Football editor's Premier League predictions

Thomas Woods, The National's football editor, predicts the outcome of the second weekend of Premier League fixtures which includes the Tyne-Wear derby, a struggling Arsenal playing host to Liverpool and Andre Villas-Boas taking charge at Stamford Bridge for the first time.

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© O'Brien / Action Images Charles N'Zogbia, left, makes his home Aston Villa debut today. Our football editor predicts Villa to thrash Blackburn Rovers

SATURDAY

Sunderland v Newcastle

Even taking into account the unpredictability of a derby game, Sunderland look to have the classier squad, having recruited 10 players in the summer. They started the season with a fine 1-1 draw at Liverpool and have strengthened well in defence. 2-0

Arsenal v Liverpool

Troubling times for Arsene Wenger and Arsenal fans. After Cesc Fabregas's departure, they now have a major injury problem on their hands and their midfield looks particularly threabare for the visit of Liverpool, who were mightily impressive, for the first 45 minutes, in their opener. 1-2

Aston Villa v Blackburn Rovers

A first home game as Villa manager for Alex McLeish should be a comfortable win. Blackburn look like relegation candidates this season and certainly don't possess a player of the quality of Darren Bent or Charles N'Zogbia. 3-0

Everton v QPR 

Everton should be chomping at the bit after last week's game at Spurs was postponed. QPR took a thumping in their opener and it is hard to see much hope here against one of the league's most settled, if small, squads. 2-0

Swansea City v Wigan Athletic 

The Liberty Stadium will be a noisy place for Swansea's first ever Premier League game. They play attractive football, partly thanks to their former manager, Roberto Martinez, now in charge of Wigan. It should be an open, exciting game. 1-1

Chelsea v West Bromwich Albion 

Hard to see anything but a Chelsea victory in this one. West Brom have the ability to cause an uspet. Whether Andre Villas-Boas plays Didier Drogba, Fernando Torres or both up front, Chelsea have too much firepower 3-1

SUNDAY

Norwich City v Stoke City 

Paul Lambert's Norwich will be pleased with their 1-1 draw at Wigan last week, however they will be targetting a series of wins at home to keep them up. Stoke get better every year and their defence is one of the best outside the top four. I fancy them to be too strong. 1-2

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Fulham

Wolves impressed in a win at Blackburn and Fulham just made easy meat of Dnipro of Ukraine in the Europa League. This one could swing on who gets the first goal, thought Fulham's away record in recent seasons is not impressive. 2-1

Bolton v Manchester City 

City will find it much harder against Bolton than in their romp against Swansea. Another game where the neutral will hope Bolton score first, otherwise its easy to see City getting three or four. 1-2

MONDAY

Manchester United v Tottenham 

With a host of United defenders injured, Tottenham will see a good chance to take something from Old Trafford. Harry Redknapp's men also impressed in thumping Hearst 5-0 in the Europa League. One problem - their record at United is awful and no matter how well they play they usually find a way to lose. 2-1

Last Week Mr Woods managed to predict the outcome of only three out of the nine fixtures with none the correct score. Not the best of starts and we will be keeping score throughout the season.

Agree/disagree? Have your say and put our predictor right.

Published: August 20, 2011 04:00 AM

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