Premier League Previews: All hail King... Kinnear

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Phew, what a week!

Arsenal’s youngsters murder Sheffield United (in a footballing sense, no need for ASBOs here), Brighton, who had days earlier lost to nine-man Walsall, beat the billionaires of Manchester City on penalties and Newcastle United slumped to a new low by losing to Spurs (yes, Spurs!) before desperately bringing in an ‘emergency manager’ to replace Chris Hughton who, as caretaker, was effectively an... emergency manager.

Obviously a farcical ‘Carry On’ at Sid James’ Park (yes, our joke book really is that old) is nothing new, but the depths to which the club are currently plummeting will be a shock to even the most cynical, self-loathing Geordie.

Joe Kinnear, a man who has been out of top flight football for nine years, is evidently the only man crazy enough to take on the job, which is only likely to last as long as it takes for Mike Ashley to flog the club to the highest bidder.

For Sale: Football club, a few previous owners, GSOH required...

Ashley clearly didn’t know what he was getting himself into, financially or otherwise, when he bought himself a football club.

Fellow Premier League chairman and tracksuit peddler Dave Whelan was right when he claimed that successfully running a chain of sports stores was a million miles from successfully running a football club.

Case in point was the way in which Ashley bowed down to supporter pressure and sacked Sam Allardyce, a proven manager very much in touch with the modern game, only to replace him with Kevin Keegan, a man who by his own admission hadn’t even watched a football match in the 18 months prior to his return to St James’.

If the punters of one of Ashley’s ‘highstreet value sportswear outlets’ had demanded Basil Fawlty was installed as store manager, it’s unlikely the Newcastle owner would have been as acquiescent.

So are the ‘Geordie faithful’ partly to blame for the current mess at the club?

When the chips are down a team needs its fans more than ever, and Wednesday night’s sparse 20,000 crowd played right into Spurs’ hands.

"You'll have to forgive him... he's from Sunderland"

The atmosphere was dead and Spurs’ travelling support drowned out the Toon fans for the bulk of the game, which in a game between two sides so lacking in confidence was quite possibly a crucial factor.

A voracious 50,000 crowd giving the team their full backing for 90 minutes may well have tipped the balance in Newcastle’s favour. As it is Newcastle are out of the Carling Cup and their most likely route to ending their lengthy wait for a major trophy has been closed off for another year.

The visit of Blackburn on Saturday, while still not sold out, is expected to have a crowd more than double that of Wednesday’s game, but unless the ‘Toon Army’ actually concern themselves with giving the team their support, rather than prancing around with banners and shouting abuse at men who won’t even be in the ground, it could be five defeats on the spin.

Blackburn have had an inconsistent start to their season, following up an impressive opening day win at Everton with a home draw with Hull and heavy defeats to West Ham and Arsenal, before beating Fulham at Ewood Park last weekend.

Paul Ince's side have yet to show the same fighting spirit they’ve shown in recent seasons this term, but it’s probably too early to judge exactly how well they’ll fair under the Guv'nor's stewardship.

Rovers have won at St James’ Park in each of the last three seasons and if they can seize on the discontent amongst the home fans early on then they should have a chance of getting a result again this time round.

None of Arsenal’s midweek Carling Cup victors were born the last time Newcastle won a trophy of note, infact it’s possible that one or two of the junior Gooners' parents were merely a glint in their father’s eye when Bobby Moncur lifted the Fairs Cup way back in the halcyon summer of ’69.

Not many managers make 11 changes to a side that’s just won 6-0, but that’s exactly what Arsene Wenger will have done when he hands in his team sheet prior to Saturday evening's home match with Hull.

This lad will probably be on the bench against Hull

Despite some decent performances and results so far this season (the 5-0 home mauling at the hands of Wigan aside), it’s hard to see how Hull will be able to contain Fabregas, Van Persie, Nasri and friends.

If the Tigers concede early on, it may quickly become a damage limitation exercise for Phil Brown’s men.

One place where things should be much tighter is Goodison Park, as Everton host Liverpool in the 206th Merseyside derby on Saturday lunchtime.

Having failed to build on their win over Manchester United with another three points against Stoke last weekend, Liverpool will see taking three points from Goodison as the perfect tonic and if Everton’s home form so far this term is anything to go by they're in with a shout.

The Toffees have shipped eight goals in their three home matches in all competitions, three each in defeat to Blackburn and Portsmouth and two in their ‘UEFA Europa League’ draw with Standard Liege.

Rumour has it that Robbie Keane, still searching for his first Liverpool goal, will be relegated to the bench for the big game but with the guile and impact to change a game as a substitute - as well as an impressive goal record against Everton while he was a Spurs player - don’t rule out the Irishman popping up to give his new side a win.'s Premier League Predictions: 

Saturday September 27
Everton 1-2 Liverpool
Aston Villa 2-1 Sunderland
Fulham 1-1 West Ham
Man Utd 3-0 Bolton
Middlesbrough 2-1 West Brom
Newcastle 1-2 Blackburn
Stoke 0-2 Chelsea
Arsenal 3-1 Hull (Live on Setanta Sports 1, 5:30pm)

Sunday September 28
Portsmouth 2-1 Tottenham
Wigan 1-2 Man City

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