Premier League predictions

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Thomas Woods predicts the outcome of the ninth week of Premier League fixtures, which includes the eagerly anticipated Manchester derby on Sunday, Arsenal at home to Stoke City and Chelsea paying a visit to Loftus Road to play QPR.

Saturday

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Swansea City

Wolves are bottom of the Premier League's form table with one point and five defeats from the last

six games. Two wins in their first two matches is what is keeping them out of the bottom three. They will be thankful then that visiting Swansea have lost all four away games and conceded 12 goals. Scrappy home win.

1-0



Aston Villa v West Bromwich Albion


West Brom's second West Midlands derby in succession, this time against a Villa team who have made a solid, if not spectacular, start to the season. Key to their eighth-place standing is a stingy home defence (two conceded in four) and that could be the deciding factor. 1-0



Bolton Wanderers v Sunderland

This is a battle of two clubs who probably expected to be further up the table than 18th and 17th. Sunderland were outstanding for the middle third of the defeat to Arsenal and that will give them encouragement going forward. Bolton have the league's worst defence and it's hard to see them keeping a clean sheet here. 1-2


Newcastle United v Wigan Athletic



This seems the most clear cut game of the weekend. Newcastle are unbeaten, playing well with an in-form striker in Demba Ba. Wigan are second bottom, one goal away from home so far. Key striker Hugo Rodallega is just returning from injury. Emphatic home win. 3-0


Liverpool v Norwich City



Each of Liverpool's home games has shown a different side of the team. A fine start fizzled out in an opening draw against Sunderland. They then thrashed Bolton, struggled to finish off Wolves in a 2-1 win before a dominant performance but just a point against Manchester United. They will be looking to turn Anfield into more of a fortress and games against the likes of Norwich should result in three points. The visitors, however, showed away at Man Utd that they can create chances on the road. Liverpool need to strike early. 2-1

 

Sunday

 

Arsenal v Stoke City


The Gunners are, little by little, improving on their woeful early season form. Back-to-back home wins have helped them and they should win a third successive league match at the Emirates Stadium against Stoke. Tony Pulis's side are set up to be tough to beat away from home, but don't exactly ooze goals. If Arsenal score early, the floodgates could open. 2-0


Fulham v Everton



It is hard to read Everton at the moment, they are team who look better on paper than in the flesh. Fulham are unbeaten at home and Bobby Zamora is a handful for any defender. The key here is that Fulham have nine goals in four home games, Everton have conceded five in three away matches. 2-0

Manchester United v Manchester City

The difference between the teams over two games in the league last season was Wayne Rooney's bicycle kick. Magical moments aside, both teams would probably settle for a point though the incentive is more with United, as the home side, to go for the win. Tactics will play a big part. Does Roberto Mancini default to his "safe" 4-5-1 of last season or go on the attack? United's defence, unusually, has been their weak point this season.

1-1



Blackburn Rovers v Tottenham Hotspur

Blackburn are in the mire and given the way Spurs have performed on the road this season - they deserved a win in the 2-2 draw at Newcastle - it is hard to predict anything over than an away victory. Gareth Bale, Luka Modric and Rafael van der Vaart are just far too good for Rovers.

0-2



Queens Park Rangers v Chelsea

Chelsea will be full of confidence following their 5-0 thrashing of Genk in the Champions League. QPR have been stop start this season and, though this is a London derby, that should have little bearing on the result.

0-3