The less said the better this week! My worst week evah! I’m finding a striking anti-correlation between how much effort I go into making picks and how well I score. I’m not sure which direction to go yet.
Congratulations to AB who I will start to call Mr YoYo – going from first to last and back again!
Don’t forget your mid-week game picks. Maybe I’ll look for a half-season prize to award. I’ve got some Kraken back here still.
Here are the picks – just waiting for LJ who probably forgot because I didn’t do my weekly Friday office message reminder.
This week should be a bit better scoring than last week unless the EPL throws in a few surprises.
Quotes of the Week
Thanks for writing in some interesting comments:
From JE: “I want the moose men to win but Tottenham should win again soon shouldn’t they ? Arsenal and united should draw 1-1 (scrolls up and puts in a two for United so we win. Let’s see if that works for me better than it does for you!)”
I too want the deer-men to win but even at home it will be a tough ask against the Spuds. Especially, a potato-chicken team that is going to be looking to make up for lost points over the last weeks. Perhaps MP is focused on the Real Madrid job and we have a chance. I checked the head-to-head and see if that would influence me.
Not a lot of analysis on my part after that.
I think it looks more like a potato-penguin but while searching for this I found a couple of cute pictures (not football related)
I think it’s a duck but given the earlier picture I could try to argue it’s a baby Swansea image.
Then to bring it all back to football
“Watford won’t concede 4 goals again…so I will predict only 3! Spurs can’t be so bad three games on the bounce..please!”
“Lots of tough calls again this week. I may well be bottom again. Good job AM is also predicting as badly!”
To be fair and unbiased in my reporting it should be pointed out that in the prior week, while performing terribly, me AM did score more points than you.
To be more fair and unbiased I should point out that I was equally terrible and also scored more points than you.
And when I say points I mean point.
Not this week. It’s late and last week didn’t work so well after I put in all the detail. I’ll probably post a longer results post instead on Monday or add a fun post this weekend when I’m watching a game.
Just wanted to post the results. It was a bad week for most people but AB led the pack followed by LS and JE. I languished somewhere near the bottom finish above only the super-hapless ME. So much for using all that extra time you were provided!
So we’re in the annoying mid-week phase where I have to come up with posts TWICE a week. Anyone want to be a guest writer? Let’s fill some space with a nice space taking image.
As I’m on my own I guess I should just drop in the picks!
A nice little graphic here will make the page the page seem more filled.
As you can see we’ve got most of the picks in but we’re still waiting for ME, LS, and LJ. I think ME is getting in as much scouting as possible to defeat AM who kindly picked a tie for Watford when I know deep down he’s hoping for the team from just outside of Manchester to beat the team just outside of London. LJ is re-calibrating his methods. It turns out his football nous is too much of a good thing and he is going to rely more on heart than head moving forward. I’m not sure about LS. He’s probably doing something very important or something very interesting or not.
This Weeks Quotables
AM avoids potential “egg on the face” by not selecting the team from Trafford to thrash the Hornet Herfordshire Deer team. JE contributed “I fecking hope we don’t lose to you lot” along with his usually somewhat soppy comments (love you too little bro).
BE claims that “There should be thanksgiving from Arsenal, Man City and Man United ……if you can’t be good, be lucky!” Arsenal were lucky with a dodgy penalty, Manchester United aren’t lucky but have undue influence on referees, and Citeh dominated the game they won. So 1 out of 3 correct which is about her average.
AB claims he has been “overly generous to scouser compatriots” and is thus picking them to lose this week. At home to West Ham might not be the week to try that.
I thought I might mix in some really detailed analysis this week to give you an idea of the thought processes behind some of the picks. I’m expecting everyone to be close this week with everyone scoring within 2-3 points of each other- it’s just a feeling.
Arsenal vs Huddersfield Town Arsenal are flat-track bullies and this is the kind of game they will usually get a decent result from. Huddersfield left it all on the pitch trying to eek out a draw at home against Citeh and so will probably turn in an average display as a result of fatigue and disappointment. Arsenal will dominate possession (70-30) but none of this possession will result in goal scoring attempts as they spend most of the time wandering around between 15-25 yards out trying to figure out how to pass it into the net. Eventually Sanchez will slot home a free goal-pass from about 12 yards after someone breathes too hard on Ozil in the box (67) for another “lucky” penalty. A few minutes later Ozil will dribble one in as Huddersfield collapse into a deep 10-0-1 formation.
Bournemouth vs Burnley
The Cherries are much improved and will take advantage of a raucous home crowd to win. Well, as much as a small team’s fans can muster anyway. The home team will take advantage of a defensive lapse from Burnley and score mid-way through the first half (this analysis is based on me starting a Burnley player in my fantasy team). Burnley will come back with a lucky deflection on a mishit corner in the second half but will ultimately succumb to a rare Joshua King goal in the frenetic final 10 minutes.
Brighton & Hove Albion vs Crystal Palace
Brighton are a tough team to score on but they aren’t going to score more than 1 goal themselves. Crystal Palace were lucky to score in the last minute last week to take a win but this is Woy’s team and if I learned anything from watching him in his time as England manager it’s that Woy’s Boys won’t win two games in a row and they won’t score often (if at all).
Leicester City vs Tottenham Hotspur A tough game for Spurs. Delicatessen Ali has gone off the boil and would have been far more heavily criticized had his name been Pogba but this is part of the long term plan he has to get a move to Man U so that he can win a title (he thinks). Man You will buy him with the cash they raise from sending the overrated Martial of to Real Madrid as part of their overhaul. Leicester will sit back for 69 minutes and launch long searching passes through the middle for Vardy who will eventually score. It will look desperate again for Spurs and Kane will equalize with 5 minutes to go (because someone else will start him as captain in their fantasy team and get double points).
Watford vs Manchester United Jose will setup Manchester United with their common away game setup of playing deep and countering when the chance comes. Of course, they sometimes forget to counter and that might be the case today. Watford will go up early with Andre Gray scoring on a defensive mishap after 5 minutes raising the hopes of all the Hornet’s fans. Watford will then forget to attack which will leave the game in an awkward position with one team trying to counter a non-attacking team. Fellaini will spare Jose his blushes with a long ball elbow-of-god goal in the 8th minute of additional time just like the good old days.
I did go into the future and record the game and this was the surprising interview I saw. Unfortunately, I’ve already locked in my pick but this may help the remaining players mentioned above.
West Bromwich Albion vs Newcastle United I think this game would be better if both team could play in their home kit!Megson seems to have his team in order but they weren’t that bad to begin with so they’ll win but only after the Geordies score a stunning goal.
Newcastle are for sale and inquiries were made this week which is more interesting than this game will be.
The sale may be forced because without an influx of cash the team will be struggling and Rafa has made it clear that he’s not the manager who can work without a huge budget. He was seen last week in the technical area sporting a new scarf that made his point known to Mike Ashley.
Chelsea vs Swansea City
Swansea’s best player is a Chelsea player who is not allowed to play against Chelsea while he’s at Swansea or play for Chelsea because he’s at Swansea (and wouldn’t make the team anyway). No deep analysis on this game: at three seemingly random times Chelsea will score – probably a brace by Hazard and another by Morata (because he’s on the opposition’s fantasy team as well).
Everton vs West Ham United 3-2 Everton will be better this week and are playing a West Ham team who might be better than their position. I see Everton winning but because they let in a lot of goals they’re going to have to score 3 from somewhere – Niasse will score two of them in the first half. Whoever it is that takes Everton penalties (Baines?) will score the third in the second half after the Hammers fight back with Lanzini and Kouyate scoring.
Sam Allardyce will see this game, think Everton are alright and good enough to stay up without any effort, take the job, collect some paper bags with money in it and watch them get all the way up to 5th from bottom, call it job well done, retire to an island vacation to wait for the next desperate team.
Rinse and Repeat.
Manchester City vs Southampton The analysis for this game is simple: Kevin De Bruyne.
Stoke City vs Liverpool I discussed this game at length with LJ and we both decided that the game could be 1-3 to the scouse army. Jordan Henderson will antagonize the Liverpool loyals by scoring a cracking goal that once again means he won’t be dropped for a while (despite him being mostly useless). So Jordan puts them up 1-0 and Coutinho will make it 2-0 from a free kick under the wall.
To keep it interesting, Maxim Choupo-Moting will cut the deficit in half.
I originally also had Firmino and Mane fighting over who would score the third from the penalty spot deciding, ultimately, that Firmino would take it, miss it, and let Mane get the rebound. That was when I thought the game was at Anfield and that a Kop-end penalty would be a given – away that penalty doesn’t happen. Away from home it will just end as Klopp predicts.
There you have it.
All the picks and all the detail.
I was half way through a long post but I was distracted by Black Friday and the opportunity to get a new hosting provider (via a Coupon). It’s taken me most of the day to migrate the site and get all my email up to date so the post went to the wayside. I’ll try and add it in the next couple of days – it was moderately amusing but somewhat “Thanksgivingy” so might not work out-of-US-Holiday context.
This week saw a big jump for LS and a sad sad tie for last between AM and ME -what a battle that is turning out to be !
Please remember to make your picks for Tuesday and Wednesday
Some contributions this week some seem to be an excuse for not fulfilling the promise of last year’s success with a recent mediocre run:
JE – “I have no idea about results this season. I do know that i got a good result by blagging me DM tickets! X”
Here’s one that they didn’t play – time to get the season back in gear:
I also get the banter of two arch-nemesis who should really directly antagonize each other:
ME – “I have deliberately predicted incorrect results this week to give AM a better chance! … From your team pictures it looks like Man Utd could poop over the Gulls! ”
AM- “All I’ve done in the past few weeks is take my foot off the gas just to wait for old ME to catch up! ” “PS – ‘Old Toilet’ my arse!!”
Well head-to-head score is as follows (to ruin the suspense):
Seems that one is winning by points but not head-to-head. I’m sure I could call it a tie but the rules are that ME is winning!
The Game Summaries
Burnley V Arsenal Arsenal have 18 of their 22 points at home and they are playing at Turf Moor where Burnley are actually capable of getting results this year. Should be a close game and end with honors shared. I want to make this 1-1 but I put 2-2 and it’s too late to change it and upload it again. I therefore declare that the last few minutes will end in a chaotic pair of offsetting goals in time added on.
Crystal Palace V Stoke City I think that Palace will go down but I really think that Mark Hughes should be fired so that settles that. Palace for the win with Benteke scoring because I took him out of my fantasy team and replaced him with a goat. Or not.
Huddersfield Town V Manchester City Huddersfield will try and keep this a goalless affair. Not going to happen.
Liverpool V Chelsea So everyone thinks that Liverpool are going to lose because they let in three goals against Sevilla in the week. Do I need to point out that they didn’t lose? This is Anfield and Mane Salah will score a hattrick to put them up 3-0. Chelsea will score, of course. This is my pick and is part of what I call fantasy football. Reality football is that Jordan Henderson is playing and he’s rubbish so Chelsea probably won’t lose.
Manchester United V Brighton & Hove Albion Fellaini will score when the Red Devils revert to the long-ball and end up 1-0. That’s what my brain said but then I realized that they’ve scored 4 goals every time they play at Old Toilet. Brighton won’t score. That makes 4-0 the going prediction. So three of us will either be disappointed or happy with the number of goals.
Newcastle United V Watford Watford are brilliant and have the best manager in the world – or so the press would have you think. They’re average just like their opposition so I’m going to go for the old stand-by of 2-2 for the Moosemen though the players may deliberately lose to keep Silva around.
Southampton V Everton Everton have an interim scape-goat in Unsworth and I don’t think he can be too excited at the prospect of continuing his managerial status at Everton as it’s definitely destroying his resume. Another loss as Southampton manage to eek a goal out of something. This deserves a 0-0.
Swansea City V Bournemouth The Cherries are better than Swansea. The picks seem to bear this out overall. End of discussion.
Tottenham Hotspur V West Bromwich Albion West Brom would get a new manager bump but they have a caretaker manager in Gary Megson and are actually looking to take Alan Pardew. I think I would have kept the old-boy Tony Pulis. Mr P let it be known he’s in charge by basically telling Danny Rose to sit down and shut up… though he’s thinking of moving to Real Madrid if Zidane gets the boot. Interestingly, I just read Four-Four-Two that called Zidane the best manager in the world. Funny ole game that Spurs will win.
West Ham United V Leicester City West Ham are playing at home and will be looking to play better than they did last week against Watford (I missed most of the game after Andy “Elbows” Carroll tried to knock-out half the opposition). David Moyes is their manager so it’s hard to see how they will ever play better. Close game which Leicester should win but probably won’t.
Signing off. Preparing my analysis for next week… you can already get your picks in. Hopefully this will give me more time to write something amusing or that makes sense.
This post is being brought to you this week from Chi-Town where I’m planning on seeing the non-round football as attempted by the Bears against the Lions. My dedication to the cause is so great that even on vacation I’m posting a weekly kick-off summary.
This week’s predictions see a lot of similar picks so I expect the winner this week to be a lucky exact thrown in.
There are a few of interesting items to point out from the picks this week. There is a seemingly unanimous belief that a Jose Mourinho led team will keep a clean sheet. Personally, I put that down more to the fact that they are playing at home where goals are hard to come by for the visitors or just the fact that the visitors are Newcastle. The other is that Liverpool are a consensus attacking team and goals should be expected. I haven’t checked to see if Jordan Henderson is playing to prevent that from happening so it’s probably not a bad prediction. Burnley are a unanimous home win pick which is remarkable when you consider their home form last year.
I would also point out that everyone picked Citeh again this week but that hardly seems interesting anymore.
Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur
Probably the game of the week is the North London Derby. Until recently there was a 15 year pattern that was religiously followed by the Arsenal.
Arsenal need to buy players to win the League
Arsene buys a player and sells more
Everyone calls for Wenger to be fired
Arsenal finish fourth.
There was also a pattern at spurs.
Don’t win anything
Things look like they may be turning a corner with Arsenal continuing their slight slide and Spurs looking more and more like contenders for a trophy; however, I would not be surprise to see a Spurs team without a trophy and Arsenal 4th come season’s end.
I expect an open game that will ultimately end in a tie. Robbie Savage noted earlier this week that Spurs need a fall back from Harry Kane – someone who can score and attach when the main man is out hurt. Erickson is a play-maker but is not a domestic league goalscorer. I know Zidane doesn’t really rate Gareth too much so maybe a signing in the transfer window will happen.
Meanwhile, a draw seems a fair result.
Bournemouth vs Huddersfield Town
The first few games saw the Cherries really struggling to put together a solid game but they have turned the corner. Huddersfield have been doing well but they are struggling for goals despite their decent form so I expect this to be the part of the season where the new boys start to struggle now that they’ve been watched and dissected by the better managers. Eddie Howe will bring a prepared team and they will comfortable sit on a two goal lead for most of the game before keeping it interesting at the end.
Brighton & Hove Albion vs Stoke City
Probably the toughest game of the week to get a handle on. Shaquiri (not to be confused with Shakira or Harry Enfield) has been playing well. Stoke have put together a few results when Mark Hughes was starting to look in danger….and Brighton have been over-achieving. Scrappy draw and another interview with Chris Hughton where he lauds his team’s efforts and says they plan to stay up.
Burnley vs Swansea City
Burnley have been playing well but things are a little testy at the training ground with Sean having to consistently deny rumours that he’s the favorite to take over at Everton. It will still be a home win as I see Swansea being the team that will continue to struggle.
Crystal Palace vs Everton
Woy’s Boys are playing the bad team from Merseyside. Neither team is particularly good but Everton managed to beat Watford last week (sigh) and Palace look a little better with Zaha (the baby giraffe) David Unsworth is a tough nut who seems to be managing the Toffeemen right now with a laundry list of replacements being lined up. The list is so long and so populated with currently employed managers, at this point I don’t know if pulling Peter Reid out of retirement isn’t an option.
I always think teams “show up” for temporary manages so a shock away win wouldn’t be a surprise but the small stadium and nutty fans will keep this to a draw.
Leicester City vs Manchester City I’m not picking against Pep again this year.
Liverpool vs Southampton
The good team from Liverpool plays a defensive free football but this won’t matter as they will spend ninety minutes camped in the opposition half. VVD wants to join Liverpool so I doubt we’ll see much of an effort from him.
Manchester United vs Newcastle United
Mourinho likes to keep a clean sheet more than he likes his team to score. I expect a cagey (boring) match which will see two very late goals from the substitute (whether that be Martial or Rashford) and then an endless discussion where Zlatan fits into things.
Watford vs West Ham United
With all the negative talk at West Ham and all the postive talk at Watford it would probably come as a surprise to people that over the last 5 weeks West Ham have more points than Watford. I expect the new boss to get a new resurgent team spirit and for it to be a solid away performance. I also think that trigger happy Watford may take the 10 million offered by Everton for their manager. Watford seem to believe that the team come before the manager.
West Bromwich Albion vs Chelsea
Lose to Citeh and you get written off. Beat United and you become overrated. There’s the summary for Chelsea. West Brom will play for a draw and fail to keep a clean sheet.
This was hacked together quickly so probably full of errors. I will try and do better next week…. do better in making up an excuse, that is.
Thought this week I would document a puzzle that I’ve completed by Heye. I bought the puzzle at Amazon because I found it somewhat amusing. I thought I would snap a few of my favorite scenes from the puzzle for your enjoyment.
This will be a two-part series! It’s like a home-away qualifier.
How A Puzzle Starts
A puzzle starts like this. Obviously.
How A Puzzle Really Starts
This is how a puzzle really starts for me. Every piece face up. Edges in the pile. Usually I will have one further pile for the initial sort -I don’t have enough brain power to do a sophisticated multi-sort.
Sheffield 1996. Probably the peak moment of Gazza’s career happened about 10 seconds before alcohol became involved.
Teddy providing the smouldering good looks and the lack of smarts.
Dave Mackay hated this photo because he thought it made him look like a bully; however, he always signed the image and accepted it’s one of the most famous moments in sports.
A signed one is owned by ME courtesy of JE.
Brian Clough isn’t everyone’s cup of tea; however, he is the owner of some of the classiest/funniest/most disrespectful quotations of all time (Bill Shankly has some better ones).
Kung Fu Cantona
Manchester some time in the 90s. I didn’t see this live but I can still remember my housemate letting me know about this in the morning. I thought he was winding me up like Fish wind up Seagulls near a trawler (or something).
Cantona The King
One of the most cocky goals every scored. From Zero to Hero.
Made the cover of every magazine at some point – Terry Butcher bleeding to death. In the background
In the background is the best streaker of all time:
Broken Arm Final
In 1993 Steve Morrow scored the goal that beat Sheffield Wednesday and in his celebration he broke his arm live on TV. I remember laughing at the time which is a bit mean.
Baddiel and Skinner recreated the event (they will be featured in part 2):
Saint & Greavsie
I grew up with S&G and I loved Jimmy. I’ll never forget when he was commenting on a game and a hapless striker clean through failed to score – Jimmy just said “You’ve got to drop your shoulder, son”. Greatest finisher of all time (maybe).
I know that in writing this blog or commentary that I often make mistakes (all of which go unreported1) but I don’t worry because I know even the proper news outlets get their results wrong.
Point is, that I try my best to get everyone’s picks right but it you really really care about where you finish be sure to check your predictions. I’ll try and get them up a bit quicker.
A Very Bad Start
This week’s picks (ok, last week’s picks that I’m posting a week late) were quite interesting. I knew the games would be challenging to pick as the big teams were playing each other and that meant a lot of smaller teams were head-to-head. Worse, the teams you would normally fancy was often the away team. After five games the scoring was looking bleak; I cannot every remember multiple people starting a week with FIVE (5) completely wrong guesses. At this point it was looking pretty bad for me.
It was a terrible start.
By the end things improved for the most part with everyone picking up 3 results out of 5. Maybe we were better prepared for these results.
But it was a complete reversal for AM and ME in their person tete-a-tete with ME moving from last-to-first and AM falling from first-to-last with the lowest total I’ve seen for a long time. I was bailed out by correctly picking Liverpool as 4-1 winners – a total no-brainer that I’m surprised everyone else missed. I did actually pick Huddersfield 1-0 West Brom but entered it incorrectly on the form as 0-0 and so I have to stand by my official entry which drops me to 2nd.
Overall things are still relatively close at the top but with the bottom three slowly drifting off the bottom and looking for a solid result.
For interest I thought I would put how everyone is generally picking. Each box shows how far your personal table (based on your picks) ranks the teams against where they actually are in the table. Green means that the team is overachieving relative to your picks and red means that they are underachieving relative to your picks….
Quick test: Who is overrated and who is most underated?
Hopefully the site is up and running after a quick migration from one host to another host. There was nothing wrong with the existing server but unlike Citeh or Chelski I don’t really need to be spending money on one server when I already have a good one available. I don’t think I can send my server off on loan to a second tier blogger. Let me know if you find anything not working (but don’t look too hard).
This week’s final results:
This week’s final results table:
There are some head-to-heads of note – namely the friendly competition between AM and ME. I don’t mean to point out the obvious but they’re like polar opposites. Literally.
This week’s aggregate table:
I did get a couple of comments this week. LS wrote “Do you win anything for coming last? Asking for a friend…”. Firstly, there’s barely a prize for coming first. This past year it was a bottle of Kraken Spiced Rum. It was nice to be able to do an in person presentation of the prize.
Secondly, I wasn’t aware that you knew LJ 😉
AB wrote “At least my name is top of the list when entering initials for these submissions……..” I’m not sure that’s true! We’ll have to check this week’s entry form
Don’t forget to pick. I’m hoping to do some analysis this week.
I had completed the Football History puzzle a few weeks ago. This weeks sample shows Mr Taking Le Tiss saying goodbye to the Dell. He came up in conversation this week when a couple of us were discussing the worst penalty in the world which we thought may have been Anthony Martial vs Benfica for a while before realizing that was a little harsh.