Week of November 8, 2014 – Premier League Picks

I really should figure out a way to automate the making of this site.  Every week creating a table to capture results and then hours of dedicated analysis before taking the remaining time quickly hacking together the text because it’s late takes an awful long time.  Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to predict that Spurs are going to be rubbish.

I started this site to capture the picks and commentary I used to make every Friday afternoon in 10 minutes over instant messenger in the office.  It was less serious and far more silly but that’s what made it charming and funny.  Perhaps next week I’ll go back to the old format and just cut and paste the discussion in here – it’ll be like “Men In Blazers” only it will be “Men In Business Casual” in separate cities finding each other to discuss the happenings of Liverpool and Watford football clubs.

It was fortunate that Levi reminded me this week that there were games – for some reason I thought this was an empty week.

Coming soon I will create a summary post.  I’ve done well some weeks and poorly others- I think it will be interesting to come up with a method of actually calculating how well (or not) I’ve done.  Anyway…moving on because I’m at that stage where I’m quickly hacking something … like Paul Scholes trying to make a tackle !

This is not going to end well
This is not going to end well
8-Nov-14  
Liverpool1-1Chelsea
West Ham United1-0Aston Villa
Southampton2-0Leicester City
Manchester United3-1Crystal Palace
Burnley0-1Hull City
Queens Park Rangers1-2Manchester City

So this week I promised Levi that I would pick against Liverpool as my prior selections have obviously had a negative impact on the game (much less than Sturridge’s absence, apparently).  I really want to pick Chelsea with my brain.  I really want to pick Liverpool with my heart (more because it hates Chelsea than loves Liverpool).  So what am I supposed to do?  Brendan rested half of his squad against Real Madrid in the week.   This has been reported as a move that makes this game more important than it is: there is no justification needed for mid-week team selection.  Liverpool had the ability to rest players throughout the year and stay fresh because European football was something they watched and didn’t participate in.. who am I kidding? Suarez gone.  Sturridge out.  Jordan Henderson playing more like the average player he is. Liverpool isn’t as good, end of discussion.   Are Chelsea showing signs of sputtering?  I don’t think so but Anfield is worth -1 goal for the opposition and Chelsea park the bus against bigger teams on the road. 1-1

If they lose? I suggest Liverpool focus on the Milk Cup.

West Ham and Villa.  For you a little poem:  Roses are Red.  You play in Claret and Blue.  Both of you are rubbish.  That’s enough of you two.  Benteke out as a result of the red card against Spuds last week and that doesn’t help – 3 games for touching the face of someone putting their head in your face seems harsh to me.   1-0

Southampton have been playing well with their famous skilled players that include England international Nathaniel Clyne.  Leicester are in a free fall since they left Manchester United on the tail end of a 5-3 whupping.  2-0

Manchester United have benefited from some weak play at the top of the table that has kept them in touch with the top 4 putting them higher in the table than they deserve.  Crystal Palace are bad but Neil Warnock will organize them for battle and try and play a stifling game.  It won’t work.  Manchester United seem to be playing better with the now superb signing of Fellaini reaping rewards as he clearly is their best player (well he was a couple of weeks ago).  As long as they keep their cool they will breeze by the London team.  Rooney will probably score because there is an international coming up and , you know, got to give the England fans hope that we can win. 3-1

Burnley.  Roses are Red.  You play in Claret and Blue.  You are rubbish.  That’s enough of you.  Hull City Tigers are a tough team and will eek out a win.  I won’t know if the game is good or not because these are two teams I generally avoid when picking who I want to watch at the weekend.  0-1.

Manchester City took advantage of a small(ing) error by Manchester United last week and appeared once again to be turning the tide.  Then they went to Europe and walked around and let CSKA beat them in Champions League.  Let’s keep it simple and assume that Pellegrini knows how to have a Roy Keane type moment scare or stir his team into action.   They are nothing like the team of last year and yet are still the only real challenge to Chelski so it’s important that they turn it around.  Ya Ya was the best player in the league last year – this year he’s not even the best player on the team and it shows.   He shows flashes of brilliance, like the pass that broke open Man U, but flashes of laziness with weak efforts from distance.  I suspect any flash is good enough to beat QPR.

Flash Gordon
Flash Gordon
Public Flash
Public Flash

Well maybe not any flash, but one flash of brilliance from YaYa or Sergio ought to be plenty.

Flash of Brilliance..
Flash of Brilliance..

It won’t though and they’ll win a hard earned 3 pts with a late goal.

8-Nov-14  
Sunderland0-1Everton
West Bromwich Albion2-2Newcastle United
Tottenham Hotspur2-1Stoke City
Swansea City 2-2Arsenal

 

 

Everton are inconsistent and looked poor last week.  Sunderland are inconsistent now (though consistently drawing early on) and won last week.  Form says that Everton will win.

West Bromwich and Newcastle are two teams that just scream entertaining game when paired up.  It’s going to be end to end with lots of goals and ultimately Alan Pardew gets a result away from his now adoring fans!   2-2 seems a fair and good result.

I suggest Spurs focus on the Milk Cup.  It’s pretty clear that this week Harry Cane will start for the Spuds which can only mean they find a new way to look bad for the first half with Harry failing to score or get a shot in.  At half time they will bring him off and Adebayor or Soldado (not sure who will be benched with Harry on) will come on and look like Marco Van Basten and score a cracker that breaks the game open and sets up another that brings the game home.  A late consolation can’t ruin the weekend but now Pochettino will have anothe striker crisis.   Everyone makes career choices they regret – I think he wishes he was back at Southampton where the winning is easy.  2-1.

Arsenal get Wolcott back. Arsenal have Giroud in training.  Arsenal have Sanchez playing like he’s the buy of the year.  It’s all looking up!  But then they get on the field and it doesn’t gel and come together.  Swansea aren’t a bad team, and at home you have to think they have a good chance.   Especially when you consider Arsenal’s defense is just not a good solution and is struggling to keep the goals out.  Letting in 3 against Anderlecht had Piers Morgan begging Kompany to join (until they lost to CSKA).  They’ll do well, score 2 and draw.

Fin

 

 

Week of November 1, 2014 – Premier League Picks

It’s halloween and I’m sure many people in Spain are dressed up as the vampirous Mr Suarez.

Vampire Suarez

It is a shame that it’s so easy to make fun of Suarez because it really negates how much Liverpool miss him this year, especially with Sturridge hurt and Balotelli playing like he wants to hurt Brendan’s chances of actually fielding a winning team.   Early this week Mr Suarez (in a losing effort) showed off his seemingly unlimited skills while making us forget he missed a chance earlier in the game.  Of course if the guy with the skilled feed wasn’t such a flat out A1 idiot none of this would be discussed in the first place.

 

1-Nov-14  
Newcastle United1-1Liverpool
Leicester City2-2West Bromwich Albion
Stoke City1-1West Ham United
Hull City1-2Southampton
Everton2-1Swansea City
Chelsea3-0Queens Park Rangers
Arsenal3-1Burnley

Liverpool are not the same team as they were last year and nor apparently are Newcastle.  Alan Pardew is rapidly moving from zero to hero and losing his position as favorite to get the sack to Gus Poyet and Harry Redknapp who’s looking more and more defeated.. almost as much as his team feels defeated…and more to the point, how he used to feel at Spurs a few years ago.

Harry is now Favorite for the Sack

So with teams going in different directions, it’s only fair to assume they will meet in the middle.  1-1.  Question is, who will score the goal for the reds? Will it be Balotelli? Will Markovic show up?  I still think Liverpool are a team that will improve as the season goes on and the young players buy into his system.  Oh, and they give up on Balotelli and the Englishman who can’t score.

Midlands derby.  Leicester and West Brom duke it out like two teams in the middle of the table.  Rough, quick, an “advert for the English game” as the commentators say.  Game will be split and honours shared.

It’s about time someone put West Ham in their place – that place being anywhere in the lower half of the Premier League (or preferably the lower divisions).  The Giraffe might be lanky but scoring for him is a tall order…. geddit?  That joke is as good as this score draw bore draw will be.

There is a part of me saying “Pick the Home team, Pick the Home team” and there is another piece of me saying “Hull are rubbish, Steve Bruce is a crap manager”.  Looks like I think that Steve Bruce is crapper than playing at home is an advantage.  To be fair to Steve Bruce, he has them mid table and fighting week in and week out… to be unfair, I wonder if this is the week he literally pops and explodes on the field.

Everton are going to be in the right half of the table (or is that top half) after winning against a decent Swansea team.  Lukaku is going to score and Everton will continue to make Goodison park a place that no one wants to go by channeling their inner David Moyes.   Martinez will dial back the passing and rely on the long ball over the top which will fail until his big forward pops up to score from a set piece.  A right proper English goal for the Belgian.

Chelsea will beat QPR into a pulp.  The scoreline will stay on the classy side of a massive defeat because everyone knows that Hazard can get lazy..

Arsenal are in need of a win because Arsene is beginning to hear the rumblings of the crowd again… they want him out (because they want Bruce Rioch or George Graham back?).  Meanwhile he will use the magic of his mind to make the referee miss obvious and flagrant fouls in the same way he does but it doesn’t work as Jack Wilshere does his best impression of an impetuous Gascoigne and gets himself sent off for two yellow cards created  by refusing to brake as he runs towards an enemy combatant.  It will be after Sanchez has scores twice and Theo comes on and adds a little pace (and a goal) so it won’t matter in the long run.  Sanchez will enjoy his new role as a free roaming player and start to show off what he can offer in the right position.

You Will Not Send Off My Players
2-Nov-14  
Manchester City3-3Manchester United
Aston Villa1-2Tottenham Hotspur

I had already forgotten the 5-2 whupping of last year but still remember the 5-1 drubbing of yesteryear put on by the young Maine Road kids that failed to live up to subsequent expectations.  Neither teams knows how to defend and bot teams know how to score.  End to end… will be a thriller with two goals early, two goals late and the false hope of a decider for a short period in the middle.   It will always be United chasing the game but that will suit LVG who will claim that they are hoping to reach the standard of their neighbours as they are tired of being the second best team (almost) in Manchester.  Fans of the Reds are happy with the result and will enjoy the 2 hour ride back to London.

I do not want to pick the Hot Spurts away… but this is the Villains opportunity to blow another game and drift down the table.  No idea who can score for Spurs but I’ll venture a guess and say Eriksen because he’s the only forward they have.  Soldado will probably score a penalty as Lamela gets fouled in the box.

3-Nov-14  
Crystal Palace1-0Sunderland

I don’t really watch Monday games.  This one I really won’t even try to watch.  Yawn.

Week of October 24, 2014 – Premier League Picks

It’s already another week – seems the days are crammed closer together than the table; just a quick glance at the table shows that the gap between 1st and 2nd is the same as the gap from 4th to 17th.  Crazy.

We’re still early days and there’s a lot that will change: West Ham will not finish in a European position, Everton won’t be in the basement half of the division, Watford will have a new manager (perhaps).  A lot of things won’t change: Chelsea and City dominating the top of the table with the only question being which one of them clinches the title.   Chelsea in particular have been dominant and I’m sure many have Costa winning the golden boot and the team striding away like Arkle (even carrying the extra weight of José’s antics).

Chelsea Leading From the Front

So it’s very late and I want to make the picks nice and quick today.

24-October 2014  
West 'am0-2Manchester Citeh
West Brum2-2*Crystal Palace
Soonderland1-2The Arse
Liverpool2-1Hull City Tigers
The Saints1-1Stoke
Swansea2-1Lester

What does the Championship and a workman’s tool belt?
Both should have Hammers in them.

Unfortunately, we have to see the claret and blue struggling in the Premier League. What’s that you say? They’re 4th?  Well that’s going to come to a quick end in this week as they face the Citeh.   Aguero is not playing like he wants to be the PFA Player of the Year and the team around him seems to be happy to play along with it.   West Ham, it’s just one loss, but a couple of those on the bonk will see you where you belong… alongside teams that share your eye for colour.  0-2

av
Trick Question: Which one of these teams will end in the bottom half?

West Brom will win this week against a Crystal Palace team that is experiencing the end of a long honeymoon.   2-1

It is shocking to realize that despite the early season promise of Arsenal and the predictions of Man United’s demise  that Arsenal behind the Devils and are only 3 points ahead of Sunderland!  A total of 11 points in 8 games is dismal and I crown Wenger as Prince Pardew… the next man to have his head on the chopping block.  Arsenal charge a fortune for their fans to watch just-good-enough-ocrity and it’s finally reaching tipping point when the win rate is well under 50%.  Sunderland got thwacked 8-0 by a rampant Southampton next week.  There’s no indication that was anything but an anomaly but that doesn’t mean they have a chance, either.  1-2

I should point out that picking any results other than a draw when two teams have combined for 10 in their first 16 games is not paying attention to statistics.

Livi wanted me to pick Hull.  I won’t do it.  I can’t do it.  Not because Liverpool are good.  Because I don’t think Hull are anything much to worry about, especially at Anfield. 2-1 but it could be more if Balotelli shows up this week after I spend the week discussing how overrated he is based on performances thus far.   Rodgers has hinted at a January sale – but who would want him?  Think he would work in the Championship, so maybe Watford will use him  – he’s at least as good as Deeney, right?

The Saints scored 8 against Sunderland last week.  Won’t happen again.  There’s a cliche that says winning makes you complacent – maybe that will hold true, maybe it won’t.  What I do know is that Stoke are a tough side that scare people with their mean play – winning about the same number of games that they lose and draw.  That’s a bad joke about being average/mean.  1-1.

Swansea are high up the table where they seem to think they belong. Leicester beat Manchester United this year which is enough for me to like them a little; however, that has no impact on my selection: Leicester just ain’t no good.

25-October 2014  
Tottenham Hotspurts2-1Newcastle Un-United
Burnley0-2Everton
Manchester United2-1Chelsea

Spurs are mid table and they will win against the current Pardew team that seems to be over-performing and trying to keep him employed.  Every week Spurs has issues – whether it’s hapless marking in the box, failing to score, failing to pass to people on the same team… but this week?  This week they will dominate the game and win 2-1 with a goal that is as spectacular as this:

But that’s nothing new

Everton played in their silly Euro Trash competition while Burnley had the opportunity to sit it out and drink a cuppa tea.   Everton started poorly but they should win 2-0.

Manchester United against Chelsea should be a good game but it won’t be.  General consensus is that Chelsea will dominate but I don’t see how they can win when they are going to shut-down and play counter football.  Man U will just park in their half next to the Chelsea bus.  Boring Boring Chelski!  They’ll equalize but Manchester will press and score.
This is my least favorite game of the year.

27-October 2014  
Q.P.R.0-0Aston Villains

Finally Aston Villa area heading in the direction I predicted, down.

Week of October 4, 2014 – Premier League Picks

Another week has passed by and I’m sitting here late on a Friday wondering why I signed up for this.  This week I’m in Philly PeeAy to checkout a concert that might not happen and the “other” football as the Eagles play the St Louis Rams to the theme of Rocky…..

Fly Eagles Fly….  could be something that Crystal Palace Try.

And here we go.  I’m very tired so not thinking 100% straight…

4-October 2014  
Swansea City2-1Newcastle United
Hull City1-2Crystal Palace
Sunderland1-1Stoke City
Liverpool2-2*West Bromwich Albion
Leicester City2-1Burnley
Aston Villa0-3Manchester City

If there was a competition for longest tenured manager in the league, Alan Pardew would have a silver medal podium-finished (we could even say he medalled if you like changing how the English language works).   Unfortunately, the competition that Alan Pardew is in – is the Premier League were he doesn’t have a realistic chance  playing with a team no knowing if they are coming or going (I sense a bathroom humour joke somewhere here).

Swansea haven’t been setting houses on fire they’ll put more fuel on the fire… and win 2-1

I’ve said that I overrate Hull and so this is the week that I finally give in and go against the grain.  This week the Eagles will fly!  1-2 despite the fact that a Steve Bruce team is acting rather un-Steve Bruce like team and banging in the goals.

If ever a game said draw it would be Pictionary but if ever a premier league game could speak to us and assure us that a draw is coming it has to be Sunderland – Stoke. Expect a turgid affair. 1-1

Liverpool has been downright disappointing so far this year.  I thought that Suarez was the best player last year and it always looked like it would be hard for Liverpool to eek out the same number of goals (and free kicks).   I did think they would win and do well but it was predicated on Sturridge being healthy.. and then Balotelli showing up with goals rather than just pure workrate.  Neither has happened but this week they will finally get some goals from the possession.. maybe Balotelli’s hard work will pay off. 2-0  [Though I always pick WBA to draw 2-2]

I Feel Like Alan Pardew with a Better Contract!

Leicester City have heart.  Burnley had theirs ripped out by a rampant West Brom.   Love the baggies but the Foxes are going to bag it with Schmeichel Junior proving too good. . 2-1

Here we are.  The dreaded Aston Villa pick… oh how I want you in the bottom three but I am drawn to you through some unknown force… you are my bane, my kryptonite… and you will lose at home by 3 goals scored by a little Argentinian and a tall B & Hian.  Time to put Fat Frank back on the bench and let him rest his old legs.  0-3

I think we’ve seen the best of Villa for the year.  A few losses on the bounce being served soon!

5-October 2014  
Manchester United3-2Everton
Tottenham Hotspur2-1Southampton
Chelsea2-1Arsenal
West Ham2-0QPR

Manchester United will be without the league’s most temperamental player – Rooney.  Slowly the liability of his actions is being questioned more than his contribution to the game.  Three to the good moving powerfully forward and two to the … bad? as they can’t handle the Toffeemen in the back.  I slowly think Manchester United are  turning things around and soon they will be challenging for that Europa League place.  3-2

I Feel LIke Alan Pardew

The Spuds.   They are increasingly looking lost as Pochettino realizes that he can’t make his players play the way he wants.: that is,  Well.
He decides to install the long ball a little and the direct approach.  Get the ball in the box.  Get it in the net.  I actually think that’s the team speech – we’ve finally reached  that point where we recognize that someone needs to explain to Soldado what his role is.

They’ll go up 2-0  but Spurs will do everything in their power to haunt their fans so will they try switching a defender for a goalkeeper to see if the referee would notice.

Chelsea are at home.  Livi told me to pick them to win.  Who am I to argue.  Chelsea 3 (Costa will score again) Arsenal 1 (Cashley makes it on as a late sub and forgets which side he’s on)

West Ham and QPR is the biggest London derby this week and one that I don’t care about.  I’ll say 2-0.

I was Alan Pardew Last Year

 

Week of September 27, 2014 – Premier League Picks

Well I didn’t pick any of the Milk Capital Littlewoods Rumbelows Cup games this week because I was recovering from the terrible picks that were made last week by yours truly (and to be fair, by most people betting as well).

As for excuses?  I have none, but I would like to point out that I had picked against the Villains and predicted them to be bottom three… and after not playing to form (i.e. winning) I finally went out on a limb and took them against a non-dominating Arsenal.   What were the odds of Ozil showing up? DW finding the net? And an Own goal in three minutes?
Low.

Yes, low, about the same as Liverpool being crushed by the Hammers and the Spuds not showing up.

But while you might think that this is me preparing to make picks….

Blindfold Picking

It’s very easy to be critical from your point if you don’t step up and make picks yourself.

Captain Hindsight

But enough of last week, here’s to a new better week featuring the awesome derby that everyone waits for every year as it’s never a dull game and always has that element of unpredictability.  It will be a close game and I’d say that both Arsenal and Spurs will fancy their chances of winning, if that was the game I was talking about.  This week is the Anfield Merseyside derby…. probably the one first-half of the season can’t miss game that I will certainly be tuning into if I can wake up early enough.

It’ll be a corker whether you feel that Everton spend the game hacking Liverpool

Everton Foul Liverpool!

Or you think Liverpool spend the game hacking Everton.

Liverpool foul Everton!

But here go the picks…..

27-Sep 2014  
Liverpool1-1Everton
Southampton 3-1Queens Park Rangers
Sunderland1-1Swansea City
Manchester United3-1West Ham United
Chelsea1-1Aston Villa
Hull City0-1Manchester City
Crystal Palace2-1Leicester
Arsenal2-0Tottenham Hotspur

Liverpool haven’t been performing up to par but neither have the Toffee men so this appears to be destined to be a hard working graft of a draw.   Liverpool will try to play a decent game but will never get started as this is the Merseyside Derby which is played in Fast Forward for 90 mins.  I still remember Duncan Ferguson scoring back in the day so I’m going to support the theory that a large tank of a forward will get in there, ride a few challenges and put the ball away early.  Liverpool will initially panic because they don’t have the Captain Fantastic of old but the old Captain Wastastic (TM).. but they will drag themselves forward for most of the game and finally get a Kop end penalty that will be heavily debated for the next week from the top to the bottom of the Wirral.

So who sold all their star players after firing their manager and yet are still 2nd?  Clue: It’s not QPR and they don’t play in blue and white.   Swansea will see off a below average QPR handily.

Sunderland have not started as well as they finished last year, unsurprisingly, and they need to turn it around before the praises of Gus Poyet become a distance memory as they fade into the chorus of boos that the fervent Northeastern fans will start rain down on the field.  Swansea are an organized outfit with lots of attacking prowess so it will become a clash of cultures that will end in a score draw.

Manchester United spend 150 million squids to get three goals against Leicester.  Money well spent, you’d think!   This week their attacking potential will rise again; however, their defense will continue to be worse than average but West Ham are worse than worse than average despite proving they could easily contain a Liverpool team.   I want to pick with my heart and say West Ham will steal a draw but my head says that Manchester United can’t be this bad.  And some days I do want my brother to be happy even if it means the Old Toilet hosts a win for the evil team from Trafford.

I will continue to overrate Hull and think Manchester City are favorite for the title by predicting a tight and close 1-0 victory for Yaya who finally tries to prove he’s worth a birthday cake.

Chelsea against the Villains is the game that I dread picking most of all this week because I hate Chelsea and would love nothing more than their bus to get a puncture; however, they’re playing my nemesis of picking, Villa.  My head says go strong for Chelsea because they’re the better team but my heart says that if I did that Villa would screw me.  So with that, a draw, a totally one-sided should be 5-0 draw.  Don’t take that to the bookies.

Leicester and Crystal Palace were both favored for the bottom of the table but the Foxes are trying to their hardest to prove everyone wrong by turning in some strong performances, as well as a once in a lifetime effort to come back from 2 down twice against a team that is probably playing Falcao more than their entire squad (on his season long wait to move to Juve).  It’s still important for both of these clubs because things change quickly and we can still expect the two of them to be fighting for their lives next year.  Leicester will regret not moving into the top 5 and consolidating a good victory from last week.  That’s real commentator speak right there – you consolidate wins in that world.

I wouldn’t say that Arsenal are struggling, exactly (did they care about the Milk Cup?), but I would say that the Spuds are exactly that, struggling.  I don’t see anything changing in this game as a weakened Arsenal team deal with a stubborn Spurs who try and push everything through Lamela.  On the bright side, Spurs will not give up a late game winning goal… on the down side it will be an early game winning goal  that will see them falling further back of the leaders.

 

Sorry Dad.. Mum owns you…
28-Sep 2014  
West Bromwich Albion2-2Burnley

West Brom will feature in yet another 2-2 draw for like the umpteenth week in a row except they will not let Burnley score more than half their total…so the Baggies let the fans leave the Hawthornes pleased with a 2-1 win.  That doesn’t seem significant but it will end up playing a huge role late in the year when people look at the bottom of the table and wonder if their 35 points will be enough to survive another  year fighting for survival.   Another TV pundit cliche included for you.  You’re welcome.

29-Sep 2014  
Stoke City2-1Newcastle United

Another week passes, another week Alan Pardew wonders if he will be axed.  Not sure what the Newcastle fans want – other than to be the bigger team they actually seem to believe they are (but aren’t, if it’s not obvious).   The Magpie fans still talk about Malcolm McDonald, Paul Gascoigne, Chris Waddle, and Faustino Asprilla? like that means anything.  Since Shearer hung up his boots to creosote his fence not a lot has happened here to make this team worth more than 4 sentences.. so I’m out.

This weeks can’t lose bet:  the Spurs are not going to go to Europe, get odds off better than even and put all you can afford to lose on it.

See you next week.

Week of September 20, 2014 – Premier League Picks

Another week another set of picks.   Didn’t do too bad last week but I’m going all out this week to get 100% of my picks in.

20-Sep 2014  
Queens Park Rangers2-1Stoke City
Newcastle United2-1Hull City
Swansea City3-3Southampton
Burnley0-2Sunderland
Aston Villa2-1Arsenal
West Ham United1-2Liverpool

It’s very hard to think a team based around Joey Barton and managed by Harry Redknap have a chance but it’s not every week that time plays a team featuring the likes of Stephen Ireland: Stoke.   To be fair, Stoke aren’t bad considering their star attraction being a Giraffe in studs.   I do rather like Arnautovic and he’s doubtful with a foot injury so I think it’s going to be a home team holding off a hard working, tough slogging, not scoring team.   It’s going to be 2-0 very late with someone sneaking a goal in the last few minutes against the run of play giving this the look and feel of a typical Spuds game.

I will continue to underrate Hull City and overrate the offensive prowess of Newcastle – I seem to always think they are going to put in 3 goals… but where are those goals coming from? Remi didn’t sign permanently and Alan Shearer retired years ago.  Fortunately for Newcastle Ben Arfa is ineligible to play in this game and allegedly Abel Hernandez found the going tough in his first game – I guess he needs to hit the gym with Man U’s Luke Shaw.

Swansea are exciting and attacking.  Southampton are exciting and attacking.  I think only a 3-3 draw would be fitting for this two Europe dark horses and this despite the fact that Fabianski and Forster are two of the better men standing between the jumpers…  I’ll be watching this one.. and I won’t be surprise if at the end of the game I’ll turn to the better half and say “That could have been 10-10”.

Burnley are boring. Sunderland are stupid.  That’s how a five year old would summarize this game and it’s how I will too.  Sunderland have 3 draws this year.. time for a victory.  I hope that Jose Altidore manages to score – he’s not a player or flair or skill but he’s a hard worker and deserves something.  He’s like the American second-rate Danny Welbeck.

Aston Villa are at home and have come off a good win and will be filled with confidence about a great year (because I picked them to go down).  A good result early in the year in 2013 seemed to set to derail Arsenal, who despite calls for Wengers head, rode out the storm and went on a tear.  With three draws and a win it’s easy to make it sound that Arsenal are doing well by calling them undefeated; however, they got crushed in Europe in the week and I’m not sure confidence is at a high.   DW will bang home another, Aaron Ramsey will play a decent game but it will be a 1-1 draw until Szczesny has a Calamity James moment and allows an easy goal.

Calamity James in Cover Up
Calamity James in Cover Up

The horse that is Andy Carroll always wants to show up against his old team but due to a lower leg injury he’s being taken out back and shot.   Liverpool should not have a hard time against West Ham with a deep stock of offensive talent but this is West Ham.  This is the team that bore anyone including the opposition.  Liverpool sorely miss Sturridge – which is just a nice way of saying that they miss Suarez!  Expect the Last of the Italian Mohicans to score and for Sterling to wrap it up with fine finish that merely makes us wonder why he can’t do it for Woy’s Boys in a national shirt.

21-Sep 2014  
Tottenham Hotspur2-2West Bromwich Albion
Leicester City1-2Manchester United
Manchester City3-1Chelsea
Everton1-0Crystal Palace

This week will see West Brom score a 2-2 draw with the Spuds.  Most of the Spuds rested in the week so they should be fresh to play and with Lamela probing and Dembele running the deep attaching midfield they should be a sure thing for cracking in two goals (Erikson with both).. West Brom will, of course, keep it close and have the Y Army praying that an own goal equalizer isn’t going to ruin another dominating performance.  Lloris will make a key save at the death to prove his value.  (2-1)

I want Manchester to go down; however, after last weeks drubbing of QPR it’s clear that they are now eyeing the League title.  With Mata in goal scoring form we can surely expect great things.

Signs of the Times: Even West Bromwich Albion have a team made up of foreign talent – welcome Esteban Cambiasso!  I remember when the most exotic player Leicester had was Gary Linker after he came back with his vacation tan!.

Still Tanning is Mr Walkers Crisps himself

Manchester City haven’t played all that well and it seems that my pick for surprise player of the year is – surprise – hurt again (Jovatic).  With Dzeko out as well they have the problem of relying on Aguero to actually play which isn’t a bad idea as he’s always scoring goals.  Ya Ya Toure has been discussed as a potential transfer window move and has been underperforming so this is the week he will finally show his class.  Ya Ya will not want Fabregas to have any time on the ball and will dominate the Spaniard.  Diego Costa can’t continue on the same pace, it’s at the Etihad so it has to be a home win for the Citeh.   I’m not confident on this pick because it appears that Fat Frank might play against his old team and that doesn’t bode well.. the big question is whether Mangala will play and which Demicheles will show up.

Everton will be playing a team that is relying on Chamakh to provide goals! I think he was less successful at Arsenal that the lesser Ya Ya so keeping a clean sheet should be easy.  Layton Banes, or Layton Beighnes, or Leyton Beines,  or Leighton Baines will score the winner and we will marvel at how disheveled he can look even when he is doing his best Daniel Day Lewis impression.

Leighton Baines

Daniel Day Lewis

Week of September 13, 2014 – Premier League Picks

This week finally sees the end of the International fixtures and as an England fan I can’t express how happy that makes me.   What was especially nice was that I went last week without  a single pick in error – I did not get a single premier league pick wrong!

13-Sep 2014  
Arsenal 2-2Manchester City
Sunderland1-2Tottenham Hotspurs
Stoke City3-1Leicester
West Bromwich Albion
2-2Everton
Chelsea
3-1Swansea City
Crystal Palace
2-0Burnley
Southampton3-2Newcastle
Liverpool3-0Aston Villa

Danny Welbeck makes his debut for the Gunners.  I said he was a good buy and now it’s his chance to prove me wrong.. he’ll miss a couple of sitters but he’ll no doubt score one late on and we can all pretend like maybe his England career is on the ups.   Ramsey will be disappointing but that’s because he’s going to be busy running the midfield that for once won’t have their way as Ya Ya is on the other team.   That task is hard enough fully healthy and more challenging on a gimpy ankle that will slow him down to Wilshere like pace.  Jovetic and Fernando are out (that’s one underrated and one overrated player) so could be balanced by bringing in a rather average Lampard.  Mangala? Who the heck knows…. these teams defend like no one else… so 2-2 (though it’s hard to ignore the thumpings last year).

Spuds got whipped last week so this will see a turnaround – if not I will descend into picking against them on a regular basis.  Sunderland is boring. I want them to lose.  That’s good enough reason for me to go Spurs on this one away from home.  Besides I don’t think Spurs have lost to Sunderland in 4 years against the stripes… if only they could say that about more teams!

Leicester are like a boy with night terrors – they can’t get through a weekend with a clean shit.  Stoke have a giraffe playing for them who once a year pops a corker.  This might be the week. Kasper will continue to be a disappointment to Peter the Great.

West Brom are playing Everton and they are due a 2-2 draw – seriously, this is the week it happens… I might be wrong – that could be the next game.   Lukaku is a rhino up front and will totally bulldoze his way to the ball from well executed corners.   WBA will somehow fluke an undeserved couple of penalties in the last minute (in other words, it’s 2-0 but my match fixing Malaysian friend insists I put  2-2).

Swansea have started the year well but they haven’t yet played against Costa!  He will be as deadly as Torres has been these last couple of years ( he already has been – I think 4 goals was more than Torres put togethe anyway).  Cesc will be man of the match and score 1 while Hazard slaps in a couple more.  The chosen one will talk about being small horses in a race of big men or something.

Crystal Palance and Burnley meet in what is perhaps the fixture of the weak.  What a pun.

Fraser Forster will prove what a goalkeeper he is by singlehandedly only letting in 2 goals to the rampant Magpies.   Southampton will prove that they are not pretenders by putting a few past an average Newcastle team.  How is Newcastle both rampant and average?  It’s the Pardew way – you look great going forward and terrible at all other times.

So Livi wanted me to pick against Liverpool so that they will have a good chance.  He’s finally convinced himself that my Jedi mind tricks have enabled me to alter the course of the Reds results through my predictions.  Sorry mate, Liverpool are going to take Aston Villa to the woodshed … 3-0 is not as bad as it could have been.

BET OF THE WEEK:  Three different players to score for Liverpool in one game:  Balotelli, Sturridge, and Sterling.   Should get great odds on that.

14-Sep 2014  
Manchester United
2-0Queens Park Rangers

Manchester United have spend the national debt of a small nation to buy a bunch of players who are adept at making money are keen to prove how much money they can make. It’s all about the results for these guys, the results of their investments and the returns on their portfolio.  They will dominate because they are playing QPR.  Disappointing to see that Fellaini, Smalling and Jones are all out because it would have been nice to see them put out their strongest squad.

One hopes that Daley Blind plays like his name – with no vision.

15-Sep-14
  
Hull City2-2West Ham United

Hull and West Ham remind me of West Brom.  Never was a 2-2 draw so certain.

Week of August 30, 2014 – Premier League Picks

This week feels like I could be well off the mark on many fronts.  I’ve not been keeping in touch with the news as I should being busy spending too much time outside getting sun.  I feel like maybe a little over-exposure has me making the wrong choices.  I feel like a drunk guy accidentally walking into a brothel – pretty sure that every decision is a bad one.

30-Aug-14  
Burnley1-2Manchester United
West Ham0-3Southampton
Swansea City2-2West Bromwich Albion
Newcastle United1-1Crystal Palace
Manchester City2-0Stoke City
QPR0-1Sunderland
Everton1-2Chelsea

Manchester United are not good and now they’re 60 million pounds poorer and not much better.  Money should have been spent shoring up a team and building some stability.  Not enough quality with pace – RVP and Rooney don’t have the burst.  Ashley Young continues to be a liability and poor old Danny Welbeck and Juan Mata must be wondering where their careers are going (while Cleverly must still be wondering how his career is even still around.  Welbeck deserves a move to become a first eleven player but with an unwillingness to sell him to a Top 6 team (which is really any one of about 9 teams) and everyone below that not able to afford his 80,000 a week salary it looks like Danny will see more bench time.  Mata, I feel for you..  you knew when to fold them at Chelsea but the next hand you’re drawing dead.   Burnley, not good enough though and the United will finally win.

Southampton are not great, they’re certainly not 3-0 away from home great, but I want West Ham to be 3-0 at home bad.

It’s a theme.  I like the Albion, I really do.   I have had a soft spot for them since big Cyrill was their best player.   I always have them playing great football in my mind, able to score but then conceding.  Looking back over the last couple of seasons of picks I probably have them drawing 2-2 every week.   Odds are I’m going to get it right at least once.

Newcastle are the team that you never know who might show.   They are simultaneously fun and exciting, and piss poor.   Neil Warnock is in the euphemistically titled “technical area” – which basically means shouting box for the northerner.  It is also that area that Pardew should continue to stay away from.  Both teams are hit and miss, both managers are hit and sometimes connect…. but both are overrated.  Don’t expect either to last the season but my gamble for the week:  Warnock to be gone by Christmas.   Fairly fun draw will be had.

After a good win against the Liverpool (a team with higher hopes than they’ve had since … wow, it’s been that long….) the team from Manchester can be expected to put in a dire performance and not win.  Against Stoke, I fully see the dire performance happening – luckily, it’s Stoke and that’s still good enough for a 3 pointer.  These are the games that will make the difference at the end of the year (sorry, I need on sports cliche per week to be taken seriously).

A good start to the season will see Sunderland avoiding the need for late season magic again.  QPR should enable anyone playing them a small contribution to that good start – who saw Spurs top of the table?  Still, it will not be as easy for the stripes as it was for the Y*d Army last week.

I really want Everton to win against Chelsea.  I really want Lukaku to score a great pair of goals and run around shirt off pumping his chest in front of the chosen one.  I also want Watford to be consistent, Manchester City and Liverpool to get a typical Chelsea draw in the Champions league and it’s not going to happen.   Hate that Chelsea will win but they will win.

31-Aug-14  
Aston Villa1-2Hull City
Tottenham Hotspurs2-1Liverpool
Leicester City1-3Arsenal

I will continue to pick against Aston Villa until it becomes clear they are not as bad as I want them to be.   I will continue to overrate Hull until they prove that they are worse.

So this week will see the key fixture be held in London as Spurs host Liverpool.    It’s early season but these are the games that will make the difference at the end of they year (recycling cliches is efficient).   I think Liverpool are still looking for that edge, that confident spark they had last year.  Finding it against the new Spurs team will be difficult.  Two of the best managers in the league right now will make this an interesting discussion on tactics but it’s the 11 on the field that make the difference.   In this game it will be Lloris making saves and Adebayor showing up.  The result will be in the favour of the home team despite a mostly dominating performance by the Liverpool midfield – who will once again fail to capitalise on possession.   It’s goals that win….  missing Suarez? That will be the question asked even though Sturridge nets yet another.

Leicester at home is a good fixture for anyone looking for an away win.  Arsenal have been hit or miss this year but Alexis (he’s called that now?) scored midweek so maybe he might be better than a new Theo.  Expect Ramsay to be on form again.  Domination has everyone talking about a possible London 1-2-3 in Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs (conveniently forgetting Man City and a Liverpool team that will make up ground).

Bet of the Week:  Warnock to be fired by Christmas.  West Brom to finally draw 2-2.   Check Paddy Power for odds.

Week of August 16, 2014 – Premier League Picks

16-Aug-14  
Arsenal3-1Crystal Palace
Leicester City1-1Everton
Manchester United0-2Swansea City
Queens Park Rangers2-2Hull City
Stoke City2-1Aston Villa
West Bromwich Albion1-1Sunderland
West Ham United0-1Tottenham Hotspur

Arsenal come into the new season looking like the same old Arsenal. Good but no good enough. In this game they have a great advantage – they have the same manager before the game that they had 3 days ago. Not sure what “mutual consent” means in the case of a departure but I’m assuming that it has something to do with two people agreeing a mutual lack of friendship. The only risk in predicting such a lop-sided victory is that Arsenal are likely to start YaYa… and that’s Sanogo, not Toure. Expect Alexis to be the new Walcott – fast and with a crap final delivery. Aaron Ramsey will start the campaign as their best player because he is and will be for the next few years.

Everton were better under Martinez than Moyes because he’s a better analyst of the game. Unfortunately, that means he spent most of his summer watching the world cup for ESPN. Expect a slow start from the Everton team that lost their young phenom and only added a player they already had. Leicester just game up – always a lot of heart at the start of the campaign.

The turtle, LVG, or whatever you want to call him. He’s a task master and that’s what Moyes was. Why there is an expectation that one taskmaster is better than another is strange. The 3-5-2 formation may work early on but will break down so the first game should be a breeze against the Swans but it won’t be. Garry Monk has been at Swansea for over a decade and has seen how to play. The team will be rampant the first half of the season and probably get their manager fired early 2015.

QPR are terrible and run by an owner who doesn’t really care about football. Hull are not bad and run by an owner who doesn’t seem to care about the City his team play in. Should be an easy win for the “Tigers” but Hull City will find a way to not win.

The Potters are good. Aston Villa are my pick to go down. Aston Villa should not be a bottom 3 team but they insist on underperforming. Nervous on this one because last year Villa opened with a win against the Gunners before going on to be a bad team.

Love West Brom and hate Sunderland – it seems a match of good football played averagely vs bad football played well. Likely a good draw or bad draw depending on who you like.

Spurs have the best signing of the year in their new manager. He will take them well into the Top 6 if he can find a way to replace Soldano with someone who can score, get Adebayor to care, and get Dembele to focus. The Hammers are going to be awful this year. Or, I should say, AWFUL with a capital A-W-F-U and L. I’m giving Spurs only one goal because no doubt there will be some antisemitic chanting going on and that might be distracting to all their non-jewish players.

17-Aug-14  
Liverpool3-1Southampton
Newcastle United1-2Manchester City

Southampton are the Liverpool bogey team and always cause problems for the Reds. I think this was the previous coaching that allowed for open play, counter attacking which works against the opposition that wants to play as well. This year things will be different as Southampton have had an exodus of talent. Sturridge is the pick for top scorer and will get off to a good start. Coutinho will add one from the middle.
Gerrard tries to stay out of trouble because one bad tackle and he may not be able to get up – give the old man a life-alert.

Newcastle are either good or bad and you never can tell. Manchester City are either really good or good. I have a feeling this will be two “good” teams kicking off. This YaYa will score more than the Arsenal YaYa… but not as many as last year as he’s still miffed by not getting a birthday cake. Dzeko won’t score because he’s still in shock that he is still there. Aguero and Jovetic will score.

18-Aug-14  
Burnley0-3Chelsea

Burnley start against one of the odds on favorites to go down and because they aren’t good Mourinho will put the bus in 2nd gear. It will be an easy victory and we will hear about Burnley struggling this year and Chelsea being unbeatable – neither is true as it will be mostly up from this point for the Turf Moor newcomers. Eden and Cesc spend much of the game passing the ball to each other once they go up by 3. Yawn.

BET OF THE WEEK:

Tim Sherwood 16-1 as next West Ham manager.