The seventh round of matches in the 2012-2013 Premiership season kicks off as the tired champions host a team they struggle against, Sunderland; League leaders Chelsea have a relatively easy match at home against Norwich; Arsenal travel not to far in another London derby against West Ham while Manchester United travel to Newcastle.
Manchester City (4th) vs Sunderland (13th), 12:45
Roberto Mancini is fuming at the fact that his team gets less than 72 hours to prepare for their match against Sunderland, the only team City failed to beat last season. The Black Cats arrive at this match undefeated, winning their latest league match against Wigan 1-0. They’ll be missing Lee Cattermole, Phil Bardsley and Wes Brown. City, coming off a dramatic win over Fulham and a Champions League draw against Dortmund, will be missing Maicon at right back. City, obviously, are favorites to win, and we’re picking them.
Swansea (11th) vs Reading (19th), 15:00
Swansea have quickly expired as the fresh hit of the Premier League, losing three in a row without scoring a single goal. Too soft for the competition it seems, and will be missing Kemy Agustien. For Reading, still without a win this season but after an uplifting draw against Newcastle last week, goalkeeper Adam Federici is out. Swansea are on a downward spiral, but will score and get at least one point from this one.
West Brom (6th) vs QPR (20th), 15:00
West Brom have yet to drop a single point in a home match this season, coming away with a 1-1 draw in Birmingham against Aston Villa last week. Steven Reid and Jerome Thomas are injured for the side favored to win against QPR, drawing only two matches and losing four to start off the season, as under pressure Mark Hughes is missing too many defensive players and Samba Diakite. Looks like another loss for Rangers.
Wigan (16th) vs Everton (2nd), 15:00
It’s been a terrible start, as always, for Wigan, losing their last three matches while scoring only once. Antolin Alcaraz will be missing from Roberto Martinez’ side, playing against an Everton team that’s not only winning, but impressing with their style and verve. Tony Hibbert and Darron Gibson are out for David Moyes. Everton are obvious favorites, but there’s a feeling of a draw in the air.
Chelsea (1st) vs Norwich (18th), 15:00
A complete mismatch, because all of Chelsea’s problems shouldn’t stop them from beating a terrible Norwich side that still hasn’t won this season. Roberto Di Matteo has a full squad except for Daniel Sturridge, but he doesn’t like using him anyway. For the Cannaries, Steven Whittaker and Harry Kane are out. Clearly a Chelsea win.
West Ham (7th) vs Arsenal (8th), 17:30
Andy Carroll is back for West Ham, although an unsure starter, joining a Hammers side that hasn’t lost in their last four matches, while Arsenal are trying to recuperate from their first loss of the season with another London Derby, which they won two seasons ago 3-0 at Upton Park. The Gunners are missing Wojciech Szczesny and Abou Diaby among long-term absentees. West Ham won’t win this one, but a draw is possible.
Southampton (17th) vs Fulham (9th), 13:30 on Sunday
Still above the relegation zone despite losing more matches than anyone else, Southampton will try and take advantage of Fulham missing both Mladen Petric and Dimitar Berbatov. Feels like a draw, despite both teams not experiencing one this season.
Liverpool (14th) vs Stoke (12th), 15:00 on Sunday
Have the floodgates been finally opened? Both teams won their first matches of the season last week, but Stoke have only lost once so far in a rough fixture at Stamford Bridge, while Liverpool have big problems with their defense, and usually struggle against Tony Pulis’ side. Jonjo Shelvey will be out for the home side serving his suspension; no one is out for Stoke. Liverpool win? Possibly. A draw makes more sense.
Tottenham (5th) vs Aston Villa (15th), 15:00 on Sunday
If Spurs can beat Manchester United at Old Trafford, anything is possible. Aston Villa have been looking bad all season, even when they’re not losing, but they’ve picked up only one point from a possible nine on the road. Tottenham didn’t play too well in the Europa League, but should do better against Paul Lambert’s limited side. Both teams have no new injuries.
Newcastle (10th) vs Manchester United (3rd), 16:00 on Sunday
Big big match, as Newcastle have been struggling to win in the league, but looked very impressive in a 3-0 win over Bordeaux on Thursday. Manchester United are licking their wounds from the loss to Tottenham, but like what they see on the offensive side of things, with Wayne Rooney back in business. Tim Krul, Fabricio Coloccini, Steven Taylor and Ryan Taylor are still out, meaning United should win against a depleted defense. Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young, Chris Smalling, Nemanja Vidic and Phil Jones are still out for United.