It’s that time of the week again when GotSoccer takes you through the news, previews and predictions for the week’s upcoming EPL games, so sit back, grab a warm cup of cocoa and enjoy.
Drogba gives former teammates Super bowl Style rings
Chelsea’s European dreams may have fizzled out on Wednesday after the Blues became the first Champions ever to crash out at the group stage, But Didier Drogba helped his former teammates rekindle memories of glory with a dinner in honor of his former teams triumph in the Champions League last may.
The Ivorian, who’s decisive spot kick gave the Blues their first ever Champions League crown, presented his former teammates and members of the backroom staff with Super Bowl style commemorative rings at a reported personal cost of $1.28m.
Drogba, who now plies his trade for Chinese outfit Shanghai Shenhua, was hoping to rejoin the blues outside the transfer window in a short-term loan deal, however FIFA rejected the proposition.
Laudrup Slaps $48m price tag on Michu
Michael Laudrup has warned potential suitors that should they wish to prize Swansea top-scorer away from the club, that they will have to pay a hefty sum.
The Spaniard who is joint-top scorer in the EPL with Robin Van Perise, Luis Suarez and Demba Ba, has already scored 10 goals in his first 15 games in the EPL.
Laudrup suggested Michu would cost a lot more than the $24m Liverpool paid for Joe Allen during the summer.
“I don’t want to let him go, sometimes the offer can be so big you have to accept but I really don’t think clubs are going to pay so much money for him,” Laudrup said. “We have the example of what Liverpool paid for Joe Allen, if they have to pay double for Michu, there are few clubs who could afford that.
“Joe went to Liverpool and you know more or less what they paid for him, but a guy who has scored many goals must be worth a lot more, so you work out the figures.”
Solskjaer: City are United’s little brother
Manchester United legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has described Mancheter City as a “little brother” trying to take the place of a bigger brother.
City, who became champions of England after a 44-year wait, have spent hundreds of millions in recent years in an attempt to challenge their illustrious neighbors for trophies at home and abroad.
Once labled as “noisy neigbors” by United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, City pipped United to the title on the last day of the season to become England and Manchester’s number one club.
But Solskjaer still thinks United are number one. “When you get disappointments, you bounce back,” Solskjaer told the BBC.
“It’s always this thing about being the big brother and the little brother coming to try to overtake the big brother.
“That always happens in families and in clubs – the young player hoping to take the old player’s position – and City are hoping to overtake United. I don’t think they’ll ever be able to.”
I guess we will see on Sunday if little brother has taken the place of big brother.
Previews and Predictions
Week 16 looks set to be another soccer extravaganza, as another round of exciting games take place this weekend. There are not any London derbies this week, though we do have a certain Manchester derby to look forward too.
|West Ham v Chelsea||3-1||1-1|
|Arsenal v Swansea||0-2||3-1|
|Fulham v Tottenham||0-3||3-2|
|Liverpool v Southampton||1-0||2-0|
|Man City v Everton||1-1||1-1|
|QPR v Aston Villa||1-1||1-0|
|West Brom v Stoke||0-1||2-0|
|Reading v Man Utd||3-4||0-2|
|Norwich v Sunderland||2-1||1-0|
|Newcastle v Wigan||3-0||1-1|
A correct result is worth ONE point, while a correct score earns THREE points.
Last week I got 3 correct results, including 1 perfect score, giving me a combined score of 5. I admit it wasn’t the best of scores, but there were a few surprising results last week – not that I’m making any excuse.
Anyway, lets hope I can do better this week.
Arsenal Vs West Brom
It seems Arsenal may be in the midst of a crisis. They have been in a poor patch of form, but a 0-2 home defeat to Swansea last Saturday is not something that has happened to Arsenal too many times over the last 15-years.
However, we shouldn’t get carried away with Arsenal being in 10th place in the EPL, they are still only five points behind third place Chelsea. Plus this seems to happen to them every season at this time of year- they go through a bad patch and everyone asks has Wenger outstayed his visit, then they go on a run and emerge as title contenders, before falling short at the last hurdle.
High flyers West Brom are not in the best of form themselves after starting the season well, and should they lose to the Gunners on Saturday that would be three straight defeats for the Baggies.
Arsenal will have to do without Lucas Poldoski (Hamstring) and Theo Walcott (calf) for Saturday’s game, while Defenders Bacary Sagna (foot) and Laurent Koscielny (thigh) are also still out.
West Brom meanwhile should welcome back Forward Peter Odemwingie and midfielders James Morrison and Chris Brunt could return after being rested for last weekend’s defeat by Stoke.
Both these teams are having a bad run, but Arsenal are certainly under more pressure than their opponents. Both teams like to keep the ball on the floor and pass, so the game should be pleasing to the eye. West Brom have certainly what it takes to hurt Arsenal, but I’m backing the Gunners to turn the corner and get a win.
Sunderland Vs Chelsea
Sunderland needs to start picking up points or they risk being isolated at the bottom in the dogfight for EPL survival. The Black Cats just cannot seem to put a run of games together, and they are without a win in their last three games.
Chelsea have yet to win in the EPL under interim manager Rafa Benitez, and have not won in the EPL since October’s win over Tottenham. Benitez is still being given a rough ride by Chelsea fans, and he’ll be hoping to get a win soon to try and cool things over.
Sunderland’s John O’Shea could feature after recovering from a calf injury, while Steven Fletcher’s ankle problem will be assessed ahead of the game.
Chelsea’s John Obi Mikel begins a three-game suspension, while skipper John Terry will also miss out with a knee injury.
Sunderland is never the easiest place to go, but even though Chelsea are not playing well I fancy them to sneak a win.
Manchester City Vs Manchester United
First City were called the ‘noisy neighbors’ by Ferguson and now they have been labeled United’s little brother by United legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
But if anyone has something to prove tomorrow it is United- they lost both league games against City last season, including the 1-6 at home, and finished runners-up to their neighbors in the EPL.
Both team lost midweek in the Champions League, but I don’t think those results will have any bearing on Sunday’s game, as both City and United went into their midweek games with their Champions league fates already decided.
City are still unbeaten in the EPL, but they have yet to play the way they did last season. They don’t seem to be creating and scoring as many goals, and it has resulted in them drawing a lot more games.
United have no such problems, and seem to create and score for fun. However, their problem has been conceding goals – they have already conceded 21 times in 15 games.
So if United keep up their antics then there should be goals. However, I think this will be a tight affair, especially as Sir Alex Ferguson will not want a repeat of the 1-6 hiding his team took last season.
City playmaker David Silva is in contention, despite missing Wednesday’s Champions League defeat to Borussia Dortmund with a hamstring injury, while James Milner and Gael Clichy are also hoping to prove their fitness.
United midfielder Tom Cleverley is a doubt with a calf injury. Nemanja Vidic is unlikely to feature, while Shinji Kagawa is not ready to return and Anderson is a major doubt.
Everton Vs Tottenham
Everton have started the season really well, and their draw away to Champions Manchester City last weekend showed that they really are contenders for a top four finish.
Tottenham have responded well after their losses to Chelsea and Arsenal, and also look like they will be there or there abouts for a top four finish come May. But Gareth Bales injury is a major blow for them. The Welshman is Spurs’ star player, and has played a big part in their last three wins.
But Spurs have a host of attacking that can score, like Clint Dempsey, Aaron Lennon, Jermaine Defoe etc. but their problem is they are still a bit vulnerable at the back, and I can see Everton giving them a torrid time on Sunday.
Everton have been bullying most teams this season, and I can see them doing the same to Tottenham on Sunday. There only problem is they are not clinical enough, and if they can improve that I think they will definitely end up in the top four come the end of May.
Gareth Bale and Michael Dawson look certain to miss out for Spurs due to the hamstring injuries they picked up against Fulham last week, while Scott Parker and Benoit Assou-Ekotto are still out injured.
|Arsenal v West Brom||2-0|
|Aston Villa v Stoke||0-1|
|Southampton v Reading||2-2|
|Sunderland v Chelsea||0-1|
|Swansea v Norwich||3-1|
|Wigan v QPR||2-1|
|Man City v Man Utd||1-2|
|Everton v Tottenham||2-1|
|West Ham v Liverpool||1-0|
|Fulham v Newcastle||2-1|