The intimidatingly nicknamed and not particularly ironic Premier Preview

All right, we're running late so let’s get on with it...


Stoke v Sunderland (12.45pm, Sky Sports 2 & HD2)

It’s all change in the Stoke line-up: cross-and-finish-duo Matthew Etherington and Kenwyne Jones should return after a rest, the Trinidadian against his former club, while Ryan Shawcross is back from suspension.

Speaking of players who love being getting sent off, Lee Cattermole will spend another month on the sidelines of Sunderland’s top-half push thanks to his ongoing back problem. Apparently he pulled a muscle trying to pick up his massive stack of red and yellow cards.

Sulley Muntari should play, though, and if there’s any justice, keep Cattermole out of the team until he’s learnt to be a good boy (or at least to make his fouls less embarrassingly obvious).

What won’t happen: Hopefully, any confusion from that horribly constructed sentence over whether it’s Etherington or Jones who is Trinidadian. Take a guess

What will happen: Narrow home win

Aston Villa v Fulham (3pm)

We can only hope and pray that Steve Sidwell doesn’t score for Fulham against previous club Villa, as the few football journalists who understand what irony actually is just can’t take any more misuse of the word.

Damien Duff scoring against Newcastle on Wednesday was not ironic, Mr Motson. Stop listening to Alanis Morissette.

Just as ironic was the fact it was Duff’s first league goal in almost a year. Oh, and he’s now made 500 league appearances. And, oddly, he is one of the richest players in football. This is all very ironic. The irony pulsating through these statements is so ironic, you could bottle it in an iron-clad bottle with an ironic label ironically reading, “This, ironically, is ironic.”  Pfft.

What won’t happen: Michael Bradley walks onto the pitch singing “My country ‘tis of thee”, scores in his first game on English soil, does a lap of the pitch chanting “U-S-A! U-S-A!” and insists he won’t play again until his dad is made Aston Villa boss

What will happen: Eidur Gudjohnsen has a stinking debut, since this blogger thinks he still has a lot to offer – albeit not a club like Stoke. Draw

Everton v Blackpool (3pm)

Is this the middle of the end for Blackpool? It’s too late to say the beginning of the end – few who would have seen their 3-2 defeat to West Ham herald three home losses in a row immediately afterwards – but they are in the eye of the storm now.

No doubt, results need to change soon, and Ian Holloway needs to stop moaning in a West Country lilt if fans are to remember to love him, not hate him.

Hmm...West Country Lilt. Sounds quite tasty, actually. Fizzy lemon-and-lime cider with a cheddar tang.

Everton haven’t missed Tim Cahill as much as expected during his exploits playing in the Asian Cup with a team that isn’t in Asia, but they have lacked a little cutting edge.

The talisman of the Toffees and the Socceroos – two of the worse nicknames you will ever see in football, and that includes the far from intimidating Shrews, Shrimps and Shrimpers – Cahill is one of those players who can grab a win for a team that doesn’t deserve it on balance of the game.

Also, the David Moyes v Arsene Wenger mouth-fight over Fabregas is getting even better. Don’t stop now, boys.

What won’t happen: An end to the office debate on unthreatening Football League nicknames. Chairboys? Imps? Valiants? THE POSH? Sort it out.

You don’t fancy playing the Pirates, Blades or Daggers though. On the whole, Football League nicknames get more aggressive the closer you get to the Championship: you’d be more scared of the Tigers or the Lions than you would of the Silkmen

What will happen: Thread. Lost. Uh...home win

Man City v West Brom (3pm, Absolute Radio)

Man City being chosen for live coverage? Well, who could predict that?

What won’t happen: A more confusing prospect for this tired brain than three West Brom players being 50/50 (Jara, Cech and Dorrans). Does that make it 150 per cent one of them will feature? Peter Odemwingie will definitely play – that’s much simpler

What will happen: Complaints, understandably, from Man City and West Brom fans unhappy with being the token ‘short prediction to keep this blog’s word count down’. Will a draw please you on both sides? Tough, home win

Newcastle v Arsenal (3pm)

Why this isn’t being covered ahead of Citeh’s inevitable 2-0 win over West Brom is beyond this blogger. It could be a cracking match-up: Newcastle won the away fixture 1-0 with the help of Andy Carroll, now missing, and despite winning their last six games in all competitions, Arsenal do look beatable.

Newcastle will struggle to score, though, in this game and for the rest of the season. Following the terrible news about Shola Ameobi, it’s time for Ranger and Best to step up to the shooting plate like the Wild West gunslingers their names resemble (Peter Lovenkrands, not so much).

The good news for the Toon is that Arsenal “welcome” Sebastien Squillaci back to their ranks after suspension. One to make the Gunners nervous.

What won’t happen: Alan Pardew to introduce himself to Arsene Wenger with the words, “Hello, I’m the real Professor.”

What will happen: Kevin Nolan saves the Magpies – draw

Spurs v Bolton (3pm)

This should probably be on radio too. Sigh. That said, it wouldn’t be pretty seeing Gary Mabbutt and Sandra Redknapp in defence for an injury-wracked Spurs.

The north Londoners are definitely lacking centre-backs - fit ones, at least - and will be hoping for some home advantage to sneak an important win. They can’t afford the gap between them and the top four to widen much more...

Speaking of which, it wasn’t so long ago Bolton were in and around the fifth-place spot as well. They’re back down to eighth now, but could leapfrog Liverpool with a win. Daniel Sturridge may start after his nicely taken gift from Ronaldo Zubar in midweek.

What won’t happen: A dull game: the 4-2 win for Bolton at the Reebok was excellent entertainment

What will happen: An appearance for Jonathan Woodgate, who limps off after 16 seconds. Bongani Khumalo replaces him and lasts even less time, as Spurs’ defence crumbles further. A good draw for the visitors

Wigan v Blackburn (3pm)

A chance for the Latics to start turning their season around and dodge relegation? Sure it is – that doesn’t mean they’ll take it.

Blackburn were unlucky not to win against Spurs, and if Steve Kean is as good a manager as his early promise suggests, he’ll use that performance to galvanise Rovers instead of leading them to dwell on lost points.

Wigan miss two key defenders, Maynor Figueroa and captain Gary Caldwell, while Blackburn will be pleased to see Jermaine Jones has recovered from his back spasm against Tottenham.

What won’t happen: A more boring prediction, ever – sorry about that

What will happen: More crap jokes in the future, and a draw in this game

Wolves v Man United (5.30pm, ESPN & ESPN HD, TalkSPORT Radio)

Oh, Ronald Zubar. The last thing a team bottom of the table need when holding on for a vital draw is a terrible backpass/blinding through-ball deep into stoppage time. Poor Mick was speechless after the final whistle, proving, at last and at least, that every cloud has a silver lining.

Frankly, it will take a miracle if Wolves are to win this game, and a heroic effort if they are to gain a draw. They are largely injury-free, while Manchester United are Park-less due to fatigue after the Korean’s Asian Cup efforts. Park Ji-Sung tired? Surely that’s not even possible. Tired of what, hell freezing over?

What won’t happen: Wolves to ship any fewer than three

What will happen: An away win takes United one step closer to the title


West Ham v Birmingham (1.30pm, Sky Sports 1 & HD1, TalkSPORT Radio)

The Hammers’ slow trudge out of the relegation zone (well, almost – they’re still behind opponents Birmingham on goal difference) has been widely publicised, so much so that it’s easy to forget they’ve played two more matches than the Blues, and one more than relegation rivals Wolves and West Brom. It’s far from over.

Indeed, just nine points separate bottom-placed Wolves from the top half, in a season that could go anywhere but actually sail in the general direction of Wolves, Wigan and West Ham all being relegated. West Brom and Newcastle may flirt with the dropzone, but like the coy mistresses they are, they’ll survive (not sure what happened to that analogy).

Birmingham haven’t lost since their humiliation at Old Trafford, but need an actual win in this potential six-pointer. Worryingly for them, the mightily useful trio Cameron Jerome, Barry Ferguson and Roger Johnson are all doubts.

What won’t happen: This game to take place in either the Championship or the Prem next season

What will happen: West Ham take revenge for the Carling Cup semi-final with another morale-boosting win

Chelsea v Liverpool (4pm, Sky Sports 1 & HD1, 5 Live Radio)

Well, this is a nice quiet fixture for a Sunday afternoon. No controversy, no big story detracting from the football... how lovely.

That isn’t the case, of course, but the Torres talk could subside a touch if he doesn’t start, which is likely. Expect a second-half cameo not quite on the same plane as Luis Suarez’s on Wednesday, which was superb.

Let’s get one thing straight, though: that goal should not have been his. It was a lazy, insouciant finish that Andy Wilkinson completely cocked up in clearing, and should go down as an own goal.

And on similar lines, Match of the Day, don’t go sighing demonstratively over the skill Suarez is supposedly bringing to the Premier League when you’re showing a clip of him giving the ball away with a backheel. And don’t cut away just as an opponent intercepts it either, while claiming it’s genius on the Uruguayan’s part. That’s cheating.

That aside, Suarez did look excellent. He’s still a biting bat-eared bastard cheat, mind.

What won’t happen: A bigger two-middle-fingers-up “F*** YOU!” gesture to Liverpool than Rafa Benitez’s claim he could have sold Torres for £70 million last summer. Nicely done

What will happen: Can it be the Blues overcome the Reds? Bloody hell, even Lawro’s predicting Liverpool to lose this. This blog says: draw