Premier League 2012, Week 15 Preview And Fixtures: A Pair Of London Derbies Highlight The Weekend

Shaun Botterill

The Rafa Benitez show continues as Chelsea take on West Ham at Upton Park, while Clint Dempsey makes his first trip back to Craven Cottage since moving to Spurs in August.

West Ham United vs. Chelsea

Saturday, 12:45 GMT/7:45 AM ET; Upton Park

Neutrals tend to root for the underdog, and in this case the collective desire for a West Ham win likely has measurable mass. I mean can you even imagine how hilarious things will get if Chelsea loses this game? Louis C.K. and Patton Oswalt would have to retire because nothing they could do would ever come close to being so funny as the reaction from the Chelsea faithful.

Pick: Chelsea, 2-0

Arsenal vs. Swansea City

Saturday, 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET; Emirates Stadium

Prediction: Arsenal and Swansea City will complete more passes in this game than Stoke City and Sunderland will attempt all season. Another prediction: Arsene Wenger will accuse Swansea of playing "anti-football" after the match.

Pick: Arsenal, 3-1

Fulham vs. Tottenham Hotspur

Saturday, 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET; Craven Cottage

If any player has earned an unwelcome reception upon returning to his old stomping grounds it's Clint Dempsey, but it's really difficult to imagine Fulham fans being anything close to unpleasant. They'll probably just give him lukewarm applause and not congratulate him if he scores a goal.

Pick: Fulham, 2-1

Liverpool vs. Southampton

Saturday, 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET; Anfield

Southampton is in desperate need of a win if they hope to pull themselves out of the relegation zone, but oh dear has their away form ever been horrible. Liverpool could similarly do with three points because everyone laughing at them is really starting to hurt Jamie Carragher's feelings.

Pick: Liverpool, 3-1

Manchester City vs. Everton

Saturday, 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET; Etihad Stadium

City is still unbeaten in the league. That will probably end eventually, and Everton is good enough to be the team that pulls it off. Screw it, I'm just predicting upsets until they lose.

Pick: Everton, 1-0

Queens Park Rangers vs. Aston Villa

Saturday, 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET; Loftus Road

The 'Arry Era ('Arra?) began with Tuesday's 0-0 draw against Sunderland, a decent enough result but likely not the kind of thing the new manager will be looking for going forward. QPR has a pretty decent sized hole out of which to dig themselves, and wins are a much more effective way of managing that kind of thing. Luckily for QPR: Aston Villa.

Pick: Draw, 1-1

West Bromwich Albion vs. Stoke City

Saturday, 15:00 GMT/10:00 AM ET; The Hawthorns

Wednesday was a fairly unpleasant day for the Baggies, but Saturday is going to be far worse because it involves playing Stoke City. I can't believe the UN hasn't banned them yet.

Pick: West Brom, 1-0

Reading vs. Manchester United

Saturday, 17:30 GMT/12:30 PM ET; Madejski Stadium

The script is pretty well written; United will struggle for large portions of the game, possibly even falling behind. In the end, they'll manage to do just enough to win and lots of people will talk about them being vulnerable. This will happen another 15 times this season at least, and when the year is over United will probably be champions. Repeat two out of every three years for the rest of eternity.

Pick: United 2-1

Norwich City vs. Sunderland

Sunday, 16:00 GMT/11:00 AM ET

There is at least a decent chance that Sunderland will end the week in the relegation zone. With the amount of talent on that team, such a state of affairs is inexcusable. Steve Bruce was sacked for less. How much longer does Martin O'Neill get before the same fate befalls him? (The answer is probably a lot longer because MON is a much better manager than Bruce.)

Pick: Norwich City, 2-1

Newcastle United vs. Wigan Athletic

Monday, 20:00 GMT/3:00 PM ET

Newcastle is not in good shape right now, and with Yohan Cabaye set to miss a significant amount of time it looks like things good get worse before they get better. Newcastle's mediocrity doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but given expectations they need to start playing much better football. Wigan, on the other hand, can keep right on doing what they're doing and be just fine. Context is like that.

Pick: Draw, 2-2

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.