As usual a lot of football this weekend, too much in fact to bring you all in this one article as we don’t want to make you too rich. Here is the guide to all this weekend’s televised games, a little bit of spiel, form guide, team news and all importantly, with the help of www.KickOff.co.uk, we have something to help you get rich this weekend. So have a read then have a click and if you’re feeling dangerous you can put you pound accumulator on via the blog at http://blog.footballrascal.com or just don’t be lazy and get down the bookies! (Always gamble responsibly, even if only a pound!) Great way for a bit of banter with your mates during the live games so lets get involved…
Chelsea vs Arsenal - Saturday 12.45pm KO – Live on Sky Sports 2
Chelsea currently sit 3rd in the Premier League, 1 point behind Manchester United and 6 points behind leaders Manchester City, so only a win will do tomorrow. However Chelsea are up against old rivals Arsenal who come in to this game 7th in the league and 6 points behind their opponents, Arsenal will be eager to pick up the pace to keep themselves in the hunt for Champions League football.
Chelsea have had a roller-coaster of season so far; they have fared well against the sides they should be beating and have picked up points at home and both on the road. In two local derby’s things haven’t been as good with a draw against Fulham and also a loss in Chelsea’s last league game against QPR and we all know what happened there. The only real test have been Stoke away where they managed a goalless draw and they got turned over against Manchester United, to keep in the race this game is a must win.
Arsenal have had a poor start to the season by their standards, but as the ship starts to steady somewhat signs of improvement have started to show. The fact Arsenal are still 7th will give them heart as they are lurking like a gherkin to move up in to the top 6. Arsenal have now won their last 4 games in league and cup and they will be growing in confidence. They haven’t fared well against top 6 sides and this has been telling as they lost to Liverpool and Spurs as well as getting their pants pulled down against Manchester United in the game that finished 8-2. Form against the top 6 so far suggests this is a game they should lose, but they have every chance.
One of the big factors in this game will be what is happening away from the pitch. Chelsea are a club that are in a spot of bother and have spent the last week well and truly in the media spotlight. Supporters will have mixed views on the vote not to sell the freehold back to the club to enable the team to move to a new stadium. No doubt there will be some banners in the ground and debate amongst a divided supporter base. The big issue that surrounds this game is the John Terry racism scandal that has rocked the club and their captain. Terry will miss this game and although AVB has backed him, there must be a strange feeling between the players. Arsenal on the other hand have just had their AGM and are looking to the future, so no real issues pitch side.
Chelsea: Ramires, Hilario, Essien are all out, Didier Drogba suspended. Chelsea welcome back Ashley Cole and Jose Bosingwa as well as Torres from suspenson. Sturridge and Torres are set to start up tops.
Arsenal: Gibbs, Sagna, Wilshere are all out. Jenkinson is 50:50 and Vermaelen will be in the squad but is short of match fitness. Park Chu-young pushing for start.
Rascal Verdict: We have been consulting Betto our resident gambler and he is mad for a draw. With the problems at Chelsea and Arsenal’s renewed spirit we agree…but remember it is a derby and anything can happen!
West Brom vs Liverpool - Saturday 5.30pm KO – Live on ESPN
West Brom come in to this game occupying 12th on the league, but with a large pack of clubs divided by only a couple of points, if results go their way, they could be up to the dizzy heights of 7th of they get a win against Liverpool. Liverpool are keeping pace with the current top 6 and 6th spot is where they are at the minute. They currently have 16 points, 1 point behind Spurs in 5th and a win off Chelsea and also Newcastle in 3rd and 4th respectively. Liverpool will be desperate to stay in that mix to give the squad the belief that Champions League football can genuinely return to Anfield come next season.
Roy Hodgson has turned West Brom in to a tough side to beat and other than a 3-0 loss to Swansea, all their other losses have only been by a margin of a single goal. Their home form has been stuttery but they come in to this game unbeaten in 4 off the back of 2 local derby wins, so they should be confident despite the quality of the opposition.
Liverpool are another side who aren’t running away with things but participating in some tight encounters. Their form is a little all over the place but they are picking up points which is key. Liverpool are no pushover’s who remain unbeaten at Anfield, but with 3 wins and 2 losses on the road you are not always sure which Liverpool will turn up. They can take confidence by their cup win this week away to Stoke and will be desperate to push on against West Brom.
West Brom: Shane Long is the major absentee for West Brom so either Somen Tchoyi or Simon Cox should partner Peter Odemwingie upfront.
Liverpool: Late decision to be made on Luis Suarez but good news for LFC fans is that Glen Johnson and Steven Gerrard are both available.
Rascal Verdict: Tough one to call, but Betto always has an answer and he went for…Liverpool to win but mentioned there won’t be much in it so it could easily be a draw. Thanks for that Betto, we’re going to stick our necks out a bit more and go Liverpool win.
Tottenham vs QPR - Sunday 4.00pm KO – Live on SkySports 1
Spurs take on QPR this weekend as the derby’s just keep coming. QPR are travelling to White Hart Lane for the first time in 15 years and will be hoping they can follow up their other London derby scalp that they secured against Chelsea. The win last weekend pushed QPR up the league and they will want to keep the momentum up and get as many points on the board as early as possible. Spurs are already pushing for a Champions League spot and need to keep up early pace if they want to stay in touching distance of the top teams as the sides from Manchester start to open up a gap.
Tottenham’s season really started after getting a drumming off both Manchester City and United, since then they are unbeaten in both the league and cup and will see the home game against an inconsistent QPR as the perfect opportunity for the run to continue. Spurs’ results have sent them to 5th in league with a game in hand, that if won, would put them joint 3rd with Chelsea, so Spurs will be conscious not to drop points, especially at home. They will be wary of QPR though as this is a derby and the R’s will no doubt be well up for it.
QPR season has been inconsistent, they have been beaten by Fulham in another derby 6-0 and also lost to Bolton 4-0, both of which were away and on the road is where QPR seem a little vulnerable to say the least. At home things are a lot tighter, having squeezed a 1-0 win against Chelsea and had three draws against Aston Villa, Newcastle and Blackburn they seem to be a different proposition at Loftus Road and will be desperate to pick up some away form. QPR main issue seems to be scoring goals, so with a free-flowing Spurs side attacking them it could be the perfect time to nick a couple of goals and steel a win.
Spurs: Good news for Spurs as Gallas, Corluka, King (50:50 as usual), Sandro and Pienaar are all available. Huddlestone and Dawson are still out.
QPR: DJ Campbell and Danny Gabbidon are still a long way from fitness, but Rob Hulse is set to return.
Rascal Verdict: Say boom boom boom let me hear you say Betto…alright then don’t, but Betto thinks this is a home win, the office at Rascal Towers also agrees so get the bets on!
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