Cambodian times shown
Home v Away – (Dring’s Prediction)
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
Saturday November 7
- Aston Villa v Bolton - (2-o) 10:00pm
- Blackburn v Portsmouth – (2-2) 10:00pm
- Man City v Burnley – (3-0) 10:00pm
- Tottenham v Sunderland – (2-1) 10:00pm
- Wolverhampton v Arsenal - (1-2) 00:30am
Sunday November 8
- Chelsea v Man Utd – (1-0) 11:00pm
- Hull v Stoke – (0-1) 8:30pm
- West Ham v Everton – (1-1) 10:00pm
- Wigan v Fulham – (1-1) 10:00pm
Premiership superpowers square up
WATCHING football from the comfort of your sofa or favourite sports bar in Cambodia can sometimes be a test of stamina, having to stay up into the early hours of the morning. As you arrive at work knowing you missed out on a full night’s sleep, constantly yawning, you might ask yourself was it worth the sacrifice? When Chelsea v Manchester United is the late game on Sunday, the answer will always be a resounding yes.
Chelsea appear to be top dogs at the moment, brimming with confidence and seeming to have regained the swagger that brought them two successive titles before Sir Alex’s Red Army took over. Ancelotti, unlike his predecessor, has won over the players and fans with ease. His football brain is immense, and he will be eager to stamp his authority all over United as they visit Stamford Bridge.
Both managers will have huge respect for each other, but I doubt Ferguson will have forgotten the 3-0 hammering his side suffered from Ancelotti’s Milan in the Champions League semifinal a few years back. United seem to be stuttering along without really slipping into top gear just yet.
Despite this and their dismal showing at Anfield, it’s a testament to them that they only need a victory on Sunday to rise to the summit of the Premiership once again.
Chelsea has no injuries and all their stars are bang in form. Drogba is immense, and he’s struck up a freighting partnership with Anelka. Lampard is once again gallivanting forward and has regained his shooting boots. With United struggling to put out its best defence due to injuries and suspensions, it will certainly be a massive test for the champions. Liverpool’s determination brushed Man United aside two weeks ago, and Sir Alex will not accept a repeat performance.
United will most likely play Rooney up front on his own and try to match Chelsea, with five in midfield to nullify the Blues’ potent threat. Fletcher has been a key ingredient missing for the Reds, and Chelsea for me will win the match in the heart of midfield. They have the power and drive that seems relentless at present. You can never write United off but for the first time in the last few seasons, Chelsea seem to have a better starting eleven and squad.
Up until the 42nd minute of the North London derby, Arsenal wasn’t at their fluent best. With a two-goal cushion in hand, they came out and produced a fine display in the second half and should have had more than just the three they scored. If Arsene Wenger thinks his side is good enough to win the title, then three points at Wolves is a must. Liverpool lost the title last year against the lesser clubs, and the Gunners won’t want to make the same mistake. The Wolves have shown enough so far this season to suggest that they do have the potential to stay up. For Mick McCarthy’s team to beat Arsenal, they’ll have to play high up the pitch and win every 50-50 challenge. Arsenal has been rattled many times before and has already lost twice on the road this season, but the team Arsene has assembled just seems to have matured into one that won’t take the less significant clubs lightly. Fabregas and Van Persie are purring at the moment and along with the rest of Arsenal’s super stars, they should have too much in the tank for a battling Wolves.
Tottenham and Man City have just started to find the heat a little too uncomfortable alongside the big four. Both need to record home victories against Sunderland and Burnley respectively to get back on track. Darren Bent will play like a man possessed against Spurs, as he will feel he was never given a fare crack while at the club. Spurs will be pleased that Defoe can return from suspension, as they’ve lacked pace recently especially with Lennon doubtful as well. It won’t be easy as Sunderland look a decent side under Steve Bruce, but home advantage should be enough to give Spurs three valuable points.
Too much expectation is the reality of life for Mark Hughes. Overall, they’ve had a great start to the season and should turn Burnley over with ease, as their away record is worse than dismal. Given was the hero as City struggled to a goalless draw last time out against Birmingham. He should be a mere spectator as Blue Moon will no doubt be sung loud and proud as City rack up the goals. Burnley needs to stop being Jekyll and Hyde. They might have great home form, but away, they appear to resemble a struggling pub side.