Premiership Predictions Week 31 – Philip’s Picks

April 3, 2009


Written by Philip Oliver, a professional sports writer who blogs about the Premier League and soccer gambling.


Blackburn v Tottenham – Draw
Spurs are high on the form table and are finally able to eye Europa League qualification rather than just survival. Rovers are still very much in that relegation battle and might have to make do with a point, as they have done in the last three league visits of Spurs.

Arsenal v Manchester City – Arsenal
City have scored once in gaining one point from their last five away games and will struggle to improve that record at now free-scoring Arsenal. This should be the weekend’s home banker and a wise football bet to make.

Bolton v Middlesbrough – Draw
Bolton are very nearly safe and a win against struggling Boro will surely seal their survival; a home win will perhaps also condemn the visitors, who are five points from safety and dangerously low on confidence. They are short of goals and might need a clean sheet to gain a point.

Hull v Portsmouth – Portsmouth
Pompey have lost only once in five games under Paul Hart (to Chelsea) and another three points, which would take them above Hull, will continue their march to safety. Hull’s own relegation battle will go to the wire but they at least have the points on the board.

Newcastle v Chelsea – Chelsea
The reality of the situation is dawning on Newcastle, who are in the relegation zone for the first time since early November. They are leaking far too many goals and will finish the day in the bottom three.

West Brom v Stoke – West Brom
The Baggies are eight points from safety and are drinking in the last chance saloon – one league win all year suggests a win here against travel sick Stoke is simply putting off the inevitable.

West Ham v Sunderland – West Ham
Two points from the last 15 means Sunderland’s revival is long-forgotten. West Ham are running out of steam but are still hot favourites to win this one.

Fulham v Liverpool – Liverpool
Can Fulham do to Liverpool what they recently did to United? Nine wins from 15 home fixtures says they can, but Liverpool are buzzing and can certainly keep the title race alive here.


Everton v Wigan – Everton
Sixth plays seventh at Goodison Park, but only the home side can be sure of European qualification. Wigan have started scoring again but will find chances hard to come by in this one.

Manchester United v Aston Villa – Man Utd
Both managers will want a reaction from their teams after recent heavy defeats by Liverpool, but the home side are far-better equipped to deliver. They might not hit Villa for five, but this is surely a home win, a sign of how badly the Midlanders have slipped.

Week 30 Round Up

March 23, 2009

Looks like I take another one from our man on the scene, Philip. Though just barely this week. Neither of us were particularly on our game, though in fairness, the results this week were largely unexpected. I’m not sure anyone would’ve picked Fulham or Tottenham to win or to have Stoke and Pompey earn three points either. Here’s the breakdown of our respective efforts:

mao – Arsenal, Draw (West Ham-Blackburn), Stoke, Man City, Liverpool
Philip – Arsenal, Portsmouth, Liverpool, Man City

mao – Everton, Chelsea, Man United, Bolton, Hull City
Philip – Blackburn, Man United, Draw (Stoke-Boro), Draw (Spurs-Chelsea), West Brom, Draw (Wigan-Hull)

The way I score myself is that I take three points for a correct pick, one point if a match ended in a draw and zero for a completely incorrect pick. In that scale the score this week was:

mao – 16
Philip – 14

In a straight up and down scoring:

mao – 15
Philip – 12

Premiership Predictions – Week 30 – Philip’s Picks

March 20, 2009


Written by Philip Oliver, a professional sports writer who blogs about the Premier League and soccer gambling.

Blackburn v West Ham – Blackburn
Rovers beat West Ham 7-1 in 2001/02 but have since suffered a poor run against the Hammers, losing eight of the ten league meetings between the two. Both teams have been short of goals and a single goal might settle this one.

Fulham v Man Utd – Manchester United
Fulham, who have started to lose at home but win away, provide the Champions with the chance to prove their heavy defeat by Liverpool was an aberration. Anything other than an away win will open up the Premier League title race.

Newcastle v Arsenal – Arsenal
Newcastle have won once in 11 matches since Christmas and face a Premier League relegation battle that looks like going to the wire. Arsenal have not lost since late November and have beaten the Magpies 3-0 in the last three meetings in all competitions between the two.

Portsmouth v Everton – Portsmouth
Everton have lost once in their last 13 league matches but have started to miss the creativity of Mikel Arteta on the road – they have not scored in their last three away assignments. Pompey are playing well under Paul Hart but might need to win this to stay out of the relegation zone.

Stoke v Middlesbrough – Draw
Stoke’s top flight survival depends on the maintenance of their good home form – one defeat in their last eleven at the Britannia Stadium – whilst ‘Boro desperately need points from anywhere. A tense draw might ensue.

Tottenham v Chelsea – Draw
Spurs stole a dramatic point in a 4-4 thriller in the corresponding fixture last season that helped to derail Chelsea’s title bid and another draw would have a similar effect.

West Brom v Bolton – West Brom
Basement club West Brom are nearing must-win territory and they certainly need three points from the visit of a club who have gained one point from their last six away from home.

Liverpool v Aston Villa – Liverpool
Villa’s hopes of Champions League football are quickly receding and another defeat here, one which would keep Liverpool’s title hopes alive, will leave them looking over their shoulders at sixth-placed Everton.

Man City v Sunderland – Manchester City
City have won eight and lost one of the nine Premier League meetings between the two and should maintain that run thanks to their excellent home form – they have won their last five at Eastlands.

Wigan v Hull – Draw
Hull ended their barren run with a surprise win at Fulham in their last away match and their appetite for the battle could secure another decent result on the road.

Not Much Good to Say at Upton Park

March 17, 2009


West Ham United produced a horrible result for a club that are situated in the top ten of the English Premier League yesterday. Their nil-nil draw with DFL West Bromich Albion was a disastrous result and all but eliminate whatever chances the Hammers had of catching Everton for sixth place. Apart from two yellow cards there really isn’t much to say about the match at all, so we’ll just leave it at that.

So, Round 29 is now complete. Obviously the biggest news was at the top though the quagmire at the bottom remains an interesting story. Here’s how Philip and I fared over the weekend.

mao – Arsenal, Everton, Draw (Pompey-Boro), Wigan, Draw (Hull-Newcastle), Chelsea, Spurs
Philip – Arsenal, Everton, Draw (Hull-Newcastle), Chelsea

mao – Man United, Bolton, West Ham
Philip – Bolton, Draw (Man United-Liverpool), Pompey, Sunderland, Draw (Villa-Spurs), West Ham

The way I score myself is that I take three points for a correct pick, one point if a match ended in a draw and zero for a completely incorrect pick. In that scale the score this week was:

mao – 22
Philip – 14

In a straight up and down scoring:

mao – 21
Philip – 12

Premiership Predictions – Week 29 – Philip’s Picks

March 13, 2009


Written by Philip Oliver, a professional sports writer who blogs about the Premier League and soccer gambling.


Arsenal v Blackburn – Arsenal

Arsenal have scored 15 goals in winning their last five home Premier League encounters with Blackburn and they will surely maintain that winning run on Saturday now they have relocated the opposition’s net. Rovers’ relegation fears are not receding, despite their surprise win at Fulham on Wednesday and they will want to be nearer safety by the time their pivotal final home games against Portsmouth and West Brom come around.

Bolton v Fulham – Bolton

Three goals in 14 away games suggests Fulham have their work cut out to get anything from a Bolton team who have won their last three at home. Both teams targeted Premier League survival at the beginning of the season and both have nearly achieved it, although I reckon the Cottagers might trail off in the run-in.

Everton v Stoke – Everton

Decent at home, terrible away, Stoke are unlikely to change the shape of their season at Goodison Park. Everton have conceded once in gaining 14 points from the last 16 available at home and will surely continue their march to Europa League qualification in this one.

Hull v Newcastle – Draw

A massive game in the battle to avoid the drop. Both teams are scrapping hard but are finding points difficult to come by and I expect a tense stalemate.

Man Utd v Liverpool – Draw

This match could decide the title race and going to Old Trafford in a must-win game is never a good position to be in. Rafa Benitez will want a performance like he got against real Madrid, not the one served up at Middlesbrough in their last away game, and Liverpool might just do enough to produce just the second draw in the last 18 league meetings between the two.

Middlesbrough v Portsmouth – Portsmouth

This is the second relegation six-pointer of the weekend and Boro need to get used to such matches – they face Stoke, Bolton and Hull after Pompey. They were excellent against Liverpool but awful at Spurs and Paul Hart’s outfit are showing enough consistency to tempt me into making this my only away win prediction of the weekend.

Sunderland v Wigan – Sunderland

The Black Cats should have enough to overcome goal-shy Wigan (two goals in their last eight matches). The visitors have won once all year and will be thankful for their excellent mid-season form.


Aston Villa v Tottenham – Draw

It is always dangerous to predict a Spurs revival, but they have been playing well enough recently to suggest they can start looking up the table rather than down it. Villa are now looking over their shoulders after a recent slump and know they need to win this one; the pressure might just be too much for players unused to their lofty position.

Chelsea v Man City – Chelsea

Chelsea have to keep winning to keep up the pressure on Manchester United and it is hard to see them slipping up against City, who are generally as bad away as they are good at home. The Blues have won five and drawn one of their last six league meetings with City at Stamford Bridge, scoring 17 times and conceding none.


West Ham v West Brom – West Ham

Time is running out for West Brom. They have lost their last four and show no signs of curing the defensive frailties that have plagued them all season. In contrast West Ham have tightened up recently and another clean sheet will surely bring three points.

All Square After Three Weeks, 1-1-1

March 5, 2009

Based on my system of scoring I narrowly defeated my foe Philip Oliver in the Round 28 predictions. The difference was that I give a single point to matches that I pick a winner and a draw results. That is different than if a draw was predicted and it did not happen. Basically it was a way for me to give myself more points than I deserved in the early weeks of the season. So in terms of up-and-down predictions, Philip and I tied this week, both predicting six of the ten matches correctly. We had just one difference in correct picks which was that I picked Stoke over Bolton and Philip correctly saw a draw between Blackburn and Everton. So, despite my one-point victory, we’ll call it a draw. Here are the specifics:

mao – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Man United, Stoke, Tottenham
Philip – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Man United, Draw (Blackburn-Everton), Tottenham

mao – Draw (Aston Villa-Man City), Wigan, Everton, Fulham
Philip – Fulham, Draw (Aston Villa-Man City), Draw (Stoke-Bolton), Draw (Wigan-West Ham)

The way I score myself is that I take three points for a correct pick, one point if a match ended in a draw and zero for a completely incorrect pick. In that scale the score this week was:

mao – 19
Philip – 18

In a straight up and down scoring:

mao – 18
Philip – 18

Premiership Predictions – Week 28 – Philip’s Picks

March 2, 2009

Philip Was Out There Somewhere

Written by Philip Oliver, a professional sports writer who blogs about the Premier League and soccer gambling.


Liverpool v Sunderland – Liverpool

Liverpool might be all but out of the title race but they should still see off resilient Sunderland in this one. The Black Cats will hope to replicate their creditable draw at Arsenal on Saturday but will find the Reds in the mood to prove their doubters wrong, even if Fernando Torres is still absent.

Portsmouth v Chelsea – Chelsea

Both teams have shown signs of recovery under temporary managers but I see only outcome here. The Blues have won 11 of their 12 Premiership encounters with Pompey, drawing the other and need to win this prove that Manchester United still have a title challenger.

West Brom v Arsenal – Arsenal

Arsenal can’t draw again can they? They have failed to score in four league matches for the first time since the George Graham era and although the style of football is different, the fan discontent is as evident as it was in their former manager’s time. The Baggies are not capable of adopting the spoiling tactics that Arsenal loathe and this should end in an entertaining away win.


Blackburn v Everton – Draw

Blackburn got their revival back on track against Hull at the weekend after suffering a sticky spell but face one of the division’s in-form teams in the shape of Everton. The Toffees will struggle without long-term injury victim Mikel Arteta but are tough to break down – I can’t see too many goals in this North West derby.

Fulham v Hull – Fulham

Fulham have gained 27 points from 36 at Craven Cottage this term; Hull have won one of their last 18. It is hard to look beyond a home win as the Tigers continue their slide to the relegation zone.

Man City v Aston Villa – Draw

Champions League place-chasing Villa are struggling, winning just one of their last six games in all competitions. However, they are a better side away from home and will provide City with a tough test. The Citizens have won their last four at Eastlands but might have to make do with a point on this occasion.

Newcastle v Man Utd – Manchester United

Newcastle are defending better but still face a relegation battle that will go the distance this season. United are unstoppable at the moment and it will take a better team than the Magpies to derail their charge to all available trophies.

Stoke v Bolton – Draw

Late drama has characterised Stoke’s last two matches but this clash, which is unlikely to be one for footballing purists to enjoy, could be short on goalmouth action. There is usually a goalless draw in each round of matches and it could be at the Britannia Stadium this time around.

Tottenham v Middlesbrough – Tottenham

This relegation clash is a real test of Spurs’ character after their Carling Cup heartbreak. Boro looked a totally different team against Liverpool than the one that has been the division’s whipping boys in recent weeks, but putting on that sort of display away from the Riverside is a different matter. Spurs have some fresh legs to reintroduce after Sunday’s exertions and will further ease their relegation worries.

Wigan v West Ham – Draw

Wigan are struggling for goals at the moment and face a West Ham outfit who are far from generous in defence. Wigan have drawn four of their last five and might have another point to show for 90 minutes of hard work.

Philip’s Domination

February 23, 2009

dead mao

Last time you all saw Mao in triumph after my beatdown of Philip Oliver in our head-to-head Premiership predictions. Well you can guess how I did this week based on the view on this post. Let’s break it down:

Update: Tottenham did defeat Hull City today 2-1 at the KC Stadium. Thus, Philip tacks on three more points and I, miserably, get nothing.

mao – Man United, Fulham
Philip – Chelsea, Man United, Draw (Boro-Wigan), Fulham, Draw (Liverpool-Man City), Tottenham

mao – Villa, Arsenal, Wigan, West Ham, Stoke, Liverpool, Everton, Hull City
Philip – Everton, Stoke, West Ham, Arsena

The way I score myself is that I take three points for a correct pick, one point if a match ended in a draw and zero for a completely incorrect pick. In that scale the score this week was:

mao – 11
Philip – 21

In a straight up and down scoring:

mao – 6
Philip – 18

Premiership Predictions – Week 26 – Philip’s Picks

February 20, 2009


Written by Philip Oliver, a professional sports writer who blogs about the Premier League and soccer gambling.


Arsenal v Sunderland – Arsenal

Arsenal have not lost in the league since late November and it is difficult seeing them slipping up in this one, although they sometimes make hard work of beating lower ranked teams at the Emirates – since losing at home to Aston Villa in November, the Gunners have beaten Wigan, Portsmouth and Bolton by 1-0 margins and shared a goalless draw with West Ham.

Aston Villa v Chelsea – Chelsea

Not many people would have picked this match as a key battle in the race for third place at the beginning of the season, but Aston Villa’s resurgence shows no sign of abating. Their home form has not been as impressive as their away performances – they have drawn four of their last six league matches at Villa Park – and might just run into Guus Hiddink’s Chelsea at the wrong time.

Bolton Wanderers v West Ham United – West Ham

Bolton have put together good and bad runs this season and they are certainly on one of their downward slides at the moment, picking up seven points from the last 30. The Hammers are looking good and are playing well enough to record just their second ever Premier League win at the Reebok Stadium.

Manchester United v Blackburn Rovers – Man Utd

Nine straight league wins and no goals conceded in 14 Premiership matches. The statistics tell their own story and this Lancashire derby will surely provide another win for the team charging towards the title.

Middlesbrough v Wigan Athletic – draw

Wigan have scored just once (a penalty) in their last five league matches, but the Latics have been prolific in comparison with Boro, who have found the net once in their last eight and just 18 all season, the poorest return in the division. It would be remiss to predict anything other than a goalless stalemate.

Stoke City v Portsmouth – Stoke

An important relegation battle, especially for Stoke, who are almost solely relying on their home form for survival. Manager-less Pompey won their first game since sacking Tony Adams but are still vulnerable defensively.


Fulham v West Bromwich Albion – Fulham

Draw-specialists Fulham have shared the points in seven of their last 12 league encounters, but they should prevail against a Baggies outfit that continues to leak goals at an alarming rate.

Liverpool v Manchester City – draw

Mark Hughes has bemoaned his team’s away form and Anfield does not appear to be the venue to suddenly improve matters away from Eastlands. However, Liverpool are hanging onto their title hopes by the skin of their teeth, scoring last minute goals to win their last two, and this could be the game where the pressure Manchester United are exerting begins to tell.

Newcastle United v Everton – Everton

Everton have won 1-0 away from home four times this term and they know another clean sheet should hand them three points – the Magpies have conceded 15 goals in their last six league matches.


Hull City v Tottenham Hotspur – Spurs

Tottenham have been their customary soft touches on the road this season and will not relish the long trip to Hull having won once in their last nine. The Tigers have been struggling for even longer, winning once in 16 and defeat in this match will confirm that their stunning start has given way to a relegation battle.

EPL Breakdown – mao v. Philip

February 9, 2009

The signs clearly read, mao - 23 v. Philip - 16

It turns out this was a bad week for Philip Oliver to pick against me as I equaled my best week of this season. Here’s how it came out in the end:

mao – Man City, Everton, Sunderland, Aston Villa, Newcastle, Liverpool, Man United
Philip – Man City, Everton, Sunderland, Liverpool, Draw (Spurs-Arsenal)

mao – Chelsea, Wigan, Tottenham
Philip – Draw (Blackburn-Villa), Chelsea, West Brom, Wigan, West Ham

The way I score myself is that I take three points for a correct pick, one point if a match ended in a draw and zero for a completely incorrect pick. In that scale the score this week was:

mao – 23
Philip – 16

In a straight up and down scoring:

mao – 21
Philip 15

Premiership Predictions – Week 25 – Philip’s Picks

February 6, 2009


Written by Philip Oliver, an online sports writer for Betfair – check them out for Cheltenham betting odds.


Blackburn Rovers v Aston Villa – Draw

This is a real test for Villa as they seek to maintain their winning streak on the road. Rovers are unbeaten under Sam Allardyce and now look a good bet to avoid relegation. Villa have won six of the last eight league meetings between the two but might have to settle for a point this time around.

Chelsea v Hull City – Chelsea

Despite Chelsea’s recent problems it is hard to see anything other than a home win. Stoke nearly pulled off a creditable draw at Stamford Bridge but the Blues should have less trouble in seeing off another of last season’s promoted teams.

Everton v Bolton Wanderers – Everton

The Toffees are riding high at the moment and look assured of another top six finish. They have beaten Bolton four times in their last five league clashes and should get back to winning ways after picking up two points from recent matches against Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United.

Manchester City v Middlesbrough – Man City

Middlesbrough are really struggling, having picked up just five points from the last available 36. They beat City 8-1 at the Riverside last season but might be on the wrong end of a hammering this time. City have improved since Christmas and their new-look line-up should start stringing together even more wins.

Portsmouth v Liverpool – Liverpool

Liverpool fans don’t know what to make of their side at the moment. If the Reds produce the sort of display they did last week in beating Chelsea rather than the listless ones that brought seven draws in 10 before that match, then they should beat a Portsmouth team who are in a freefall towards relegation.

Sunderland v Stoke City – Sunderland

Stoke just can’t match their home performances on the road and this could well be another fruitless journey. The Black Cats are tough to beat and should nick this one.

West Bromwich Albion v Newcastle United – West Brom

A massive game for both teams – a classic relegation ‘six pointer.’ The Magpies are in disarray but West Brom know they have to win this sort of game if they are to stay up. This should be a tense affair and one goal might settle it.

Wigan Athletic v Fulham – Wigan

Fulham have scored three goals away from home all season and are hardly likely to go goal-crazy at the JJB Stadium, which has been a fortress for Wigan since November. The Latics need to prove they can maintain their form after losing some key players, but tougher tests than this lie ahead.


Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal – Draw

Spurs have a terrible recent record against their fierce local rivals, who need a win to bolster a flagging season. Half the Premier League clashes between the two at White Hart Lane have been draws, and this could be another stalemate.

West Ham v Manchester United – West Ham

The Premier League champions are on a fantastic run and seemingly charging to another League title. However, they slipped up at Upton Park last season and the rejuvenated Hammers can spring another surprise that will keep the title race alive.