Rob's Prediction: Wigan V Newcastle
Wigan travel to Newcastle and its fair to say this is not yet a relegation battle. Both sides may or may not be down there come the end of the season but both sides will want to pick up the points to keep their momentum going.
You have to have admiration for Newcastle - I think they are a good side and have plenty of support - despite some rocky patches, they've bounced back and done themselves proud. They can go from strength to strength and the loss of Ben Arfa was a great shame as he was showing a lot of good class in recent games, especially with a 1-0 winner at Everton. I think they'll be fine this season, finishing somewhere between 10th-17th though I feel that they could do better. Its going to be a pivotal season for the Magpies. The January transfer window could be very telling for them as well as their form up until Christmas. That may sound obvious, but this is an important time for Newcastle.
Antolin Alcaraz is a doubt with an ankle injury and Steven Caldwell might slot in at the back, or Emmerson Boyce may slot in to help Gohouri. Hopefully Antolin Alcaraz will be fit for the game as the injury is not as bad as it was.
Wigan are going at a nice point a game margin at the moment and I can't see us going down (fingers crossed). In fact, if we keep our recent good form going, dare I say we might end up where not many expected us to end up at the end of the season?
This is a tough game to call but I'm going to stick my neck out for a 0-0 draw again at St. James' Park.
Newcastle 0-0 Wigan
A tough one to call but 0-0 seems the likely result, though I'm not confident of this.
ROB'S OTHER PREDICTIONS
Arsenal V Birmingham - Arsenal have been on a poor run of form of late - nothing seems to go right for the gunners in critical situations and Chelsea are claiming the bragging rights. However, Birmingham's recent run of form has been atrocious and if they're not careful, could be embroiled in a relegation duel. Second season syndrome? Don't bet against it. However, Arsenal will win this game today. The game against West Brom was an off-day. 3-0
Bolton V Stoke - Stoke are quite a sturdy side and I expect them to nick a point at the Reebok - Bolton can be really good... or really poor. However, Coyle's done a good job at Bolton and their draw against Manchester United was a great point. A draw at West Brom isn't bad, either. This will be a 1-1 draw for me. 1-1
Fulham V Tottenham - Sorry but Tottenham haven't been setting the world alight, have they? They're not top four contenders this season - this is a massive game for them. Mark Hughes is a drawmaster and I think Fulham will draw with Tottenham. 1-1
Man Utd V West Brom - Just what Matteo didn't want - a trip to Old Trafford. However this could be an opportunity - Man Utd haven't been playing well of late and multiple draws away from home doesn't make them title contenders - is the balance of power turning blue? I think United will win this game, but nerves will be frayed quite possibly. 3-1
Wolves V West Ham - How MASSIVE is this game for both sides? Wolverhampton have been in scintilatingly bad form of late - four losses on the trot? Oh, dear. West Ham can hardly chirp any louder but they are on a steady run of late and I expect Molineux will be rocking once again from a home loss - it'll be a bad tempered affair, I think. 0-1
Aston Villa V Chelsea - Chelsea are very much in pole position and a trip to Villa will not provide Carlo Ancelotti with much to worry about, I think. They've lost a bit of a cutting edge, Aston Villa, which has made them somewhat weaker. Chelsea are strong whatever team they put out and know how to grind out points in difficult situations, regardless. An away win here. 0-2
Everton V Liverpool - Now this IS a MASSIVE game for Liverpool. Everton are on good form of late but Liverpool will need to stand up and be counted. Torres is back as well. Its really now or never for Roy Hodgson. I believe it'll be a happy day for the reds. 0-1
Blackpool V Man City - Man City are doing well and Blackpool won at Anfield - it'll be a close run thing but City should win this game. They need to so their top four campaign gathers more momentum. 1-2
Blackburn V Sunderland - Sunderland travel to Blackburn on the back of a 0-0 draw with Manchester United - what has Steve Bruce got to do to beat Manchester United? Nevertheless, Sunderland are a dogged side and Blackburn are resilient at home - resilient enough to beat Sunderland...? 1-1
ROB'S FINAL THOUGHT
A good result for Wigan and a good result for Huddersfield is just what the doctor ordered.
Good luck to all football fans and teams for the weekend fixtures!
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