Odemwingie turns up at QPR
West Brom striker Peter Odemwingie has said he regrets trying to push through a transfer move to QPR on deadline day, but maintains his long-term future remains away from the club.
The Nigerian international turned up unannounced outside QPR’s stadium Loftus Road late on Thursday night, but was barred from entering.
West Brom accused the player of acting unprofessionally and insist that no fee was agreed nor permission given to Odemwingie to talk to QPR. They admitted that they had been in talks about the possibility of a transfer, but that they had “proven fruitless and no agreement has been reached”.
Speaking of the situation on Friday, Odemwingie told Sky Sports News: “I am a very emotional person who sometimes doesn’t think,”
“I will still leave the club. It is only a matter of time.”
Arsenal’s Gibbs to miss Champions League
Arsenal left-back Kieran Gibbs is set to miss both legs of the Champions League match up with Bayern Munich.
The 23-year-old injured his thigh midweek during Arsenal’s 2-2 draw at home to Liverpool and had initially been ruled out for a couple of weeks.
However, on Friday Wenger revealed the left-back could be out for as long as two months, leaving Arsenal short of options in that position with new signing Nacho Monreal ineligible to play in the Champions League having already represented Malaga in the competition.
It seems Arsenal will be forced to play the much criticized Andro Santos.
Ferguson concern with United’s field
Alex Ferguson has expressed his concern over the poor quality of Manchester United’s soccer field.
The United manager said the field had “collapsed” over Christmas, and after Wednesday lacklustre win over Southampton he described the state of the playing surface as “worrying”.
“We have to hope for better weather and a bit more sun,” said Ferguson.
“We’re changing the pitch in the summer but at the moment it’s not good.”
It is not the first time United have had problems with the hallow turf at the Theater of Dreams, about ten years ago the Red Devils resurfaced the field twice in one season.
Previews and Predictions
|Aston Villa v Newcastle||1-2||1-1|
|QPR v Man City||0-0||1-2|
|Stoke v Wigan||2-2||1-0|
|Sunderland v Swansea||0-0||1-0|
|Arsenal v Liverpool||2-2||3-1|
|Everton v West Brom||2-1||2-0|
|Norwich v Tottenham||1-1||1-1|
|Fulham v West Ham||3-1||1-0|
|Man Utd v Southampton||2-1||3-0|
|Reading v Chelsea||2-2||0-1|
A correct result is worth ONE point, while a correct score earns THREE points.
Midweek I got FOUR correct results, including ONE perfect score giving me a combined tally of SIX points, which is a point better than I did last week.
The record score is 13 points in Week 14, lets see if I can get anywhere near that in Week 25.
|QPR v Norwich||1-0|
|Arsenal v Stoke||3-0|
|Everton v Aston Villa||2-0|
|Newcastle v Chelsea||1-1|
|Reading v Sunderland||2-3|
|West Ham v Swansea||0-0|
|Wigan v Southampton||2-1|
|Fulham v Man Utd||1-2|
|West Brom v Tottenham||1-1|
|Man City v Liverpool||1-1|
Arsenal Vs Stoke
Arsenal showed real character midweek coming from two goals down to eventually earn a 2-2 draw at home to Liverpool.
The result could be turning point of Arsenals’ season, because had the Gunners lost they may have begun to question themselves, but instead they gained a point and in the end their style of play was vindicated.
However, the Gunners remain frail at the back and the sloppiness at which they conceded both goals will definitely be cause for concern for coach Arsenal Wenger.
Stoke have had a torrid few weeks, just over a month ago the Potters boasted the meanest defense in the EPL, but in the last month they have conceded 15 goals and only picked up two points out of a possible 15.
Arsenal’s Kieran Gibbs will miss out on the Stoke game after being ruled out for up two months, but new signing Nacho Migual should be available to replace him. Club captain Thomas Vermaelen is also a serious doubt, with Laurent Koscielny likely to take his place and partner Per Mertesacker at the back for the Gunners.
There is some good news for Arsenal as midfielder Mikel Arteta has recovered from calf injury that has kept him out of action since New Years Day.
Stoke have almost a full squad to chose from, but new signings Brek Shea and Jack Butland definitely will not take part. American Shea is still recovering from a foot operation and still to receive his work permit, while keeper Butland has been loaned back to Birmingham.
Arsenal are playing well and really must win this game if they are to keep up pursuit of finishing in a Champions League spot at the end of the season. They have three games against teams they should beat before they face neighbors Spurs in what looks like being a pivotal game.
Stoke are in a bit of a rut at the moment and the best I can see them doing against the Gunners is grinding out a 0-0 draw. But Arsenal have won their last 10 games at home to Stoke and look like a sure bet to score goals at the moment and that is why I backing them to win comfortably.
Everton Vs Aston Villa
Everton gained ground on their Champion League spot rivals by winning 2-1 against West Brom midweek when all those around them drew.
Left-back Leighton Baines was once again immense scoring both the Toffees’ goals, and Everton will be glad that they managed to hold on to both him and Marouane Felliani during the transfer window, as both players have been outstanding for them this season.
Aston Villa once again put in an underwhelming display losing 1-2 at home to Newcastle. Stuck in the relegation zone and without a win since mid-December, Villa increasingly look as if they will be relegated from England’s top division for the first time since 1987.
Everton full-backs Tony Hibbert and Seamus Coleman are both out for Saturday’s clash, meaning Silva Distin is likely to remain at right-back. Darren Gibson is also pushing for a starting place having returned from injury as a midweek substitute.
Aston Villa new signings Yacouba Sylla and Simon Dawkins look set for action on Saturday having been included in the matchday squad, though Midfielder Fabian Delph looks unlikely to play any part with a ankle injury.
Villa have done well against Everton over the years and are actually unbeaten against the Toffees in their last six trips to Goodison park. However, I will be very surprised if Villa managed to take a point back home with them on Saturday.
Newcastle Vs Chelsea
Newcastle earned a much needed win after a barren run of games and the side’s new French foreign legion got off to a blistering start, combing well for both of Newcastle’s goals in their 1-2 win at Villa. The Magpies will hope that win can help kick start their season and move them away from the relegation zone.
Chelsea once again let a win slip through their fingers and Chelsea poor run of results certainly won’t help Rafa Benitez’s standing with the Blues faithful. The Blues were 2-0 and looked to be cruising before being pegged back by Reading with only three minutes remaining.
Newcastle are likely to give home debuts to new signings Moussa Sissoko and Yoan Gouffran.
Peter Czech is likely to return to the Chelsea line-up after recovering from a calf strain. However, David Luiz remains out with an ankle injury, while Eden Hazard won’t play any part after being suspended for thee games.
The game should be a feisty encounter and it will be interesting to see which Chelsea turns up. Will Rafa Benitez stick with the misfiring Torres or twist on ex-Newcastle forward Demba Ba. Either way, I predict a draw.
Fulham Vs Manchester United
Fulham got their first win in 2013 midweek and will hope to push on in the second half of the season after a series of indifferent results.
Dimitar Berbatov was excellent for the Cottagers midweek, but a calf injury means he will play no part against his former club Manchester United. Which could be good news for Berbatov, as he won’t have to experience United torture Fulham firsthand again like he did a week ago in the FA Cup.
On that day United were excellent and Fulham terrible, but United did not play well in their last EPL game against Southampton and that may give the Londoners hope. However, United still won that game and have a habit of winning when they are not playing well.
Dimitar Berbatov, Steve Sidwell, Mahamadou Diarra, Kerim Frei and Kieran Richardson are all injured for Fulham, meaning new loan signing Urby Emanuelson could make his debut.
United have almost a full squad to choose from with Ashley Young (knee) the only injured player.
On paper this game looks like a United win, but Fulham have done well at home against United over the years and are sure to give them a tough game.
United have not played well recently but are still picking up points, and a win tomorrow would put them 10-points ahead of City who play Liverpool on Sunday.
These two played a week ago in the FA Cup and it was like men against boys with United winning 4-1, but I expect this to be a lot closer with United just edging it at the end.
West Brom Vs Tottenham
West Brom are still without a win in 2013 and I’m sure the whole “Odemwingie transfer that never was” fiasco has not really helped their cause.
It’s a shame really as the Baggies could really do with his help at this moment in time, but fortunately for them they still possess quality up top with Romelu Lukaku and Shane Long.
Tottenham on the other hand have only one striker, Jermaine Defoe. With Emmanuel Adebayor not due back for another month, it was strange that Tottenham did not try to bring someone in during the window, especially as Defoe is nursing an injury. But I guess Spurs are confidant enough that attacking players such as Clint Dempsey, Gareth Bale and new signing Lewis Hotlby can all chip in with goals.
West Brom Striker Peter Odemwingie is unlikey to be involved on Sunday, having been told not to return to training until next week. Though Youssouf Mulumbu could be in line for a shock return after DR Congo were eliminated from the African Cup of Nations.
Tottenham have no new injury concerns and seem likely to give new signing Lewis Holtby his first start.
Neither of these team are playing that well, and the goals have certainly dried up for Tottenham since the beginning of 2013. But they do have a good record against West Brom and are unbeaten in their last six games against the Baggies. But having said that, the last three of those games did end in a draw, and I predict the same for Sunday.
Manchester City Vs Liverpool
This tie is without doubt the biggest game of the weekend, and it could be pivotal to where both teams end up at the end of the season.
City have been immense in the last month winning four and drawing once, but a loss on Sunday could see them fall ten-points behind leaders Manchester United, which many feel would be an insurmountable lead.
Liverpool have slowly improved and moved into contention for a finish in a Champions League spot this season. However, a loss this weekend coupled with result elsewhere could all but effectively leave them playing for a spot in the Europa league or worse yet, mere pride.
City are hopeful that young defender Matija Nastasic will return after sitting out of the midweek 0-0 with QPR while nursing a knee injury, but captain Vincent Kompany is definitely out and may not return for another three weeks.
Liverpool have no injury worries, though new signing Philippe Coutinho will not feature on Sunday.
City have been grinding out results, and it’s surprising that a frontline of the quality of Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Carlos Tevez only has seven goals in nine games, but they have been winning and that is all that matters.
The key for Liverpool will as ever be Luis Suarez, the Uruguayan is their top scorer and everything good that Liverpool do comes through him. But since the signing of Daniel Sturridge Liverpool have moved Suarez to a deeper role, and while I think he has done a good job there, I think other teams will be happy with the change of position as the farther Suarez is from your goal the better.
Liverpool sat back and tried to hit Arsenal on the break with great success midweek and I expect them to do it again. City are playing well but just can’t score, so I’m going for an entertaining end to end game that will end in a draw.