EPL round nine preview

25 October 2013

Written by: Tom Midwood

Crystal Palace vs. Arsenal 10:45pm Saturday EDT

Two stunning Fulham strikes handed Palace a bigger defeat than it deserved on Tuesday morning, but as Ian Holloway recognised post-match, the top-flight is ruthless and the south London club must rebound quickly.

Unfortunately that rebound will take place without Holloway, who announced his departure from the club yesterday after only being at the helm for just under a year.

Similarly, Arsenal’s collection of stars will be looking to bounce back from a midweek Champions League defeat to Borussia Dortmund. Manager Arsene Wenger wasn’t impressed post-match, labelling his players ‘naive’, despite his Gunners coming into the game on a twelve game unbeaten streak.

Arsenal should come out firing, meaning another heavy loss for Palace beckons.

Crystal Palace 0 Arsenal 3

Aston Villa vs. Everton 1am Sunday EDT

Aston Villa hosts a tough fixture, for a second week running, and will be aiming for a better result than last Sunday. It was buoyed by the return of star forward Christian Benteke from injury, and it is safe to assume the Belgian will start this weekend and pose a massive threat to Everton’s defence.

The Toffee’s will be confident in knowing that three points could see them in the top four again by Sunday evening, and should edge the contest if they play at their best.

Aston Villa 1 Everton 2

Liverpool vs. West Brom 1am Sunday EDT

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers will be disappointed at his Reds’ failure to take three points from St. James’ Park last week, particularly once Newcastle went down to 10 men in the first half.  His task won’t be easy against a West Brom side unbeaten in five matches, for the first time since 2011. A trip to Anfield is a journey the Baggies will have no qualms about, following their win at Old Trafford late last month. This is the sort of game Liverpool should be winning if it is to maintain its top four status and, with the impending return of Philippe Coutinho, will have ample quality in the final third to win this one.

Liverpool 1 West Brom 0

Manchester United vs. Stoke 1am Sunday EDT

United’s poor run of form was extended by a late Adam Lallana goal last week, and even a win against a Stoke side that hasn’t scored for five matches won’t dispel the intense media attention too much. A positive for Moyes from the Southampton game was striker Robin Van Persie finding his first league goal since mid-September, but the Scot will be need his stars to lift another level to get out of their rut.

Manchester United 1 Stoke City 0

Norwich City vs. Cardiff City 1am Sunday EDT

Canaries midfielder Alex Tettey has labelled this match as a ‘huge’ one for Norwich, which sits in the third relegation spot at present, whilst Cardiff sit one spot above in the hallowed ‘safe zone’. The Norfolk side has lost its previous two games against title-challengers Chelsea and Arsenal, which shouldn’t be of grave concern. But, a loss to a newly promoted side at home certainly isn’t acceptable and Chris Hughton will be desperate to avoid any doubting murmurs with a win here.

Norwich City 2 Cardiff City 1

Southampton vs. Fulham 3:30am Sunday EDT

Fulham proved that it is a much better outfit than its current league placing suggests on Tuesday morning, and will travel to the south coast full of confidence. Southampton is a class above Palace though, and will still go into this one as clear favourite. Saints manager Mauricio Pochettino has his side playing fantastic football and the Saints could remarkably lift themselves into a Champions League place by Sunday evening. If they play anything short of their best however, the Cottagers have enough quality to spring a surprise.

Southampton 2 Fulham 0

Sunderland vs. Newcastle 12:30am Monday EDT

Gus Poyet’s first game in charge of the Black Cats was far from what he’d have had in mind. The four goals Sunderland conceded came in such a quick time frame, and he and his players will know nothing but a 90 minute effort every week from now will keep them in the top flight. But a win in the Tyne-Wear derby on the weekend could be the catalyst to its survival. However, a distinct lack of quality within its ranks, means that Newcastle will make the half hour journey hell-bent on continuing the suffering. Expect frustration on and off the field if Sunderland falls behind.

Sunderland 1 Newcastle 2

Chelsea vs. Manchester City 2am Monday EDT

Chelsea has hit a good run of form and returns to London from Germany following an impressive Champions League win midweek. Manchester City played in the same competition a day later in Moscow on an appalling pitch, so the Blues should have the fitness edge on their rivals. It’s too early in the season for this result to damage a title run, but neither side will want to lose ground by overplaying and risking a loss. It’s almost certain to be a tactical battle between Mourinho and Pellegrini with only a goal separating it either way.

Chelsea 1 Manchester City 1

Swansea City vs. West Ham 2am Monday EDT

Swansea really hammered Sunderland in the second half last weekend, with four goals in 23 minutes typifying the football many knew it could play. Hammers boss Sam Allardyce accused his players of not applying themselves, following their defeat to City last week, so a response can be expected, but it’s difficult to see West Ham travelling back to London with anything more than an ill-deserved point here.

Swansea 2 West Ham 0

Tottenham vs. Hull City 2am Monday EDT

Andre Villas-Boas’s men are also on a good run, one which can be expected to continue late on Sunday. Hull City has shown it is the strongest of the promoted sides and is playing with confidence. It will need to be organised at White Hart Lane in order to try and hit Tottenham on the counter attack, but Spurs have faced many of these games already this season and are learning how to break through solid defences.

Anything but a home victory in this one would be a surprise.

Tottenham 1 Hull City 0

Luke Sale is a second-year Bachelor of Journalism (Sport) student at La Trobe University. You can follow him on Twitter: @lukesale1.

(Picture: Twitter – @potts93)