It is that time of year in the Barclays Premier League where the matches come in on rapid fire. Seems like just yesterday (close to it) that we had the traditional Boxing Day fixtures. Well, here we are once again for our usual electric weekend of top flight matchups. Let's take a look at my predictions for Week 19 of some English football!
Sunderland vs. Tottenham Hotspur
As I flipped on the TV Wednesday and the scoreboard read "Sunderland: 1 Manchester City: 0", my jaw dropped with my body into the couch. The Premier League never fails to pull a fast one on me at least once a day. My crystal ball tells me that the former Citizen, Adam Johnson, isn't going to be that lucky come Saturday. The Spurs put a knockout blow into Aston Villa with a Gareth Bale hat trick to top of the 4-0 scoreline.
The Gamble: Tottenham Hotspur
Aston Villa vs. Wigan Athletic
Villa Park plays hosts for a second time this week. If the Claret and Blue put out the performance they did earlier in the week, it will be an empty ground pretty quick. Although Wigan suffered a defeat as well, they showed promise against Everton to get themselves back out of the red zone. Look for the away side to come ready for fight. Will Aston Villa suffer a second loss in a row at the hands of The Latics?
The Gamble: Wigan Athletic
Fulham vs. Swansea City
The Cottagers welcome Swansea City to their West London pitch come this weekend. Despite the brilliance of Berbatov (including his base layer shirt), they have dropped several spots in the table. The boys in white have soared up a couple numbers however. Do you think The Swans will bring down the cottage?
The Gamble: Swansea City
Manchester United vs. West Bromwich Albion
I debated putting this in my "No Brainer" section that sometimes appears at the end of Front Money Friday. The Reds are playing at their sacred Old Trafford, but against a surprisingly strong West Brom side. It was an easy gamble for me, but I won't put it past The Hawthorns to put up quite the battle.
The Gamble: Manchester United
Reading vs. West Ham United
The boys of blue and white are another club who play hosts for a second time this week. This round they welcome The Hammers of London to their Madejski Stadium. Both clubs are suffering in form as of late. Although they sit at completely different parts of the table, the matchup on Saturday should be pretty equal. Will The Royals hold onto a point at home?
The Gamble: A Draw
Stoke City vs. Southampton
Southampton travels to the atmospheric Britannia Stadium to take on the sharp Potters who threw a deafening hook to Liverpool not but a few days ago. Despite Paul Lambert's penalty kick expertise and Championship league success, the boys in red and white look set to take another three points.
The Gamble: Stoke City
Arsenal vs. Newcastle United
Newcastle travels across the land.. far and wide.. to take on The Gunners at Emirates Stadium. It's really a shocker to me that The Toon Army has dropped so far down the league table. Seeing this leads me to believe that the boys in white and red will hold their home field advantage and possibly move into that Europa League spot.
The Gamble: Arsenal FC
Everton vs. Chelsea
I could have put this at the very top, but then you would have never clicked on the article and read this far. Decided to save the best for last instead. The game of the day (across any sports) on Sunday looks to be the The Blues versus the boys in blue. Everton welcomes Chelsea to the near fortress that is Goodison Park. This will not be the usual "fight" or "battle" mentioned on the weekends.. This will be pure war. Leighton Baines does not back down. Juan Mata is pure class.
The Gamble: Chelsea
NO BRAINERS OF THE WEEK:
*Always have some for you all.
Norwich City vs. Manchester City:
The Gamble: Manchester City
Queens Park Rangers vs. Liverpool: (don't make me look like a fool Reds)
The Gamble: Liverpool FC
For those that actually took the time to read all the way to here, thank you. Feel free to leave your predictions in a comment below. Keep an eye out for a special 'New Years Edition' next week!