It was touch and go this week whether you’d get some predictions out of Pierre, he’s been a busy little owl, for example he spent most of Wednesday ignoring his significant other in case she asked him to marry her and then later that day, after he’d successfully dodged that ball and chain laden bullet, he slipped into a boredom induced international football based coma after he’d finished sticking pins in his Adrian Chiles Voodoo Doll in the hope that the spud faced TV anchortwonk would start twitching live on air.
But fear not dear avid and loyal reader, he recovered enough to file his weekly guesses for the weekend’s top premiership action, although he does have a curiously bitter taste in his mouth and is wondering whether someone spiked his milkshake with Marmite, Benzedrine and essence of wasp nest. Anyway, enough of the personal tragedies of the medium sized barn owl, more football based predicting chat, enjoy.
Barclays Premier League
Saturday 3rd March
Saturday 3rd March
One supposes that if, after crushing their local rivals with a devastating five goal barrage to win the North London derby and in the process, reminded Spurs that they may have the monkey chopped, welsh, wing wizard Gareth Bale plodding up and down the pitch like a turbo-charged Duracell bunny on steroids and they may have spent most of the season living in the rarefied world of the Premier League’s top three places but that doesn’t automatically mean that they’re better than the mighty Gunners, then Arsenal may have preferred to have a pleasant little fixture at one of the league’s softer and easily beatable gaggle of chumps so they could make that result stick, instead the fickle fixture computer sends them off to the red half of Merseyside to play a side that has just won it’s first bit of silverware in about 175 years, a piece of silverware that only serves to remind Arsenal that they haven’t won so much as a cuddly toy at a hoopla stand at the local fairground in the last few seasons. It probably isn’t the place they’d have chosen to go if they were picking a game that would help cement that Spurs result into something more concrete and go on a winning streak as the season boils down to an exciting climax. Oh well, you’ve got to go to Anfield at some point, and let’s face it, that Carling Cup win over a Championship side wasn’t exactly a walloping for the Reds, they had to work very hard and for large parts of the game Cardiff matched up very well to Liverpool. If RVP managed to get out of Wembley unscathed then they have a chance, but they’ll need a similar level of performance from Van Persie’s supporting cast if they’re going to win at
Liverpool and we all know that this hasn’t always happened this season. It’s a tough one to call and because sometimes it’s easier to take the coward’s way out, even for a mighty brave owl like me, I’m going for a low scoring draw.
Liverpool 1 – Arsenal 1
|Kean (L) & McLeish (R)|
Are there two less popular
Managers on the planet?
Both of these sides are having totally horrific seasons, it’s just that
Blackburn’s is more horrific, and it might be a little unfair to say it, but I think they both have the wrong manager in the top job. Blackburn’s job is to be an annoyance to the bigger clubs in the Premier League by spending most of each season pottering about, winning here, losing there and generally being about as anonymous as an anti-social ghost, but doing just enough each season to stay in the league. For that, they need a manager who knows how to keep things tight at the back by sticking two banks of limited but enthusiastic players in front of the goalkeeper and being hard to score against, I don’t think Steve Kean is that guy. I don’t know what sort of guy he is mind, but he’s not that guy. Aston Villa’s job is to spend each season moaning about how unfair things are that other clubs get to spend lots of money, mostly buying their best players, and just do not enough to finish each season in a final position that means you could describe that season as a success but not in the way that when they were bothering, but not really actually bothering, the top four a couple of seasons ago. It was all built on good, young, quick players who kept even the top teams honest in most games and at least put up something of an attacking threat in games. With Alex McLeish it seems that they A) don’t have that attacking threat but B) don’t have a particularly sound defence either, which is what you’d expect a team to do if they were sacrificing one footballing philosophy for another by switching from being a mostly attacking team with good defenders to a defensive team with a dangerous counter-attack. If I’m honest, and I am, I’m not crying about either of these clubs and their respective woes. I doubt the Premier League would be worse off if Southampton or West Ham replaced Blackburn or Aston Villa. The Villains are little more than an unlikable gaggle of whiney bitches who spend most seasons harking back to rose-tinted glory days of past success while their football club gets steadily and steadily worse with each passing season. For what it’s worth I think Blackburn will win this, because they need the win more and Villa are a bit soft, although it could easily be the worst game of football played this season in any division in any league anywhere on the planet.
Blackburn 2 – Aston Villa 1
If the football fixture computer was harsh on Arsenal then it clearly has a mean spirited vendetta against
Bolton, away at last week, away at Chelsea this week. If you won that in a raffle you’d want your pound back, I'm not sure if a autonomous machine like a fixture computer can exact vengeance on something but I've seen Tron, Lawnmower Man and Terminator so if I were Bolton I'd be a bit worried. I can’t see any way that Manchester City Bolton can win this game, if they get away without being beaten by more than the three goals that they shipped last week at it could be deemed something of a successful trip down the road. Man City are better than Chelsea, and Chelsea scored three times whilst they were on a hideous run of form, and although Man City haven’t exactly been pulling up trees recently by smashing sides they have still been winning games, just about. A weak and feeble Bolton side who seem to have turned calamitous defending and not marking players in their six-yard box into something of a speciality should be just the easy-whipping tonic that Manchester City need given that their two closest challengers for the title are squaring off against one another 24hrs later. Stamford Bridge
City 5 – Manchester Bolton 0
Queen’s Park Rangers
Queen’s Park Rangers
|How will the Toffees fare without|
Pierre’s predicting nemesis, Alan Hansen, reckons that QPR will stay up this season, well yeah the fool might be right, but not because they’re any good. Because there are three, actually probably four, very shit teams in the league, who are probably all worse than QPR, but QPR would get relegated in any other season. If the idea is to survive just because you’re not quite as shit as some other sides then I suppose that’s fine but this is supposed to be the best league in Europe (it isn’t, clearly) and only having ambitions to be fourth or fifth bottom but still being rubbish is no way to go, all of which confirms my belief that the quicker we restructure things, stop pretending that the Premier League is some sort of quality riddled product, farm the best six teams off to lose each week to the cream of Europe, allow the teams left behind to plod about in a more realistic sea of mediocrity and go back to a more 80s based level of quality when the football was shit but entertaining, the better. Away win.
Prediction: QPR 1 – Everton 2
Stoke City Vs
Stoke City Vs
If we had abandoned the charade that the Premier League is actually a good league last year these two would be battling things out for the league title right now. And
would be in with a very serious chance of winning the whole thing, although I can’t see them catching Norwich Liverpool at this stage. But that’s a nice thing for a team who were wallowing in the third tier of English football this time two seasons ago and shows what can be done if you get the right manager in and have a proper structure and a loyal support base. That being said it’s never an easy journey to Stoke and this game is likely to be a serious test of those credentials, although I said that when Norwich went to South Wales to play Swansea not so long ago and they won that game. Oh and how can goalie, John Ruddy, not be one of the top three English goalkeepers currently playing Stuart Pearce? Huh? Answer that? It isn’t like the two you picked after Joe Hart were any good is it? This game has draw all over it, and it will probably be the last game on MOTD, which will be a shame because it’ll probably be quite entertaining. Norwich
Prediction: Stoke 2 –
Nine goals in two games? What the fuck happened at
West Brom? Did they all of a sudden get an up to date manual on how football works and for the first time it included that ever so elusive chapter on page one of their new edition that said “Go Score Goals”? To sum that nine goal Baggies blitzkrieg up, it took them nine games to score their last nine goals, a run of fixtures that took them all the way back to before Christmas. So what happened? Well I don’t think anyone really knows and it probably even baffles Roy Hodgson because it’s rare that he sends out a team that sets up to knock in four or five goals in a game. He normally makes do with making the other team work hard to beat his sides before worrying about bothering to score goals himself. I doubt they’ll score four or five against but I don’t think that means they won’t win. Last week’s win over hapless Bolton only serves to mask serious issues at Stamford Bridge and a tough trip to one of the least metropolitan parts of the West Midlands isn’t much fun when you’re bang on form, and Chelsea aren’t, so home win and more going back to the drawing board to work out a way for a team with too many aging players or not-good-enough-for-the-top-of-the-Premier-League, talent deficient lead weights to win games of football, much head scratching and sleepless nights for AVB next week. Chelsea
West Brom 2 – Chelsea 1
|Better than Downing? Did Scott|
Sinclair deserve a place in the
So, as we predicted, I say we, I mean me.
Wigan got their survival campaign back on the right road with a draw last week with Aston Villa and if the fixture computer is currently slapping Bolton in the face with it’s cock then it’s gently fanning Wigan at the moment while it feeds them grapes, because they get to follow that win up with this very winnable fixture. Not that are a bad side and this season has seen them gain many fans, mostly from neutral positions, for their entertaining passing style of play. The problem is that that hasn’t really resulted in many wins away from the valleys of Swansea South Wales (do they have those? I don’t really know) and so if Wigan are going to pull off another unlikely escape then this game is very much a must-win fixture. They haven’t done too much of that winning thing this season though and their default setting does seem to be one of bungling inconsistency. They, like QPR, are lucky that there are some pretty bad sides in the league this season because, again like QPR, they’d be too far adrift at this stage in the season for this fixture to make any real difference whatever the result turns out to be in any other season. Home win, just.
Wigan 3 – 2 Swansea
Sunday 4th May
United Newcastle Vs Sunderland James Park
Both of these two had games to forget last weekend, drawing at home to Wolves is not a good result, although it did happen to Spurs so maybe it isn’t the complete end of the world that I thought it was at the start of this blog, but it’s not what you want.
Sunderland’s result, getting clobbered for four by West Brom, wasn’t what was ordered, or expected, either. But this is a local derby set in the white hot atmosphere of the Northeast, where, as everyone knows, the world’s most passionate and fanatical football supporters live, breath, eat, sleep, blink, snort, fart and poo football. These games are normally unpleasant looking slugfests with plenty of kicky boot action, angry exchanges between men in different coloured stripy shirts and for the first 75 or 80 minutes the amount of actual football being played would just about manage to fill a small egg cup if it was somehow turned into fluid. There isn’t actually very much riding on this game in the grand scheme of things, I still can’t see Newcastle being strong enough to finish in the top six and although the 2nd half of the season has been better for Sunderland their best chance of playing in Europe next year is to win the FA Cup so really this only matters along the narrow confines of the road between to the two cities and the two bulging conurbations at either end. Low scoring home win.
|Can Pavel Pogrebnyak continue his impressive start for|
Some games of football get the pulse a racing and the tingle bit between your bottom cheeks twitching, some games sound quite interesting on paper, however, some games sound shit and then there’s Fulham Vs Wolves. This sounds like a prime opportunity for the average armchair football supporter to have a day off, reassess the path that they're taking in life, decide that actually football is a bit shit and overrated and go and take a long, pleasant walk in the countryside or read a book or go to the pub (that doesn’t have a big screen telly) sit in the tranquil surroundings of a beer garden and just enjoy the day. I can’t find anything interesting to say about this game and the quicker it’s over and done with the better.
Prediction: Fulham 8 – Wolves 6
Tottenham Hotspur Vs
United Manchester Whitehart Lane
Prediction: Fulham 8 – Wolves 6
Tottenham Hotspur Vs
Prediction: Tottenham 1 –
United 2 Manchester