Prediction Panel 2007/8: Premier League 15 March - preview and predictions

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Antony Melvin


Antony Melvin is the squarefootball.net editor and spends his spare time sifting through needlessly abusive emails....
[full biography]
15/03/2008 12:00:00.
read: 487 times.

Arsenal could well be playing catch-up when they play Middlesbrough in the evening kick-off, as Manchester United travel to play Derby at 3pm. Chelsea are at relegation threatened Sunderland and hope to capitalize on any slip-ups from the top two; whilst a Liverpool side in hot form face a Reading side whose relegation fears have been eased by a couple of wins. In the squabbles just below the automatic UEFA Cup spot, Villa travel to Portsmouth and West Ham host Blackburn.

Saturday's games
Sunday's games
Monday's games

Saturday, 15 March 2008; Barclays Premier League

Arsenal (1) vs Middlesbrough (12), KO 17:15


Arsenal are on a run of just one win in six - the win being the glorious one in the San Siro - a period that has seen six points dropped in the league; but at home they remain a formidable team. Middlesbrough have a great record against Arsenal in recent years and beat Arsenal 2-1 with goals from Downing and Tuncay earlier in the season. Arsenal's home record and Middlesbough's relative safety suggests that the Gunners should have enough here to end the day on top of the division.

Articles
Arsenal are due a few goals against Middlesbrough

Predictions
Paul Grech: Home banker
Colin Illingworth: Home
Antony Melvin: Home

Derby County (20) vs Manchester United (2), KO 15:00


Derby are staring at a record low number of points now and after capitulating 6-1 at Chelsea in the week face a Manchester United side that will be concentrating on the league until the resumption of hostilities with Roma in April. Bit of a tale of two goalkeepers here; Roy Carroll left United to find regular first team football and has shifted around England and Scotland in search of it; whilst Ben Foster is ready to make his emergency debut after just one reserve game. A million fixed odds coupons will be torn up if this is anything other than an away win.

Articles
Back United to run in a few goals against dispirited Derby

Predictions
Paul Grech: Away banker
Colin Illingworth: Away banker
Antony Melvin: Away banker

Liverpool (4) vs Reading (14), KO 15:00


Liverpool are scoring so many goals and conceding so few at the moment that a run to the Champions' League final looks a distinct possibility again. Rafa Benitez always gets his teams into Spring ready to spring a few results; but in English league terms not usually close enough to make a difference. But if you want to dream Liverpool are only ten points of the top and have games against the top teams to drag them even closer - nine wins would give 83 points, a total that could yet win the title. Reading arrive on the back of a couple of wins and Steve Coppell tends to have his team shut up shop in the big away games; will Liverpool's failing of regularly failing to win the 'easy' games bite them here?

Articles
None yet

Predictions
Paul Grech: Away
Colin Illingworth: Home
Antony Melvin: Home

Portsmouth (7) vs Aston Villa (6), KO 15:00


Portsmouth are starting to play with a swagger, Jermain Defoe is scoring plenty of goals and is looking liable to score in every game and Pompey are clear favourites to lift the FA Cup. A win would lift them clear of Aston Villa who have stumbled in recent weeks to drift seven points behind Everton and Liverpool; defeat here would end any lingering hopes of getting close to the 70 points that could well be needed for fourth place this season. Martin O'Neill's team are often rugged in adversity and in a game where both sides may sit deep and hope to counter - goal chances could be at a premium.

Articles
Villa Beginning To Mix It With The Big Four

Predictions
Paul Grech: Home
Colin Illingworth: Draw
Antony Melvin: Draw

Sunderland (16) vs Chelsea (3), KO 15:00


Sunderland have a great home record and that is all that is keeping them afloat, because their away record in as bad as Derby's. But a recent run of four consecutive home league wins (Bolton, Portsmouth, Birmingham and and Wigan) was ended with a dire 1-0 defeat by Everton; which followed a disappointing 0-0 at Derby County. Another three points in those two games and Sunderland would be sat with Middlesbrough in mid-table. But as things stand Sunderland could slide into the relegation zone this weekend. Chelsea keep on having the odd bad day, and it is obscuring a fabulous overall win record for Avram Grant; perhaps he isn't a big game manager - in which case he may be ideal to fashion a run for the league title, if not the Champions' League. A draw will be badly received in west London.

Articles
Chelsea should flat-track-bully Sunderland

Predictions
Paul Grech: Away banker
Colin Illingworth: Away
Antony Melvin: Away

West Ham United (10) vs Blackburn Rovers (8), KO 15:00


Alan Curbishley is under severe pressure from a section of the home support and his team have long been marooned in tenth place; and likely to stay there unless Spurs make a strong run over the next few weeks. Blackburn have again found form after a soggy mid-season and may well move up another place if they can fashion a win. There are only so many consecutive 4-0 defeats that any manager can survive and the probability is that West Ham will snap out of their torpor before too long.

Articles
None yet

Predictions
Paul Grech: Away
Colin Illingworth: Home
Antony Melvin: Away


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Gary fathered:

To Gary, we've contacted the police about your death threats - which we are not going to publish here. You are a disgrace to the Liverpool support.

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