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John Rodger’s Football Forecast: Bouts Of Sunshine For Big Clubs, Dull Patches For Small Ones…

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After a sunny international break, it’s time to get back into Premier League action. The transfer window is shut, and it’s effects are about to transpire. Without further ado, here are my predictions for this weekends football:

Everton 1 – 2 Manchester United

Big news of the day comes in the surprise that Wayne Rooney is not included in Manchester United’s squad for Everton today. The dark clouds surrounding the troubled striker have clearly had an impact on Sir Alex Ferguson’s decision to leave him out of the game at Goodison Park. Hopefully this won’t take away from the potentially high octane match between the two clubs as Everton attempt  to live up to Ferguson’s title challenging expectations this season.

Man United should get their first away win of the season at Everton after what will be a close encounter with Berbatov grabbing at least one of the goals.

Arsenal 3 – 0 Bolton

On paper this should be a breeze for Arsenal, but without the likes of the in-form Walcott, Bentdner and Van Persie it could be tougher than expected. Fabregas, Arshavin and Rosicky are likely to torment the Bolton defence, with Chamakh raring to get on the goal sheet.

Owen Coyle and co. will be up against it, but Bolton never give up without a fight. The Trotters are without their guardian of the goalposts Jaaskelainen which could ultimately prove costly.

Fulham 1 – 1 Wolves

Mark Hughes will expect three points from this game, but Wolves have shown so far this season that they’re in the Premier League to compete. Three games into the league, both teams are undefeated, but McCarthy’s men will travel to Craven Cottage with an air of confidence with their first win already out the way.

Goals are likely to come from Clint Dempsey and Kevin Doyle.

Man City 3 – 1 Blackburn Rovers

Following their defeat to Sunderland, Manchester City will preparing an uncomfortable visit  for Blackburn. Mancini’s men have the brawn to match that of Allerdyce’s team, therefore it will be football that takes centre stage in the City of Manchester Stadium.

Predicting City’s line-up is as arduous as picking lottery numbers, or say, completing an accumulator for the weekends football fixtures. Carlos Tevez put his embarrassing miss at the Stadium of Light behind him for Argentina midweek, instead inflicting similar misery on the bemused Pepe Reina, and looks to start this game. Even with the injured Balotelli, City have a plethora of attacking options that any manager could wish for.

Newcastle United 3 – 0 Blackpool

Clouds are already forming in the North East, ready to burst a shower of goals in tomorrows Premiership fixture in which Newcastle play host to Ian Holloway’s Tangerines.

The Toon Army have shown resilience since their humble opener against Manchester United. Andy Carroll has scored four in two, and with his recent England Under21s call up, clear signs are ahead. Uncharacteristic of past Newcastle sides, the central defence looked solid against Wolves and Aston Villa.

Blackpool will put up the good fight, but weathering the storm of Chris Hughton’s Magpies will be a big ask.

West Brom 0 – 2 Tottenham

Harry Redknapp will be cursing the high heavens following the international break which ensured the Lily Whites would be without the services of yet another striker and defender for lengthy periods. Good job he brought in ex-goonar William Gallas, to the dismay of some of the White Hart Lane faithful. Roman Pavyluchenko and Robbie Keane could head the attack.

Despite losing to Liverpool and Chelsea, Di Matteo’s side should still be in good spirits from their deserved victory against Sunderland. Emulating such a performance against Tottenham wouldn’t be enough to win this. West Brom must constantly pressure their opponents and break up play if they are to stand a chance. A couple of quick Tottenham breaks should give the three points to the London outfit.

West Ham 0 – 4 Chelsea

Avram Grant’s days could be numbered if we are to believe everything that we read. Regardless, the result of this fixture will have little impact on such a decision from the much loved ‘Porno Twins.’

Even without Frank Lampard, the Blues should comfortably see this one off. Malouda has been on song so far and Essien will provide the rock in midfield as usual to let the forward line do their job.

As for the home team, well it’s not looking great having already conceded 9 in their opening three games. The metaphorical fog engulfing Upton Park is forecast to thicken.

Wigan Athletic 0 – 2 Sunderland

The air will be stagnant and things may get a bit heated at the JW Stadium tomorrow as Steve Bruce returns to his former stomping ground once again after capturing one of his old guard for the Black Cats. Titus Bramble found his feet again at Wigan after his nightmare spell at Newcastle. Reinvigorated, the centre back joined Sunderland, to follow ex-Latic Lee Cattermole who will surely be up for tomorrows fixture.

Roberto Martinez was given breathing space following his side’s win away at Tottenham, but pressure could pile back on with a home defeat to Sunderland. Darren Bent will be high on confidence following his first senior international goal midweek, and new signing Asamoah Gyan will be keen to impress the Wearside faithful.

Birmingham 1 – 2 Liverpool

Birmingham are without exciting new arrival Alyaksandre Hleb who is out with a ‘leg injury’ – how specific. Always a tight fixture when Benitez was at the helm, expect no less with Hodgson – especially if he reverts to 4-4-2, though this is unlikely. If Steven Gerard can conjure up the inspirational leadership that he demonstrated for England, Liverpool should win this cagey affair.

Stoke City 2 – 0 Aston Villa

The silhouette of Gerard Houllier in the Britannia Stadium stands might not be enough to give his side the strength necessary to take on Tony Pulis’ side. Boasting one of the best home records of last season, Stoke will continue to turn the Britannia into a fortress, especially with new recruits Gudjohnsen and Jones.

Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Jrodgers74

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