BPL preview

Life can be depressing, can’t it? Your team is either squandering money on some nobody or not buying anyone at all, England are about as close to having a Ballon d’Or winner as Rochdale is to hosting the African Cup of Nations, and that annoying mate of yours keeps tweeting pictures of his sunny holiday whilst your freezing your happies off in the snow. However this week’s Premier League games are guaranteed to give you something to smile about.

Man City v Arsenal

For every comprehensive 3-0 victory over Stoke, there’s another 2-1 loss against United waiting right around the corner. That’s the problem for Arsenal, beating the big boys (and recently some of the little boys). Just when Koscielny looks confident and commanding at the back, Mertesacker is there turning slower than a ruminating rhino and losing aerial battles to the likes of Aaron Lennon. Clean sheets are now a thing of myth around the Emirates, and when playing away to any team with a bit of quality, utter capitulation is almost expected. Ramsey, Walcott, Ozil and Welbeck are all returning to fitness though.

Meanwhile, thanks to the existence of most boring international tournament in the world, Yaya Toure is off to Africa and with Aguero still not entirely fit, City are slightly weakened. Nevertheless, with the Citizens unbeaten in their last 12 league games and having lost just twice at home under Pellegrini, expect another soul-crushing away defeat for the Gunners, followed by the customary ‘we showed character’ speech from Wenger.

Newcastle v Southampton

Well, there you go Geordies, I hope you’re happy. Bullying is never the answer, and after week upon week of calling him names and stealing his lunch money, Pardew was finally been worn down and has left St James’ Park. Since then, the Magpies have conceded three goals to Burnley and lost to Chelsea. Pardew has left you with Joe Kinnear in charge and is now getting more love at Palace than a Care Bear. But Newcastle have lost just one out of their last nine Premier League matches at home, so expect United to put up a decent fight.

If you thought that Francesco Totti’s selfie celebration was outrageous, then you obviously haven’t seen the Saints’ league position. They’ve recently pulled the pants down of both Man United and Arsenal and are sitting in third place in the Premier League. However, they haven’t won in the North East in their last 10 visits and have Schneiderlin, Alderweireld, Wanyama and Rodriguez all out through injury.

QPR v Man United

To all of those Van Gaal-lovers out there, the Dutchman has accumulated the same number of points over 21 Premier League games as David Moyes, despite having spent a truck-load more than his predecessor. The Scotsman is also now spending his winters living it up in the north of Spain. I think we all know who won. Although, it has to be said that the Van Gaal’s persistence in the wing-back formation is looking like it’s finally working out, and despite the home defeat to Southampton, United are in good form.

QPR, on the other hand, lost 3-0 at home to Sheffield United the other day. But with Austin still injury-free and having scored eight goals in his last seven home league games (we’ll stop bigging him up when he stops scoring), Rangers could cause an upset.