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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.