March 14, 2015 Premier League Picks

Not sure if I will get time to make better picks this week – as I’m on a vacation – so this is my initial pre-analysis guesses  predictions.  I certainly don’t have time to come up with decent commentary or something witty.   My heart wants Chelsea to drop points, my gut says Spurs have had their run, and I’m sure Jonjo will score against Liverpool.

Other than that? It’s anyone’s game!

14-Mar 2015  
Crystal Palace 2-1Queens Park Rangers
West Bromwich Albion2-2Stoke City
Sunderland1-0Aston Villa
Leicester City0-1Hull City
Arsenal2-0West Ham United
Burnley1-3Manchester City
15-Mar 2015
Chelsea 1-1Southampton
Manchester United 2-1Tottenham Hotspur
Everton2-0Newcastle United
16-Mar 2015
Swansea City1-2Liverpool

 

This post as of 12:18 am 3-13-2015 –  I may come and re-edit later.

Oh Forestieri!

Dubbed the Lionel Messi of the old 2nd Division, Forestieri is a great player that has been on loan to Watford.

We have suffered our share of bad decisions.  Many against the top teams so not-quite-evening-out-over-the-course-of-the-season but that doesn’t excuse the dive of the year.

In further news, things are ridiculously close but I’m glad we’re in the mix.

table

Where did Brentford come from?

FA Cup, Round 6

Didn’t have the access so I didn’t post this but here were my picks as chosen.

FA Cup 6th
Liverpool 2-1 Blackburn
Manchester United  0-2 Arsenal
Aston Villa  0-1 West Brom
Bradford  1-0 Reading

Green are those that have correctly guessed each round til the present.

March 7, 2015 Premier League Picks

Just the one game which is good because I don’t have much time.

07-Mar 2015  
QPR1-2Tottenham Hotspur

Key stats:

Queens Park Rangers have won none of their last 10 Premier League London derbies
Harry Kane has scored 12 goals in his last 12 Premier League appearances.

So expect Harry Kane to score and QPR prepare to not win.  That would be 1-1 then because Spurs are incapable of just winning easily.

Week of Feb 21, 2015 Premier League Picks

Another week already. Not a lot to say this week – more European football, more racist fans at Chelsea.

What’s that ? You were unaware Mr Chosen One?

We all know that Mourinho’s issues are not with men that are black as much as it is the men in black 🙂

21-Feb 2015  
Sunderland1-1West Bromwich Albion
Swansea City1-1Manchester United
Aston Villa1-1Stoke City
Hull City2-0Queens Park Rangers
Crystal Palace1-2Arsenal
Chelsea3-0Burnley
Manchester City 3-1Newcastle United

Sunderland are boring………  and they’re on a losing trend against a team that has been showing signs of life since Tony Pullis came to town and took over.  A point will be valuable but it’s not the result either are looking for.  To be fair, they probably look for wins each week but just  haven’t been able find enough.

Swansea beat Man United opening day and the world rejoiced the beginning of the new Total Football Dutch era.  If you look at the opening week’s team and the current team you’d be forgiven for thinking that this is a different team… well it is.   Not sure who can score for Man United with their best striker in midfield.   I expect a 1-0 lead to be held at the end of the 90 minutes only for it to be relinquished to a Fellaini long ball header.

I had Villa going down but now they have a new exciting manager in Tim Sherwood.  Now they’re going down with heart and guts.

Hull City are going to start making a run up the table with the hopes of finishing 16th or higher and what better way to start than beating a QPR team in desperate need of results.

Arsenal are playing well and Alan Pardew is not a good enough manager and the honeymoon is over.  It has to be at some point.

Chelsea and Man City?   Now that Ya Ya is back they will win all the way to their 1-2 finish.

22-Feb 2015  
Tottenham Hotspur2-1West Ham
Everton2-0Leicester City
Southampton 1-2Liverpool

Learning from mistakes is something that you must do to grow as a human and as a person.  After saying Harry was not all that great he went ahead and score a couple of goals.  I also learned not to best against West Ham.. however, that was much longer ago and they’ve lost since and they will lose again.

Everton will turn it around.  Everton will turn it around. Everton will turn it around.  Finally.

The talk this week has been all about Balotelli and Liverpool and goals!  This is an unexpected twist in the Liverpool and Super Mario relationship. He’s playing?
He’s scoring?

He’s creating needless controversy by acting like a spoilt brat? Of course.

Liverpool are a more threatening team with Sturridge back.  With Mario now scoring off the bench they are a formidable opponent (qualifying for Champions league via Europa?)  Time for some Southampton shortcomings to show up – they’re well managed, positively playing ut open to the counter and I expect Liverpool to shake things up in the Top 5. Should be a good end of year to determine the final spots.

Let Him Have It Not So Super MarioEither way it was a a good awa

FA Cup, Round 5

So it’s Round 5 and about 2 Rounds after my Hornets got bounced and I stopped really caring.

Feb 14 2015
West Bromwich Albion 2-0 West Ham
Blackburn Rovers 0-1 Stoke City
Derby County 2-0 Reading
Crystal Palace 1-2 Liverpool
Feb 16 2015
Aston Villa 1-0 Leicester City
Bradford 1-2 Sunderland
Arsenal 2-1 Middlesbrough
Feb 17 2015
Preston North End 1-2 Manchester United

Green are those that have correctly guessed each round til the present.

FA Cup, Round 4 Picks

FA Cup 4th Round this week. Thought I’d label the teams from the previous round that were correctly picked to see how i progress week to week. It’s very odd (or random) that I did correctly select all the home teams on the 24th but not a single one from the 23rd or 25th?

The third round was disappointing for me as a Watford fan but beating Chelsea was never really on the cards.  I didn’t think I would ever see Watford win that game but then I also never expected to see that Mourinho would ever apologize for anything … but apologize he did…Mourinho Apologizes??

 

Jan 23 2015
Cambridge United 1-3  Manchester United
Jan 24 2015
Blackburn Rovers 1-2 Swansea City
Southampton 2-1 Crystal Palace
Chelsea 3-0 Bradford
Derby County 2-0 Chesterfield
Preston North End 1-0 Sheffield United
Birmingham City 1-1* West Bromwich Albion
Cardiff 2-0 Reading
Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Leicester
Sunderland 1-0 Fulham
Manchester CIty 2-0 Middlesboro
Liverpool 2-1 Bolton Wanderers
Jan 25 2015
Bristol City 1-2 West Ham
Aston Villa 1-1* AFC Bournemouth
Brighton and Hove 1-3 Arsenal
Jan 26 2015
Rochdale 0-2 Stoke

The FA Cup 4th round does have some interesting match ups as well as good opportunities for lower division teams to make it into the 5th and serious rounds.   The games start with Cambridge at home against Manchester United who really didn’t impress much in the previous round at Yeovil and it seems that Richard Money (I’m not sure I’d like to grow up with that name) isn’t phased by the challenge ahead for this team.  There’s never value in betting  a win in this game for the underdogs but at home they could put a surprise goal past the 4-4-2 / 3-5-2 / 10-0-0 of Van Gaal.   Not sure the fascination but i’m sure the official line-up and announced formation will be over-analysed again but … no buts, it’s just boring.

Swansea stunk against Chelsea and the time is good for a fan make up session.  Not sure who plays up front for them now that Man City somehow manage to get around financial fair play and make another splashy signing in Bony.  Blackburn should be decent enough to make it interesting.

A fairly big game is Birmingham at home to West Brom.   The focus for newly installed Tony Pullis will be to keep West Brom in the premier league – but a cup run shouldn’t be ignored.  They don’t want to be Wigan and have the Charles Dickens season .. It was the best of times at Wembley and the worst of times in the bottom three.

Probably the greatest hope for me is that Chelsea play a number of reserves to counter the argument that there is not enough team rotation and then lose.  It won’t happen of course.

Alan Pardew is having another October  – 3 wins in a row? Well you know what they say.  All Alan Pardew things come to an end eventually.  Southampton will rock him back into reality and his focus will shift to finish 4th from bottom – safe but with evidence that he needs money to waste over the summer.

Liverpool tied in the week and so are on the precipice of a Milk Cup final.  Liverpool don’t want to put all their eggs in one basket and so the FA Cup will be an important trophy to try and pick up.  Just like Chelsea losing in this round, an Anfield trophy just isn’t going to happen.

Aston Villa – can they score?  Can they win?  Yes and no… a draw is on the cards.

As for the other games?  They will be played.

Week of Jan 17, 2015 Premier League Picks

Last week was as strong week: 10 selection, 8 correct results with 4 correct scores, and only 2 games wrong.  The Law of Averages says this week will be a weak one.

So here are the picks.

17-Jan 2015  
Swansea1-2Chelsea
Tottenham Hotspur 2-0Sunderland
Queens Park Rangers 1-2Manchester United
Leicester City1-1Stoke City
Burnley 2-1Crystal Palace
Aston Villa 0-1Liverpool
Newcastle United 1-3Southampton
18-Jan 2015  
West Ham United 2-0Hull City
Manchester City2-2Arsenal
19-Jan 2015  
Everton 3-0West Bromwich Albion

FA Cup Round 3 Picks, January 3rd 2015

It’s FA Cup week and every year it’s the first time where I think about the possibilities of a lower division team getting the chance to win something.  It’s an unrealistic view despite the fact that some over-aged pundit thinks the FA Cup has lost its luster and I thought I’d rid my life of him when all the competitions got bought by bigger networks.

Anyway, there is always the hope that Watford might go back… until they draw Chelsea away…. but they’re on the back of a bad loss to Spurs so maybe there’s hope? Nope, just like Watford will always lose to Everton no matter how much of his glove holds on to the ball.   Though apparently, the hairdos will be different…less curls and Peter Reid has started to dye his hair gray.

Watford v Everton

 

But there is always the potential upset.  Aston Villa, anyone?  They can’t score so who knows?  Will MK Dons be able to upset a bigger team in Liverpool?  It’s happened.

Wimbledon v Liverpool
Wimbledon v Liverpool
I’m not one that puts much stock in the match up.  Wimbledon were nowhere near as bad as anyone pretends now.  Dave Beasant was in peak form.  More relevant to now the only thing that the 3rd Round match has in common with the past is the name Liverpool and “Dons”.  I have no idea what “Dons” has to do with Milton Keynes at all.  It’s really about time they changed their name to something sensible like MK United, MK Villains… or what are they famous for.. MK Grids.
But I still think it’s unlikely a little team will win the Cup.  Five of the last Six have been taken by Chelsea, Arsenal, and Manchester City (who lost in the other final).   The big fish eat the little fish.. .but I’m still going for Spurs to get the glory of victory (if they can get past Burnley).
Well, here are the picks.
 
Jan 3 2015
Cardiff City2-1Colchester
Charlton Athletic1-2Blackburn Rovers
Rochdale 1-2Nottingham Forest
West Bromwich Albion 3-1Gateshead
Blyth Spartans 0-1Birmingham City
Rotherham United 1-2AFC Bournemouth
Huddersfield Town 1-1Reading*
Tranmere Rovers 1-2Swansea City
Bolton Wanderers 2-0Wigan Athletic
Millwall 2-1Bradford City
Derby County 2-0Southport
Brentford 1-0Brighton & Hove Albion
Fulham 3-3Wolverhampton Wanderers*
Leicester City 1-2Newcastle United
Cambridge United 1-1*Luton Town
Barnsley 2-0Middlesbrough
Preston North End 1-0Norwich City
Doncaster Rovers 1-0Bristol City
Jan 4 2015
Dover Athletic 1-2 Crystal Palace
Sunderland 3-0 Leeds United
Queens Park Rangers 4-2 Sheffield United
Southampton 4-1 Ipswich Town
Stoke City 1-0 Wrexham
Manchester City 3-1 Sheffield Wednesday
Aston Villa 1-2 Blackpool
Yeovil Town 0-2 Manchester United 
Chelsea 3-0 Watford
Arsenal*2-2 Hull City
Jan 5 2015
Burnley 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur*
AFC Wimbledon 0-1 Liverpool
Jan 6 2015
Scunthorpe United 1-1Chesterfield*
Everton 2-1West Ham United

Week of Jan 1, 2015 Premier League Picks – A New Year

An odd week that reminds me of the golden age of football before TV rights and subscription football – all teams playing on one day.   It used to be a ritual to sit down at at about 4.40 p.m., turn it on to Grandstand and watch the vidi-printer kick-off and start posting the results. As they came through you would look for the results that had been picked for score-draws. The astute of you would notice that we didn’t change the channel, for these were the days when there were only 3 legitimate channels and we’d have been watching Grandstand earlier in the day. On occasion, it would have been left on Saint & Greavsie – the slightly less serious side of football.   And yes, the Pools, the forefather of pick ’ems was looking for score draws.  Not wins.  Not losses.  Draws.  How English, how decidedly un-American.

The greatest evidence for how culturally relevant the vidi-printer was back in the day was that Rory Bremner would take on the role of the slick Des Lynam recreate it in comedic fashion.   The uncyclopedia entry for Des is worth reading.

Once all the final scores had come in, Tim Gudgin would read the results in that famous voice… the intonation and pitch such that you knew the away team goals before he had completed the line. Slight depression was a home win, slight raise and the away team won.   Some would prefer the Mel Smith version of events.  Look how far Burnley have come!

We also had CEEFAX to keep us up to date with scores, but perhaps the most iconic use of the vidiprinter was in Championship Manager/Football Manager to keep us watching the screen with the hope that we would ignore the time taken to simulate results.  A discussion on Championship manager is warranted, but maybe another day…. whatever did happen to Nii Lamptey?

1-Jan 2015  
Stoke City1-1Manchester United
Q.P.R.2-1Swansea City
Southampton 1-1Arsenal
West Ham 2-0West Bromwich Albion
Newcastle United2-1Burnley
Manchester City2-0Sunderland
Aston Villa0-0Crystal Palace
Hull City1-2Everton
Liverpool3-1Leicester City
Tottenham Hotspurs1-2Chelsea

Manchester United have been playing well enough to get to the top 3 but it’s not been entirely convincing but that’s good enough against most teams.  Stoke are, as I say all the time, stubborn.  Man Utd will continue to give up far more chances than they create so a draw seems a fair result.  Good result for the Littlewoods/Vernon’s pools this week.

Q.P.R. have, in Austin, found someone who can consistently find the back of the net playing well and Swansea.  Swansea had won a couple before they were soundly beaten by a Liverpool team that haven’t scored a whole lot.  I figure that if you get soundly beaten by Liverpool you’re not that good at the moment (it’s hard to believe Liverpool are 8th on their form)… and with Q.P.R. pressing for goals it should be a home win.

Southampton were unlucky against Arsenal early in the winter period when they were down to 10-men and it’s hard to see them giving it away cheap or being easy at home (they are Saints, are after all ;-)).   Arsenal are on a decent run with Sanchez and Cazorla playing well but they will be missing Giroud who, for a couple of games, almost looked like a striker – rather than the french gay icon model he sometimes appears to want to be standing around looking pretty (according to some).   It will be hard fought but I see Rosicky scoring again with Danny Welbeck failing to score again.  He’s scored more than Falcao though, so maybe it wasn’t a bad bit of dealing by Arsenal in the end.  Another one for the pools!

The two Wests in the premier league fight it out but one North of the table and one South of the table.  It’s hard to see Upton Park see an away win, or a 2-2 score draw.  Chalk up another Hammers victory… when are they going to fall down the table?  Perhaps Teddy will leave and their goals will dry up?  In the meantime, here’s another photo of him for the ladies.

What a Hottie...
What a Hottie…

Burnley managed a miracle draw in the week to rival Crystal Palace’s comeback from the dead against the not-so-mighty reds last year.  A 2-2 draw against Citeh at the new Maine Road was quite the game fitting of the team.  We always used to say about Manchester’s favorite team that “If there’s a way to screw it up, they will”.   It’s unlikely Burnley can do the same again, and with Alan Pardew seemingly on his way out, it would be the perfect time for Newcastle to win.

Manchester City coming off disappointing win will try and take it out on a team with the fewest wins in the premier league (3) tied with five others.  Unfortunately, they don’t have the firepower of last year and will have to settle for a dominating midfield and a measly two goals.  As predicted, they are a much better team with Silva and it’s hard to see them losing, or tying, for that matter.

Aston Villa remind me of The Big Bang Theory’s Koothrappali …. they can’t score.
Crystal Palace are looking like they are interested in Alan Pardew so it’s a good time to put in a dour performance.

Not Scoring Much

Last week Roberto Martinez used the standard cliches that David Moyes used at Manchester United – “we were unlucky” and “things went against us”. The difference is that Roberto just speaks openly and honestly and also assesses his teams shortcomings.  Hard to see their luck continuing on the negative with a team largely unchanged from last year’s success.  Ross Barkley continues to be that player we talk about because he’s English… if he was continental we would be wondering what all the fuss is about.   Everton win, and I expect this year to be better for the Toffeemen.

Liverpool won in the week and I expect to see that great run of form continue into the New Year with another victory.  It won’t be easy as they’re playing Leicester at Fortress Anfield against a team that has amassed a massive 13….. points.   No Alan Pardew Project this week, but if Liverpool lose this game the pressure will mount on BR.  How he needs Sturridge back from his strange multi-injury thigh mystery.

It’s the Spuds at home.. a sure victory, Pochettino has turned them around playing a number of youngsters.  Harry Caine will knock in another and the spuds will keep things interesting for a while but I’m sure Chelsea finds a way to do what they do all the time… annoy everyone at the weekend that’s not living in SW6.  It’s likely to get worse because most of the big games in the second half of this year will be at the bridge (City, Liverpool – it still counts!, Manchester at the Old Toilet).

No Alan Pardew project candidate this week because Alan Pardew is undergoing his own Newcastle/Crystal Palace storyline.  It will resume next week, or as soon as AP’s future is clarified.