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Tangerines face Arsenal education

chris_dring
Man United veteran players Ryan Giggs (right) and Paul Scholes proved their continued worth against Newcastle last week.

Arsenal v Blackpool
Saturday August 21 – 9pm
Dring Prediction: 3-0
Key players: Cesc Fabregas &
Charlie Adam

Ian Holloway’s side have nothing in their armoury that should hurt Arsenal, but Blackpool have spent the past few seasons upsetting the odds. Arsène Wenger will have been thrilled his team grabbed a dramatic equaliser at Anfield last Sunday, and he’ll expect the Gunners to cruise past the Tangerines. It will be interesting to see if Wenger recalls Van Persie as Arsenal have an astonishing array of attacking talent. Midfielders such as Asharvin and Fabregas love the expansive Emirates home turf, and they should run circles around their drastically inferior visitors.

Wigan v Chelsea
Saturday August 21 – 11:15pm
Dring prediction: 0-2
Key players: Hugo Rodallega &
Didier Drogba

Wigan host Chelsea in the late kickoff, in a game that should mount even more tension on an under pressure Martinez. The Wigan coach was humiliated after his players were booed off the park following their defeat to Blackpool.
Chelsea are a cut above in every aspect, and the Latics will have to play it tight and hope Rodallega can snatch a goal on the counter attack. However, it’s more likely that the Ancelotti express train will keep on running and churn out yet another resounding victory.
Drogba and Anelka are frightening up front, and with the most powerful midfield in the Premiership in support, it would be a good bet to expect all three points to head back down the motorway to London.

Stoke v Tottenham
Saturday August 21 – 9pm
Dring prediction: 1-2
Key players: Kenwyne Jones &
Luka Modric

Harry Redknapp will still be wondering how Spurs failed to find the net in their opening game, as he travels to the Britannia Stadium to take on Stoke City. Tottenham tore Manchester City to shreds at times and should dominate the ball again, but they will have to convert possession into goals if they want to live up to their hype.
Kenwyne Jones is a massive investment for Tony Pulis, and if sufficiently recovered from his ankle injury, could cause problems for the Spurs defence. However, the lethal forward combination of Crouch and Defoe for Spurs should be enough to polish off the Potters.

Everton v Wolverhampton
Saturday August 21 – 9:00pm
Dring prediction: 2-0
Key players: Mikel Arteta &
Kevin Doyle

After Tim Howard’s rare blunder at Ewood Park, Everton will be desperate to beat Wolves at home. David Moyes has no real injury worries and they should have enough in the tank to clinch their first win of the season’s campaign.
Arteta and Pienaar can unlock the tightest defences, and a fully fit Saha is deadly in front of goal. Wolves have found a cutting edge in the likes of Doyle and Fletcher, but Everton’s backline, marshalled by the ever impressive Jagielka, should be too much of a tough nut for Mick McCarthy’s boys to crack.

Birmingham v Blackburn
Saturday August 21, 9pm
Dring prediction: 0-0
Key players: Cameron Jerome &
Nikola Kalinic

Birmingham might have taken a point against Sunderland but their performance against ten men was dismal. Alex McLeish’s team lacked any real quality and they’ll have to improve if they want to beat a staunch Blackburn.
This game won’t be for the football purists and if there are going to be any goals, they’re likely to come from a mistake or set play. Jerome has pace up front for Birmingham but Sam Allardyce has Dunn and Diouf to offer the final ball for the exciting Kalinic.
The St Andrews faithful might crave a glorious win, but it’s more likely they’ll receive a drab draw.

West Brom v Sunderland
Saturday August 21 – 9pm
Dring prediction: 2-2
Key players: Roman Bednar &
Darren Bent

Roberto di Matteo must put his West Brom side’s spanking at the hands of Chelsea firmly behind him. They host Sunderland in a game they will be desperate to win.
Brunt and Morrison on the flanks for the Baggies will look to supply Bednar in the box to kick start their season. Steve Bruce’s side won’t come to defend and the game should be an open encounter.
Bent as always will be a handful, but this could be another high scoring draw as it’s difficult to pick out any real favourite for the tie.

West Ham v Bolton
Saturday August 21 – 9pm
Dring prediction: 2-1
Key players: Carlton Cole &
Martin Petrov

Avram Grant’s West Ham were atrocious against Aston Villa and must improve drastically at home if they want to beat Bolton. Upton Park will as always be packed to the rafters and West Ham will need their fans to act as their 12th men to galvanise the team.
Upson and Parker must lead by example in order to bypass a Bolton team who are looking really solid. Cahill is the rock at the heart of the Wanderers defence and will give the platform for the likes of Lee Chung-Yong and Petrov to bomb forward with menace.
Both teams have good target men in Charlton Cole and Kevin Davies, who are certainly the likeliest scorers in a game which could produce several goals. With nothing to choose
Between the two teams, it might just be the home support that take all three points.

Newcastle v Aston Villa
Sunday August 22 – 7:30pm
Dring prediction: 1-1
Key players: Kevin Nolan &
Ashley Young

Newcastle’s return to the Premiership was a rather humbling affair, but a home match against a manager-less Aston Villa could be the tonic they need. Chris Houghton’s Toon Army will face a tough test against a mobile Villa team who are desperate to show they can succeed without Martin O’Neil and James Milner.
They’re going to have to huff and puff their way to victory, as it’s difficult to see where they will find the creativity to open up Aston Villa. Gutierrez can be a threat for the Magpies, as can the darting runs of Kevin Nolan. Downing and Young, meanwhile, will look to punish Newcastle out wide and supply the formidable Carew. Villa will be favourites but a draw could well be on the cards.

Fulham v Man United
Sunday August 22 – 10pm
Dring prediction: 0-2
Key players: Bobby Zamora &
Wayne Rooney

Manchester United love travelling to Fulham, and it’s likely to be another fruitful trip. Rooney is the only major concern for Ferguson as he is yet to regain his form.
Fulham stood tall at Bolton, but with United hungry to regain the title, they might just end up parking the bus.
Zamora is dangerous but I’d be surprised if Mark Hughes’ side can get enough men forward to support him. Giggs’ stunning strike capped off their opening day triumph and, along with Scholes, they should dictate the pace of the match and lead the Red Devils to another three points.

Man City v Liverpool
Tuesday August 23 – 2am
Dring prediction: 1-1
Key players: Carlos Tevez &
Fernando Torres

Mancini knows his side were lucky to escape White Hart Lane with a point last week. With the acquisition of Milner, their lofty ambitions are going to need some results on the pitch. It’s still a little too soon to expect miracles from their new signings but they have enough fire power to blast away a stubborn, well organised Liverpool.
Mancini looks likely to stick with his cagey 4-5-1 formation and just keep Tevez up on his own. Even with the likes of Milner and Silva driving forward, I can see Roy Hodgson picking up a point.
Torres should be back from the bench and a high scoring draw should finish off the second round of fixtures.

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