Prediction Panel 2007/8; Premier League 24 Feb 2008 - previews and predictions


Antony Melvin

Antony Melvin is the editor and spends his spare time sifting through needlessly abusive emails....
[full biography]
24/02/2008 11:00:00.
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The alternatives to the League Cup final today are two games between teams in the race for Europe and the scramble to avoid the trap door. Aston Villa will be hoping for the win that will take them level on points with Liverpool and Everton in fourth place, at relegation threatened Reading. Blackburn has drifted into mid-table but are still only five points off the top six - the local derby with Bolton could tip Bolton back towards the trap-door. Everything to play for.

Sunday, 24 February 2008; Barclays Premier League

Blackburn Rovers (10) vs Bolton Wanderers (16), KO 15:00

Another solid season for Blackburn is set to fall below the expectations that Mark Hughes set when he suggested that Blackburn were a team able to break into the top four. Blackburn now lie an unlikely eight points away from fourth place and will probably have to win 10 of their last 12 games to get to around the 70 point mark that would be needed for fourth; sixth place will probably be achieved with around 60 points - which is more achievable. Bolton had a hectic, if ultimately glorious week in Madrid and may be a bit leggy late on - no doubt Mark Hughes will look to play a high-tempo game to work on this.

Paul Grech: Away
Colin Illingworth: Draw
Hugh Larkin; Home
Antony Melvin: Home

Reading (18) vs Aston Villa (6), KO 12:30

Reading are on the kind of run that has relegated many teams and the suspicion is now rising that the bottom three - Derby, Fulham and Reading - will be the unfortunate ones. But if Reading are going to clamber clear then it is probably going to be as a result of home form - Reading have won as many home games as Liverpool. Villa could have been accused of being a little complacent in defeat at Fulham, and are possibly happiest playing teams between 6th and 16th - so this could be an interesting point along Martin O'Neill's long-term plan to re-establish Villa amongst the elite.

Paul Grech: Away
Colin Illingworth: Away
Hugh Larkin; Away
Antony Melvin: Draw

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