelsea 25 21 3 1 52 13 66 39
2 Man Utd 25 15 6 4 49 26 51 23
3 Liverpool 24 13 6 5 30 17 45 13
4 Tottenham 25 12 8 5 34 21 44 13
5 Arsenal 24 12 4 8 38 19 40 19
6 Wigan 25 12 3 10 30 31 39 -1
7 Bolton 23 10 8 5 29 22 38 7
8 West Ham 25 11 5 9 36 34 38 2
9 Blackburn 24 11 4 9 31 30 37 1
10 Man City 25 10 4 11 33 28 34 5
11 Charlton 24 10 3 11 30 34 33 -4
12 Everton 25 10 3 12 18 32 33 -14
13 Aston Villa 25 7 9 9 31 33 30 -2
14 Fulham 25 8 5 12 30 36 29 -6
15 Newcastle 24 8 5 11 22 28 29 -6
16 West Brom 25 7 5 13 23 32 26 -9
17 Middlesbro 24 6 7 11 30 44 25 -14
18 Birmingham 24 5 5 14 21 34 20 -13
19 Portsmouth 25 4 6 15 17 42 18 -25
20 Sunderland 24 2 3 19 17 45 9 -28
Wigan v Liverpool (KO 12.45 - Saturday - 11 February 2006)
Liverpool's head-scratching dip in form continued in midweek at Charlton and they have picked up just one point from their last four Premiership matches. Having looked in good shape to chase home Chelsea a month ago - perhaps even catch them - losses at Manchester United, Chelsea and just a draw at home to Birmingham has rather derailed their challenge early in the New Year. Rafa Benitez call for his side to respond at The Valley despite the loss of Steven Gerrard fell on deaf ears and his captain looks likely to sit out the trip to the JJB with a knee problem. Wigan continue to trip the light fantastic as they still currently occupy a European place and Paul Jewell's fearless outfit will look to pounce on the visitors' recent frailities. They have twice come from behind to force draws against Bolton and Everton and that never-say-die approach also saw them earn a deserved place in the Carling Cup final at the expense of Arsenal. You can't deny that Liverpool possess more quality in terms of personnel but being favourite to win makes little appeal particularly if the home side can get them rattled from an early stage. A surprise is not out of the question but a point each seems more likely. Verdict: Wigan 1 Liverpool 1
Arsenal v Bolton (KO 15.00 - Saturday - 11 February 2006)
Arsenal have twice been outmuscled and outfought by Bolton at the Reebok this season but will hope to exact some sort of revenge at Highbury. Almost unexpectedly, given the young team Arsene Wenger put out, the Gunners ended their four-game losing streak by winning at Birmingham last weekend and, given their track record, we'd still expect Arsenal to beat Spurs and Bolton to a Champions League spot. However, until Kolo Toure gets back from the African Nations, Arsenal still look vulnerable at the back and may have to score two or even three to be sure of winning the points. Fortunately, they're probably better equipped to do that than anyone having netted 29 in 12 games at Highbury in the Premiership. Bolton have leaked more goals on the road (17 in 12 games) than Sam Allardyce might like. The pair drew 2-2 last year but take Arsenal to win a high scoring contest this time. Verdict: Arsenal 4 Bolton 2
Aston Villa v Newcastle (KO 15.00 - Saturday - 11 February 2006)
Newcastle claimed a much-needed win last weekend as they beat Portsmouth 2-0 at St James' in the first match since Graeme Souness' departure but it could be dangerous to read too much into that. They were playing a side mired in the bottom three which has now lost ten of their 13 away games - the equal worst record in the Premiership. There's been no quick fix to the Magpies' defensive frailties and up front they still look light without Michael Owen and with Alan Shearer (whisper it quietly) a fading force. And they are meeting a Villa team that's become hard to beat since Christmas - David O'Leary's side losing just one in ten and that run has included fixtures with Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham. Villa put up one of their more impressive displays last Saturday with a 4-0 success at Middlesbrough and head into this fixture unbeaten in six against the Magpies. It all suggests Newcastle are about to come down to earth with a bump. Verdict: Aston Villa 2 Newcastle 0
Everton v Blackburn (KO 15.00 - Saturday - 11 February 2006)
The Toffees have successfully arrested their early-season slump in the league and are unbeaten since a last-minute goal at Sunderland on New Year's Eve spurred them into life. Goals still seem to be a problem but that could be solved against a Rovers side that has suddenly sprung a leak at the back with nine conceded in their last three outings. But they have won this encounter 1-0 in the last two seasons and gaffer Mark Hughes will be hoping for a much improved effort from the 2-0 defeat at West Brom where they lacked a serious cutting edge. Liverpool loanee Florent Sinama Pongolle should have more to offer this week and his combination up front with David Bentley and Craig Bellamy should give them a speedy counterattack option at the very least. There is not a huge amount between the two in terms of league position or talent and a share of the spoils seems a reasonably likely outcome. Verdict: Everton 1 Blackburn 1
Fulham v West Brom (KO 15.00 - Saturday - 11 February 2006)
The discrepancy between Fulham's home and away form is getting more and more pronounced. All eight of their wins have come at Craven Cottage where they've lost just twice and average over two points a game, while on their travels they've collected a pitiful three points out of 39. The good news for Chris Coleman is that home comforts should again come into play in this as they seek to extend their 100% record on their own turf in the league in 2006. West Brom will be full of confidence themselves though after taking the scalp of Blackburn last time out but Rovers played like a team having their fifth match in the space of two weeks - and the Baggies' only away win of the season also saw them take advantage of another jaded outfit in the shape of Wigan. Verdict: Fulham 1 West Brom 0
Middlesbro' v Chelsea (KO 15.00 - Saturday - 11 February 2006)
Both sides were in midweek FA Cup action and both are through to the last 16. While Chelsea dished out a 4-1 drubbing to Everton, Boro were made to battle for their 1-0 success over Coventry at the Riverside and remain a side pretty much devoid of confidence. Bar a 3-0 win at Sunderland - every other manager's favourite Premiership team - Steve McClaren's side have not beaten a top flight side since Fulham on November 20. It is a run that has seen them edge closer to the relegation zone and has included humiliations at home to Aston Villa and away at Arsenal in the last month. The task does not get any easier with the visit of the champions elect - a side they have not beaten since 2000. Verdict: Middlesbro' 0 Chelsea 2
Portsmouth v Man Utd (KO 17.15 - Saturday - 11 February 2006)
Things started to look up for Pompey when Harry Redknapp first arrived back at Fratton Park but it's been a bleak 2006 so far. They've managed just one point from five Premiership games, scoring just two goals and conceding 11. No manager was busier in the January transfer window than Redknapp but that's part of the problem at present as his side are taking time to gel and their cause hasn't been helped by injuries and the African Nations Cup. It's surely too early to expect them to suddenly derail Manchester United even though this is a fixture they've won in each of their previous two seasons in the Premiership. The bottom line is that Portsmouth's only victories this term have been against sides in the bottom half in the table while they struggle horribly against the top flight's best - losing every single game they've played against sides in the top seven. That's enough reason to oppose them but the fact United have won five of their last six and have an outstanding away record hammers the point home. Verdict: Portsmouth 0 Man Utd 3
Sunderland v Tottenham (KO 13.30 - Sunday 12 February 2006)
Sunderland remain the only team in England without a home win this season and few will be giving them much chance of breaking their duck this weekend. The Black Cats have been abject this term and there were few signs in their last match at the Stadium of Light - a 3-0 reverse against Middlesbrough which reads even worse now - that any improvement was in the offing. Only Portsmouth have scored fewer at home than Sunderland yet no one has conceded more so they've massive problems at both ends of the pitch. On the face of it this doesn't look the worse time to play Tottenham who have had problems of their own in recent weeks. They've won just one of their last four Premiership games and that run has coincided with Mido's African Nations Cup trip which has left Martin Jol's side worryingly lightweight up front at times. The good news, for Tottenham, is that Jermain Defoe stepped up to the plate last time with a brace to help Spurs beat Charlton - while Mido could unexpectedly be back in contention and with a point to prove. Verdict: Sunderland 1 Tottenham 2
Man City v Charlton (KO 16.00 - Sunday 12 February 2006)
Man City have lost every match they've played against the leading septet apart from their great rivals Manchester United, which was an understandable exception to the rule. But their other eight Premiership fixtures at the City of Manchester Stadium have produced six wins and two draws so the omens look good for the visit of Charlton. The Addicks were hugely effective on their travels at the start of the season when they set up to counterattack but it's been a different story recently with the draw at Chelsea the only point they've picked up away from The Valley since the end of October. That's a staggering turnaround and there's surely plenty of merit in backing the trends to continue by going for a City win on Sunday. Verdict: Manchester City 3 Charlton 1
West Ham v Birmingham (KO 20.00 - Monday 13 February 2006)
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