This weekend is derby weekend in the Premier League, beginning with Chelsea demonstrating just how poor West Ham is, before moving onto Merseyside and ending in the much-anticipated Manchester derby. Mourinho vs Guardiola, a battle that used to be played out in La Liga, now looks like determining who will win the title: because if anyone is going to emerge from the chasing pack and catch City, they need to start dropping points. So, without further ado, here is how this weekend’s games will go down.
West Ham vs Chelsea
I almost feel sorry for West Ham (the important word being almost): you really are in trouble, if Shrek, who hasn’t scored a goal in about a year suddenly bangs in a hattrick against you. They played better against Man City, but Moyes is the wrong answer to the wrong question and if he still has a job in February, I would be amazed, given how many better managers the Hammers faithful have chased out of town. Chelsea will win this game comfortably, despite our shit record in London derbies, with the most likely score being 3-1.
Burnley vs Watford
The two teams punching well above their weight meet, in what is best described, in a weekend of derbies, as the underdog derby. They have also reached such heady heights via totally opposite methods, with Burnley games containing half the number of goals as Watford’s. I get the feeling that this will be a draw, but wouldn’t be surprised if either team triumphed on the day, which is why I am plumping for a 1-1.
Crystal Palace vs Bournemouth
Hodgson has stabilized Palace and apart from a ridiculous, fucking win against a certain London neighbour, they have drawn their way out of trouble. While Bournemouth has fully recovered from their poor start and now sit around 14th, which is probably where they will finish. I fancy Bournemouth to win this game 2-1, although I wouldn’t be surprised if I was wrong.
Huddersfield vs Brighton
The bottom of the Premier League is very congested and Huddersfield’s bright start has masked just how bad their form has been, with them slipping ever closer to the relegation battle everyone predicted. Brighton should take heed of this, as they too are moving in the wrong direction, after having their pants pulled down at home against Liverpool. A win would be massive for both teams, which means that it will inevitably end in a 1-1 draw as they continue their journey’s down the table.
Swansea vs West Brom
Swansea is in trouble, they lie bottom of the table and haven’t won a game for weeks, while West Brom has fucked up, by putting Alan Pardew in charge, which has never been a good decision for anyone. I fancy Swansea to get a win in this game, but that’s probably because I like them: 2-0 Swansea.
Tottenham vs Stoke
Order has been restored, Spurs are back to their useless old selves and I for one couldn’t be happier. Some might say that it's sour grapes, but they probably haven’t met a self-important Tottenham fan, who believes that they have a divine right to be London’s biggest club (which they clearly aren’t, last title 1961)! A defeat and a draw, is embarrassing, and not what you would expect from title contenders, which they clearly aren’t, however, they will probably still beat Stoke: 2-0 Spurs.
Newcastle vs Leicester
I am now on the Leicester bandwagon: Puel has turned them right around and they now sit ninth, off the back of two straight victories. Newcastle on the other hand look bang average they will probably stay up, but Benitez will undoubtedly bore everyone to tears in the process. Still, I fancy the resurgent Leicester to win this game 2-1.
Southampton vs Arsenal
Arsenal outplayed United for long periods of Saturday’s game, which makes the fact that they lost 3-1 all the more damning. Yes, De Gea had a great game, but it's the same old story for the Arsenal defenders, error-prone and shit. They are clearly an average team battling it out with Spurs and the Scousers for fourth place at best; and I reckon Southampton will dent those hopes, with the game finishing 2-2.
Liverpool vs Everton
Much to everyone’s surprise, Shrek has hit form in time for the Merseyside derby, scoring a goal from the halfway line that was as beautiful as he is ugly. Everton also seems a lot, lot better now that Allardyce is in charge and in five or six games it would be easy to imagine Everton turning Liverpool over. However, this early in his reign you have to imagine that the red side of Liverpool will end up being happy, although I do think that Shrek will score: 3-1 Liverpool.
Manchester United vs Manchester City
Pogba is an incredibly silly boy and his red card damages both Chelsea and United’s title hopes, in a game that Manchester City cannot win (or it’s all over). City do seem to be stalling a little bit, to the degree that they aren’t winning games 5-0 anymore, giving a faint little glimmer of hope for those in the chasing pack. Thus, I am betting on Mourinho doing a Mourinho: it will be violent, City’s fancy players will get some rough treatment and De Gea will have to be awesome in goal, but by hook or by crook United will win this game and keep the title race alive: 2-1 United.