#5 – Emmanuel Adebayor will make Tottenham’s former manager Andre Villas-Boas question the decision to relegate the striker to the reserve team. Instrumental in winning the crucial penalty against Stoke, Adebayor scored at Old Trafford to send Spurs on their way to a famous victory.
#4 – We haven’t heard the last of streak-breakers Torres and Huddlestone. Having broken Chelsea’s streak of 13 months without a striker scoring an away league goal, Fernando Torres will feel a weight lifted that surely means only good things for his finishing. Meanwhile in Hull, Tom Huddlestone may never be a major goal threat, but proved his all-around worth in the historic 6-0 second-half thrashing of Fulham. Finding the bottom after beating his defender, then providing for another with an outrageous free-kick, the Englishman now awaits an epic trip to the barber, having left his hair uncut since his last league goal in April, 2011.
#3 – Liverpool will be really hoping Luis Suarez stays fit. The Premier League’s in-form player is the Reds’ best hope for European qualification, but has started to endure a barrage of fouling that seriously threatens his fitness. Hull were the latest team to use tactical fouls to limit the Uruguayan’s effectiveness, but he nonetheless managed to show an upside to his treatment by curling in a brilliant, picture-perfect top corner free-kick. Now the joint-fastest to reach 20 league goals, and with 15 goals in his last seven home matches, Suarez is on track to single-handedly achieve his personal ambition of Champions League football.
#2 – Jose Mourinho will use Chelsea’s strength and depth to challenge for the title. He’s begun to find his optimal rotation policy; his starting strikers both scored in the last two matches and two of his substitutions scored in the win at Southampton. Often criticized for the past omission of Juan Mata, Mourinho’s decision to take off the Spaniard proved astute, and the Portuguese manager might find the bench to be Chelsea’s best friend, stocked full of talent desperate to break into the team.
#1 – Arsenal will need ugly football to win the title. A far cry from their majestic routs early in the season, the league leader’s three straight wins came while performing well below their best. They were forced to come from behind to sneak past West Ham, needed both an airtight defense and clinical attack to convert their rare chance at Newcastle, and left it until the 88th minute for substitute Nicklas Bendtner to break Cardiff hearts. On the evidence of recent matches, and in contrast to former seasons, this Arsenal team can win ugly.
Hull 1 – 3 Chelsea, Torres scoring again.
Manchester United 2 – 1 Swansea, with Moyes getting back on track.
Newcastle 2 – 3 Manchester City, who continue to look strong.
Aston Villa 1 – 2 Arsenal, just edging their opponents again.
How I did last time: 2 for 4. Incorrectly anticipated draws for Arsenal and Chelsea.
My record this season: 41 for 72.
My record all-time: 118 for 207.