The Big-Boned Premier League Preview - Round 10

Huw Davies is back with more inevitably inaccurate indications...

All right, so the predictions last week weren't top. Three out of 10, we can agree, is not a good start to this thing.

The most galling of the wrong calls? Thinking Liverpool would go down to Sunderland, only to chicken out at the last minute and plump for a draw. Stupid beach ball.

This week we're a lot more confident – as should you be, if you're a Manchester United fan.

The only better time to play Liverpool would be 22 years ago – or alternatively, in the middle of a highly localised Merseyside plague.


Birmingham vs Sunderland

Steve Bruce comes up against his old side, who are eager to get some bloody points on the board. Five losses in their last six games leaves the Blues sitting unhappily in 17th, waiting for January's transfer window like a fat kid for the dinner bell.

They'll be boosted by Sunderland having no Lee Cattermole, ruled out for three months after a knee ligament injury in the win over Liverpool, but can they withstand the '70s cop pairing of Bent 'n' Jones?

This laughable 'pundit' thinks not.

What won't happen: A Birmingham win

What will happen: Carson Yeung to start wondering what he's got himself in for

Burnley vs Wigan

Having lost to Blackburn last week, Burnley have another stab at a Lancashire derby in entertaining – in the loosest possible sense of the word – Roberto Martinez's Wigan.

They'll fare better this time round, improving that woeful -10 goal difference – worse than all bar Hull's, and yet they're in the top half of the table.

Truly, the Bermuda Triangle of football, but with fewer toss films dedicated to it.

Oh, and Chris Kirkland has dislocated his finger. Sigh.

What won't happen: Kirkland to stay injury-free for three days

What will happen: Burnley to move ninth with a battling win

Chelsea vs Blackburn

Chelsea may have been rocked by the defeat to Aston Villa but the 4-0 thrashing of Atletico Madrid shows they don't 'do' panic.

Blackburn will tough it out for a good hour, but it's Chelsea's game over 90 minutes. Signed, sealed, delivered – it's theirs.

See, even Stevie Wonder agrees, and having never seen them play, he's a Rovers fan.

What won't happen: Big Sam to demand total football from his players at half-time

What will happen: Samba to go up front when Rovers are 2-0 down with five minutes to go, but to less effect than a teapot made of tea.

Hull vs Portsmouth

Pompey fans face a round trip of some 560 miles, or 10 hours, in order to watch one of the worst games this season will offer.

Hull, 18th with the worst goal difference in the league, host Portsmouth, rock bottom with the second-worst. Neither GD will improve.

Yes, a point apiece looks the likely scenario of this painful excursion, but it all depends on how the Pomp react to their 2-1 Spurs defeat last week.

Will they take heart from almost snatching something, or be disheartened at coming away with nothing?

Or will they tie Aruna Dindane to a stake and burn him alive?

What won't happen: Paul Hart to tie Arune Dindane to a stake and burn him alive

What will happen: They become sorely tempted to after he misses two more sitters – but Pompey grab a much-needed draw with both blistered hands

Tottenham vs Stoke

Despite a brilliant performance in the win over West Ham last weekend, Stoke forward Ricardo Fuller has apparently been told by Tony Pulis to lose some weight.

His response? "I need the weight because my main strength is my power."

"I'm big-boned, guv! It's me glands!"

What won't happen: Fuller to collapse through a lack of feeding

What will happen: Stoke's strikers to collapse through a lack of feeding from the midfield. Spurs win, but not before Jermain Defoe runs on the pitch to put in the most pathetic stamp known to man. If you're going to get sent off do it properly, you big girl

Wolves vs Aston Villa

Villa have not conceded a headed goal this season. They have the best defensive record in any English league after Leeds. Greg Halford will play his 250th game for Wolves. Martin O'Neill has two middle names.

All of these things are more interesting than Villa's 1-0 win at Molineux.

What won't happen: John Carew to score. Ever

What will happen: O'Neill to beat McCarthy in the battle of Northern vs Southern Ireland


Bolton vs Everton

A midweek thrashing at Benfica will do nothing to help the Toffees' confidence, and neither will a ground-out draw at Bolton.

Draws with Stoke, Wolves and now Bolton – Moyes needs his players back.

Among the injured, all fighting for a place on the recovery table, are Baines, Yobo, Jagielka, Arteta, Bilyaletdinov, Neville, Pienaar, Osman and Anichebe. Yowser.

What won't happen: All of those players to recover by next week

What will happen: A jubilant Bolton steal a point

Liverpool vs Man United

United looked strangely short of ruthlessness (making them ruthlessless?) against Bolton last weekend, but then every single one of their starting XI had played international games midweek.

Expect them to be much more up for this game, ready to pound a Liverpool side possibly lacking Gerrard and Torres.

Expect, too, a flurry of beach balls gracing the Anfield turf, if the United fans can get them past security.

What won't happen: David N'Gog to give up football and do something useful with his life

What will happen: All beach balls to be confiscated by humourless security guards, the boring b*stards

Man City vs Fulham


What won't happen: City to dominate from start to finish and run out 5-0 victors

What will happen: Hodgson's men to cause the upset of the month. No, really

West Ham vs Arsenal

It's still hard for some – including your correspondent – to fathom how West Ham find themselves in the relegation zone, but this game certainly won't help.

Plenty would love to see Arsenal lose this, but it's just not going to happen.

That said, the way these predictions went last week, you're best off betting on the exact opposite to what we say.

What won't happen: The Hammers to record their first win since the opening day of the season

What will happen: The Gunners to make it five Premier League wins in a row, thanks to a goal or two from Van Persie and maybe an own goal too. Well, why not? Just throwing it out there...

---------------------------------------------- More to read...

Last week: The Unlikely To Lose Limbs Premier League Preview

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