Thursday, September 13, 2012
Preview of this weekend's key Premier League matches
QPR vs. Chelsea (4.50)
Chelsea will be looking to extend their perfect start to the season against QPR at Loftus Road. Rangers have had a brutal start to the season and it isn't likely to improve. They were handed a 0-5 drubbing against Swansea to start the season, and after drawing 1-1 with Norwich, City beat them 3-1. Zamora has scored both of QPR's goals.
Chelsea are off to an excellent start and have beaten all three teams they've played by two goals, while keeping clean sheets against New Castle and Wigan. They were defeated 1-4 in the UEFA Super Cup last week, conceding a hat trick to Falcao, but should have an easy time of it on Saturday. Fernando Torres appears to have finally found his form, and should trouble the defense all afternoon.
Manchester United (2.90) vs. Wigan Athletic
United have bounced back after being shutout by Everton 1-0 in their opener, winning back-to-back matches against Fulham, and away to Southampton. However, all three opponents have given them trouble, as they have now conceded five goals in three matches. They will be without Wayne Rooney who suffered a large gash on his thigh against Southampton, and possibly Robin van Persie who took a knock during the interlull. van Persie has been unstoppable, already scoring four goals for his new club.
Wigan have started respectably, beating Southampton, and drawing 2-2 away to Stoke. Their only loss came at Stamford bridge to open the season. Argentinian Franco Di Santo has been impressive, slotting home a couple of goals. We will likely see Ryo Miyaichi in the line up who is on loan from Arsenal.
This could be an interesting match if neither Rooney nor RVP can start. United's form has been slightly off, even with their stars on the pitch, so it'll be interesting to see how Ferguson's side can cope with these injuries.
Stoke City vs. Manchester City (2.35)
Manchester City is another side that have conceded too many goals early in the season. They've managed 7 points but have struggled against a fairly easy schedule. They eked past Southampton 3-2, drew at Anfield and handled QPR 3-1 at the Etihad. The draw against Liverpool probably should have gone as a loss, if not for a horribly conceded goal late in the match. Aguero is doubtful to start this match as he recovers from a knee injury, but Man City have plenty of strikers to fill in his place. Carlos Tevez has been in good form, scoring three goals for his side.
Playing at The Britannia is never a pleasant experience, and Manchester will have to contend with the undefeated Potters who have notched draws with Reading, Arsenal and Wigan. Stoke will be disappointed to have been eliminated from the League Cup by Swindon Town, and may look to take out their frustrations on the Premier League champions who have looked more vulnerable than usual. As always, Peter Crouch will be the player to watch for Stoke. His height makes him dangerous, and he suits Stoke's playing style to a T.
This should really be one to watch. Manchester City have not asserted dominance as expected, and this will not be an easy fixture. Aguero's absence may be hurting City more than they would like to admit. Stoke would likely be thrilled to get a point from this match, so expect them to park the bus, especially if they can nab a goal early-on.