Job Application Form #67921
Name: Chris HughtonAge: 52 on SaturdayStrengths: Doing the impossible, not being Alan Pardew.Weaknesses: Having hair like a badger, not being Alan Pardew.Reasons for dismissal from last job: I have no idea
Poor old Chris. But at least heÃ¢ÂÂll be able to enjoy a cracking weekend of Premier League football from his sofa. Swings and roundabouts, eh?
Aston Villa v West Brom (3pm, Absolute Radio)
These are dark days for Gerard Houllier, although in all honesty you bring it on yourself when you say after a fourth defeat on the trot, Ã¢ÂÂIf I have got to lose 3-0, I would prefer it to be to them as I like Liverpool.Ã¢ÂÂ
No matter how much you wish it, or indeed how much you wish you were still at a big club, fans will not appreciate the sentiment behind that statement. It is A Very Bad Thing To Say. Ã¢ÂÂKay, Gerard, Gerard?
And just as things looked like they couldnÃ¢ÂÂt get any worse for Villa, Emile HeskeyÃ¢ÂÂs back from injury.
What wonÃ¢ÂÂt happen: A better chance for West Brom to record their first win over the Villains since 1985
What will happen: Carlos Cuellar to shore up the home defence, and West BromÃ¢ÂÂs hopes of a smash Ã¢ÂÂnÃ¢ÂÂ grab win are nullified. With their key men Odemwingie and Brunt likely to miss out, a draw is the likely result
Everton v Wigan (3pm)
Reunited again in the centre of midfield are the unlikely pairing of Marouane Fellaini and Jack Rodwell, who impressed like the mismatched cop duo they are. Mary Ã¢ÂÂnÃ¢ÂÂ Rod: oneÃ¢ÂÂs a gritty young kid from the streets whoÃ¢ÂÂll do anything to nail a perp, and the other has an afro.
Wigan will welcome back Hugo Rodallega from suspension with such open arms heÃ¢ÂÂd be wise to fear crushing, and the Colombian will have some extra crushing weight on his shoulders, too, with Victor Moses and, ahem, Franco di Santo out of the game.
What wonÃ¢ÂÂt happen: Wigan to turn up for a change
What will happen: Home win
Fulham v Sunderland (3pm)
If Mark HughesÃ¢ÂÂ men keep going along cottaging like this, they could find themselves in the relegation zone sooner than you can say, Ã¢ÂÂMummy, what does cottaging mean?Ã¢ÂÂ
Or at least they would if the three Ws beneath them werenÃ¢ÂÂt such utter crap. Toss, dross, gathering moss Ã¢ÂÂ call them what you like, but if Wigan, Wolves and West Ham arenÃ¢ÂÂt relegated by the end of the season (you may have noticed this blogger has withdrawn that prediction on Stoke to go down, if not at the bookies) itÃ¢ÂÂll be due to a massive turnaround or a vast miscarriage of justice.
Back to this game, though: the struggling Cottagers have an impressive record at home against Sunderland, winning four of their six Premier League encounters there. Which is good.
Less good Ã¢ÂÂ worse, you could call it Ã¢ÂÂ they will still be without the sprightly Carlos Salcido, and the continued absence of Moussa Dembele means the inconsistent Diomansy Kamara may be given another start up top.
What wonÃ¢ÂÂt happen: Craig Gordon, who has announced his return from injury with a series of stunning performances, to play, very doubtful as he is with a hamstring pull. Step forward Mr Mignolet for another attempt to remind people who he is
What will happen: Bore draw
Stoke v Blackpool (3pm)
ItÃ¢ÂÂs a fascinating match-up: a team who have showed how a newly promoted side with little talent arguably should play, and a team who have showed how a newly promoted side with little talent can survive in the Premier League: the former with excitement, the latter with Tony Pulis.
Look, weÃ¢ÂÂre not going to let this beef with Pulis lie until at least one of us is dead.
Jermaine Pennant, he of the potential permanent contract, should start for Stoke after his injury, while Richard Ã¢ÂÂAfrican keepers can be good reallyÃ¢ÂÂ Kingson will hold his No1 spot for Blackpool on account of Matt Gilks still being crippled.
What wonÃ¢ÂÂt happen: Justice, which is an away win
What will happen: This blogger to die before Tony Pulis. Home win
West Ham v Man City (3pm)
ItÃ¢ÂÂs lucky for Manchester City that this should be one of their easier trips, because theyÃ¢ÂÂll miss both Carlos Tevez and Alexsandar Kolarov through one-game suspensions. Suspiciously useful timing, really. Call the fraud squad!
Unbelievably for a team with all the money and players it wants (or doesnÃ¢ÂÂt, *cough* Roque Santa Cruz *cough*), City look a bit short of goals without Tevez in the side. Mancini will be quietly happy with a sneaky 1-0 win here thanks to a moment of magic from David Silva or the like.
As for West Ham, the last time they put more than one goal past City in the league was in 2000, when the Hammers boasted Paolo di Canio and Fredi Kanoute upfront (not to mention Pearce Ã¢ÂÂnÃ¢ÂÂ Pearce in defence). TheyÃ¢ÂÂd take at least one of those forwards in a shot these days, but would settle for just the one goal here if it meant a point.
What wonÃ¢ÂÂt happen: Avram Grant to survive the season, due either to fan pressure, heart problems or Gold-and-Sullivan-related insanity
What will happen: Job done for Bobby Manc, with a narrow away win
Newcastle v Liverpool (5.30pm, ESPN & ESPN HD, TalkSPORT Radio)
Well, where to start? For one thing, ESPN must be thanking any number of gods for this game taking on a whole new meaning, although knowing their luck after Blackpool-Man Utd was called off last week, this will be off as well.
Due, perhaps, to fans throwing chairs onto the pitch in protest at the ludicrous sacking of Chris Hughton and the arguably more ludicrous hiring of Alan Pardew, the man who is to Premier League survival what Mike Ashley is to the Mensa and Weightwatchers coalition.
Enough has been said already, and will continue to be said, about AshleyÃ¢ÂÂs overwhelming idiocy in sacking a competent manager in order to make a Ã¢ÂÂjobs for the boysÃ¢ÂÂ apoointment (PardewÃ¢ÂÂs a friend, apparently), but itÃ¢ÂÂll be interesting to see the new man will do at easily the biggest club heÃ¢ÂÂll ever manage.
One thingÃ¢ÂÂs for sure: it makes more sense for him to take on the mantle of the chief villainÃ¢ÂÂs sidekick than the man who stared a gift horse in the mouth and shot it.
What wonÃ¢ÂÂt happen: The game to pass quietly without much notice being taken
What will happen: Liverpool to celebrate having a recent history of comparatively sensible owners by winning at St JamesÃ¢ÂÂ
Bolton v Blackburn (1.30pm, Sky Sports 1 & HD1)
Bewilderingly-barneted Scotchmerican Stuart Holden looks set to return for Bolton, but their rivals will be without useful players Nikola Kalinic, Steven Nzonzi and Martin Olsson (plus the less useful Vince Grella and Keith Andrews)
Given recent results youÃ¢ÂÂd expect the Lancashire Hotpot Derby to go the way of the home side, but Bolton havenÃ¢ÂÂt beaten Blackburn in over four years and Big Sam has an excellent record against the Trotters, gobbling them up with relish.
What wonÃ¢ÂÂt happen: El-Hadji Diouf to go in lightly on his old side
What will happen: A home win keeps Bolton in top-six dreamland
Wolves v Birmingham (1.30pm, TalkSPORT Radio)
The home side will be without Jody CraddockÃ¢ÂÂs thigh, David JonesÃ¢ÂÂ foot and Michael Mancienne, Michael Kightly and Karl HenryÃ¢ÂÂs knees, but should be able to cobble together a FrankensteinÃ¢ÂÂs monster of an XI to face their Brummie pseudo-rivals.
ItÃ¢ÂÂs worth noting that Birmingham havenÃ¢ÂÂt lost to Wolves in the top flight since 1981, before a lot of their squad was born (sit down, Lee Bowyer).
What wonÃ¢ÂÂt happen: A nil-nil draw, oh no
What will happen: 6-1, according to FFT.comÃ¢ÂÂs news Editor Gregg Davies. He predicted Liverpool 4-4 Chelsea, remember.
Spurs v Chelsea (4pm, Sky Sports 1 & HD1, 5 Live Radio)
ItÃ¢ÂÂs the kind of game when Tottenham would really welcome that extra touch of class from Rafael van der Vaart, but the Dutchman is still out with a hamstrung hamstring.
Chelsea, however, are in The Worst Form Of Their LivesÃ¢ÂÂ¢ and unbelievably are even facing calls from some corners to sack Carlo Ancelotti.
What a ridiculous statement. If you fired a manager every time he had a run of poor games for a month youÃ¢ÂÂd end up with Alan Pardew in charge of every club.
It is a sad case of affairs for Carlo, though, because the bad run seems to have coincided with the sad death of his father. Ever since he donned that fetching black suit itÃ¢ÂÂs all gone downhill, and heÃ¢ÂÂs confessed to not sleeping well due to stress.
We all have our irrational (and sometimes rational) hatreds of football managers but you wouldnÃ¢ÂÂt wish that on someone as nice as Ancelotti.
What wonÃ¢ÂÂt happen: Chelsea make it five unsuccessful visits to the Lane in a row...
What will happen: ...as Spurs take their chance
Manchester United v Arsenal (8pm, Sky Sports 1 & HD1, 5 Live Radio)
Arsenal love teams disparaging them, so it was a slice of genius from Chris Smalling (Ã¢ÂÂthey should be more intimidated than we areÃ¢ÂÂ) and especially Patrice Evra, who said:
Ã¢ÂÂFor me, Arsenal is a training centre. You watch the match, you enjoy it, but are you going to win a title afterwards? We can lose against them, but at the end of the day, what is there for Arsenal? There is nothing Ã¢ÂÂ no trophies, nothing.Ã¢ÂÂ
Good work, Patrice, take the rest of the day off.
What wonÃ¢ÂÂt happen: Any mention of Arsene WengerÃ¢ÂÂs team talk being done for him by his fellow Frenchman, OBVIOUSLY
What will happen: ArsenalÃ¢ÂÂs scintillating, free-flowing attacking football to embarrass Evra and co., with the Gunners scoring more than once in a league game at Old Trafford for the first time in 26 years.