PL Preview: The Black Country Derby, the top four understudies and two other big local clashes

The FA Cup has gone and the Premier League is back.

Cue more drama and more comical VAR decisions! Have you missed it? I haven’t really, but its where the money is and its what is on the tele so that’s all that matters.

Another big schedule this week, minus Aston Villa who didn’t feel fit to put their kids out in the Premier League, after their brave display in the FA Cup against Liverpool.

We’ll come onto that piece tomorrow, but first here are four potential crackers for the weekend and a chance for you to go head to head with me on game predictions.

The Black Country Derby is back – it could be humiliation or the turning point

The last time the two sides met Albion made the short trip back from Wolverhampton with three points and a 5-1 victory (get it in there early).

Oh how times have changed in the Black Country.

Wolves are the big spending powerhouse under Nuno. Albion are a quivering wreck in the corner at the moment.

Big Sam is trying to coax them out of that, but the players are adament at the moment they want to go down with a whimper.

He won’t have that though and is already trying to overall the squad ready for the Allarydce adventure rescue mission.

Wolves, by their high stands in recent years, are a bit off the pace this season and are without a win in five.

That form makes Albion’s look good. There’s is rotten and if Wolves and firing and Albion are at their usual average, then the Old Gold will have a field day.

But this could be different. Is it the chance for a turning point for Albion. The Wolves fan turning around their rivals fortunes by beating them? Would be some story.

Parker could become the top dog in West London

Shows how wrong pundits and writers can be doesn’t it (and yes, I put myself in that category sometimes).

“Dead and buried Fulham, awful,” “you might as well relegate them now.”

These comments wasn’t from those god awful Twitter pages who spam your thread with memes, these were from top pundits.

They had Fulham down, but Scott Parker has turned it around and after their draw at Spurs they are up to 12 points.

By no means are they sitting pretty for want of a better word. They are 18th, but considering you had people slamming them left right and centre a few weeks ago, it is a remarkable turn around.

In contrast, old Super Frank has had one win in five and looks in a bad way after his summer splurge.

A big chance for a big three points, and the Kings Road bragging rights.

Is this the top four understudy clash?

Is this the top four understudy match up for the title of best of the rest, or is that a bit unfair on Leicester?

They capitulated last season but looked for all the world like they were going to quality for the Champions League.

This season they are fourth and face Southampton who have themselves stepped in with ‘the big boys’ this season.

These are probably the clubs you put in that top bracket behind the big four or five, but if one broke in this season they would be more than deserving of it.

This should be a class match up for the unofficial crown of best of the rest.

That other derby

Manchester United top and Liverpool second – no one told me we were back in the mid 2000s.

No one would have seen this coming, especially those, me included, who were questioning whether Solskjaer was up to the job a few months ago.

But so far in recent months he has proved his worth and is now going toe to toe with the man and the club who have been the talk of English football for two years.

I’m sure Klopp himself and Liverpool didn’t expect their nearest rival going into mid January to be Manchester United.

But they are and they could push them all the way this season.

I do hope this isn’t a bore draw derby with both team cancelling each other out. That’ll possibly be the tactic of United more than Liverpool.

You’d like to think the Reds will be their old expansive selves, but you never know.

Also for neutral fans, they don’t want to see a winner. A draw would suffice in this top stop any week long, unbearable Twitter bragging.

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