Eddie's Football Blog

A bizarre look at the world of football, since 2008

Posts Tagged ‘Bolton Wanderers’

Parker: Avram Grant got his tactics from Space Jam and The Mighty Ducks

Posted by eddiev18 on May 17, 2011

Grant: Out of duck

The story of West Ham United’s relegation took a bizarre twist today, when it was revealed that manager Avram Grant’s coaching manual was basically a collection of tactics lifted from mildly entertaining sports films like The Mighty Ducks and Space Jam.

The news will bemuse Hammers fans even further following yesterday’s claims from a journalist – who no one had heard of, but who everyone decided to believe anyway – that the Israeli’s fitness sessions were as intensive as the egg and spoon race at a sports day for three year olds.

Club captian Scott Parker noticed something odd going on in February when the Hammers went on a bit of a run: “I was like, ‘fuck me, Demba Ba looks like Marco Van Basten and Carlton Cole hasn’t tripped on the ball once’. I had to ask the gaffer how he was doing it.

“Basically, his wife had given him Space Jam on DVD for Christmas. In the film, evil alien team The Nerdlucks steal the talents of top basketball players like Patrick Ewing and Charles Barkley. Avram had simply applied this to football and, to be honest, it worked great for a few weeks.

“Eventually though, Alex Ferguson figured out why Dimitar Berbatov had gone a bit shit, and the game was up.”

Grant became desperate for a new solution, and spent weeks renting classic sports movies in his search for tips.

Parker continues: “He made this speech before the Bolton game that apparently worked wonders for Al Pacino in Any Given Sunday. To be fair, it was quite inspiring, but sadly it all went downhill when he said that life was all about ‘the six inches in front of your face’.

“You simply cannot say that sort of thing to a group of men with a combined mental age of about 6, and expect them to take you seriously.”

Hammers owner David Gold admits that he probably should have spotted the problems earlier: “Now you mention it, there have been loads of those LoveFilm envelopes turning up for Avram over the last couple of months. It also explains why he was so insistent that we signed Sylvester Stallone during January transfer window.”

Despite the fact that it left them entirely open at the back, Grant defended his decision to employ the ‘Flying V’ formation during last weekend’s defeat to Wigan: “Look, did the Ducks go on to win the Playoffs or not? If it’s good enough for Gordon Bombay, then it’s good enough for me.”

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Premier League Predictions – 21st November

Posted by eddiev18 on November 21, 2009

Meg: Predicts a good lie-in for us all on Sunday

Ding ding, round two! So with four out of six outcomes correctly predicted so far, let’s see how I get on with Sunday’s fixtures:

Blackburn vs Bolton

This week, Sky’s two course ‘Super-Sunday’ is more of a quick bite down the greasy spoon than dinner at the Savoy, and if I’m to continue the analogy, I guess this fixture is the starter. A rubbish prawn cocktail if you like.

It’s likely to be a proper mud-slinger of a match, with more aerial balls than a game of American football. I also expect the commentator to frequently remind us that [insert attacking team’s name here] are ‘a threat from set pieces’, because that’s generally all they can get excited about when two teams with no interest in playing any football come up against each other.

Sleeping is almost certainly going to be more interesting than this one, so why not treat yourself to a lie-in? Just think, you may even have a dream about Megan Fox*… and do you really want to miss out on that for the sake of Blackburn vs Bolton?!

Verdict: 0-0

Stoke City vs Portsmouth

If this game is the main course, then think of it as the disappointing roast dinner you at at that pub you’ve never been back to. Cold, hard roast potatoes, slimy Yorkshire puddings, and fatty slices of cheap beef.

Mind you, unlike your starter, there will be one or two edible things on the plate to keep it from being a total disappointment. Expect Kevin Prince-Boateng and Jamie O’Hara to be the honey roasted parsnips and minted peas of this affair.

I don’t think that will be enough to save this ‘dish’ though. With a doubt surrounding medical experiment and Ivory Coast forward Aruna Dindane, Pompey will struggle to break down a resolute Stoke defence. As a result, The Potters will be in no rush to break away from their horribly unattractive and defensive style of play, and the game will suffer due to very little open football.

Verdict: 1-0

Tottenham vs Wigan

Re-scheduled to 3pm on Sunday due to Steve Bruce’s penchant for bringing South Americans to the Premier League a few years back, Sky will be kicking themselves that they aren’t serving this one up to their viewers. In stark contrast to the Boltons, Blackburns and Stokes of this world, both these teams play attractive, open football.

‘Appy ‘Arry Redknapp will be pleased to see his t’riffic winger Aaron Lennon returning to the Spurs side after a spell on the sidelines, as this should add an extra bit of zip to the right hand side. In Lennon’s absence, David Bentley demonstrated that he’s probably more interested in signing up bands for his bar on the Costa Del Sol than playing football. Oh well, England will just have to find itself another new ‘DB7’.

Wigan’s ability to deal with Lennon will be the deciding factor in this match. If they do, then they have the likes of Rodallega and N’Zogbia to exploit the space that Tottenham always leave for their opposition.

However, after a game on Wednesday and a long flight back from Honduras, Maynor Figueroa has his work cut out to contain Lennon. As so often is the case at White Hart Lane, Spurs will attempt to harness their home support and come flying out of the blocks, looking to put the game to bed before the opposition have a chance to impose themselves.

I can see this happening tomorrow.

Verdict: 4-1

* See what I did there?! After my Transformers-heavy MS Paint Story Of The Week the other day, I just thought I’d tell you what the most popular Robots-In-Disguise-based search term used to get to my site has been. And the winner is… ‘Megan Fox Naked’.

Who says the internet isn’t primarily for porn, eh?

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Premier League Predictions – 6th November

Posted by eddiev18 on November 5, 2009

Meg: Back from Burnley's 'Ladies Day' unscathed

Out of the ten fixtures that banged on my door last week, demanding to be predicted, seven were sent home happy. Ok, I didn’t get the final score right for any of them, but that’s not important. Even with a badger equipped with a wide range of hip-hop dance moves backing them up, I don’t think many people saw Fulham putting three past Liverpool. So, I’ve excused myself.

Having said that, if I get a couple of final scores right this week, but not many correct outcomes, there’s a good chance i’ll introduce next week’s predictions with a paragraph professing the skill involved in predicting correct final scores. You see, much like Robbie Keane and his assessment of the current Spurs squad, I sometimes find myself sugar-coating my opinions.

I’ve set the bar with 7 correct outcomes. Can you beat me?!? Actually, I’m sure you can. I’m just doing that ‘challenge their ego’ thing to try to get you involved in a prediction contest.

Are you ready?!? I’m doing it again. Sorry, I’ll stop. There’s actually no need to be particularly ready. It’s not as if you’re about to go for a sky-dive (unless you are. In which case, I’d advise you start concentrating on that instead, because you’re about to throw yourself out of a bloody plane. You mentalist!).

Ok, I’m getting nowhere with this introduction. Predictions hooooooo! (Thundercats style)

Aston Villa vs Bolton

In the last few weeks Aston Villa have dressed in black, hid in the shadows, and snuck their way silently up the table. This is made all the more weird by the fact that, at the time of writing this, their form for the last 6 games reads LDWDDL – translating as 6 points from a possible 18, which isn’t hugely impressive. However, they’ve still managed to join the chasing pack just below the top four which, considering the aforementioned form, is mighty impressive.

This phenomena can be explained either by Martin O’Neill having trained the club in the art of the Ninja, or by the fact that the top four have performed a little more inconsistently this season.

Either way, Bolton should watch out for the crane kick to the gonads this weekend, which I feel is undoubtedly coming their way.

Verdict: 2-1

Blackburn vs Portsmouth

I hold my hands up. Aruna Dindane last weekend took my snide, mocking words and shoved them firmly back down my embarassed throat. He was majestic, and took his hat-trick well.

However, did anyone else find this sudden change in the Ivorian’s form all a little too dramatic? I certainly did. This is why I sent my chief reporter in the field to Fratton Park this week to find out what was going on. His findings will be reported in this week’s Microsoft Paint Story Of the Week, so watch this space. It is truly shocking. Can you handle the truth?! (Sorry I really must stop treating you as if you’re a cinema audience watching trailers to the summer blockbusters).

Expect a shaven headed Morten Gamst Pedersen to take to the field for Blackburn Rovers, and a scintillating 1-1 draw to follow.

Verdict: 1-1

Man City vs Burnley

Those of you who watched Match Of The Day 2 last weekend would have witnessed a quite frightening report from Kevin Day (a man created by combining bits of Madness front-man Suggs, with a zombie from Shaun Of The Dead) on Burnley’s ‘ladies day’.

If you didn’t get a chance to see it, try thinking of an episode of ‘Booze Britain’, but dedicated entirely to women, and set in a bleak northern town. I can only assume that the male Burnley fans had decided to spend Saturday afternoon shopping for their halloween costumes (although they could have got a fair few pointers from some of the scary old bags at the stadium, that’s for sure).

This week against Manchester City, expect the Burnley fans travelling to Eastlands to revert back to form, with plenty of drunk men cosigning their Halloween masks to the back of the cupboard in order to roar their team to their fifth away defeat of the season.

Expect Carlos Tevez to still be wearing his halloween mask.

Verdict: 3-0

Tottenham vs Sunderland

Low on confidence, and missing key players, ‘Arry’s fragile Spurs troops would have wanted an easier fixture than Sunderland following a derby-day drubbing by an Arsenal team with a point to prove. Even though pocket goal-machine and glamour model afficionado Jermain Defoe is back from his suspension to give his club a boost, The Mackems team is loaded with ex-Tottenham players, all looking to prove Spurs wrong for flogging them.

Darren Bent will want to prove that he really is better than Redknapp’s wife, Andy Reid will desperately want to prove to the Spurs fans that he’s not the ‘pie muncher’ they’ve always said he is (it’s pretty obvious that he knows where the nearest Greggs is though), and Steed Malbranque will want to reinforce the question that most Spurs fans have been asking since he left… “Levy, why the hell did you sell him?!”.

Teemu Tainio will just want to angrily kick people. That’s what Teemu Tainio does. However, in the absence of Kasier Soze and Lee Cattermole, he’ll be the ex-Spurs player with arguably the most important job of all.

Verdict: 2-2

Wolves vs Arsenal

Arsenal can be compared very easily to Hogwarts, the wizard’s school attended by Harry Potter and his chums. Like Hogwarts, Arsenal have a Dumbledore professor figure at the helm attempting to teach all the young minds that walk into the youth system the way of mastering the wizadry of football.

He has many good students at the club, who have all clearly practiced their skills on a regular basis. However, they have one shining Harry Potter style light at the centre of it all, in the shape of Cesc Fabregas. Like the character, Fabregas can perform acts of brilliance that everyone else at the club can only admire with bewildered amazement. Let us not also forget that he often has to carry the weaker students through difficult times (at this point I should probably compare Niclas Bentner to Ron Weasley, and Emanuel Eboue to the little girl).

This weekend Fabregas and his wizard pals visit the den of a pack of bloodthirsty Wolves. Now, we all know that wolves like to prey on the weaknesses of small children, and I expect this pack to do exactly that on Saturday – snarling and snapping at the heels of the frightened youngsters. However with a wizard at the height of his powers at their core, mere Wolves will be no match for Wenger’s young magicians.

Verdict: 0-3

Chelsea vs Man Utd

It has been noted in certain places that Sky tend to make a bit of a song and a dance about a live game pitting two of the ‘Big Four’ teams up against each other. Flashy lights swooshing across the screen, dramatic music, and immense over-exaggeration over the importance of the seventh day of the week (i.e. ‘Mega-Super Amazing Sunday’ or something else just as ludicrous). Prior to the game, the tiny studio is packed with the brilliant minds of Jamie Redknapp, Richard Keys, and Andy Gray, and the viewer is ‘entertained’ (for what seems like an eternity) by three grown men drawing arrows on a virtual pitch, and talking incoherently about the brilliance of the two teams (who both, funnily enough, have made their employer one of the richest companies in the world).

The trouble is, with all the hype, these games are often a complete snore-fest. The recent Chelsea vs Liverpool game was so boring that I ended up being distracted by a repeat of Deal Or No Deal on our other telly (a fat man from Wolverhampton was sent home with 50p after he was ‘convinced’ big money was in a particular box, and thought that 5k ‘wasn’t a fair offer’. Riveting stuff).

This time though, I actually think that we have a really good game on our hands. Two teams playing good attacking football, and they are definitely the two teams who will be contesting the title this year, so there’s the added spice right there.

If Didier Drogba stays on his feet long enough to perform as he has been recently, I’m backing Chelsea for this one.

Verdict: 3-1

Hull vs Stoke

I like Hull’s manager Phil Brown. He’s an eccentric, and we don’t get many of them in Premier League nowadays.

So what if it was their start to the 08/09 season that kept them up last year? Does that really matter? No. What matters is that this earpiece loving, karaoke singing, half time team-talk on the pitch conducting Sam Allardyce prodige got Hull City promoted to the Premier League and then kept them there. That should be enough for the Hull board, fans, and players to show him a little respect in the tough time they’re having at the moment. The dreaded vote of confidence is always an ominous sign though.

This is one of those games that I wouldn’t normally give a damn about. But for Phil Brown’s sake I hope Hull can overcome the bus that Stoke park in front of their goal.

Verdict: 2-1

West Ham vs Everton

West Ham’s new striker Alessandro Diamanti has a bit of the Paulo Di Canio about him. Great touch, good finisher, and also a bit of a nutter. After a bit of gentle ribbing from his new team-mates for being the only member of the Hammers squad to use a hairdryer, the Italian reacted not by returning the banter, but by getting a grade 1 all over. This begs the question though, if Diamanti really is that suggestable, what else can his team-mates make him do?! Ideas below.

After a win in midweek, West Ham are unbeaten in three. Everton, by contrast have just suffered another injury set-back to midfield string-puller Mikel Arteta, which won’t improve the spirits of a team who last won a Premier League game back on September 26th.

It’ll be a hardfought encou… Stop! Hammertime.

Verdict: 2-1

Wigan vs Fulham

As I noted in my introduction above, I was pretty pleased with myself for predicting Fulham’s win over Liverpool last week. However, that was all soured by Wigan, the Premier League’s most unpredictable team, living up to their tagline.

That being the case, I am tempted to predict a Fulham win (because secretly I think that Wigan will win). However, now i’ve revealed my strategy on the world wide web, I’m sure that Wigan’s unpredictability radar will spot it and then force the team to carry out exactly the opposite.

Therefore, I am going to just go with my gut instinct. Wigan have had some big results at home this season, and Fulham are playing away in the Uefa League (or whatever the Uefa Cup is now called) on Thursday, so may be a bit sleepy when it comes to dealing with my man Rodallega (by that I mean he has been in my fantasy team this season. I transferred him out though, so technically it should be ‘my ex-man Rodallega’. However, that sounds a bit gay).

Marlon King is sidelined.

Verdict: 3-1

Liverpool vs Birmingham

Liverpool fans. I’m sorry, but this one’s the nil nil. And you can’t quote form to deny my assertions either. Playing without Gerrard, and pairing a half-fit Torres with a hapless Voronin in attack, these are some dark times.

Birmingham will be organised and hard to break down, just like they were against City. Don’t get me wrong, McLeish’s men are still an awful team to watch, but now is the perfect time for anyone to play the Scousers. They look lost.

Verdict: 0-0

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Premier League Predictions – 30th October

Posted by eddiev18 on October 30, 2009

Sunderland three, Liverpool twoooooo

Meg Predicts: "Sunderland three, Liverpool twoooooo"

For anyone who has used the shiny RSS feed thingy on the right, and therefore recieves new Eddies Football Blog articles direct to their inbox, I have to apologise. Last week you will have been waiting, betting slip in hand, for my all important Premier League Predictions. They never arrived. This means that you were forced to wander over to the BBC’s website and take advice from a man with a Scouse accent, a bad sense of humour, and a moustache. I hope that you have recovered fully from the trauma.

This week though, Premier League predictions are back with a bang.

Arsenal vs Tottenham

This derby is a big game, and my prediction is that lots of shouty, red-face men will congregate in North London in order to hurl abuse at each other. It is customary at this point to break out a few interesting stats about the last time Spurs won on Arsenal soil, or the date of the last time Arsenal won by six goals. I couldn’t be bothered with any of that though. You’ll undoubtedly get it off John Motson on Saturday monring during Football Focus.

I can see it now. “Did you know Dan, that the last time Spurs won away at Arsenal was in 1993. There was a steward at the ground that day by the name of David Grouse. I can tell you that his son, also named David Grouse, is a coach for Tottenham’s under 18 team, and he’ll be at the ground today”. John Motson is ‘special’.

David Grouse or no David Grouse, with Lennon, Defoe and Modric all injured, Spurs haven’t got a chance.

Verdict: 3-1

Bolton vs Chelsea

The Blues travel to the Reebok on Saturday, and I heard a pundit on TV today describing this fixture as ‘essentially the reverse of the Carling Cup game that these two teams contested in midweek’. Perhaps. However, if this truly is the reverse of the midweek fixture the following things will happen…

Bolton will play slick, free-flowing, passing football, with frontman Kevin Davies bamboozling his opponents with his grace and stepovers. They will win the game 4-0, and none of those goals will come as a result of a big hoof down the pitch. By contrast, Chelsea will stick a wall of players behind the ball, and persist with long aerial balls to their lone front-man Didier Drogba. Drogba will also not dive once in the entire 90 minutes.

Let’s not kid ourselves, it’s not going to be the reverse of that fixture at all.

Verdict: 0-2


Burnley vs Hull

Based on this season’s results Burnley are marginally a better team than Hull. Burnley are at home. Burnley will win.

I tried to write something better than the above, I really did. But, come on, it’s Burnley vs Hull. If you said to a mate ‘I’m off to see Burnley vs Hull this Saturday’, I’m willing to bet that the majority of people would respond simply with ‘Why?!’.

That says it all.

Verdict: 3-2

Everton vs Aston Villa

David Moyes is officially the Anti-Incredible Hulk. As I’m sure you know, when you get The Hulk angry he reacts by ripping his clothes, turning green, and generally creating a lot of noise and mess. By contrast David Moyes this week, in protest to Everton having to play lots of football matches in a time-frame he was unhappy with, kept his clothes on, stayed the same colour, and simply refused to talk.

The silent treatment it is then. Well, if the BBC and the Premier League remember their days in the playground, then surely all they have to do to get him talking again is to pin him down and give him a turbo-noogie. That’d do it.

With Aston Villa still half asleep after their snore-fest with Sunderland in mid-week, and Everton ‘tired’, I think I’ve found this weekend’s 0-0. Hurrah, I knew it was hiding somewhere!


Verdict: 0-0


Fulham vs Liverpool

Bandwagon afficionados will be lumping all of their hard-earned cash on Liverpool this weekend. You see, having beaten Manchester United last weekend there are some people out there (mainly Liverpool fans) who will use the result to paper over some fairly hideous cracks in the Merseyside club’s squad. One result doesn’t change the fact that they still have Lucas in midfield. Neither does it hide the fact that they still have to replace a world-class striker with David Ngog. Oh, and Yossi Benayoun is still a incredibly ugly.

Fulham by contrast, have quietly had a good month. They haven’t lost a game in October in all competitions, and in their last two games played exceptionally well against the big-money stars of Roma and Manchester City. You wouldn’t have known any of that because they’re Fulham. No one really supports Fulham. Or follows them. They’re just that nice club on the river, with the tasty pies, the neutral stand, and a dancing badger as a mascot.

I’m sure Lawro will have expertly found a way of backing Liverpool for this one, but I’m behind the break-dancing badger.

Verdict: 2-1

Manchester United vs Blackburn

If you believe Wigan manager Roberto Martinez’s comments this week, the fourth official would have a hard time stopping Fergie and Big Sam from having one big love-in on the side of the pitch. Fortunately for the man in black’s touchline minion though, Allardyce is still suffering from the remnants of swine flu, after his masterplan of last week back-fired horrendously. He will therefore be in the stand.

This should allow Fergie to concentrate on the game, and use his hands solely for pointing, as he barks his team to a home win.

Verdict: 3-0

Portsmouth vs Wigan

Marlon King walks into a bar…

Ok, ok, jokes aside, this should be quite a fun a game of football. Wigan are looking a really good side lately, with the attacking threat of N’Zogbia and Rodallega really hurting their opponents. Portsmouth are fun to watch for a couple of reasons:

1. They have an evil super-villain sitting in the stands,
2. They have Aruna Dindane up front. After the two sitters he missed against Spurs a couple of weeks ago, I want to see how much closer he can get to the goal without scoring.

Both teams will attack each other. The bloke with the bell will smell, and annoy a vast section of the crowd. Wigan will win.

Verdict: 1-4

Stoke vs Wolves

Mick McCarthy has got a really funny looking head. Has anyone else noticed that? Sure, his voice is taken straight from the hovis adverts, which is funny enough, but I’m sure his head is a portal for another being (like that dead alien in the morgue in Men In Black). Suggestions and lookalikes on a postcard, or sent to http://eddiesfootballblog@hotmail.co.uk.

This game will be rubbish.


Verdict: 1-1

Sunderland vs West Ham

When you’ve just got out of hospital having survived multiple stab wounds to the legs, the last thing you need is to be charged for assault yourself. That’s exactly what happened to Hammers defender Callum Davenport this week, and it’s pretty typical of West Ham’s luck this season. Sitting precariously in the relegation zone, pocket-sized Italian manager Gianfranco Zola will have to use all the hand gestures he can think of to rally his troops for this game because Sunderland, much like Tom Huddlestone at a Pizza Hut buffet, are a force to be reckoned with this season.

Sunderland fan-favourite, captain, and general midfield hatchet-man Lorik Cana this week put down his scythe, and offered a few eerie words of advice to his team-mates. “When you give 100% you always have the respect of the fans”, he snarled, in between moutfuls of raw meat. My guess is that Darren Bent and co. will have more than just the fans to worry about if they lose.

Some say Kaizer Soze was Albanian…

Verdict: 3-1

Birmingham vs Manchester City

New Birmingham owner Carson Yeung has been warned by departing chief David Gold that cutting ticket prices will get the Midlands side relegated. Whilst financially there may be a good degree of truth to that, there is an even stronger argument to suggest that it is in fact a rubbish football team that gets you relegated. And unfortunately Birmingham aren’t very good. The fact that Yeung’s footballing advice will be coming from Steve McManaman is, as those who witnessed his mind-boggling ‘punditry’ on Setanta Sports last season will I’m sure agree, just the icing on a very wobbly looking cake.

Manchester City have suffered a few draws of late, but have Brazilian party-boy Robinho close to fitness which should improve spirits in the camp. Well, until Craig Bellamy hits him with a golf club that is.

Verdict: 0-2

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Premier League Predictions – 16th October

Posted by eddiev18 on October 16, 2009

Sunderland three, Liverpool twoooooo

Meg Predicts: "Sunderland three, Liverpool twoooooo"

Seeing as Mr.T has not yet driven his tank through my garden wall, and as I have not yet spotted any Snickers bars scattered around on my lawn, I can only assume that the mowhawked one approved of my report this week on what referee Alan Wiley has been up to during the international break.

This has put me in a good mood. As a result though, I am presented with a problem. You see, I had planned to write a bit of a tirade about Premier League scuffle-addict, and Dennis The Menace wannabe, Joey Barton. I was going to have a little rant, rate his face using the Lee Bowyer Smackablomator, and then enjoy the endorphins that my brain always kindly releases after a good old character assasination of an annoying footballer. In my current mood though, there is no way that I could do the man justice, so I’ve had to find something else to occupy myself.

Premier League predicitions aren’t that hard to write. Ask Mark Lawrenson. The basic rule is that if it’s a game between two teams quite evenly matched, it’ll either be a 2-1 win to the home side or some form of relatively low-scoring draw (e.g. 1-1. Although I imagine that providing you with an example of a low-scoring draw is fairly unnecessary). If you have a strong side against a weak side, it’s 3 or 4-0 if the strong side is at home, and 0-2 if they are playing away on a cart-track of a pitch in Wigan. Throw in one nil-nil bore each week, and you’re done.

Oh. Wait. The only other rule is that, if you’re Mark Lawrenson (if, on looking in the mirror, this does appear to be the case, please seek medical attention), you MUST at all costs write an undescribably biased prediction in favour of Liverpool.

Right, so the rules out of the way with, let’s have a look at what we’ve got in store for us this weekend:


Arsenal vs Birmingham

In their last game, Arsenal gave Blackburn the sort of beating that may potentially have forced Big Sam into reconsidering the ‘play a centre-half up front, and lump it long’ approach. That can only be good for the Premier League. Birmingham should expect to endure the same treatment from The Gunners this weekend too.

Paddy Power are already taking bets on the exact minute that Alex McLeish loses his voice from shouting at his players too much. You can also put a wager on the exact shade of red produced by the capillaries on the face of the hapless Scotsman, as he flails his arms about in his technical area in an attempt to get Barry Ferguson to track Cesc Fabregas, instead of making rude gestures behind the referee’s back.

Verdict: 4-0

Aston Villa vs Chelsea

Carlo Ancelotti this week did two things. He got a lap dance on Italian television, and then he compared John Terry to Paulo Maldini. I can see what he means. Both are loyal to their clubs, both are fighters on the pitch, both are defenders, and both are captains (or have been). That’s where Ancelotti’s comparison stops though.

You see, where Maldini has the quintessential character of the Italian footballer – intelligent, softly spoken, stylish, and good looking, Terry, by contrast, is guts-and-glory, loud, stupid, and has a face that wouldn’t be out of place in a Wheterspoons on a Saturday night. Surely I haven’t just described the quintessential English footballer? Oh… right.

Maybe Ancelotti had a point after all. All I know is that, come Saturday, points are not what Villa will be getting.

Verdict: 0-2


Everton vs Wolves

The thing is, Everton vs Wolves is not a very interesting game to talk about. If Everton were going to play against a pack of 11 wolves, all dressed up in football kits and little boots for their paws, then trust me I’d be all over the review of this game like beans on toast. The reality of it all though is that there will be no wolves. No stopping to bay at the moon. No targeting of the smallest Everton player and feasting on him at half time. Nothing.

All there will be is 11 men in gold shirts playing 11 men in blue shirts. The men in blue shirts will procede to score three goals, with the men in gold scoring none. Barring a mild attack of tourettes from Toffees goalkeeper Tim Howard, nothing exciting will happen. However if, like me, you would like English football to be as speicies-diverse as it is ethnically diverse, then how about we all write a stern letter to the Premier League? Word on the street is that Sheffield Wednesday are also interested in the idea.

Verdict: 3-0

Manchester United vs Bolton

He’s just like Dom Joly, that Fergie, isn’t he? Dom Joly, just without the oversized props.

Not content with angering the referee’s governing body last week, with his comments about podgy lard-ass Alan Wiley, professional prankster Sir Alex Ferguson has used the international break to try to wind-up Belgian club Standard Liege. Whilst everyone else’s postman was down the pub enjoying a good old strike, it seems that the United manager’s postie crossed the picket line, because Belgian wonderkid Steven Defour recieved a letter from the Scot this week.

At the letter’s heart Sir Alex expressed his best wishes to the injured playmaker, and reminded the boy that he was in his thoughts. I’m not sure how i’d feel if an old Scottish man wrote me a letter to tell me that I was ‘in his thoughts’, but Defour was supposedly delighted. Whether his club feel the same is another thing.

Verdict: 3-0


Portsmouth vs Tottenham

It’s impossible to write this one without asking the following question. Why did Harry Redknapp conduct a football-based interview in an aquarium on Wednesday afternoon? I think I have the answer.

As we all know, Baron Silas Greenback is now in one of the comfy boardroom chairs at Portsmouth. Greenback would clearly like to start his career as Pompey Director of Football with a win, so what does he do? Instead of sending exploding custard to every single one of the Tottenham players on the morning of the game, he decides to invite the manager of the opposition (rumoured to be partial to a backhander) into his secret evil lair. All secret evil lairs are based in locations largely covered by water, that’s just a fact, so what better place to conduct your business than a secret room in Portsmouth’s famous Blue Reef aquarium. Did Harry take the bung though?

Funnily enough, he did seem to talk awfully highly of his old club in the interview…

Verdict: 2-1

Stoke vs West Ham

This one’s the nil-nil.

Verdict: 0-0

Sunderland vs Liverpool

Sunderland gave Manchester United a real scare last time out. In fact it was Ben Foster who probably gave United the bigger scare, but I digress. The Mackems are on good form and, for Darren Bent, comparisons with Harry Redknapp’s wife Sandra have well and truly been consigned to his Twitter history. One problem I still have with Bent though, and I’ve mentioned this before, is the following… why does he have to wear headphones all the time, even when he’s being interviewed post-match? My only assumption is that he must be learning a language. If so, good luck to you Darren. Sorry, I mean ‘buena suerte’ (if in fact you are learning Spanish, or even reading this at all).

Liverpool have lost their last couple of games, and now have an injury to Steven Gerrard to cope with. Yossi Benayoun will feature for the reds, but is unlikely to have become any easier on the eye during the international break.

Verdict: 3-2

Blackburn vs Burnley

One game. Every weekend in the Premier League we get one of these. The sort of game that is less of a game, and more of an example of how to have a fight within the rules of football. So, lots of shoulder charging, slide tackling, clashes of heads, that sort of thing. There won’t be any football played. It’ll be an absolutely horrible spectacle. However, after 8 pints this game is the footballing equivalent of the girl accross the bar that suddenly got attractive, even though she definitely wasn’t when you sat down five hours ago.

Abnormaly appealing.

Verdict: 1-1

Wigan vs Man City

Alan Wiley is back and, as revealed on Eddie’s Football Blog, has spent the international break punching dead cow carcasses, running up steps, doing push-ups in the snow, and generally finding obscure ‘Rocky’ influenced techniques to get himself into top conditon in the limited timeframe he had at his disposal between Premier League fixtures. Will he now be able to out-sprint Craig Bellamy though? Probably not.

In fact, I don’t think anyone can out-sprint Craig Bellamy at the moment. In the sort of form the Welshman is in, I can see his pace being the difference between the two sides. His unique ability to get on everyone’s nerves will be another difference between the two sides.

Verdict: 1-2

Fulham vs Hull

Family club vs Family club, taking place in the only stadium in the Premier League to have a section for ‘neutral fans’. There are probably still some tickets available, why not buy a couple? Take the kids. Buy some candy floss. Play poo-sticks on Putney Bridge, and have a jolly nice Monday evening. The football won’t be great, but a giant badger wearing a Fulham shirt will do something funny at half time. The kids will like that.

Verdict: 1-1

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