Harry’s boys have been in decent form of late but what is Spurs without a slip-up now and again? Probably a guaranteed fourth place side this season!
Roman Pavlyuchenko has scored in the last four games to make himself a goal threat alongside Jermaine Defoe and England-hero Peter Crouch. Aaron Lennon and Tom Huddlestone are absentees and Jenas is a major doubt.
Blackburn are without their captain Ryan Nelsen, who is out due to a knee injury. Looking at Rovers’ dismal away record this season and a manager more focused on a verbal battle with Rafa, this will be a comfortable home win for Spurs.
TheHardTackle’s Prediction: Tottenham 3-1 Blackburn
TheHardTackle’s Player To Watch: Luka Modric (Tottenham)
Birmingham have over-achieved this season and credit must go to Mcleish’s attacking yet cautious approach. They have a strong defensive unit and are the only side in the premiership to regularly deploy two strikers away from home. They have answered recent claims of their premiership ‘bubble’ bursting by securing two wins on the trot in the league.
Everton are a wonderful side to watch these days and they have gradually gained momentum. Following the return of Mikael Arteta and Phil Jagielka, and a five-goal drubbing of Hull, they are on a real high. Fellaini is out for the season and Donovan could play in his last Everton game.
Both teams are in great form and nothing will separate these two sides.
TheHardTackle’s Prediction: Birmingham 1-1 Everton
TheHardTackle’s Player To Watch: Steven Pienaar (Everton)
The Britannia is a fortress, of kinds. With their much-criticised long-throws and physical approach, Tony Pulis’ side has been successful in riling up visiting teams and manager – search for keywords ‘Wenger’ and ‘Stoke’. But if it works as it did against Burnley in the previous game ,who cares?
Aston Villa have been on an unconvincing six-game unbeaten run in the league which include four draws, but the team has been in free scoring form in other competitions.
A tough away fixture for the recent draw specialists will result into a stalemate at Stoke.
TheHardTackle’s Prediction: Stoke City 1-1 Aston Villa
TheHardTackle’s Player To Watch: James Milner (Aston Villa)
The game can be seen as a battle of two managers trying to incorporate a certain brand of football in both teams and at times, failing miserably to do so.
Both teams have blown hot and cold this season. Gary Cahill is still a major absentee for Bolton and sorely missed, especially at Sunderland last week. On the other hand, every time Roberto Martinez’s side comes under consideration, you wonder which Wigan will show up?
Wigan are on a high after beating Liverpool at home in their previous game, and though Bolton sneaked a win against Wolves in their last home game, they were lucky to do so. However, THT predicts an uninspiring Wigan to show up at the Reebok.
TheHardTackle’s Prediction: Bolton 2-1 Wigan
TheHardTackle’s Player To Watch: Matthew Taylor (Bolton)
A crucial four days at Stamford Bridge begin for Chelsea football club with a London derby. It sees the return of Gianfranco Zola at his former club.
With Petr Cech still out and the aptly named Hilario(us) also injured, Chelsea’s third choice keeper Ross Turnbull could get an outing in goal. Bosingwa is out for the season and Essien is still not fit to play. Recent distractions have affected performances of certain players at the club like their captain John Terry, which could be exploited by Zola’s men.
Both teams are coming on the back of home defeats, but West Ham have been appalling away from home and not even Chelsea’s European distractions will be enough to avoid a thrashing at the Bridge. Ancelotti’s men will put their season back on track.
TheHardTackle’s Prediction: Chelsea 4-0 West Ham
TheHardTackle’s Player To Watch: Joe Cole (Chelsea)
This is a huge game – a proverbial ‘relegation six pointer’. Both teams are on 24 points each and this game will go a long way in deciding the fate of the two clubs.
The Clarets haven’t recovered from the loss of Owen Coyle. Their last five games have yielded one point – a late equaliser against Stoke in mid-week. They are pretty to watch but basic mistakes have let them down.
Wolves, on the other hand, have one win in their last five. They gave a good account of themselves against the champions, but McCarthy’s men have been the lowest scorers in the league and will struggle to find the net.
TheHardTackle’s Prediction: Burnley 2-0 Wolves
TheHardTackle’s Player To Watch: Chris Eagles (Burnley)
Mirror mirror on the wall, who plays the prettiest football of all? Arsenal are on a roll. Arsene’s brand of football could yet pay-off and the sense of anticipation is immense. Hull, on the other hand, are favourites to be in the relegation zone come end of the season.
Hull’s Jimmy Bullard has returned to give a major boost to the side. He could make a much needed difference to Phil Brown’s side after crushing defeats at Upton Park and Goodison.
Arsenal are still without Robin Van Persie and Eduardo. Aaron Ramsey is out for the season after breaking his leg at Stoke. Rosicky and Fabregas, who did not play against Porto, are major doubts. Alex Song is suspended.
There is only one winner in this, but by how much?
TheHardTackle’s Prediction: Hull City 0-3 Arsenal
TheHardTackle’s Player To Watch: Samir Nasri (Arsenal)
After destroying Milan in mid-week, the morale and confidence at the club will be high. Add an incentive of staying top of the table come Monday and it’s hard to look past a United win
Owen, Anderson and O’Shea are out for the season. Wes Brown is out for six weeks and Hargreaves is close to a return but not fit to play at this level yet. No rest in sight for ‘Boy Wayne’ and he is expected to start.
Roy Hodgson has done wonders at Fulham but traveling back from Italy on Friday and playing at Old Trafford on Sunday will be too much to ask for.
Expect an easy home win as Fulham will have an eye on the visit of Juventus the following week.
TheHardTackle’s Prediction: Man Utd 3-1 Fulham
TheHardTackle’s Player To Watch: Antonio Valencia (Man Utd)
Two teams who are fresh – one from snapping their lengthy winless streak, the other from a title changing win at Stamford Bridge.
Sunderland’s timely return to winning ways has lifted them six points above relegation. They have simply too much quality to go down. Injuries aren’t a worry, as much as confidence is.
Manchester City, on the other hand, are buzzing after an away win to Chelsea and are favourites to claim fourth spot. With options galore, the only problem for Mancini is the starting line-up.
TheHardTackle’s Prediction: Sunderland 1-3 Man City
TheHardTackle’s Player To Watch: Craig Bellamy (Man City)
‘What’s spanish for guarantee, Rafa?’ Following a defeat in France, it’s another one of those ‘job on the line’ games for the manager, so expect Liverpool to win.
Apart from Martin Skrtel and Fabio Aurelio’s absence, Liverpool are full strength and there are no longer any excuses for dropping points. Following two defeats in four days, the match becomes a must win for the merseysiders.
Pompey are going down – footballing wise at least. Hassan Yebda and Kevin-Prince Boateng are both unavailable. John Utaka is doubtful.
TheHardTackle’s Prediction: Liverpool 3-0 Portsmouth
TheHardTackle’s Player To Watch: Fernando Torres (Liverpool)