EPL Preview: Week Six

Riley Beveridge previews all the week six action from the English Premier League.Image

(Kickoff times are in AEST)

Arsenal v Chelsea 

Kickoff: 9.45pm Saturday September 29th at the Emirates Stadium

Arsenal’s fantastic start to the season continued last weekend when they held the reigning champions Manchester City to a deserved 1-1 draw at the Etihad Stadium. Their tough run to begin 2012/13 has included travelling away from home to the likes of Stoke, Liverpool and City, however they’re still yet to be beaten. The Gunners continue to play nice, free flowing football, led by Santi Cazorla in the middle of the park.

Chelsea struggled to a 1-0 win over Stoke at Stamford Bridge last week. A late Ashley Cole strike gave them all three points in a match ignited by Tony Pulis’ diving claims aimed at Branislav Ivanovic. Captain John Terry’s disciplinary hearing regarding racial comments also continues to take the media spotlight away from their good work on the field to start the season.

These two London rivals really don’t see eye-to-eye. I’m anticipating a fierce and feisty contest, with a draw the likely result.

Arsenal 1-1 Chelsea

Everton v Southampton

Kickoff: 12.00am Sunday September 30th at Goodison Park

Everton’s football to start this season has been delightful. Somehow David Moyes continues to lead his side to great performances despite a distinct lack of money in the transfer window. They thrashed the in-form Swansea 3-0 in Wales last week, and will return to Merseyside full of confidence. They suffered a defeat to League One side Leeds in the League Cup midweek, but rested a number of key players for the match.

Southampton managed their first win in the league last weekend when they tore apart Aston Villa 4-1. They were behind at the interval and their unlucky run looked to be continuing, however a second half Rickie Lambert brace got them over the line. Nigel Adkins would have been delighted, and will be hoping the win can form the foundation for their survival fight.

Everton remain tough to beat, and their players will return from a midweek break fresh and ready to keep their red-hot form going.

Everton 3-1 Southampton

Fulham v Manchester City

Kickoff: 12.00am Sunday September 30th at Craven Cottage

Fulham are another side that has been in good form to start this season. Big wins over Norwich, West Brom and Wigan has seen them rocket to sixth on the table, just four points from the top. They were impressive away to Wigan last weekend, however will face a tough battle against the champions this time around.

City has been in indifferent form to start their title defence. Liverpool, Stoke and Arsenal have held them to three draws in their last four games, while Aston Villa knocked them out of the Capital One Cup midweek. Roberto Mancini seems increasingly frustrated, and will be hoping to begin a solid run of wins this Saturday.

The champions need a win to steady their season, and although they’re beneath Fulham on the table, they should win this weekend.

Fulham 1-2 Manchester City 

Norwich v Liverpool

Kickoff: 12.00am Sunday September 30th at Carrow Road

The Canaries remain winless to start this season and will go into their Premier League encounter with Liverpool having been comprehensively beaten by Newcastle last weekend. The scoreline flattered Norwich, who looked a shadow of their fighting selves from last season.

Liverpool also goes into the game without a win from five attempts. Sometimes football just goes against you, and it went against the Reds last weekend. Liverpool outplayed their bitter rivals Manchester United, however two critical refereeing errors cost them all three points. They will now go into this match inside the relegation zone.

Brendan Rodgers’ luck has to change soon, and I can sense him leading the Reds to their first win this weekend against a hapless Norwich side.

Norwich 0-2 Liverpool

Reading v Newcastle

Kickoff: 12.00am Sunday September 30th at the Madejski Stadium

Reading go into week six of the Premier League smack bang on the bottom of the table. The Royals have registered just one point from four matches (one of their matches has been postponed), and are coming off the back of a disappointing loss to West Brom last weekend.

Newcastle held off Norwich last weekend to record their first victory since opening day. Demba Ba scored, proving that despite the hype surrounding his exit from St James’ Park, he’s still vital to their cause. For whatever reason, the Magpies don’t look like the same side that finished fifth last campaign.

Reading will be desperate for a few points to claw their way off the bottom, but Newcastle still seem a better side, even if they are stuck in second gear.

Reading 0-2 Newcastle

Stoke v Swansea

Kickoff: 12.00am Sunday September 30th at the Britannia Stadium

Stoke boss Tony Pulis was furious that his side didn’t pick up at least a point away from home to Chelsea last weekend. Ashley Cole broke their hearts late in the match, meaning they’ve picked up just four draws and a loss from their opening five games.

Meanwhile, Swansea’s season is slowly starting to unravel. They scored eight goals and conceded none in their opening two games, however they’ve scored no goals and conceded five in their last two. Michael Laudrup has a real battle on his hands to resurrect their season.

Saturday’s game will be a case of Stoke’s scrappy style versus Swansea’s slick passing game. I think Stoke could grind out a deserved win.

Stoke 2-1 Swansea

Sunderland v Wigan

Kickoff: 12.00am Sunday September 30th at the Stadium of Light

Is there anything Steven Fletcher can’t do? His goal against West Ham last weekend meant he’s opened his season with four goals in three games to make an instant impact at the Stadium of Light. His Black Cats side is yet to register a win though, and has four draws from four games.

Roberto Martinez is a frustrated man at the helm of Wigan. He lashed out at reporters following his side’s 0-4 loss to Manchester United, and would have been just as angry after allowing Fulham to stroll to an easy victory at the DW Stadium last week

Martinez’s frustrations won’t get eased this weekend either. A tough trip north to Sunderland won’t get Wigan the win he’s looking for.

Sunderland 2-0 Wigan

Manchester United v Tottenham

Kickoff: 2.30am Sunday September 30th at Old Trafford

It’s a scary thought that Manchester United still aren’t playing their best football, yet has managed to rack up four straight wins. Robin Van Persie continued his scoring run away to Liverpool, when he struck from the spot for his fifth goal in United colours. Wayne Rooney could join him up front this weekend, after reports that he is close to a comeback following a laceration to his leg.

Tottenham hasn’t been convincing to start the season. A loss on opening day was followed by successive draws against West Brom and Norwich. Although they’ve won their last two matches, they still haven’t faced the most difficult of opposition, and will come up against a real test this weekend.

Manchester United look ominous, and everyone is waiting for them to claim their next scalp. Tottenham will be in their firing line this weekend and could suffer a long afternoon.

Manchester United 3-1 Tottenham

Aston Villa v West Bromwich Albion 

Kickoff: 1.00am Monday October 1st at Villa Park

Aston Villa’s poor start to the season got worse when Southampton thrashed them last weekend. To make matters worse, they were in front at the break, only to capitulate in the second half and concede four goals. They got mini-redemption midweek when they knocked Manchester City out of the Capital One Cup, but Paul Lambert’s focus will still be squarely on the league.

West Brom has had a great start to the season under Steve Clarke. A win over Reading last weekend meant they’ve amassed 10 points from their opening five games and currently sit in fourth spot on the table. In another positive, Shane Long will return from injury this weekend.

In a ferocious Midlands derby, neither side will be willing to give an inch. I hate tipping scoreless draws, but for me it’s the likely result.

Aston Villa 0-0 West Bromwich Albion

QPR v West Ham

Kickoff: 5.00am Tuesday October 2nd at Loftus Road

Despite all of the money spent over the off-season, QPR are yet to win a match to start 2012/13. Much of the blame is being shifted to manager Mark Hughes, who has been criticised for paying over the odds for many summer transfers. This London derby could be the perfect time to set things right.

West Ham got a solid draw with Sunderland last weekend, which adds to the couple of wins they’ve accumulated to start the season. Big Sam Allardyce will be happy with how things are going so far in their return to the Premier League.

It’s Monday night Premier League football, which always means enthralling contests. Plus it’s a London derby, which only adds to the drama. I think QPR could notch up their first win of the season.

QPR 3-2 West Ham

Riley Beveridge is a first-year Bachelor of Sports Journalism student at La Trobe University. You can follow his Premier League opinions via his Twitter: @RileyBev.

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