Paul Parker

Fabianski will be found out… again

Paul Parker

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Upset of the weekend: Birmingham City v Chelsea

Chelsea seem to be extremely vulnerable at the moment, and there is no doubt that Carlo Ancelotti's side have lost their edge of late.

Birmingham have a strong home record in the Premier League, and everyone would be keen to face Chelsea at the moment, given how poor they have been defensively.

The Blues were almost invincible at the back under Jose Mourinho, but Sunderland made a mockery of them last week and things have to improve significantly at St Andrew's.

Paulo Ferreira is one of the worst defenders I have seen represent a top-four side, and he is bad enough at full-back, let alone at the heart of the defence. The Portuguese is a liability and if he starts Birmingham should get at him.

Chelsea must be really struggling to play Ferreira at centre half, and Cameron Jerome could give him a roasting with the right service.

I can certainly see Birmingham getting at least a point against Ancelotti's side, and the pressure will really be on the visitors following their thrashing at home to Sunderland.

It must be said that Liverpool are very fortunate to be facing an extremely poor West Ham side, and Roy Hodgson's side should have enough to beat the Hammers at Anfield.

West Ham are nailed on for relegation, and the players Avram Grant has at his disposal are very poor: he must take his fair share of responsibility for that, but I expect Liverpool to have too much for them.

Match of the weekend: Arsenal v Tottenham

Without any doubt, the North London derby at the Emirates should be a real cracker. I fancy Arsenal to beat Tottenham, but it is sure to be an open, entertaining clash.

There will always be goals in a match involving these two sides and, with both defences exceedingly poor, I expect there to be at least three in the match.

I can see the Gunners really struggling at the back if Spurs pile good deliveries into their box, but the hosts should have too much class for Harry Redknapp's team.

Samir Nasri is having his best season in an Arsenal shirt, and I expect Arsene Wenger's side to dominate the midfield and retain possession to suffocate Spurs.

The visitors will be let down by William Gallas et al at the back, and I can see Arsenal tearing that very mediocre defence to shreds.

Prediction: Arsenal 2-1 Tottenham

Under pressure: Roberto Mancini (Fulham v Manchester City)

The Manchester City boss simply has to take all three points from Craven Cottage, and the man thing he will be fighting is his own mentality.

Mancini continues to make a rod for his own back in setting his side out defensively in matches he really needs to win, and this could be a classic example of that.

If you have spent as much money as City have, you just cannot adopt a conservative approach at Craven Cottage, and must chase the victory with all you have.

Undoubtedly there is too much onus on Carlos Tevez to perform for City, and their talismanic skipper must have some of the pressure taken off his shoulders with a second striker alongside him.

Mark Hughes will know full well that a draw would be a fantastic result for his side and, given that the Cottagers are the stalemate specialists of the league, they could hold their visitors.

I would be loath to say that Mancini would be sacked if City don't win against Fulham, but you just do not know how the club's owners think, and the overly-talkative chief executive Garry Cook could be the first to go.

Player to watch: Lukasz Fabianski (Arsenal v Tottenham)

I don't buy this whole Fabianski 'resurgence' claim which Wenger is trotting out at the moment: the Pole is an absolute liability and the weak link for his side.

Redknapp will be imploring his side to get as many deliveries into the box as possible, and Fabianski will have at least one howler in him over the course of the match if the visitors can test him sufficiently.

With Gareth Bale on one flank and Aaron Lennon on the other, Spurs should have enough pace and width to stretch the Arsenal defence and expose the goalkeeper, with the forwards ready to pounce.

They used to say that Bruce Grobbelaar made strange decisions in coming off his line and dealing with balls in the box, but Fabianski takes that to a whole new level: I just don't know where his head is at sometimes.

Believe me when I say that the Pole's name will feature heavily in Redknapp's team talks and strategies, and Arsenal need to guard against their biggest weakness proving to be their undoing.

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