EPL Big Bet Preview: Liverpool to hold Manchester United at home; Manchester City to cruise against Aston Villa

The monumental tie between Manchester United and Liverpool has the traits of a potential draw while Roberto Mancini's men are expected to slice Aston Villa in half

Manchester United

Arguably the biggest match of the weekend, Manchester United will be hosting Liverpool  at Old Trafford on Saturday. The Red Devils are currently two points behind Manchester City, after failing to beat Chelsea in mid-week but nonetheless, a victory against Liverpool could see them leapfrog past City temporarily with Roberto Mancini's men playing on Sunday.

Liverpool, despite succumbing to a disappointing 0-0 draw with Tottenham Hotspur in midweek, will be encouraged for this one after only recently dispatching Sir Alex Ferguson's side in the FA Cup. Old Trafford has often been regarded as United's impeccable fortress but with Blackburn's 3-2 victory adding to City's 6-1 demolition at home, the surprise odds are high for this one. Having said that, expect United to consolidate their position with the likes of Nani and Anderson all returning from injury.

Blackburn Rovers
Queens Park Rangers

It will be a battle between two struggling sides with QPR and Blackburn Rovers only being separated by mere three points. Steve Kean's side are back under pressure, having not won since their victory against Fulham over a month ago. Worse still, they were totally nailed back to the coffin at Arsenal last weekend, with Wenger's men smashing in seven goals to humiliate them at the Emirates.

As for QPR, Mark Hughes appears to have not found his right blend yet. A flurry of signings were drafted in during the winter transfer window, but the perfect chemistry is yet to be formulated. Djibril Cisse will miss this one after his controversial ill fated sending off against Wolverhampton last week, while Alejandro Faurlin is still sidelines with an injury. However, if Bobby Zamora finds space to weave his magic upfront, Hughes' men could very well edge out with a victory.

Bolton Wanderers
  Wigan Athletic

Bolton Wanderers were brought back down to earth by Norwich City last week, after a relatively solid January that included a victory over Liverpool as well as a home draw against Arsenal. Nonetheless, the addition of Ryo Miyaichi could spark a revival in their fortunes; which could very well happen against Wigan.

You would have to track back to December 9 for the Latics' last victory, which explains them being rooted to the bottom of the table on 16 points. Shaun Maloney could make his much awaited return from injury this weekend, but with Kevin Davies, Tuncay and Miyaichi all set to spearhead Bolton's charge on Saturday, expect the Trotters to edge out with a victory.


Chelsea are undefeated in their last seven fixtures, but it's fair enough to point out that each of their last three games against Norwich City, Swansea City and Manchester United have ended in draws. The Blues were terrific against United, despite conceding a commanding lead, and Villas-Boas will be keen for his men to continue that form.

Meanwhile, Everton have won three out of their last four matches, including a sensational victory over league leaders Manchester City. Goodison Park has not been a typically happy hunting ground for Chelsea in recent times as they are winless from their last three trips there. With Phil Jagielka, Leon Osman and Seamus Coleman are all out through injury, the onus will be on the Blues to break their jinx. Nonetheless, four out of the last seven meetings between these two sides have ended in draws; a scoreline that could very well be repeated on Saturday.

Stoke City

Stoke City have officially established themselves as a typical Premier League side and due credit has to be given to Tony Pulis. Nonetheless, recent circumstances have been pretty delicate for them, winning only once in their last eight matches. However, fans should be encouraged by their away form that has seen them win three out of their last six away matches.

Fulham are unbeaten in their last three matches at home and with Pavel Pogrebynyak set to make his debut against Stoke, Martin Jol's men could continue their solid home form. Having said that, the away side will be more than just mere pushovers with Matthew Etherington set from return after his injury and the winger will be a massive threat on Saturday.




Arsenal's season took yet another wild turn- a positive one- after their 7-1 demolition of Blackburn Rovers last week. A week prior to that, they were the obvious mock of the weekend with Arsene Wenger's substition policy apparently justifying their defeat to rivals Manchester United. The Frenchman refused to be carried away after their big win and with Sunderland being their next oppenents, he may have a point after all.

The Black Cats are unbeaten on home soil since the end of November last year and better still, they have won seven out of 10 matches under Martin O'Neill so far. Per contra, fatigue could be a telling factor in this clash with Sunderland having played a gruelling 120 minutes in the FA Cup fourth round clash in midweek. While the Gunners are indeed favourites for this one, expect the Black Cats to put up a strong fight with backing from home fans at the Stadium of Light.

Swansea City
Norwich City

It's probably safe to say that Swansea play some of the best football in the Premier League, with that performance against Arsenal and Chelsea advocating the claim. Brendan Rogers have done a terrific job with them and ahead of this clash against Norwich, Swansea fans rejoiced at Rogers' contract extension with the Welsh outfit.

Both Swansea and Norwich head into this clash on an almost similar form, with both sides having lost only once in their last nine fixtures. However, it's not difficult to see why Swansea are being tipped to win this one. Norwich have not won at Swansea for over 40 years, while Swansea have an excellent home record this season; losing only once, against Manchester United.

Tottenham Hotspur
Newcastle United

Newcastle travel to the White Hart Lane on the back of a fine run of form that has seen them seal four victories from their last five league matches. The Magpies are currently flying high in the table in fifth position and with new signing Papiss Demba Cisse showing promising signs with a debut goal last week, the situation looks pretty solid for them now.

However, facing Spurs at their fortress will not be a task to behold, especially with them being unbeaten in 11 matches at the White Hart Lane so far. The North London outfit have been on major headlines all week long, with Harry Redknapp being hotly linked with the vacant Three Lions job. Nonetheless, this one is destined for pulsating action that could very well end without a winner.

West Bromwich Albion

Mick McCarthy had a huge chunk of pressure taken off his shoulder last week as Wolverhampton sealed some much needed breathing space with a victory over QPR. The addition of Emmanuel Frimpong on-loan from Arsenal seems to be doing the trick in midfield as the Ghanaian midfielder has added some steel into Wolves' style of play. But his season-ending injury will be a huge blow.

West Bromwich Albion are also on a poor run of form, having won only one of their last seven Premier League matches. It is also crucial to note that the Baggies have only kept one clean sheet in their last 31 matches away from home. Nonetheless, Roy Hodgson's side are evidently better on paper and with Peter Odemwingie netting in his last two matches against Wolves, this match could very well be a tight draw.

Aston Villa
  Manchester City

Manchester City banished any claims of instability, after disappointing results against Liverpool and Everton, by thrashing Fulham 3-0 last weekend. David Silva has been pivotal in their charge this season with 12 assists and 5 goals to his name so far. The Spanish midfielder is likely to play a key role against Villa, who are not on a flattering form themselves.

Villa have won only one of their last six encounters against City and the Villains have also not won at home since early November. Although they did show signs of brilliance against Newcastle United last week, it's probably safe to say that a rampant City are on track for a victory at Villa Park on Sunday.

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