Please Stand. Sir Elton is here.

So December 12th, Elton John is in the house and it’s all because of a new stand.  He paid for a lot of the Rouse stand which they renamed the Graham Taylor stand…and now he gets his own stand.  I’m fairly sure when he visits he gets a better seat though.

Let’s hope he gets to see a Wigan game that reminds us of the recent Fulham beat-down.

watford stand

 

So, for those that are interested, this is the new layout.

stadium-plan-vicarage-road-watford-fc

Courtesy of http://www.footballgroundguide.com/watford/

FA Cup Draw: The Lucky Winner Is…. the often lost “focus” on the league.

Well it was the FA Cup draw this week and lo and behold it went really well for teams that in the former first division that enjoy the thrills and spills of a long cup run.    Here’s to you Watford… a gift in the first real round… a trip to Chelsea.  Not only is it Chelsea, it’s likely to be a Chelsea actually interested in winning every trophy there is to win.

w
FA Cup Chelsea vs Watford (see watfordfc.com for full image and details)

On the bright side, there are those that will say that a loss early in the cup will allow the team to focus on the Championship and a promotion push.  That sounds good in principle but that’s just a way to placate losers.  The other member of my household has a little thing for Sheffield Wednesday and the Citeh – so that’s one team into the round of 4th.

Arsenal vs Hull is interesting because it’s a repeat of last year’s final but then it’s Hull so that’s about as interesting as it gets.

With Liverpool struggling an away game to Wimbledon will invoke thought’s of Lawrie Sanchez (though strict lineage makes it a different team).

Upset of Upsets… but less upsetting than become the MK Dons

 

FA Cup third-round draw

Arsenal v Hull City
Southampton v Ipswich
Stoke v Wrexham
Charlton v Blackburn
Dover Athletic v Crystal Palace
AFC Wimbledon v Liverpool
Manchester City v Sheffield Wednesday
Aldershot or Rochdale v Nottingham Forest
West Brom v Gateshead
Blyth Spartans v Birmingham City
Aston Villa v Blackpool
Rotherham v AFC Bournemouth
Huddersfield v Reading
Oxford or Tranmere v Swansea
Cardiff v Colchester
Bolton v Wigan
Sunderland v Leeds
Burnley v Tottenham
Millwall v Bradford
Derby v Southport
Brentford v Brighton
Fulham v Wolves
Leicester v Newcastle
Scunthorpe or Worcester City v Chesterfield
Everton v West Ham
Cambridge United or Mansfield v Bury or Luton
Chelsea v Watford
Barnsley or Chester v Middlesbrough
QPR v Sheffield United
Accrington or Yeovil v Manchester United
Preston v Norwich
Doncaster v Bristol City

Liverpool vs Man United

I’ve been reading a lot of this:

 

“Most major footballing nations have one fixture that is unquestionably the biggest in the country: whether El Clasico (Barcelona vs. Real Madrid) in Spain, the Superclasico (Boca Juniors vs. River Plate) in Argentina, Der Klassiker(Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Dortmund) in Germany, Le Classique (Paris Saint-Germain vs. Marseille) in France or O Classico (Benfica vs. FC Porto) in Portugal, the theme is familiar and the implication clear.

English football is different. It lacks an equivalent contest, although the biggest game is usually considered this weekend’s fixture: Manchester United vs. Liverpool. It’s clearly England’s rivalry in a historic sense, but it’s peculiarly lacking in major showdowns over the years.”

What?

I’d rather sit down and watch a Liverpool v Everton game, or even, United vs Citeh, for that matter.

Liverpool vs Man United is just another top team game, that’s all.

Source: http://www.espnfc.us/barclays-premier-league/23/blog/post/2193368/manchester-united-vs-liverpool-is-close-to-a-classicbut-lacks-major-drama

Week of December 7, 2014 – Premier League Picks

Another December week and some interesting notes taken away from the mid week.

Firstly, I need to quit picking against West Ham – maybe they really aren’t relegation fodder?  Secondly, I need to quit picking against Aston Villa … nah, this week was an anomaly against a more mediocre team.  Liverpool maybe turning the corner?  Everton still going in a straight line?  Spurs showing up at the weekend before disappearing again.

Perhaps most gratifying to my prognostication ego;  a poor start to the winter for Southampton – losses to Arsenal and Citeh – and it’s not looking to get easier any time soon; a Manchester United team shaking off it’s early season stuttering.  Let’s see if the form holds!

6-Dec-14  
Newcastle United1-1Chelsea
Tottenham Hotspur1-0Crystal Palace
Stoke City1-2Arsenal
Liverpool 1-0Sunderland
Hull City2-2West Brom
Queens Park Ranger 1-1Burnley
Manchester City2-0Everton

Alan Pardew, latest bookmakers favorite for Manager of the Year, stays at home to take on the current undefeated top of the tablers, Chelski.   According to the “Chosen One”, Newcastle play a lot of games like friendlies; however, they make an effort to try against his team which is the burden of being the best.  It’s not often the Jose throws compliments around so I think a  back-handed one is better than nothing.  It does perhaps indicate a certain wariness about the trip up North.

Pardew says that it will be impossible for Chelsea to remain undefeated this year.  I don’t disagree but I am not sure that the Magpies have what it takes to take a victory.

Friendlies? We don’t play Friendlies…

Spurs beat Everton last week and Soldado scored!  No doubt somewhere a very lucky punter won a bet on that gamble!  Then they got trounced by Chelsea.  So which Spuds will show up this week?  Winners or Losers?  It’s hard to say but the result is probably more dependent on the play of the Eagles.  It’s hard to be positive about a team that lost to Aston Vill, so Spurs it is.  Barely.

Arsenal are a good team that have had poor form.  Alexis and Danny Welbeck are beginning to work well together.  Giroud scored a cracker against Manchester United so it’s easy to think they’re prime to have a positive winter.  It will be tough but despite people’s opinions on the frailties of Arsenal’s defense, Mertesacker is a World Cup winner and Chambers is not too bad.   While it took a last ditch effort against 10 to beat Southampton, they beat Southampton.

Liverpool are another team destined to eventually get going.  It’s shocking to look at the table and see them in the top 10 but they are there and I think are definitely priming for a run back to the top 5.  A tough Sunderland team will keep it tight.

Hull and West Bromwich are two teams.   Two teams two goals each in a tie.  Sounds fair but not a good result for either as they are both lower in the table than they would want to be at this stage of the season.

Queens Park Rangers are in the position they’re likely to occupy for a long time: bottom three.  Burnley are in the position they’re likely to occupy for a long time: bottom three.  Burnley have been playing fairly well and have started finding the net again (it’s right there between those posts!) so it’s a good chance to try and make a gap between them and their fellow relegation candidates.   It’s one of those days that fate interrupts and reminds them that both of them deserve to be near the bottom and forces a last gasp equalizer from QPR.

Everton have been disappointing this year and it’s hard to see where things will change.  I predicted a big year for Lukaku but it doesn’t seem that he’s able to be the constant threat that you need a goalscorer to be.  He’s a slightly less complete Welbeck which isn’t something that you’d try and build a future on.   Manchester City have been finding ways to win.  YaYa and Sergio are both a constant threat to score and that’s the difference between the teams.   Both of them will make good on at least one threat each.

7-Dec-14  
West Ham2-1Swansea City
Aston Villa1-1Leicester City

West Ham will win.  I’m now convinced that this is not just a fluke – they keep winning!  The Swans are just not as consistent and this week is a down week.

A derby game of sorts.  A clash between the team at the bottom of the table and the team that I think might end up near the bottom of the table.  It’s not going to be long before Lambert is going to start feeling the pressure.  It’s now nine games without a win for the Foxes – a run that Villa snapped against Crystal Palace on Tuesday night.  In this game there are no winners.

 

8-Dec-14  
Southampton 2-3Manchester United

Southampton can’t lose three in a row, can they?  Why yes they can, and they will.  Manchester United will play their famous 2-4-2-1 formation and outscore the Saints in a back and forth dual (in case you’re wondering, I only count the three defenders as 2/3 of a player each).

And in the holiday spirit… a kind of “who will they sell next?”

Open a Door and Receive a Player!

 

 

Week of December 2 and 3, 2014 – Premier League Picks

Ugh… it’s December and I have to remember to update these picks during the middle of the week.

Manchester United are set to benefit from the December Crunch; however, Stoke are an organized and annoying team that I think will be organized and annoying and hold the Reds to a pretty non-satisfying tie.  1-1.

Swansea are one of those cusp teams that look good and play nice but can then lose any week.  Any week that they’re not playing QPR, that is. 2-1

Liverpool are going to turn it around.  No really, they will. There is all this talk of Gerrard being “past it” being “too old”.  Well if Fat Frank can score goals for city there’s no reason that Stevie G can’t for Liverpool.   I did a search to see how old he looks and was surprised to find he still looks quite youthful! 1-2

Old Stevie G

I’m not sure about Newcastle.  Now that Alan Pardew has take his team away from the drop zone into a title chasing new position in just  few weeks, it’s tough to know what they will do next..surely lose a few and here him talk about “the football club” and “this club’s fans” in the context of relegation and firing once again.  It can be convenient to not name the club you’re managing on the off chance you end up somewhere else.  But Newcastle can beat bottom team Burnely, despite their positive run.

The Wests are playing… the Brom and the Hammers.  This has 2-2 written all over it.

Crystal Palace and Aston Villa had opposite runs last year.  The Palace fighting off relegation and Aston Villa fighting for a win.Should be an engaging team but I’m continuing to put all my faith in Villa going down. 1-0

2-Dec-2014  
Manchester United 1-1Stoke City
Swansea City2-1Queens Park Rangers
Leicester City1-2Liverpool
Burnley1-2Newcastle United
West Bromwich Albion2-2West Ham United
Crystal Palace2-1Aston Villa

Tough games for all but this is the second game in a treacherous run for the Arsenal Feeder team  Southampton – I truly wonder where they will end up at the end of December.  if they retain a position in the top 3? Chalk them in for Champions League.

A tough Sunderland team held Chelsea to a 0-0 draw so this is a great chance for Manchester City to pick up some points on the leaders.  Ya Ya is running into some decent form, appearing in and out depending on who he has to try and carry.  Aguero is always good for a goal – some real form from Navas, or a little more penetration in the final third and they should put in a hatful of goals.  Will be tough to keep a clean sheet with Kompany out .   This is not the high-flying city of last year – this is the barely good enough Chelsea version of City. 1-0

Everton a poor loss at the weekend to a struggling (but higher up the table than you’d think)  Spuds.  If you listened to the interview with Roberto Martinez you’d think it was down to them not playing their best, Spurs playing better, and just some mistakes here and there.  Roberto – you’re not working as a TV analyst anymore!   It’s actually quite refreshing to hear straight talk from the boss.  Everton at home against a poor Hull side?  Should be a win.   Fully expect a “superlative” goal from Ross Barkley so we can continue in this believe that he’s a top international and future hope for England. 1-0.

This Game we Will be Thumbs Up!

Arsenal will come out on top this week on the simple basis that they can’t continue to not win.  Southampton won’t drop too far..but this is going to be a rough patch for Ronald K and his boys.

Chelsea are too good for an average Spurs team though nothing would bring me more Premier league joy than the Y*d Army taking it to the Blues and crushing them.  Never bet with your heart! My brain says it’s a no brainer which leaves me to wonder what I should be using to choose this result. 2-0

3-Dec-14  
Sunderland 0-1Manchester City
Everton1-0Hull City
Arsenal 2-1Southampton
Chelsea 2-0Tottenham Hotspur

 

Week of November 29, 2014 – Premier League Picks

Well, the last November games are here… and then it’s the December crunch where I have to remember to post more than once a week.  But without further ado, let me roll out this weeks picks. I’m aiming for a 100% record this week but I’ll settle for for the current form of most of Arsenal’s midfield – average.

 

29-Nov-14  
West Bromwich Albion1-2Arsenal
Swansea City 2-0Crystal Palace
West Ham United 1-1Newcastle United
Queens Park Rangers 2-1Leicester City
Manchester United2-0Hull City
Liverpool2-0Stoke City
Burnley1-0Aston Villa
Sunderland1-3Chelsea

 

30-Nov-14  
Southampton1-1Manchester City
Tottenham Hotspur1-2Everton

 

 

It’s The December Crunch

Every year the season kicks off and we watch the games played counter creep up.   There are surprise results (West Ham in the Top 4) and there are the normal state of affairs (Chelsea and Manchester City at the top) and the truly bizarre (Newcastle move relegation to Europe with a few wins on the bounce) and finally there is the slow formation of the table into something that starts to make sense.  Teams are drifting into position and trends are beginning to set.  Away form, home form, lack of goalscoring, defensive frailties, all have taken off their masks to reveal themselves.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is the weekly feeling that this is the week that Manchester United, Arsenal, and Liverpool will turn things around and the week that Southampton will continue to stay high up the table.

wic

Even without having a World Cup in Qatar during the winter this year things are going to be thrown up and mixed up.

Take Southampton, as an example, they have 11 games in 42 days and it starts this week with Manchester City, Arsenal, and Manchester United (unfortunately, I still consider them a decent team).  They are playing 11.29.2014 and 12.03.2014 which is quick turnaround but nothing like the Crystal Palace and Chelsea on 12.26.2014 and 12.28.2014.   This period clearly favors the larger squads and is one of the reasons that being in the bottom 3 now doesn’t bode well.   It also favors teams that don’t get mixed in other events – Liverpool have s similar schedule with the Milk Cup (which I recommend they try and win) and Champions League games thrown in as well.

Seems that the team that will benefit will be Manchester United, and oh how I hate that.

Week of November 22, 2014 – Premier League Picks

It’s been so long since the last picks I’ve forgotten who’s who and who’s where in the Premier League.  I think Chelsea is top.  I think Spurs are still crap.  I think Liverpool are underperforming and I think I recall West Ham were in the top half?

Oh well. Just quick picks today without any snark.  I may add some while watching the games – but I won’t change my picks.  I was late getting to this today. I checked my traffic today and I’m the only one who cares what I write anyway.  I don’t believe anyone actually comes to this site from outside of my luxurious office, perhaps one day I’ll live tweet matches, follow people, sell out.  I’ll be like the Manchester United of blogs – for now I’m happy being the Racing Club Warwick of blogs (their reserves at least).

22-Nov-14  
Newcastle United2-1Queens Park Rangers
Stoke City2-1Burnley
Manchester City 2-1Swansea City
Leicester City1-1Sunderland
Everton1-0West Ham United
Chelsea2-2* (2-0)West Brom
Arsenal3-2Manchester United

 

24-Nov-14  
Crystal Palace1-2Liverpool
Hull City 1-1Tottenham Hotspur

 

25-Nov-14  
Aston Villa1-2Southampton