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Chelsea are a class apart

Sport 1IT was another one of those weeks where the usual form book was ripped up. Unexpected results cropped up and teams missed opportunities to better their league positions.

Just eight points separate the relegation zone from the top four, and with the exception of Chelsea at the top, perhaps, no teams are putting results together consistently to climb.

Last week, my challenger Geoff Huxtable Beat Benson, but lightning will not strike twice. This week my foe is a local legend, even if he dresses like Bruce Willis in Die Hard. It’s  Coventry-supporting Webby, owner of the Garden Bar!

Newcastle v Liverpool

Two wins on the bounce for the Geordies and a first start, and goal for ex-Tenerife player Ayoze Perez, has got the fans back behind the team and the manager. They are brining with confidence and they will be looking forward to this fixture, believing they can win.

Liverpool were again lack-lustre against Hull, and a massive improvement is needed if they are to be a top-four team again this season. Goals are lacking and Balotelli looks devoid of confidence. He needs to score a League goal, and I am sure he would be happy for the ball to go in off his backside.

Prediction: Away win

Beat Benson: Away win

Chelsea v QPR

Chelsea will not have been happy with Sunday’s result, conceding a goal with almost the last kick of the game. But despite their attacking quality, they couldn’t get more than one goal. I have said before that if Diego Costa were injured, they would struggle and that was apparent against Man Utd.

The Hoops scored an excellent win against Villa to lift them off the bottom and closer to safety. They really need to keep the momentum going, but they will run into a brick wall here. Their defence is too vulnerable and Chelsea will rip them to pieces.

Prediction: Home win

Beat Benson: Home win

Stoke v West Ham

Another game and another defeat for Stoke, who are now tumbling down the table. It seems the experiment in attacking football played on the deck has failed and they should get back to doing what they do best: defending strongly and getting stuck in. If they become difficult to beat, they will get the points which may get them a top-10 finish.

It looks like West Ham’s patience with Big Sam is starting to pay off as he has assembled a fine squad, playing good football. Not many would have predicted them being fourth after beaten Liverpool and Man City. They really are blowing bubbles.

Prediction: Away win

Beat Benson: Draw

Leicester v West Brom

The Foxes were welcomed back to the Premier League with a series of difficult fixtures. They surpassed expectations and picked up points. They then hit an easier run from where they could have really kicked on, but they haven’t. The goals have dried up and they now find themselves just above the relegation places. This is a game they must win.

West Brom have blown hot and cold and were lucky to take a point from Crystal Palace last weekend. They have a good attacking line-up and, if they can stop conceding goals, could easily secure a top10 finish. Alan Irving has work to do, but they should be okay

Prediction: Draw

Beat Benson: Home win

Hull v Soton

A point against Arsenal and a point against Liverpool will be seen as good results, but Hull looked two different teams. Against Arsenal, Hull attacked, put themselves about and were unlucky not to win. But against Liverpool, they turned up and just put men behind the ball. Had they gone for it, they may have taken three points. This is a tricky fixture for them.

Saints are sitting second as they continue to rack up the points. I am not sure they are capable of staying in the top four but, with teams around them dropping points, anything is possible. What they are doing is making sure they win against teams they should beat.

Prediction: Away win

Beat Benson: Home win

Everton v Swansea

Everton have been misfiring a little, but a decent win against Burnley should get them back on track. Lukaku was on the scoresheet and, if he lives up to his potential, he should now start firing the goals to move them up the table. It will be difficult to improve on a top-five finish like last season, but they need to be close.

Swansea are back to winning ways and have moved nicely up to sixth place in the table. They are evenly-matched against Everton and it could be a shoot-out between the big strikers, Lukaku and Bony.

Prediction: Home win

Beat Benson: Draw

Arsenal v Burnley

The Gunners took three points against Sunderland but again didn’t look really convincing. Their last opponents had conceded eight goals the week before and, although they were bound to be tighter at the back, Arsenal struggled to break them down and score. They got the result, but don’t look like title challengers.

Burnley are still looking for their first win and I think they will have to wait another week as I can’t see them beating Arsenal. They are slow at the back and, after a free-scoring Champkionship season, they are struggling for goals.

Prediction: Home win

Beat Benson: Home win

Man City v Man Utd

City had a chance to move closer to Chelsea at the weekend but, as we have seen before, they are partial to a loss against a team they should beat. West Ham had a brilliant game plan and City just couldn’t find the extra gear they needed. Keep Aguero and Silva quiet, press them and you can beat them, but form goes out the window in a derby.

United will be buoyed with their late equaliser against Chelsea and, at times, they played some decent football. But this is still their worst start in 23 years and the injury list is getting longer. They need more players in January, but who will be available?

Prediction: Home win

Beat Benson: Draw

Aston Villa v Spurs

It just goes from bad to worse for Villa! They had a good start to the season, but now seem to have put themselves in reverse gear, especially as they couldn’t beat Q.P.R. They are another team for whom goals have dried, and Benteke’s first start will give cause for a little optimism. Their squad is too small – and unless results go their way soon, it could be a difficult season.

Spurs, another of this year’s under-performers, have now dropped down into the bottom half of the table and they look nervous when they take to the pitch. Without risk of keep repeating myself, they are another team who need goals.

Prediction: Away win

Beat Benson: Away win

C Palace v Sunderland

This is one of those early-season six-pointers. Palace will still be kicking themselves after throwing away a two-goal lead against West Brom because all three points would have placed them in mid-table. But as it is, they are a point and a place off the relegation zone. There is now talk of a takeover, which can be distracting.

Sunderland have had a rough few weeks and need to go into this game with the right attitude – and they should be able to win. Gus Poyet is trying to rebuild players’ confidence after the 8-0 drubbing, but he needs to do it quickly.

Prediction: Draw

Beat Benson: Home win

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Posted by on Oct 31 2014. Filed under Sport. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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