There are some cracking matches in store in the Premiership this first weekend of December 2005, starting with the Saturday lunchtime match when the gathering force that is Liverpool should prove to strong for fading visitors Wigan Athletic.
The traditional three o'clock games feature a fistful of fiery fixtures which I predict will see a stuttering Blackburn Rovers being just too strong for underperforming Everton; Bolton Wanderers will do well to hold visitors Arsenal to a draw; barring an earthquake in West London it's hard to see leaders Chelsea failing to beat an unpredictable Middlesbrough; Newcastle United versus Aston Villa could go either way as both these struggling teams look to build some momentum but I expect Newcastle to take all three points; if Tottenham Hotspur are serious about their European aspirations, they'll treat the visit of bottom placed Sunderland as a chance for some serious goalscoring; meanwhile in the basement battle of the weekend, West Bromwich Albion will confirm their recent improvement against Fulham and will go above them in the table if they win by 3 goals or more. The most emotional match of the day will be in the North West as a grieving Manchester United will look to mark the funeral of George Best this morning with a stylish victory against currently managerless Portsmouth.
The Sunday fixture offers the prospect of a feast of attacking football as the positive minded teams of Charlton Athletic and Manchester City collide in East London and I suspect The Sky Blues will head home the happier.
This week's games are wrapped up with the Monday night game between the seriously underperforming Birmingham City and a sparkling West Ham United, who should take all three points.
This article is cross-posted on BlogCritics.