The title says it all. A fantastic weekend of sport including the return of the Premiership, the top two clash in the Bundesliga, A huge domestic fight in Britain, the return of Manny Pacquaio and if you are into it the Ashes and the last of the Autumn internationals are also taking place in the Rugby. Here is what is on the box this weekend with predictions.
Everton Vs Liverpool (BT Sport 1 12.45 KO)
Everton's recent run in the Merseyside derby is dreadful and Liverpool have made a great start to the season. Roberto Martinez has mad a decent start to his Everton career and he will look at this as a platform for the rest of the season. I fancy that Everton could give Liverpool a really good game here and might nick the victory especially if they can neutralize the service to Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge and also get the service to their own star striker Romalu Lukakau. A narrow home win.
Prediction: Everton 1 Liverpool 0
Arsenal Vs Southampton (Setanta Sports 1 3.00 KO)
Arsenal will want to bounce back from their disappointing defeat to Manchester United last time out and I think they will although it will be difficult against a Southampton side who are third place in the premiership on merit. Problem is for Southampton away from home especially they have struggled to score goals and that is why I think the might come undone here. Also Theo Walcott and possibly Lukas Poldolski will be back for this game which will be a boost for the Gunners. Another narrow home win.
Prediction: Arsenal 1 Southampton 0
West Ham Vs. Chelsea ( Sky Sports 1 5.30 KO)
West Ham are badly struggling and Jose Mourinho is under fire a little bit for the way he has handled some of his players and also some of the results Chelsea have accumulated this season. West Ham are badly missing Andy Carroll and seem to be lost mainly in what they are trying to do and have been mainly terrible at home. Chelsea should have too much for them but I have been wrong about them before in this blog. Will go for them here though.
Prediction: West Ham 1 Chelsea 2
Man. City vs. Tottenham (Sky Sports 1 1.30 KO)
City have been Jekyll and Hyde this season mainly away from home truthfully. One thing they do not struggle to do is score goals in Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo they have a very potent partnership up front. Spurs this season have struggled to score goals from open play when they have been in the front foot and questions have been asked as to why Jermain Defoe or Eric Lamela have not been given more chances in the first team at the expense of Roberto Soldado who has struggled since he joined the North London club at the start of the season. This game will suit them ore but I see City who are still invincible at home to have too much for Spurs.
Prediction: Man. City 2 Spurs 0
Cardiff Vs Manchester United (Sky Sports 1 4.00 KO)
Man. Utd. have found a way to win under David Moyes. They rely heavily on their two wingers and two strikers to get the goals and be very compact and tight behind them while pressing. This worked very well against Arsenal. Cardiff after their win against Swansea will be in a better place than they were before the Swans game and also should give United problems going forward. I do still see United winning although Robin Van Persie might be out which will be a blow. A tight away win.
Prediction. Cardiff 1 Man Utd. 2
West Brom Vs. Aston Villa (Sky Sports 8.00 KO)
A midlands derby of sorts which is very important for both teams. West Brom were rightly aggrieved with the poor penalty decision against Chelsea which cost them two points.Villa have been hit and miss but are better than they were last season. I fancy West Brom to win this and by a couple of goals as they generally do well at the Hawthorns when they are on a run. Home Win.
Prediction: West Brom 3 Aston Villa 1.
Quick Predictions for the rest of the games.
Fulham 2 Swansea 2
Hull 2 Palace 0
Newcastle 3 Norwich 1
Stoke 1 Sunderland 1
Which leaves us then with the big two in the Bundesliga!
Borussia Dortmund Vs Bayern Munich (BT Sports 1 5.30 KO)
Fantastic that this is on and I think this will be a barn burner sorry for the cliche. I do have Munich as slight favourites but this is really hard to predict. Dortmund have serious problems as they have none of their first choice defenders while Munich have Bastian Schweinsteiger (ankle), Claudio Pizarro (thigh), Xherdan Shaqiri (thigh) and Holger Badstuber (knee) on the sidelines. Whatever is left of Munich's attack though should fancy going after the depleted Dortmund;s defence and are favourites to nick an away victory.
Result: Dortmund 1 Munich 2
Carl Froch Vs. George Groves (Sky Box Office Fight approx 10.15 p.m.)
George Groves has given a good account of himself in the thrash talking before the fight but he will he cause a shock on the night? I think Froch will win out because his experience and his jab will counter Groves' power shots and his constant movement which he will try and employ like he did against James DeGale which was Groves biggest fight to date. Froch will eventually find his target and wear Groves Down.
Prediction:Froch by UD 12.
Manny Pacquiao Vs. Brandon Rios (
Even though Rios and his camp have talked up his chances in this fight the centre of attention as always has been on Manny Pacquiao. Does he have enough hunger left and does he have enough in the tank to counter the speed and aggression Rios does have. Rios lost a rematch to Mike Alvarado last time out while Manny was famously knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez in their fourth bout together.
"The fight should be pretty even for about the first six rounds.
Pacquiao should be able to win early as Rios settles in. Then the
underdog should settle in and start using that power to level things out
heading into the second half of the bout.
From there, Pacquiao's big-fight experience should prove vital. He
knows how to pace himself to go the distance while Rios is going to use a
lot of energy looking for the knockout. Pac-Man should take advantage of that to score a late KO of his own." (Reference: Daniels, Tim Bleacher Report, 20th November 2013).
Prediction Pacquiao by KO 11
Ireland Vs New Zealand (RTE 2 2.00 KO)
Ireland at the moment are in a cross roads so to speak. Difficult decisions need to be made now to benefit the team for later on. Some players are on the last legs including Brian O' Driscoll, Gordon Darcy and Paul O' Connell but also the problem is where are the replacements for these three legends. The other problem is the modern game has passed Ireland by a little bit especially in our forward line. We have players like Sean O'Brien and Cian Healy who are great especially at the breakdown but are not particularly mobile and you have England for an example who have those same type of players but who are also skilled ball carriers who can make huge yards just by running with the ball and help their back line get the ball in more advanced areas. Courtney Lawes, Tom Wood and the captain Chris Robshaw being prime examples. And Ireland's opponents on Sunday who by far and away are the best examples of this with players like Owen Franks, player of the year Kieran Read and longtime captain Richie McCaw.Ireland will no doubt put up more of a fight than they did against Australia but expect the All Blacks to run rampant especially in the second half it won't be pretty.
Prediction: Ireland 9 New Zealand 50
An amazing weekend ahead and I will leave you with the Zlatan and Ronaldo show from during the week in the World Cup Play Offs. To next time.