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Hindsight's Premier League predictions

IS THERE GUNNER BE A CELEBRATION? Will Arsenal be so happy come Saturday?

LEAGUE LEADERS Chelsea are opening a big gap at the top and the onus is on the likes of Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United to put Mourinho's men under pressure. Voice of Sport editor Rodney Hinds predicts who will claim the spoils over this weekend in the Premier League and thinks United could throw a spanner in the works of the Blue machine.

All fixtures 3pm unless otherwise stated

Saturday, October 25

West Ham – Man City 12.45pm

The champions have generally made easy work of the Hammers in recent times. That is unlikely to be the case this time round. There are just four points between the pair as the East Enders have made a sensational start to the campaign and lie in fourth. Reliable defender Winston Reid has held United together at the back while Alex Song has been a canny acquisition. That said, City possess bags of quality themselves. Champions just squeeze past hosts.

Liverpool – Hull

The Merseysiders needed a huge dollop of good fortune to beat QPR last time out. The knives are already out for misfiring forward Mario Balotelli but in all honesty he is not the only Liverpool player under par at the moment. The home side will be delighted to have right-back Glen Johnson back in the ranks after injury; he has the ability to pop up with a goal which might get his team up and running. Hull will be buoyed by their point at the Emirates last week. Home win.

Southampton – Stoke

Chelsea aside, and Southampton have been team of the season. They confirmed their good form by scoring eight times with out reply against a woeful Sunderland. In Argentine Graziano Pelle they have a striker at the peak of his powers. Add the likes of Jack Cork, Victor Wanyama and Sadio Mane and the Saints keep marching in. Stoke, in good shape themselves, will have their work cut out. More joy for St. Mary’s faithful.

Sunderland – Arsenal

On the face of it you’d expect this to be an away banker. The hosts will still be reeling from their 8-0 mauling against Southampton and you would have thought they’d stand no chance against the Londoners. However, the visitors are misfiring and if the Black Cats roll their sleeves up and battle – which they’ll be out to do after their abject surrender – Arsene Wenger’s men could be in for a torrid afternoon themelves. The Gunners will need in-form Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck to be at their sharpest. Draw.

West Brom – Crystal Palace

Even though both sets of fans will beg to differ, this is already a potential relegation six-pointer. Come next May I would expect the pair to be embroiled in a battle to avoid the top-flight trapdoor. No doubt both managers will be at their demonstrative best in their respective technical area with three vital points at stake. Spoils shared.

BACK TO HIS BEST: Tottenham’s Townsend

Swansea – Leicester 5.30pm

Swans and Foxes are not a natural alliance but they come together for the Saturday evening fixture. Last time out Swansea were robbed against Stoke while Leicester were undone by Alan Pardew’s Newcastle. In Wilfried Bony the home side have a powerful predator. City centre-halves Wes Morgan and Liam Moore have been warned. Serene Swans to do the business in front of their own fans.

Sunday, October 26

Burnley – Everton 1.30pm

This Lancashire hotpot could prove to be an unpalatable dish for Sean Dyche’s men. There are just not enough goals, guile or clean sheets in the Burnley side for them to enjoy their time amongst the big boys. The likes of Romelu Lukaku and Steven Pienaar and co will fill their boots on what will be an uncomfortable Sabbath for the outfit from Turf Moor.

Tottenham – Newcastle 1.30pm

The away side will take heart from the win against Leicester. However, their upturn in fortunes can only really be judged after 90 minutes against a Spurs side that blow hot and cold. Flying winger Andros Townsend would appear to be close to his best again and that can only augur well for the Cockerels. Home win.

Man Utd – Chelsea

Despite United’s demise this remains a classic football fixture - red against blue. The rest of the division will be hoping for a home win, anything which blunts Chelsea’s unerring progress. Louis van Gaal’s new look side have the ability to rain on Jose Mourinho’s parade but can they keep the back door shut remains the question. A point wouldn’t be the end of the world for the team from west London. Blues strikers Diego Costa, if fit, and Didier Drogba will be itching to test a porous defence. Red Devils sneak it.

Monday, October 27

QPR – Aston Villa 8pm

If Rangers play against Villa as they did against Liverpool they’ll take all three points. However, Villa are unlikely to galvanise Harry Redknapp’s men in the same way. The hosts have problems; they concede too many and don’t score enough – a deadly combination at any level of football. Veterans Bobby Zamora and Rio Ferdinand – if he can get back into the starting XI – will have to shoulder a lot of responsibility if Rangers’ hoop dreams are not to be denied. Draw.

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