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Premier League Week 22 Predictions

Friday 20th January 2012
Have you all looked at this weekend's fixtures? I swear I wasn't this excited for the reverse ties early in the season. There's not a stinker among them. I promise you goals galore. Here are my predictions for what should be a fantastic weekend:

Norwich 2-1 Chelsea

I rarely predict defeats for the top 5 (never for the two Manchester clubs) but everything fits for a Norwich win. They have been playing great and unlike Blackpool or Hull, I would be really surprised if they dropped off to the point of being in a relegation battle. Chelsea, while not playing badly, have seemed to be scraping results of late. Sunderland certainly should have got a point if not all three at Stamford Bridge. I think we will see Norwich get an early goal and then a late winner to kick off this weekend in spectacular style.

Everton 1-0 Blackburn

Blackburn got a brilliant win at home last week, a win I would say was better than the one at Old Trafford purely because it couldn't be called a fluke. If it wasn't before than it certainly is now time to lay off Steve Kean. He will never be the best manager but while he is in the job and pulling them out of the relegation zone, he should start recieving backing from the fans. He would help his cause no end if they got a win here but I just don't see it. Everton have hardly been free-scoring but they should win this one. A defeat could be a huge blow for them but I think Donovan will inspire them to get a much needed three points.

Fulham 2-2 Newcastle

This could be an unexpected cracker. Newcastle are proving they can still score without Demba Ba (something they might have to get used to as the signing of Cisse feels more like a replacement than a strike partner) and Fulham need to bounce back after defeat at Blackburn. This is just too close to call but I must say my heart wants Newcastle to win. For them to keep pace with Arsenal (and possibly Chelsea) would be a great story after it appeared they were falling away.

QPR 1-0 Wigan

Mark Hughes' first game in charge of QPR, as i predicted, stuck to a script but not the one everyone was expecting. Newcastle proved they could do a job without their main goalscorer which was a great little story. QPR sounded very fortunate to beat MK Dons in the cup so they could really do with a solid performance in Hughes' first Premier League home game. They are being linked with some big transfers, some for ridiculous wages (£80,000 a week for Onuoha is madness) and if they come off, my main worry would be what happens if they go down? Hopefully this isn't the moment that we look back on in ten years as the start of QPR's collapse. I'm starting to forget about Wigan. They need to get a result from somewhere, quickly, but I don't think it will be here.

Stoke 1-0 West Brom

This might be the worst game of the weekend, not a stinker, just it doesn't seem to mean a great deal. Stoke are looking pretty safe from relegation to me and West Brom are currently just above the dogfight. I don't think West Brom will go down and I don't think Stoke will get into Europe but they should narrowly win this. I'm sure the fans will enjoy it no matter what.

Sunderland 1-1 Swansea

Now this is more like it, as far as mid-table clashes are concerned. Both have been playing great football lately, especially Swansea but it hardly seems like great insight to point that out anymore. I really hope the vultures don't start gathering as Brendan Rodgers has put together something really special that I don't want to see broken up. They deserve at least one full season with this team. A few people might now be expecting Swansea to win here after their performance against Arsenal but I see it as being pretty even. I wouldn't be surprised if either side won so a draw is my compromise.

Wolves 2-1 Aston Villa

Like with the Norwich game, I am basing this on gut feeling a bit more than recent results. This was an unbelievably boring draw at Villa Park but I think Wolves will make more use of the home advantage, unlike their performance in the FA Cup (hooray!). Wolves will be in real trouble if they lose but then again so will Villa if a few other results go against them. It will be interesting to see how long Ginger Judas would last if he became involved in a relegation battle.

Bolton 0-1 Liverpool

This will be one-sided, I am very confident of that. I have no idea how up for it Liverpool are going to be so I don't know how many they will score. I have said one as a starting point but Bolton could be in for a real pasting.

Man City 1-1 Tottenham

Does this count as me bottling giving a definitive prediction? A little bit I suppose. I was going to say City to win (shocker) but then I remembered about the lack of Yaya Toure and how they only managed one goal at Wigan. Spurs will not only want to bounce back after dropping points to Wolves but also prove that they deserve their place at the big boys' table. They got smashed 5-1 at home and I can't see for even a second that we will see a similar scoreline. Spurs might get a point on spirit alone. I would love to see them win but City should be good enough to be on top. I look forward to watching it anyway.

Arsenal 1-3 Man Utd

Talk about Super Sunday! Unfortunately this won't be the same close battle as the previous game. People keep saying how good Arsenal are at passing the ball about but this seems like a reflex left over from previous seasons to me. Every time I watch Arsenal, I can't believe how often they give the ball away. Maybe I keep missing their beautiful flowing football but to me they are no longer the same team. That showed last weekend when Swansea gave them a lesson in how to pass it around nicley. Anyway, United should win pretty comfortably, I'm not talking 8-2 but 3-1 United seems very reasonable to me.

I hope this weekend lives up to the hype (mostly generated by me). Whatever your plans are for Saturday night, cancel them. Match Of The Day will be worth the watch. Even on Sunday, Match Of The Day 2 will be quality viewing and that really is saying something.

 
Oliver Friend
23 year old Psychology graduate from The University of Hull. Massive England fan and supporter of Birmingham City at club level. Currently spending a lot of time going to watch North Ferriby United in the Conference North. Also try to keep up with the major European leagues. Follow on Twitter: @ole1208

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