Premiership Predictions – Week 32

April 10, 2009

epl

Just seven matches remain for most clubs on this season so several teams have a lot of work to do. One example is Middlesbrough who are deep in the relegation zone. If they have any chance of not playing in the Championship next season they have to beat Hull City at the Riverside tomorrow. Newcastle are in a similar position and have an away date with Stoke City. Certainly a winnable match but also a necessity for a club in as much trouble as are Toon.

Back at the top, Liverpool will need to respond to the beating they took at the hands of Chelsea in the Champions League mid-week in hosting Blackburn. Should be no problem but with Gerrard possibly missing the match, you never know. Chelsea host Bolton in an attempt to make up some last-minute ground on Liverpool and Man United. Meanwhile, United travel to Sunderland for a match against the seventeenth place Black Cats. After several difficult weeks, will Sunderland be the antidote for United? And Aston Villa will host Everton in a match that will help determine the final European qualification spot, fifth place. Villa have been in possession of at least fifth for many weeks with Everton patiently moving closer each week. The Toffees can take fifth with a win but it would have to come at Villa Park.

Saturday:
Blackburn @ Liverpool – Liverpool
Bolton @ Chelsea – Chelsea
Hull City @ Middlesbrough – Boro
Manchester United @ Sunderland – United
West Ham @ Tottenham – Spurs
West Brom @ Portsmouth – Pompey
Arsenal @ Wigan – Arsenal
Newcastle @ Stoke City – Draw

Sunday:
Everton @ Aston Villa – Everton
Fulham @ Manchester City – City

Results Thus Far:

Week 1 – 19 points
Week 2 – 16 points
Week 3 – 12 points
Week 4 – 13 points
Week 5 – 13 points
Week 6 – 27 points
Week 7 – 14 points
Week 8 – 22 points
Week 9 – 18 points
Week 10 – 19 points
Week 11 – 11 points
Week 12 – 10 points
Week 13 – 16 points
Week 14 – 13 points
Week 15 – 9 points
Week 16 – 18 points
Week 17 – 11 points
Week 18 – 14 points
Week 19 – 15 points
Week 20 – 23 points
Week 21 – 21 points
Week 22 – 20 points
Week 23 – 21 points
Week 24 – 14 points
Week 25 – 23 points
Week 26 – 11 points
Week 27 – 16 points
Week 28 – 19 points
Week 29 – 22 points
Week 30 – 16 points
Week 31 – 19 points

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United Respond

April 5, 2009

macheda

A Ronaldo brace and Federico Macheda’s debut goal in the 90th minute saw Manchester United edge Aston Villa at Old Trafford to regain first place in the Premiership. John Carew and Gabriel Agbonlahor scored to give Villa a 2-1 lead but Ronaldo and Macheda, just a teen, scored in the final ten minutes to snatch three points for United. The win puts United one point ahead of Liverpool with an extra game still to be played. Villa remain in fifth place but are now on thin ice as Everton are lurking just a point behind.

Speaking of Everton, the Toffees used a double from Jo and goals from Marouane Fellaini and Leon Osman in the second half to crush Wigan, 4-0 at Goodison Park. The thrashing of the eighth-place side powers Everton to within a single point of earning a European qualification spot. Catching Arsenal for fourth is highly unlikely but Villa appear ready to be overtaken. As mentioned, Wigan are in eighth place, just a point clear of Fulham.


Liverpool Back Out Front

April 4, 2009

yossi

Yossi Benayoun’s extra-time strike sent Liverpool back to the top of the English table with a 1-0 victory over Fulham at Craven Cottage. The Cottagers went ninety full minutes without allowing Liverpool on the scoreboard but could not hold off for the final minutes of injury time. The Reds find themselves two points clear of Manchester United at the top, though they’ve played two games more than the defending champions. Fulham remain in ninth on 40 points.

At Ewood Park, Benni McCarthy and Andre Ooijer scored within the final eight minutes to steal a 2-1 victory for Blackburn over Tottenham. Spurs scored early on from a Robbie Keane penalty but could not keep Rovers from dropping two into the net in the final moments. The three points today could possibly have saved Blackburn’s season as they are now five points clear of relegation. Spurs stay in eleventh place, where they finished last season.

Arsenal whipped Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium, 2-0. Emmanuel Adebayor’s brace carried the Gunners past one of the worst away sides in England. Arsenal push even further clear of Aston Villa for the final Champions League qualification position while City stick in tenth place, just ahead of Spurs on differential.

In Alan Shearer’s debut at the helm for Newcastle, the Magpies fell meekly to Chelsea, 2-0 at St. James’ Park. Frank Lampard and Florent Malouda scored within nine minutes of each other in the second half to power the Blues to victory. Chelsea are now just a single point behind Man United for second place, though again, United have played two fewer matches. Toon stick in the relegation zone, though in eighteenth position. They’re now three points shy of seventeenth.

Junior Stanislas and James Tomkins straddled half-time with goals for West Ham United as the Hammers beat Sunderland 2-0 at Upton Park. Taking nothing away from West Ham, Sunderland are just three points clear of Newcastle for the final relegation position. But the Hammers are in much better shape, clearing Wigan and taking seventh place, at least for now.

Kevin Davies, Gary Cahill, Matthew Taylor and Ricardo Gardner spread out their goals over the course of their match with Middlesbrough earning Bolton Wanderers a convincing 4-1 victory at the Reebok. Gary O’Neil’s 38th minute goal was all Boro could manage. In the process, Boro remained mired in the depths of relegation. Bolton push back toward the middle of the pack, earning a spot in twelfth place, eight points clear of relegation.

West Bromich Albion confirmed its status as a terrible club in losing 2-0 at The Hawthorns to Stoke City. Ricardo Fuller and James Beattie tallied goals for Stoke as they powered up to thirteenth place and six points clear of relegation with the three points earned. The Baggies remain DFL, where they have been for quite some time.

Finally, in a battle of clubs needing three points desperately, Hull City and Portsmouth did themselves no favors in a sorry nil-nil draw at the KC Stadium. Even when Pompey went to ten men on Glen Johnson’s second yellow card in the 80th minute, Hull could not find the goal. Now, the clubs are five and four points clear of relegation, clearly a disaster match for both sides.


Premiership Predictions – Week 31

April 3, 2009

epl

After a week off for World Cup qualifying matches, many of the stars of the Premier League will be on relatively short rest this week. Especially those players who play in South America.

Manchester United, though still with an extra game to play, are just one point ahead of Liverpool atop the table. Their home date with Aston Villa can help determine both the fate of United and the last-gasp hopes of Villa to get back into the Champions League race. Chelsea will visit St. James’ Park for the first match of the Alan Shearer era at Newcastle. I expect a raucous crowd and perhaps some extra adrenaline to carry Toon to a nice result. Elsewhere, West Brom and Stoke battle near the bottom and Hull and Pompey will fight to stay above the relegation line.

Saturday:
Tottenham @ Blackburn – Blackburn
Manchester City @ Arsenal – Arsenal
Chelsea @ Newcastle – Draw
Sunderland @ West Ham – Sunderland
Middlesbrough @ Bolton – Bolton
Stoke @ West Bromich Albion – Draw
Portsmouth @ Hull City – Pompey
Liverpool @ Fulham – Liverpool

Sunday:
Wigan @ Everton – Everton
Aston Villa @ Manchester United – United

Results Thus Far:

Week 1 – 19 points
Week 2 – 16 points
Week 3 – 12 points
Week 4 – 13 points
Week 5 – 13 points
Week 6 – 27 points
Week 7 – 14 points
Week 8 – 22 points
Week 9 – 18 points
Week 10 – 19 points
Week 11 – 11 points
Week 12 – 10 points
Week 13 – 16 points
Week 14 – 13 points
Week 15 – 9 points
Week 16 – 18 points
Week 17 – 11 points
Week 18 – 14 points
Week 19 – 15 points
Week 20 – 23 points
Week 21 – 21 points
Week 22 – 20 points
Week 23 – 21 points
Week 24 – 14 points
Week 25 – 23 points
Week 26 – 11 points
Week 27 – 16 points
Week 28 – 19 points
Week 29 – 22 points
Week 30 – 16 points


Premiership Predictions Week 31 – Philip’s Picks

April 3, 2009

uk

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

Saturday:

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.

Sunday:

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.


New Kits for 2009/2010 in the Premiership

March 27, 2009

I certainly can’t claim credit for these but I thought it was interesting to see the continued evolution of some of England’s top clubs in terms of their kits.

Here’s Arsenal’s away look for next year. I actually really like it. I wonder if they’ll rock the same socks they did with a similar look in 1982? Compared with this season’s away look, it’s a huge improvement, at least in my opinion. Though the ones they wore in 2007/2008 were simply fantastic.

Next is Chelsea and their curiously-similar-to-Bayern-Munich home design. I guess this look isn’t all that bad, though the zipper on front is really kind of lame. Compared to this season’s look, it’s a much more machine-like design and loses the collar.

What about Liverpool? Well this is an away kit for the ‘Reds.’ I hate when clubs wear black when it’s not part of their regular scheme, and this is a perfect example. BUT, it is so so so much better than what they’re wearing this year.

Finally, the weirdest of the bunch are the Manchester United attempts at recreating some sort of a throwback/tribute kit for both home and away. Here is the home idea. Minimalist in design but will have the new sponsor of Saudi Telecom on the chest. Obviously AIG isn’t really a viable option anymore. The away look is more specifically based on the 1909 FA Cup champions and again with the Saudi Telecom sponsorship. I have no idea if United will actually wear these kits all season or if they’ll just be for a game or two like their Munich memorial kits from last season.

If you know of any other new designs for next season, let me know.


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:

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

Incorrect:
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