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Prediction Mayhem: Arsenal, Aston Villa, Birmingham, Blackburn, Chelsea, Derby, Everton, Fulham, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Portsmouth, Reading, Sunderland, Tottenham, West Ham, Wigan

Sportingo’s Mark Apostolou continues his rather disturbingly accurate Premier League predictions. 

Sunderland v Liverpool (12.45 BST Saturday)
Last weekend’s defeat against Wigan, only the tenth Roy Keane has suffered in 45 games in charge at the Stadium of Light, was shocking and took the wind out of their sails after two late, late shows against Birmingham and Spurs had given them a healthy four-point total from two games. The former hard man was understandably aggravated by the performance and let his side know. I think that could hold them in good stead for the arrival of Rafa Benitez’s side. Liverpool were cheated out of a deserved win over Chelsea and his side may still be reeling from the experience – that is why I am opting for a draw here. I think the Black Cats’ home form will be crucial this term and I believe they have what it takes to hold out against the big boys on their home turf. Prediction: 1-1

Arsenal v Man City
Good news and bad news, Jens Lehmann is apparently sidelined with an aggravated Achilles injury – and the bad news is that it’s only for two weeks. But seriously, the German keeper has always been a liability and it seems that his error count is climbing. Even his mere presence on the Wembley soil somehow passed itself on like some kind of bad ‘B’ movie science-fiction scene to Paul Robinson as he flailed like a madman in the England goal. As much as I have been impressed by Man City this season, their back-line and Micah Richards in particular, I feel that the Gunners will come out on top in this one. Prediction: 1-0 to Arsenal

Aston Villa v Fulham
Lawrie Sanchez’s West London side started the season brightly but their defeat at home to Middlesbrough undid a lot of that hard work and also signalled a long-term injury to talismanic captain Brian McBride and new signing Hameur Bouazza. Aston Villa are a side who are beginning to push in the right direction; their performance against Newcastle should have brought them more than just a solitary point. It was also good to see Gareth Barry in England colours midweek and Gabriel Agbonlahor called up to the Under-21 squad. I think Martin O’Neill’s side will be much too strong for a patched-up Fulham side. Prediction: 2-0 to Villa

Bolton v Reading
It just gets worse and worse for Sammy Lee’s men. Three defeats in three, a side in disarray and a boss who has openly admitting that two of his star players, Nicolas Anelka and El Hadji Diouf, could be on their way out of the Reebok. Add to that the disappointing form of Kevin Nolan, who appears displeased at his role in the side and throw into the mix the fact that at least half-a-dozen Wanderers are simply not good enough to wear the jersey. These hopeless players include dross such as Gerald Cid, Mikel Alonso and Daniel Braaten. Reading fought past Everton last week and while it may seem strange following my previous statements, I find myself feeling that Bolton will actually come out on top in this battle. Maybe my brain is damaged?
Prediction: Bolton to win 2-1 (late winner to please the suffering home fans)

Chelsea v Portsmouth
Two sides yet to feel the sour taste of defeat, albeit Jose’s men had a referee to thank for that. Chelsea to me still look very vulnerable at the back. The way Fernando Torres slipped past the flat-footed Tal Ben-Haim would have worried the Stamford Bridge boss. What would have pleased the Special One was the way Shaun Wright-Phillips performed midweek in his cameo role against Germany. Juliano Belletti’s arrival will also add more depth to the defence. Pompey looked sharp against Manchester United and then against struggling Bolton. I don’t think Harry Redknapp’s men will come to sit back and take the inevitable onslaught from the waves of home attacks and therefore I predict many goals – but Chelsea to come out on top. Prediction: Chelsea to win 3-2

Derby v Birmingham
Billy Davies’s side have displayed more than their current points tally would have you believe and this fixture against fellow new-boys Birmingham is vital to the Rams’ hopes of staying in the big time. The dream team of Rob Earnshaw and Steve Howard is still to get into top gear but the arrival of Yank Eddie Lewis could help them in the final third. Goals haven’t been the problem for Steve Bruce’s side but keeping them out at the other end has been, this can be partly excused given the new set-up in the back four. I think Derby will sneak this one, and I expect a high card count. Prediction: 2-1 to Derby

West Ham v Wigan

Chris Hutchings has silenced a lot of critics, me among them, who felt a Paul Jewell-less Wigan side would be down by Xmas. His ramshackle side have performed wonders thus far; however, whilst the table doesn’t lie, it’s currently doing a pretty good job of fooling people. I still feel Wigan will be battling the drop this season but they may have enough self-esteem now to keep their head above water. West Ham, buoyed by their deserved win at St Andrews and the extended deal signed by Robert Green and Mark Noble, will be too strong for the brief league leaders, but it will be close. Prediction: 2-1 to West Ham with Anton Sibierski making it four from four

Everton v Blackburn (Saturday 17.15)
Two sides who have been pretty quick starters this season; two sides who have the UEFA Cup to look forward to; two sides who are almost impossible to split in terms of progress to date and where they intend to be come next May. If this game is not a draw on your betting slip, then I want to know why! This North-West derby will be a keenly-fought affair – will Yakubu be signed in time to be on the team sheet? I have been impressed with youngster Victor Anichebe’s efforts alongside Andy Johnson for Everton. Mark Hughes and David Moyes both have goalscoring midfielders aplenty from David Bentley and Morten Gamst Pedersen to Mikel Arteta and Leon Osman. I will go for a feisty score draw with again, a referee with lots of offences to punish. Prediction: 1-1

Manchester United v Tottenham (Sunday 16.00)
Now in previous weeks I have successfully stated that United would struggle against Pompey and lose to City, and that Spurs would fail to beat Sunderland and Everton and ease past Derby. So please do not shoot me down in flames for the prediction I am about to make, for it is one that I will back with cash myself.  United are not where their fans expected them to be, seven points off top and short on strikers. Martin Jol will hope that his players will back him to continue his successful tenure at White Hart Lane, and that they will do that by battling at Old Trafford. Spurs’ record against the title holders is pretty dire – 10 defeats and two draws from their last 12 league meetings. However, I am opting for a draw. Before I get the usual raft of ‘what the hell are you talking about’ type comments, I would remind you of two things. A prediction cannot be wrong until the match has been played and, secondly, my recent record of being proved right should not be overlooked. Also, I would encourage all those who post the usual ‘what the hell….’ comments to return to this page and admit being wrong, something I have as yet not seen happen. Prediction: 1-1

Middlesbrough v Newcastle (Sunday 13.30)
It’s derby time and with Michael Owen back to fitness, although still a million miles from his usual world-class self, I think Newcastle will triumph at the Riverside with relative ease. Although Gareth Southgate’s men got a late winner at Craven Cottage, I still think they will find themselves fighting, unsuccessfully, against the drop. They are a side with promising talent in defensive roles but seemingly toothless going forward, even with Mido on board. Sam Allardyce’s reign at St James Park may not have been as explosive as Sven’s at Eastlands but I do feel that the glory days are on their way back to United. Prediction: 2-0 to Newcastle