After cup matches in mid week for some teams it’s back to business in the league this weekend. Manchester United pulled out a six point gap between themselves and City after the explosive Manchester derby and both sides will be looking to pick up three points against the two big north east clubs.
Liverpool 2-0 Aston Villa
Villa found form and goals in mid week against Norwich in the Capital One cup and will look to turn this into Premier League form, but Liverpool will welcome back hit-man Luis Suarez after a one match suspension which will be a huge boost. Villa will be without Darren Bent due to the hamstring injury he picked up in midweek and he will now miss the festive period.
Villa have only scored four goals away from Villa Park, while Liverpool have one of the best home defences, and I can’t see this changing on Saturday. Liverpool are in a rich vein of form only losing one in their last 11 games with five wins and five draws and I can only see one winner here.
Manchester United 3-0 Sunderland
United will be flying high with their late winner against rivals City last weekend, which moved them six points clear and they will see the game against Sunderland as an opportunity to put huge pressure on City coming up to the festive period. Sitting top of the form table United are scoring goals for fun with the partnership of Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney; hitting the back of the net 40 times in 16 games.
Despite Sunderland’s 3-0 win in midweek against out form Reading, United are overwhelming favourites. The Black Cats haven’t collected all three points at Old Trafford since 1968 and haven’t beat United in the last 20 attempts – I don’t think the record will be changing.
Newcastle 1-2 Manchester City
City will be looking to bounce back after the disappointment of the Manchester derby and against an out form Toon they are surely the favourites. Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has a huge headache going into the game fearing he may be without Hatem Ben Arfa as he is struggling with a recurring hamstring problem. Newcastle have only won two out of the last 10 games. They will being hoping that Demba Ba will fire once again this season to enable them to get anything out of the game, against a City side that will be without the suspended Gareth Barry.
Norwich 2-0 Wigan
After a poor start to the season by the Canaries things have started to pick up and are currently nine matches unbeaten in the league but did have the disappointment in midweek. While Wigan will be without captain Gary Caldwell through injury, and maybe out until boxing day after aggravating a hamstring injury this week.
QPR 1-2 Fulham
Things are looking brighter at QPR since the arrival of Harry Redknapp with three draws but they still haven’t picked up a league win this season. Fulham netted a confidence boosting 2-1 victory against Newcastle in midweek after a poor run of results, but they are one of the stronger sides in the middle of the table and I expect them to start to gain some favourable results soon; starting on Saturday.
Stoke City 1-0 Everton
Both sides will be going into the game at the Britannia Stadium full of confidence. Stoke sit second in the form table and have won the last three home games and haven’t lost in the Potteries since February, conceding just two goals at home this season in seven games. Stoke will be without Ryan Shotton after being sent off at Villa Park last weekend, but Andy Wilkinson will slip into the right back role. Everton haven’t won on their travels since September and haven’t left Stoke with all three points in their last three visits.