Liverpool, Stoke City, Reading, Manchester City, Manchester United, Fulham and Spurs are touted for victories while the likes of Aston Villa, Wigan, Everton, Chelsea, Arsenal and Newcastle may have to settle for sharing the points.
Here they are…
Sunderland v Tottenham: 1-2
Sunderland have found a little burst of form to confound the O’Neill doubters rightly wrong in the past couple of fixtures and the win over Manchester City was testament to the fact. Spurs continue to be topsy-turvy under Villas Boas but would still consider them better equipped to leave the Stadium of Light with three points.
Aston Villa v Wigan: 1-1
Villa have shipped 12 goals in their last two fixtures without letting out even a whimper of a reply. Since dismantling Liverpool at Anfield they have struggled while Wigan put on an admiral effort against Everton on Boxing Day despite several injury concerns. A score draw seems a likely result.
Fulham v Swansea: 2-0
Fulham are being dragged further and further into the relegation mire but Swansea may be without Michu for this tough away tie which may help put a smile on the faces of the Craven Cottage faithful.
Manchester United v West Brom: 3-1
After a scintillating performance to dispatch of Newcastle the league leaders will want to go into the New Year as the undoubted favourites to pick up the title in 2013. While West Brom have had a great season United should be too strong for them at Old Trafford.
Norwich v Manchester City: 1-2
I backed Manchester City for successive defeats earlier in the season and got that call monumentally wrong. While my gut tells me that Norwich could spring a surprise over what looks a slightly jaded City side of late I have let my common sense prevail. Arsenal and Manchester United have already succumbed to The Canaries this season however and another scalp could be added.
Reading v West Ham: 1-0
Since the return of Jem Karacan to Reading’s midfield they have looked a much better side. West Ham and Reading have a mini-rivalry stemming from recent visits at the top-end of tier two taking three points from The Hammers at The Madejski will mean a lot to the players and it should certainly not be discounted.
Stoke v Southampton: 2-0
On paper this is a no brainer. Stoke should have the physical presence at the back to deal with Rickie Lambert while also possessing equal strength around the field to bully a Southampton side teetering on the edge of the relegation zone.
Arsenal v Newcastle: 2-2
Newcastle looked vastly improved against Manchester United on Boxing Day and despite Arsenal’s rest day due to a tube strike The Magpies certainly have enough in their locker to earn a point at The Emirates.
Everton v Chelsea: 1-1
Simply put the safe bet is to go with a scored draw in this fixture. While Chelsea have improved recently under Rafa Benitez going to Goodison Park is always a different prospect entirely. Of course the Spaniard can expect an interesting welcome back to Merseyside.
QPR v Liverpool: 0-2
We all know this fixture from last year. Sebastian Coates hitting the FIFA 99 style bicycle-kick and QPR marching resurgent to an astonishing late comeback to catapult themselves out of the relegation mark. This year I personally cannot envisage a repeat but stranger things have happened.
What are your predictions ahead of the weekends fixtures?
image: © rich_w