Stephen Goldsmithwrites: this Villa game has that feeling of a must win one. The same kind of nervous tension struck me twice last season. One turned out to be Steve Bruce’s final game in charge against Wigan, while the other was Martin O’Neill’s first game against Blackburn. Both were monumental in how our season was to shape up – and this weekend’s match could well turn out to be a game of similar proportions.
Liverpool v Newcastle has the potential to swing either way, and just for interest levels I decided the Man U v Arsenal game should be the other to predict. I normally try and insert some witty banter in these opening paragraphs but I’m quite rushed and appear to have none today.
Sunderland v Aston Villa
Jake: After the recent goal drought we’ve endured we are thirsty for goals and the lads will deliver big-style. This will be a deluge, a flood, an inundation the like of which the Stadium Of Light has never witnessed before. A feast of goals will be served up to the hungry masses and they will gorge on them like never before, small children will gasp in awe at the net-bulging sight before them and old men will weep tears of joy. I’m salivating now just thinking about it! Sunderland 1, Aston Villa 0.
Colin:Shades of Bellion. The last time I saw us beat Villa (in a stadium) was when the fast but otherwise clueless Frenchman sprinted the length of the pitch to score. Having missed the ones between my turn has come again. Same nervy outcome (I won’t say what I really think). 1-0
Malcolm:Being a Sunderland fan, to use an old cliche, is to ride the emotional roller coaster and often to get off feeling sick. The season again started with renewed hope, but like so many times before, performances so far have left many of us underwhelmed. The head says that the lack of goal scoring opportunities created this season (Swansea excepted) is a major worry and my expectation that starting with Saha would open up defences didn’t work on Tuesday. My head also says that a frustrated Darren Bent will start the game and show his manager that he can still do the business and score twice. My head says 0-2 to the Villa. But…… I have a fancy that a poor Villa team may be there for the taking and that Saturday may be the day it clicks into place for MON’s men, so I’m going with my heart and a 2-0 win to The Lads. I’m not bothered about winning the Salut predictions league anyway! SAFC 2 – 0 Aston Vanilla
Others: Jeremy 0-1, Robert 2-1, John Mac 2-0, Bill 2-1, Sixer 2-0, Goldy 1-0
Liverpool v Newcastle
Jeremy Robson:Liverpool to despatch Pardew’s Wongas with ease this weekend. Comfortable win for Brendan Rogers which will dampen some of his doubters albeit only temporarily. Liverpool 2 Loan Sharks Lackies 0.
Robert:Barring a lucky goal bouncing off the back of Cisse I think that Liverpool should be able to take all 3 points in this one. They’ve begun to look a little more comfortable in their system and Newcastle still don’t look real sharp. I’ll go 3-1 to Liverpool.
John Mac:LFC put out a different team and they make amends for Wed by scoring early then piling on the pressure. Another sending off for NUFC. 2-0
Others: Colin 3-1, Malcolm 3-1, Bill 2-1, Sixer 1-1, Jake 2-1, Goldy 2-1
Man Utd v Arsenal
Bill:This one will be a bit one-sided, I think. Brandchester may just be coming off a hard-fought, high-scoring defeat by Chelsea but there won’t be much resemblance between that team and this one. Arsenal also had (and won) a hard, goal-glutted match against Reading. The fact that Reading could put 5 past them speaks volumes. Man U 3 Arsenal 1
Goldy:Won’t be an 8 2 but Arsenal will score. But they’ll lose, comfortbaly. And RVP will inevitably score. 3-1
Sixer:Arsenal are now in crisis and Steve Bould is struggling – according to the papers. A few weeks ago, they were potential champions and Steve Bould had turned the defence round. I think United will blow them away. The Gunners will end up in the same group of middle rankers as us and Stoke. Manchester United 3 v Arsenal 0.
Others: Jeremy 3-1, Colin 2-2, Malcolm 4-0, Robert 3-2, John Mac 2-0, Jake 3-1