Prem Previews: Gin, chocolate, balls & swine flu

Huw Davies bravely steps forward to continue his predictions – including excitement at Arsenal vs Tottenham, amputation at Fulham vs Liverpool and farmyard frolics at Manchester United vs Blackburn...

Hello? Anybody out there?

Sorry, I thought you might have given up on me, in light of another poor week of predictions.

I did make a couple of blinding calls – Manchester City to drop points at home to Fulham, Hull vs Pompey to be the worst game of all time, anywhere, ever – but my overall score was, yes, two out of 10.

You're starting to see why I don't win accumulators.

Again, I'm more confident this time round, but if I were you I'd take these predictions with a pinch of salt, a dose of scepticism and a pint and a half of gin before popping down Ladbroke's.


Arsenal vs Tottenham

It's the big one! The oldest rivalry since Cain and Abel and for once, the two teams are on level terms, level points and a level playing field.

What a levelling experience. I wonder if The Levellers will perform at half-time.

'Arry's turnaround at White Hart Lane has been nothing short of astonishing (this time a year ago Spurs were bottom of the table), and his team will never have a better chance to record their first win on Arsenal turf in 16 and a half years.

Last year, this fixture provided a thrilling 4-4 draw in which Spurs punished Arsenal for some poor defending late on.

Last week, Arsenal threw away a 2-0 lead in the final minutes to give 19th-placed West Ham a draw.

If Spurs stick it out for 90 minutes against their Fabianski-less rivals, they have a real chance.

What won't happen: A repeat of last year's 4-4 draw, sadly
What will happen:
A nonetheless exciting draw

Bolton vs Chelsea

Gary Megson's side take on The Blues for the second time in a week, after losing 4-0 in the League Cup on Wednesday. Will they turn it around?

Will they balls.

What won't happen: Kevin Davies to mark his 500th career start with a hat-trick
What will happen: Chelsea, whose last three results have been 4-0, 5-0 and 4-0, to add a few more to the tally and stay top of the table

Burnley vs Hull

It's not quite a case of abandon ship for Hull yet, although the buckets are bailing out water faster than you can say: "What do you mean your players are 'a million percent behind you', Phil Brown – that's clearly a false statistic."

But with the threat of the club going out of business if they're relegated, the Tigers have a responsibility to get a point or three from a Burnley side rocked by a shock loss to Wigan – their first home defeat of the season.

Hull need a result from this game.

Shame they're going to lose it, then.

What won't happen: Phil Brown's players to be "a million percent" behind him
What will happen: A narrow Burnley win, and rumours of Brown's sacking to become very accurate in the next week or so

Everton vs Aston Villa

Moyes' men must be sick of the road by now.

Three away games in six days, from Merseyside to Portugal, Bolton and The Big Smoke, would have Carmen Sandiego reaching for her travel sweets.

They also have 10 senior players still clogging up A&E, even if Leighton Baines does return, as rumoured in the likes of OK! and Hello!.

Villa, on the other hand, are looking sufficiently strong to keep Heskey slicing the half-time oranges.

Stephen Warnock's a doubt, but they've got a replacement to Shore-y up the back line.

As for the result, well: O'Neill's lot have done less travelling than Everton, but they've not enjoyed their sojourns when they have.

Defeat at Ewood Park and a draw at Molineux in their last two away games doesn't bode well for a rip-roaring win at Goodison.

What won't happen: A rip-roaring win at Goodison
What will happen: Ready, steady, draw

Fulham vs Liverpool

It must be hard for Liverpool fans to know how happy to be.

Five defeats in six games, but a win over Manchester United... it's like being told you've lost both legs, an arm and four fingers in a car accident, but your remaining finger can turn anything into gold, chocolate or a beautiful woman, depending on your preference at the time.

It is literally like that.

As for Fulham, the team's going well but it'd be amazing if Bobby Zamora makes it to the ground alive after that miss last week.

What was he doing? There are home-made porn films with a better finish.

What won't happen: Fulham to lay down and die
What will happen: Liverpool to nevertheless brush aside their Carling Cup exit with a win at Craven Cottage

Manchester United vs Blackburn

It's been said that Nemanja Vidic, boss of the Premier League last season, has never been the same since having his arse handed to him by Fernando Torres for the first time.

Whether that's true or not, it's indisputable he was dreadful at Anfield, displaying the week's second-worst defending (after Nick Griffin on Question Time).

The good news for him is that Blackburn, not exactly potent at the best of times, are suffering from a swine flu outbreak that sees Jason Roberts and (very) makeshift striker Christopher Samba begging for relief.

None for Rovers, though.

This just in: Vidic and Rio Ferdinand are both doubtful with calf injuries. These farmyard animals get everywhere.

What won't happen: The same swine that infected Blackburn to soar majestically over Old Trafford as Big Sam celebrates victory
What will happen: Daddy Ferguson to avenge his son's Carling Cup death at the hands of Big Sam. "You may beat Peterborough, but you'll never take our three points" etc.

Portsmouth vs Wigan

Oh, Marlon King. You silly, silly boy. Don't you know you can't go beating up girls in nightclubs? It's not nice.

Still, not many experts expected an 18-month jail term. Perhaps the exact sentencing was "You can come out when you look like scoring," duly interpreted as some time in 2011.

What won't happen: King to get bail so he can play in this game
What will happen: Pompey to record their second win of the week and second league win of the season

Stoke vs Wolves

If ever you needed proof that teams should travel by coach, it's this: the plane taking Stoke back from their 4-0 thumping in Portsmouth earlier this week had to make an emergency midnight landing after an oil leak.

Expect less excitement in this match.

What won't happen: Wolves to wake from their slumber
What will happen: Stoke to move up to eighth with a win. Did anyone see that coming before this season started?

Sunderland vs West Ham

I predict Sunderland will beat Birmingham; they go ahead and lose 2-1.

I predict Sunderland won't triumph over Liverpool; they win, courtesy of the most famous beach ball since Winston Churchill's "We will fight them on the beaches" speech turned out to in preparation for a volleyball tournament.

Frankly, I don't even care any more.

What won't happen: Steve Bruce's men to do what I expect of them. That, and Callum Davenport's assault charge to be dismissed on the basis that he was, after all, stabbed in both legs and he's suffered enough (I hear judges love that defence)
What will happen: Oh, I don't know. 1-1? The momentum's with West Ham


Birmingham vs Manchester City

This year's big spenders visit next year's, and Brum will feel good after climbing out of the relegation zone.

For Manchester City, meanwhile, three league draws in a row won't please the owners.

Mark Hughes' highly-paid heroes will have some wind in their sails after a 5-1 thrashing of Scunthorpe midweek – but will they lose control of the tiller and run aground?

Oh, you're asking me?

What won't happen: Godzilla
What will happen: A fourth league draw in a row has Sparky looking more extinguished than distinguished

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