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Merseyside derby of desperation


Arsenal v Birmingham
Saturday October 16 - 9pm
Dring’s prediction: 2-0
Key players: Sami Nasri &
Ben Foster

Arsenal entertain Birmingham in a game that sees both teams keen to get back to winning ways.
Birmingham suffered their first home defeat in 12 months last time out, and they appear to be stuck in a rut. The Blues keeper, Ben Foster, is likely to be the hardest worked player on the pitch as Alex McLeish’s players face a fired up Arsenal.
The Gunners have lost two on the spin and Arsene Wenger knows they must turn things around immediately. Birmingham will be stubborn opponents but Arsenal have quality in abundance from the likes of Sami Nasri and Arshavin. It won’t be easy, but Arsenal’s extra class should prevail.

Bolton Wanderers v Stoke City
Saturday October 16 - 9pm
Dring’s prediction: 2-1
Key players: Kevin Davies & Kenwyne Jones

Stoke travel to Bolton buoyed by their recent fine form. Tony Pulis might have pulled off the transfer coup of the summer in Kenwyne Jones, who looks set to continue to galvanise the team that have always been tough to beat.
Bolton have drawn all three of their home games so far, and they’ll be desperate to win in front of their home fans. If Bolton defender Gary Cahill can nullify the threat of Kenwyne Jones, then the Wanderers target man, Kevin Davies, could be the match winner in a game almost too close to call.

Fulham v Tottenham
Saturday October 16 - 9pm
Dring’s prediction: 1-1
Key players: Clint Dempsey & Rafael Van Der Vaart

Fulham host Tottenham, looking to maintain their unbeaten record. The Cottagers haven’t lost yet, but they’ve drawn an incredible six out of their seven matches. Mark Hughes knows his team needs to be more adventurous in the final third. Clint Dempsey has been Fulham’s main man this season, and the American is brimming with confidence.
Tottenham’s record at Craven Cottage is dismal and despite all their flair going forwards, they could spend long periods of this match on the back foot. Van Der Vaart is on fire at the moment and he’ll play in the hole, trying to find space. This fixture has a draw written all over it.

Man United v West Brom
Saturday October 16 - 9pm
Dring’s prediction: 2-0
Key players: Paul Scholes & Peter Odemwingie

West Brom head to Old Trafford with the belief they can defeat Manchester United. The Baggies have had a remarkable start to the season, epitomised by Peter Odemwingie’s explosion into the Premier League scene. They have nothing to lose and should look to use their pace on the break.
United have yet to hit top gear this campaign and despite no wins on the road, they have a 100 percent home record and you’d have to be a brave man not to back them this weekend. Paul Scholes might not be able to move around the park like he used to, but he should control the tempo of the game and lead United to a valuable three points.

Newcastle v Wigan Athletic
Saturday October 16 - 9pm
Dring’s prediction: 2-0
Key players: Andy Carroll & Charles N’Zogbia

Wigan visit Newcastle wanting to show the league that they have what it takes to beat the drop.
The Latics did manage to beat Wolves in their last clash, but the result might have been different if Wolves hadn’t gone down to ten men. Wigan star man Charles N’Zogbia will face a bitter reception from his former fans.
Newcastle are superior in every department and they should have too much for Wigan. Andy Carroll is always a handful, and the soaring forward should find the back of the net in a black and white victory.

Wolves v West Ham
Saturday October 16 - 9pm
Dring’s prediction: 2-1
Key players: Kevin Doyle & Scott Parker

Wolves will go all out to beat West Ham at Molineux in an attempt to get their season back on track. Mick McCarthy knows his team’s performances have been better than their results. Kevin Doyle can’t buy a goal for love nor money of late and the Irish striker needs to rediscover his shooting boots if Wolves are to gain a priceless win.
West Ham are steadily improving, but they’re still bottom of the table. Scott Parker is the Hammers heart and soul, and he’ll need to put in another stirring performance if West Ham want to come away from this fixture with any points.

Aston Villa v Chelsea
Saturday October 16 - 11:30pm
Dring’s prediction: 1-2
Key players: Ashley Young & Didier Drogba

Chelsea march on up to Villa Park confident of another three points. Aston Villa will defend deep against the champions and look to use the pace of Ashley Young and Stewart Downing on the counter attack.
Chelsea should monopolise possession but they’ll have to dig deep, as the middle of the park could turn into a bruising tussle. Chelsea are the favourites in this game just because they have more match winners. Drogba, Anelka and Malouda are quite simply a frightening attacking threesome.

Everton v Liverpool
Sunday October 17 - 7:30pm
Dring’s prediction: 1-1
Key players: Tim Cahill & Steven Gerrard

Sunday’s early kickoff steals the weekend, as the Merseyside derby takes centre stage.
Everton have finally crawled their way out of the bottom three and they’ll be desperate to compound Liverpool’s woes. The game will be played at a 100kmph, and tackles will be flying in. Tim Cahill is back on the score sheet and his late runs are Everton’s likeliest rout to goal.
Liverpool will be delighted to get back onto the pitch and forget their off-the-field troubles. Roy Hodgson will set up his side not to get beat and his tactics could stifle the game. With Torres a doubt, Captain Fantastic Steven Gerrard will have to lead by example and, although they might not get the win they crave, they should have enough pride to pick up a point.

Blackpool v Manchester City
Sunday October 17 - 10pm
Dring’s prediction: 0-2
Key players: Matt Gilks & Carlos Tevez

Blackpool welcome high flying Manchester City to Bloomfield Road.
Tangerine fans are currently living the dream, but this weekend’s fixture should put their abilities in perspective. Matt Gilks heroics in goal against Liverpool will need to be repeated as the Seasiders face City on a roll.
City’s big spending is finally bearing fruit and as long as they cope with Blackpool’s initial charge, they should take the game by the scruff of the neck. Tevez is as dynamic as ever, and with Milner and David Silva on the flanks they should cruise to victory.

Blackburn v Sunderland
Tuesday October 19 - 2am
Dring’s prediction: 1-1
Key players: Steven N’zonzi & Darren Bent

Sunderland head west to Blackburn for the Monday night game.
The Black Cats have only lost once this season and they’re proving a tough nut to crack. Jordon Henderson has been a revelation in the midfield, and along with the ever reliable Darren Bent, they’ll pose a stern test for Blackburn.
Sam Allardyce’s Rovers won’t get relegated, but they’re struggling to make a real impact on the Premiership. Without David Dunn they lack invention, and although Steven N’zonzi looks like a talent in the middle of the park, I doubt Blackburn have enough quality to take victory.



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