Midweek Premier Preview, in the style of Bob Geldof

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Eh? What's that? Is it Friday already? Is it going home time? Brilliant, here comes the weekend!

Sorry, readers. It's Monday and it's the start of the week - but the good news is  is helping you into the swing of things with an extra special Premier League predictions blog for the midweek fixtures! Isn't that great? Oh, stop your crying.


Wigan vs Liverpool

It's not just you and Bob Geldof that hate Mondays - it's everyone, and that includes managers and more specifically, Rafa Benitez. So tell me why you don't like Mondays, Rafa. Tell me why you want to shoo-ooo-ooo-oot the whole day down.

"We haven't won on a Monday in five attempts. The last time we did was on New Year's Day 2007, when we beat Bolton 3-0 at home thanks to goals from Crouch, Gerrard and Kuyt. Graham Poll was the referee that day. The match attendance was 41,370. These are facts."

"Hicks and Gillett, give us your f***ing money!"

Walking, talking encyclopaedia, that man. He'd be cracking in a pub quiz, provided he had some depth to fall back on. Hmm.

And for Wigan - yes - it's going to happen - Victor Moses will start his first game for Wigan! Possibly. Maybe.

What won't happen: Fabio Aurelio won't feature now or for approximately three months, as he's out with a thigh injury. Bad news for Liverpool - finger-counting suggests that rules him out for the rest of the season.

What will happen: Oh....draw.


Portsmouth vs Birmingham

Well, well, well - what a time for these two to face each other, just a few days after their FA Cup game in which that thing we don't talk about happened.

Birmingham, who lost that game 2-0, were denied a goal when the linesman decided a Liam Ridgewell header didn't cross the goal line, though TV replays showed it did.

If only technology could be used to make these decisions. IF ONLY. But we don't talk about that. Everybody else does, but not us. Never us.

Still, times are rosier for Birmingham than they are for Portsmouth right now, even though they'd have fancied themselves for a Wembley appearance this year.

They'll have to settle for a top-half finish, and if you'd offered Alex McLeish that at the start of the season he'd have bitten your hand off, spat it at the critics with which he seems so obsessed and slapped them with the disembodied mitt again and again until they broke down and weeped, "We're sorry, Sir Alex, we're sorry."

What won't happen: That exact scenario, the source of McLeish's happily damp bedsheets.

What will happen: The Brum boss gets his revenge on Pompey, if not the FA.

Sunderland vs Bolton

Sound the klaxons - it's The Relegation Battle of the (Mid)Week!

Admittedly, the situation for both of these sides looks OK at a glance - the Black Cats are 15th while Bolton's win over West Ham catapulted them above the Hammers into the dizzying heights of 13th - but safety can't be taken for granted in a bottom half this close.

Except if you're Kenwyne Jones, it seems. The Trinidadian striker has brushed off fears of relegation with alarming ease, saying Sunderland aren't succumbing to "the fear" (still mainstreaming the Lily Allen in that dressing room then) and adding, "We're not going to talk about it like we're in the bottom three."

It's a bold policy, not to mention potentially short-term - someone should tell him they're only a couple of results away from being there.

"La la la - not in a relegation battle - la la la..."

Steve Bruce is much the same, saying his aim is to catch Fulham, Blackburn and Birmingahm rather than "looking over his shoulder."

Again, that's all well and good until the drop isn't over your shoulder; it's beneath your feet and you're running on air like a Looney Tunes character.

So when do Sunderland start talking about relegation? When they're relegated? They'd be well advised to look over the road and see what happened to local rivals Newcastle, who glibly assumed they were too good to go down.

Sunderland's smugness at their enemy's demise might be thrown back in their face, and when that face is Steve Bruce, it's a sight many would pay to see.

What won't happen: Again, Sunderland probably won't go down, but they really need a result here. Remember, remember, they've not won since November, well, not against anyone but Barrow, anyway…

What will happen: Having not recorded one since September, Bolton snatch a second away win in four days, sending a message to Bruce that he'll willfully ignore.


Burnley vs Stoke

Talking of relegation, it can't be easy supporting Burnley at the moment. The worst away record in the league's history, the worst goal difference in a relegation battle likely to see teams finish on level points and now some idiots are booing a team doing their damnedest not to be rubbish but gosh-darnit it's just so hard.

It's no surprise that keeping your chin up as a Clarets fan is not dissimilar to a drowning dog desperately trying to keep his head above water.

Fortunately Brian Laws' men have a half-decent home record to rely upon for the moment (they'd be 12th if away games didn't count) and they really could get a result against a Stoke side currently firing on not very many cylinders.

Meanwhile, Potters boss Tony Pulis has revealed he is going to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in May to raise money for a children's hospice. Apparently Paul Hart has put himself on standby for the Stoke job in case Pulis doesn't make it back.

What won't happen: Hart to ever settle down with a nice easy job. If he actually moved to Stoke, they'd be hit by terrorists or something.

What will happen: Burnley get their act together and snatch a vital win. Sadly, there's less optimism here over their prospects of survival...


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