Rob's Prediction: Sunderland V Wigan
Wigan go to Sunderland on the back of a very good 3-1 win over Blackpool last weekend. Hugo Rodallega and Charles N' Zogbia terrorised Blackpool and they never had as much as a sniff until DJ Campbell rescued a goal for them, but by then, the scoreline was never in doubt and the Tangerines face an all too real prospect of being relegated, though I suspect they'll fight tooth and nail to retain their Premier League status for another season.
Sunderland's form of late has been, to say the least, atrocious. One time aiming for the promised land of Europe, now heading for the murky land of relegation. Their slump has surprised as they have had some good results this season, none more so than their 3-0 victory at Stamford Bridge, which sent shockwaves through the nation, the trigger point of Chelsea's fall from grace, perhaps? Maybe next season.
Steve Bruce is keen to rectify his side's stuttering form and he says not to underestimate Wigan Athletic on the official Sunderland website and given that Sunderland have beaten wigan just once at the Stadium Of Light, history is very much in our favour, though one knows not to take too much notice of stats.
Roberto Martinez is looking to do back-to-back wins for the first time in his managerial career with Wigan, though he has managed this feat when Wigan beat Hartlepool 3-0 and followed this up with a 1-0 win at Tottenham Hotspur, but he's never actually achieved back-to-back wins in the EPL. Now is a good opportunity as Sunderland are in free fall and like the Latics, are finding goals very hard to come by.
That was until last weekend when Wigan found their shooting boots and put 3 past Blackpool. Steve Bruce will know Wigan will be pumped up for this and should be just slight favourites to leave the Stadium Of Light with three vital points, but I don't see it. I see a hard fought draw between two sides struggling to stay in the Premier League.
On an optimistic note, Wigan's demolition of Blackpool has reignited their season and a win at Sunderland will give fans real cause for hope that Wigan can stay in the Premier League for another season, though I personally feel that we can do it now and that Blackpool could have been our biggest test which we breezed through.
Sunderland are on a very poor run of form and Wigan's win at Blackpool Football Club will give them great optimism in their quest to avoid the drop. However, Roberto Martinez has not managed back-to-back wins with Wigan, as of yet and I see a very hard fought draw in this game where a goal a piece is the order of the day.
Sunderland 1-1 Wigan
ROB'S OTHER PREDICTIONS
Man Utd V Everton - I can't see anything but a Man Utd win at Old Trafford - can't see there being much in this though.
Manchester United 1-0 Everton
Aston Villa V Stoke - A filip for poor Gerard Houlier would be to see his side beat Stoke to secure Premier League status for another season. I think it won't happen that way, but Gerard will be happy with some type of result and I see it being a draw.
Aston Villa 0-0 Stoke
Blackpool V Newcastle - What a massive game this is for Ian Holloway's men - however, the fact they concede an average of three goals a game suggests that this is going to go much the same as events did the other week. A high scoring win for Newcastle is on the cards.
Blackpool 1-4 Newcastle
Liverpool V Birmingham - Liverpool will win this one quite comfortably. It won't be a high scoring enterprising game by any stretch but enough to keep Liverpool's resurgence healthy.
Liverpool 2-0 Birmingham
Tottenham V West Brom - Tottenham need to win to keep their Champions League aspirations alive - I think they will as the honeymoon period for Roy is over. I expect a rampant performance from Spurs.
Tottenham 3-0 West Brom
Wolves V Fulham - Fulham are no mugs away from home much now, though the odd poor result does slip in. They are not as resolute as they were under Hodgson, but Mark Hughes is beginning to get it right. As for Wolves, I see them getting a point.
Wolves 1-1 Fulham
Chelsea V West Ham - West Ham might have sounded the alarm bells after their loss against Aston Villa. Their next two games are difficult indeed and I think that Chelsea will win this by two goals to nil.
Chelsea 2-0 West Ham
Bolton V Arsenal - Tottenham stopped the Gunners from gaining ground on Manchester United - I'm not too sure if Bolton can do the same in this game.
Bolton 1-3 Arsenal
Blackburn V Man City - Man City will need to win this to keep their Champions League hopes alive. Blackburn are on a very poor run of form and their away form is atrocious. At the moment, they are almost 100% relegation certainties. I think Man City will coast to victory here.
Blackburn 0-4 Man City
Stoke V Wolves - These two sides share a vein of similar qualities. Mick McCarthy's side will need to pick up all the points they can to ensure they stay up for another season but I don't think they will.
Stoke 1-0 Wolves
Fulham V Bolton - An interesting encounter and one that is somewhat difficult to predict but I'm going to go for a draw I think. There's very little to separate the sides.
Fulham 1-1 Bolton
ROB'S FINAL THOUGHT
Wins for Wigan and Huddersfield will be the order of the weekend. Until next time....
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