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Week 14 Predictions 03/12/11 + The Sacking Season Begins

Saturday 3rd December 2011
It's that time of year again. The days are getting colder, the nights are growing longer and the managerial merry-go-round has been kicked into action. You've just got to love the Premier League in December.

The actions of Ellis Short last night, to dismiss Steve Bruce, will get a lot of other Chairmen reassessing the positions of their underperforming managers. While it may not be in the Christmas spirit, if you want to get rid of a manager, now is the time to do it. A fresh batch of ideas for this congested period could bring in a nice tidy points haul before the new year. And don't forget with the transfer window opening in a month today, sacking someone in February just leaves an almost impossible job for the replacement.

I expect to see Mr. Kean taking the silver medal in the sack race. But who will get the Bronze? I think Coyle and McCarthy could both be in with a shout. Although a lot have mentioned AVB's name in the same breath, I really hope he isn't sacked. He deserves the time to get his team the way he wants it. Even if Chelsea do finish fifth (which I doubt they will) he should remain in the job because over time he can make them the best side in England. But then again, Roman Abramovich is famous for his itchy trigger finger and with three massive games in a row, AVB could still finish on that podium.

In last week's predictions, despite getting six incorrect, I got three perfect scores as well as a right result so I came out with a very respectable 10 points. I must say that I didn't care how I was doing on Sunday as everything was overshadowed by the death of Gary Speed. Like the rest of the footballing world, it hit me pretty hard even though he had no affiliation with the club I support. I hope every team in the Premier League can honour him properly this weekend by giving a fantastic performance.

Newcastle 1-0 Chelsea

The result will be massive but the game will be dull. They normally are at 12:45. As I said before, I think AVB is a great manager but Chelsea have struggled in big games recently. I thought Newcastle would fall away once they were beaten by City but all credit to them for holding out against United. I know they got a bit lucky with some decisions but until technology is brought in we will just have to accept that not every decision will be right. Hurry up technology!

Blackburn 1-0 Swansea

Wow, look at me predicting a win AND a clean sheet for Blackburn. Swansea didn't score at all during November and this will be one of those games with either lots of goals or barely any. I doubt Swansea will end their drought with a flood of goals so I see Blackburn just edging this. It will be more from Swansea failing then Blackburn succeeding but any win will do when you are bottom of the table heading towards Christmas. I wouldn't be surprised if Kean was still sacked after this game as I am expecting Blackburn to make a move for Bruce. You heard it here first.

Man City 2-1 Norwich

Norwich beating QPR last week was a big deal. I always like to see the team that finished below the championship winners beat them in the Premier League especially with QPR spending lots more to strengthen their side. I had Norwich to get down which is looking very wide of the mark. City should get back to winning ways but it won't be as easy as most people think.

QPR 1-0 West Brom

I am yet to be convinced by either of these sides. I really hope whoever does win this game does it comfortably and can try and push on from mid-table. However, I predict a pretty boring game with plenty of missed chances and QPR to profit from a Ben Foster error.

Tottenham 2-0 Bolton

Nothing can stop Spurs at the moment. Well, not in the league anyway. The only thing stopping them in Europe is Redknapp's unwillingness to have even half a go at winning a competition that their first team would completely dominate. As long as they finish in the top four no-one will care at the end of the season. Bolton are really in trouble at the moment. They looked to have got back on track by destroying Stoke 5-0 but then they lost back-to-back winnable games. To have less points than games played is never a good sign.

Wigan 1-2 Arsenal

Wigan winning at Sunderland was a fantastic result. That is the type of game they probably had down as a draw at best. It also means that a defeat here would not be the worst result in the world. I love when Arsenal fans get annoyed at being called a one man team. I see why they value every player but in the last two games Van Persie has been quiet and then not played at all leading to a poor draw and a defeat respectively. When he plays well, Arsenal play well and for me that makes me worry what would happen if he left and he wasn't properly replaced. I expect him to score again this weekend.

Aston Villa 0-2 Man Utd

I was trying to be unbiased in my predictions but after 14 games I still haven't predicted a Villa win. It is more down to me thinking that their squad just isn't that good (is that still bias? I'm not even sure). I think they will give United more of a game then they did against Swansea or Spurs but it won't be enough to get a point. United don't seem capable of giving the entertaining performances from the start of the season anymore. Until they do, I'm glad City have a healthy lead on them.

Everton 2-0 Stoke

This is open and shut for me. Everton have had two wins in a row and have moved into the top half of the table. And we all know what Stoke are like on the back of a European game (no idea how they have done as I am writing this before the game). I just can't look beyond an Everton win.

Wolves 3-1 Sunderland

I made this prediction before Bruce was sacked and after a minute of thinking, I'm going to keep it the same. Eric Black will be in charge for the game and there is no chance he will get a team to perform when they have been struggling under Bruce. I fully expect the new manager, whoever it will be, to move Sunderland up the table. This would be a bad result but if I was a Sunderland fan, I would ignore this game, unless it was a win.

Fulham 1-1 Liverpool

Liverpool have had some great results lately, winning at Chelsea twice in ten days was completely unexpected. They are now my favourites to win the Carling Cup. This could be quite similar to Fulham's game at Arsenal. It certainly won't be the best advert for Monday Night Football.

My planned guests for the next few weeks are all busy with writing essays so I have decided to go without a guest until the new year. If anyone on here is interested in going against me with their own predictions then just leave a comment and I will fit you in at some point.

That's all from me for now but I will be back again next week for the last quiet week in December. After that we have a game almsot every day. The writer in me is dreading it. The football fan in me can't wait.
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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