Date:Saturday September 17 2011
Wigan Athletic have suffered two defeats, one which was not much of a surprise and the other a bitter disappointment. Going to the Etihad Stadium and losing 3-0 is no shame as they've got one of the best assembled squads in the league and before long, possibly the world. Losing to Crystal Palace though was a disappointment and lots of potential just never materialised in a way many Latics fans hoped it would.
Last season, Wigan salvaged a draw at Goodison Park and also managed a home point against them as well, though one could argue we were a little unlucky to manage just a single point against them on either occasion. One because Ronnie Stam came so agonisingly close to bagging the winner at Goodison and also because Rodallega conceded a penalty at just the wrong time to bring an eventful match to a close at 1-1, typically with Leighton Baines scoring the drawing penalty.
Sadly, Wigan have a bit of a see-saw record against the Toffees and have won just twice against them. One a Damian Francis winner in 2005 and the other a fortuitous Henri Camara winner in 2008, but they all count. Now is the time to change that record and give Roberto Martinez his first away win in the league but importantly, his first away goal as well.
Mark Lawrenson of the BBC has predicted a 2-0 home win for the Toffees so hopefully he has cursed them, as he normally does any team he's predicted to win and we can at least salvage a good point, if not the win because Everton haven't exactly begun all cylinders firing. Losing to QPR and drawing with Aston Villa as well as losing their prized asset Mikel Arteta couldn't have gone down well with the Toffees but I'm sure they'll be OK as they have enough spirit within their camp to ensure a rocky but ultimately fruitful campaign.
I'm hoping we'll see a bit more of the new signings and what Albert Crusat can do. With a different line up from last week's team at Palace, we should go to Everton with a good mindset and hopefully pick up our first win of the campaign.
I am going to go for an away win because Everton haven't started the season well, are looking fragile since the sale of Mikel Arteta and haven't won at home this season. They're a good side, don't get me wrong, but I still think they need to gel a bit better and believe in themselves because they have to dispel the fact they have lost Arteta. Wigan on the other hand go to Goodison without any fear whatsoever and their decent result on this ground last season should encourage them to get the result they need and being as inconsistent as previous results suggest, this could be a good day for the Latics.
Everton 0-1 Wigan
ROB'S OTHER PREDICTIONS
Blackburn V Arsenal - Two fragile teams at the moment. Arsenal's draw with SWansea was not encouraging whatsoever. Also, Swansea blew a golden opportunity for a draw. This is a tough one to call. Blackburn would have been buoyed by their point at Fulham and Arsenal still have plenty of work to do. Arsenal also have a poor record on this ground. I'm going to go for a shock result and go for a home win.
Blackburn 1-0 Arsenal
Aston Villa V Newcastle - Can see this being a scrappy affair. Newcastle have begun well and Aston Villa have, to a degree, as well. Alex McLeish is no longer the scapegoat for Villa fans and Alan Pardew is slowly turning Newcastle into a formidable force. At Villa, though, I think this will be a draw.
Aston Villa 1-1 Newcastle
Bolton V Norwich - Norwich need to beat Bolton to stand any chance of surviving and collecting away wins. Bolton have suffered some defeats along the way and Norwich have conceded four penalties in four games. Can see them doing the same here but I think that maybe, with Bolton's poor home record that Norwich might actually produce the result of the afternoon at the Reebok.
Bolton 1-2 Norwich
Swansea V West Brom - This has 'Swansea will get their first home win and first goal(s) written all over it for me. West Brom are decent but Swansea have a point to prove and desperately need home wins to stand a chance of surviving. Its been a rocky start for them. Drawing with Sunderland and Wigan is not poor but they need to win games at home to boost their prospects of surviving. I am going to tip them to win here.
Swansea 2-1 West Brom
Wolves V QPR - A far reaching and consequential game, this may be, when the end of the season tables are finalised. Wolves suffered a 2-0 defeat to Spurs at home last week and need to rediscover their early season form to ascend the table. QPR are one of the teams I believe look like potential relegation candidates - Newcastle was a golden opportunity for them but they didn't take full advantage of the situation and now face Wolves away from home. QPR won at Goodison and lost at Wigan so its been a mixed bag. I see a draw here which won't do much for either side, if I'm being honest and when the table shapes up at the end of the season, I fully expect both sides to be near the bottom of the table, if not in the relegation zone.
Wolves 0-0 QPR
Tottenham V Liverpool - Tottenham's last home game had six goals in it. Unfortunately, five of them were for Manchester City. Liverpool narrowly lost at the Britannia Stadium but will want to win at White Hart Lane to progress up the table. Liverpool haven't always had an easy ride here but Tottenham's defeat to Man City in such devastating fashion means their confidence won't be great, despite a 2-0 away victory at Wolves. They'll want to banish bad dreams but I think Liverpool will triumph here.
Tottenham 0-1 Liverpool
Fulham V Man City - Fulham have had the fixture run from a nasty place ever since their season has begun and now, they face Man City. Fulham are a good side but they've not really been going much and still look for their first win of the season. If I were a Fulham fan, I'd be looking toward the next game, never mind this one as I think Man City will prove to be a difficult game for the Craven Cottage outfit, especially with the unstoppable Sergio Aguero.
Fulham 1-4 Man City
Sunderland V Stoke - Stoke have done so well in the transfer market and continue to impress. Sunderland are a mixed bag and narrowly lost to Chelsea in their last home game. However, Stoke in my opinion are too strong for Sunderland and I see them bagging an away victory here.
Sunderland 0-1 Stoke
Man Utd V Chelsea - Well, this game had huge significance last season and today, it still has that same significance. Both teams know this will be an imperative scalp and Old Trafford doesn't concede much to anyone. At least once a season at home, Man Utd slip. Its difficult to call this game but I think Man Utd will win this game.
Man Utd 1-0 Chelsea
ROB'S FINAL THOUGHT
Wins for Wigan and Huddersfield to complete the perfect Saturday.
Date:Saturday September 17 2011
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