EPL Weekend Predictions: Mark vs. Eric

British lion and Union Jack

Jonund – Creative Commons usage

 

This weekend sees the resumption of the Premier League following the break for international matches. Will the players return with a little bit of extra fitness and match sharpness, or will they be jaded and depressed (especially if they play for Wales)? For what it’s worth, here are Mark and Eric giving their dueling predictions for how this weekend will pan out. By Monday evening we’ll be able to see who can portend with greater accuracy. Not that we’re keeping score or anything.

Norwich v West Ham
Mark’s Prediction: Both sides have had reasonably encouraging starts to the season, though West Ham should be more confident about staying up than Norwich. The Canaries will see this as a game they must get something from, and should be able to wring a point from a West Ham side lacking Andy Carroll. Norwich 1-1 West Ham

Eric’s Prediction: West Ham will continue to play long ball, forgetting they don’t have the tallest player on the pitch. Norwich will be over their jitters and will snach three points from the Hammers at home. Norwich 2-1 West Ham

Arsenal v Southampton
Mark’s Prediction: Southampton have been a little unlucky so far, but already the vultures are starting to circle around manager Nigel Adkins. Things probably won’t be any better for him after this tough away fixture. The Saints like to play attractive football, which will suit Arsenal just fine. Arsenal 3-0 Southampton

Eric’s Prediction: I really want to root for the Saints here, but reason is trumping both my idealism and contrarian tendencies. I don’t think it’ll be a bloodbath, though. Arsenal 2-1 Southampton

Aston Villa v Swansea
Mark’s Prediction: Villa manager Paul Lambert has an uphill struggle this season after being left with a side lacking quality and confidence. Swansea, on the other hand, are possibly even better than they were last season. I can’t see this weekend being the turnaround point for Lamberts men. Aston Villa 0-1 Swansea

Eric’s Prediction: One word: Michu. Aston Villa 0-2 Swansea

Fulham v West Brom
Mark’s Prediction: Despite losing their two best players in the transfer window, Fulham have a decent side and a good manager. West Brom have started the season on fire and may ask a few questions of The Cottagers. This will be a close one. Fulham 1-1 West Brom

Eric’s Prediction: Berbatov will shake off his hangover and come to life in the Cottage, aided by ambient mojo generated by the Michael Jackson statue that sits just outside the gates. Fulham 2-1 West Brom

Man Utd v Wigan
Mark’s Prediction: Wigan are a peculiar team who will lose 4-0 at home to Reading, and then go and beat Man City away 3-5. However, they normally produce this brand of witchcraft at the end of the season, so United will probably stuff them. Man Utd 4-1 Wigan

Eric’s Prediction: I can’t fight back my contrarian nature any longer. United 2-2 Wigan

QPR v Chelsea
Mark’s Prediction: Though QPR have improved their squad, and did well in this fixture last year, Chelsea have started the season in fine form, with their new stars settling in well. The injury to John Terry denies this fixture some of its juiciness, but it is still a local derby, and I can’t see Chelsea slipping up. QPR 1-3 Chelsea

Eric’s Prediction: Even without Terry, this match won’t get past the handshakes. QPR 0-0 Chelsea (called off due to men acting like children)

Stoke v Man City
Mark’s Prediction: The beauty of this tie is that we know exactly what to expect from Stoke, and have no idea what to expect from City. The Potters are talking about evolving and becoming a better ball-playing team, but this may not be the game to try that out. If City are allowed to play, they will win. Stoke 1-2 Man City

Eric’s Prediction: City has shown its weaknesses thus far, but still managed to pick up points even with mediocre performances. I see that trend continuing. Stoke 1-3 City

Sunderland v Liverpool
Mark’s Prediction: You have one manager who is renowned for favouring motivation above tactics (Sunderland’s Martin O’Neill), versus his exact opposite (Liverpool’s Brendan Rodgers). As such, Liverpool have looked a little lost so far this season, and Sunderland have started with brio. Following the Hillsborough inquest on Wednesday, you would hope that a little fire has been lit under The Reds, and they’ll force a result here. Sunderland 2-3 Liverpool

Eric’s Prediction: Win one for the 96. Sunderland 1-3 Liverpool

Reading v Tottenham
Mark’s Prediction: This fixture might be a blessing for Spurs new manager Andre Villas-Boas. He has been struggling to get his squad playing as he would like, and now he needs to integrate Dembele and Dempsey into the side. Reading have only had two games so far, and have been equally unimpressive. Failure to secure three points here for Spurs would turn the pressure up on AVB. Reading 0-2 Tottenham

Eric’s Prediction: Dempsey will add the spark that AVB has been looking for, and if he can stay away from silly cards, will inspire Spurs to glorious triumph. Reading 0-2 Tottenham

Everton v Newcastle
Mark’s Prediction: The top fixture of the weekend (except it’s on a Monday). Newcastle appear to have carried their good form into the new season, and for once, Everton have started the season well. Both survived the transfer window without having their squads picked clean. Newcastle are probably the classier side, but Everton have more fight. Everton 1-1 Newcastle

Eric’s Prediction: This is easily the best game of the weekend. I think the teams are evenly matched but we should still see some scoring. Everton 2-2 Newcastle

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