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Black Cats bound for the Bridge

chris_dring

Aston Villa  v Man United
Saturday November 13 - 7:45pm
Dring’s prediction: 0-1
Key players:  Ashley Young & Nani

Aston Villa welcome Manchester United in Saturday’s early kick-off.
Villa have a dreadful home record against United, and with a host of injured strikers, they’ll struggle to break down the Red Devils’ defence. Youthful Nathan Delfouneso is likely to start up top and he’ll need quality service from the likes of Stewart Downing and Ashley Young.
Sir Alex’s youngsters are finally blossoming and Nani appears to be ready to take over the mantle of Cristiano Ronaldo, as the United fans’ idol. His movement and pace should terrorise the Villa defence and lead United to a hard-fought victory.

West Ham United v Blackpool
Saturday November 13 - 10pm
Dring’s prediction: 2-1
Key players:  Frederic Piquionne & Matthew Gilks

Blackpool head to West Ham keen to keep themselves away from the drop zone.
Blackpool’s cavaliering attitude has been a breath of fresh air to the Premiership. However, their back four have looked exposed in every match and against a desperate West Ham, Matthew Gilks is going to have to have another outstanding game in goal.
Avram Grant is running out of excuses and he knows this is a match they must win. The Hammers will once again rely on Frederic Piquionne to find the goals, and as long as the Upton Park faithful can keep the faith, West Ham should bag a much needed three points.

Wolves  v Bolton Wanderers
Saturday November 13 - 10pm
Dring’s prediction: 1-1
Key players:  Kevin Doyle & Chung-Yong Lee

Wolves entertain Bolton Wanderers at Molineux.
Bolton have finally shaken off their image of being a long-ball team. Owen Coyle has hem playing some delightful stuff, and players such as Chung-Yong Lee and Martin Petrov give them another dimension.  
Wolves’ major weakness is their lack of goals. Kevin Doyle’s all round game receives many plaudits, but if Wolves are to stay up he’ll have to start hitting the back of the net. Bolton are perhaps the better side, but home advantage should give Wolves another point towards safety.

Tottenham v Blackburn Rovers
Saturday November 13 - 10pm
Dring’s prediction: 2-1
Key players:  Gareth Bale & Mame Diouf

Blackburn travel to London to play Tottenham.
Blackburn under Sam Allardyce look too good to go down and they’re more than capable of an upset. Mame Diouf has pace to burn on the counter-attack and he’ll fancy his chances if the Blackburn defence can keep things tight.
Tottenham must strive for consistency and, as long as they match Blackburn’s work rate, they are firm favourites. Gareth Bale has been Spurs’ star man this season and the brilliant Welshman should make mincemeat of the aging Michel Salgado. Tottenham never seem to have a dull match and this fixture shouldn’t be any different.

Wigan Athletic v West Brom
Saturday November 13 - 10pm
Dring’s prediction  1-1
Key players:  Charles N’Zogbia & Peter Odemwingie

Wigan host a West Brom side eager to prove they can maintain their fine start to the campaign.
The Baggies have perhaps punched above their weight so far this season, but against an erratic Wigan they’ll believe they can get all three points. Peter Odemwingie’s absence due to injury has been a big blow to West Brom and his return to fitness should increase their goal threat.
Wigan go from the ridiculous to the sublime and I doubt manager Roberto Martinez will know how his side will fare this weekend. Their only consistent element is want-away midfielder Charles N’Zogbia. The match looks evenly balanced but the temperamental Frenchman could be the difference in an evenly fought game.

Newcastle United v Fulham
Saturday November 13 - 10pm
Dring’s prediction: 2-1
Key players:  Joey Barton & Brede Hangeland

Fulham head to the Northeast to take on Newcastle United.
Mark Hughes has Fulham well organised and they’re difficult to beat. They are unlikely to be too adventurous at St James Park and they will look to break quickly from midfield. Giant centre-half Brede Hangeland will be Fulham’s key man as he looks to stifle the threat of Andy Carroll.
With two huge forwards at the front for the Toon Army, their supply line must be good. Joey Barton is in the form of his life, and the former bad boy is not only running the midfield but is delivering plenty of killer balls that should prove decisive.

Man City v Birmingham City
Saturday November 13 - 10pm
Dring’s prediction: 2-0
Key players:  David Silva &
Ben Foster

Birmingham visit Manchester City ready to cause an upset.
Birmingham don’t play the most attractive football, but they do make up for it with plenty of endeavour. They’ll look to suffocate the game and hope Ben Foster has a day to remember in goal for them.
Manchester City will have to be patient and keep up their concentration. Carlos Tevez has been badly missed and his combative style should unsettle the Birmingham defence and allow David Silva to dictate a City victory.

Stoke City v Liverpool
Saturday November 14 - 12:30am
Dring’s prediction  1-1
Key players:  Kenwyne Jones & Fernando Torres

Stoke City entertain a rejuvenated Liverpool side.
The Britannia Stadium is not the fortress that it once was, but the home fans should galvanise their team to make this a bruising encounter. As long as City can get decent service to Kenwyne Jones, then they have half a chance.
Liverpool have improved all over the park, but they still need the extra quality that Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres bring to the side. If one of these two players can produce a piece of magic, then the tie will tip in Liverpool’s favour.

Everton v Arsenal
Sunday November 14 - 9pm
Dring’s prediction: 1-1
Key players:  Tim Cahill &
Alex Song

Arsenal take on Everton at Goodison Park, keen to show they have the steel to match their guile.
The Gunners can be irresistible at times, but as the last few seasons have proven, they regularly slip up. Alex Song will be Arsene Wenger’s pivotal man as he has the task of breaking up the Everton midfield.
Everton will look to get stuck into their visitors from the first whistle and put them under pressure. As long as they can maintain a high tempo throughout the 90 minutes, they could sneak a draw. The runs of Tim Cahill and the passing of Mikel Arteta will concern Arsenal the most, and I expect this to be a cracking match.

Chelsea v Sunderland
Sunday November 14 - 11:10pm
Dring’s prediction: 3-1
Key players:  Ashley Cole & Asamoah Gyan

Sunderland have the daunting task of playing the champions at Stamford Bridge.

The Black Cats will certainly miss the goal threat of the injured Darren Bent, but they have a talented replacement in Asamoah Gyan. Steve Bruce is likely to send his side out on the offensive as he knows if they sit back, they could be ripped apart.

With Drogba still suffering from malaria, Chelsea’s main danger will come from Nicolas Anelka. Ancelotti will, as usual, tuck in his midfield to allow his full-backs to maraud forward. Ashley Cole will play almost like a winger and his service should lead Chelsea to another home win.

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