Friday, 5 November 2010

Premiership Predictions

Bolton v Tottenham Prediction 0 - 2
Bolton continue to improve under Owen Coyle and I have been impressed with them this season. The same can be said about Tottenham who produced a stunning team perfomance in midweek to beat the current champions Inter Milan and to put themselves within touching distance of qualifying from the group stages. Although it was a great team performance, Gareth Bale's stunning perfomances on both games with Inter have got everybody talking. I wouldn't go as far in my praise of him as some have but I certainly feel that he is a very talented individual with a bright future. One thing for sure is that Bolton will have to keep a close eye on the flying Welshman and do a little more to deal with the threat he poses than Rafa Benitez did. However, even if Bolton do keep Bale there are plenty of other players who Harry Redknapp can call upon. Luka Modric, Rafa Van der Vaart and Aaron Lennon all played very well against Inter with Roman Pavlyuchenko and Peter Crouch also getting on the scoresheet. Some may say that Spurs will be jaded after their European exploits but I think that it will give them a big boost in confidence and I think we will see a comfortable Tottenham win.

Birmingham v West Ham Prediction 1 - 0
David Gold will be banned ffrom the directors box at St Andrews for this one and the former Birmingham owners should except a frosty reception. On the field, I expect a close game with Birmingham struggling to socre many despite having an excellent home record. West Ham are still struggling and I can't see them beating a resilient Hammers outfit.

Blackburn v Wigan Prediction 2 - 0
I expect another comfortable home win and another disappointing away day for unpredictable Wigan. Wigan are struggling and were beaten comfortably by Fulham at Craven Cottage last week. Sam Allardyce's side aren't having a great time of things either but I expect that they will register some much needed points on Saturday.

Blackpool v Everton Prediction 1 - 2
Everton continue to move up the table after a typically slow start. Yakubu, in particurlar, is finding his form and will hope to add to his goal against Stoke last Saturday. Blackpool won't be quite as fresh after their Monday night clash with West Brom but the confidence that they will gain from a win over an ill-disciplined Baggies side will be a big boost to Ian Holloway's men. They always seem to have goals in them but Everton are a resilient and experienced Premeirship side who I expect will edge this encounter.

Fulham v Aston Villa Prediciton 1 - 1
This should be an interesting and tight encounter at the Cottage. Mark Hughes' men recored a much needed and well deserved victory over Wigan last weekend and will hope to build on that. However, Houllier men will have different ideas as they show signs of improvement.The news that Marc Albrighton has committed his future to Villa for the next 3 years will also be a big boost. However, I think the points will be shared in this one.

Man Utd v Wolves 3 - 0
Wolves defeated one half of Manchester last weekend and will be hoping to defeat the other half this weekend. However, City are going in to a sticky spell whereas United are definitely on the up. United's controversial win over Spurs was followed by a comfortable result in Turkey in midweek. They could close the gap between themselves and Chelsea to just 2 points on Saturday with a winand will be desperate to do so.

Sunderland v Stoke Prediction 1 - 0
I don't know whether Sunderland's recent 5 - 1 loss to rivals Newcastle will be a good thing or a bad thing for Stoke as they make the trip to the Stadium of Light. Stoke are tricky opposition and difficult to beat making it unlikely that Sunderland will be able to respond to their doubters with a big win but the omens don't look good for Stoke who are on a losing run and haven't scored away at Sunderland since their promotion.I think Sunderland might edge this one and get their season back on track.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Premiership Review

Arsenal v West Ham Prediction 3 - 0

Actual Score: 1 - 0

Arsenal had to rely on a late Alex Song header to overcome a spirited West Ham side. Song's goal means that Avram Grant's side remain rooted to the bottom of the Premier League but will be encouraged by their performance and, in particurlar, the performance of their goalkeeper Rob Green who's confidence seems to be returning after his disastrous World Cup. If it wasn't for Green I may have got the exact scoreline correct but atleast I correctly predicted the result.

Blackburn v Chelsea Prediction 0 - 2

Actual Score: 0 - 2
As I anticipated, a trip to Ewood Park was a tough test even for high-flying Chelsea. I expected Chelsea to edge but it took another late goal from another unlikely source for Chelsea to ensure 3 points. Branislav Ivanovic's late header rescued the points for Chelsea after Blackburn had taken the lead through Benjani before Anelka equalised.

Everton v Stoke Prediction 1 - 0

Actual score: 1 - 0

For a change, I got the scoreline exactly right in this one. This was never going to be a classic with Stoke always difficult to be on the road but I predicted that Everton would edge this one with their recent good form and home advantage. It was Yakubu who scored the decisive goal in the second half after Tim Cahill's shot rattled the woodwork. Stoke may have felt aggrieved after seeing what looked like a perfectly good goal from Tuncay disallowed.

Fulham v Wigan Prediction 2 - 1

Actual Score: 2 - 0
Onc again I'm pleased to be on target with another prediction although the scoreline wasn't exactly right. It is generally quite difficult to predict Wigan's result as they are so unpredictable under Roberto Martinez but Fulham controlled the game despute their recent poor form. Clint Dempsey sored both goals in the 1st half for Fulham.

Wolves v Man City Prediction 0 - 2

Actual Score: 2 - 1

Wolves surprised me with a great result at Molineux. Despite the fact that City were without Tevez and Wolves's recent performances against Chelsea and Man Utd suggested that a result like this might be around the corner, I still thought that City might edge this one. Wolves proved me wrong with goals from Milijas and Edwards after Adebayor had given City the lead.

Man Utd v Tottenham Prediction 2 - 1

Actual Score 2 - 0
Man Utd's returning confidence and form suggested that they would see off a tough Tottenham side at Old Trafford and managed it even more comfortably than I had expected. However, that was due to a controversial own goal scored by Nani. Vidic gave Man Utd the lead with a magnificent glancing header after both Park and Van der Vaart had struck the post before Clattenburg allowed Nani's goal to stand despite the fact that he had clearly handled the ball.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Saturday's Premiership Predictions

Add VideoArsenal v West Ham Prediction 3 - 0

Arsenal have yet again found their best form at the Emirates this season where they have comfortably beaten most of their opponents. Their brilliant midweek Carling Cup performance against Newcastle mean they will be full of confidence.

West Ham also enjoyed success in midweek over Stoke after recovering from going 1 - 0 down early on to beating Stoke in extra time. However, that is where the similarities in fortunes end between these two teams this season. West Ham sit rock bottom of the Premiership table and, despite their spirited comeback against Stoke, will be short of confidence and still look shaky at the back.

West Ham will take positives from their midweek win and will be buoyed by the fact that West Brom have beaten Arsenal at the Emirates this season but I can't see this game being anything other than a comfortable Arsenal win.

Blackburn v Chelsea Prediction 0 - 2

Chelsea continue to look impressive as the season continues. They sit comfortably at the top of the table and will expect their good form to continue despite a potentially tricky trip to Ewood Park.

Sam Allardyce's teams are always well organised and hard to beat. Another of Blackburn's strengths is their physical prowess but Chelsea have got plenty of players who can cope with this and I expect their quality to show in a fairly comfortable win.

Everton v Stoke Prediction 1 - 0

Everton are beginning to find some form after their Merseyside derby win and a strong performance at White Hart Lane last weekend which saw them gain a well-deserved point. In contrast, Stoke have had a tough few weeks. They have now lost their last three games and have been unable to beat Everton since their promotion to the Premier League. I still expect it to be a close game but Everton should edge it.

Fulham v Wigan Prediction 2 - 1

I expect another home win despite Fulham's recent poor form. Wigan's form continues to be unpredictable but I think that home advantage will be key once again for the Cottagers. Mark Hughes's side are in need of some points and will see this game as a good oppurtunity to record a win.

Wolves v Man City Prediction 0 - 2
This could be an interesting battle as Kark Henry and Nigel De Jong, who have both been criticised for their tackling, go head to head. Wolves have lost their last two games but should still feel quite upbeat after a positive performance at Stamford Bridge in their last league game and after giving Man Utd a fright in the Carling Cup. I have been particurlarly impressed with he contribution of Ryan Jarvis who was outstanding at Old Trafford.
Man City continue to impress and are beginning to prove to everyone that they can be considered as genuine title contenders. However, they have relied heavily on Carlos Tevez and his goals and could be without him today. If he does miss out, it could be closer than many would expect, but I think that Man City will grind out a win against Wolves.
Man Utd v Tottenham Prediction 2 - 1
Man Utd have had a turbulent few weeks but it looks as if they can put the Rooney saga behind them and concentrate on the football. Spurs are the visitors to Old Trafford for the day's late kick-off which means that they will need to be at their very best to keep Harry Redknapp's men quiet. But United have been showing signs of returning to their best with two late strikes from Hernandez which has seen them record wins over Stoke and Wolves.
This should be a close one but I think home advantage and United's returning confidence will mean 3 points for the Red Devils.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

England v Montenegro

England will go into their third qualifying match on Tuesday as clear favourites against Montenegro. Not only will they be cheered on by another big Wembley crowd, but they have the advantage of a longer rest while Montenegro played against Switzerland just a few days before the game. Qualifying has not been a problem for England under Fabio Capello. They comfortably qualified for the World Cup and have started well with impressive wins over Switzerland and Bulgaria so all the signs are good going into the game.

The squad includes recalls for Joe Cole, Robert Green, Rio Ferdinand, John Terry and Aaron Lennon and there is a surprise selection in the shape of Kevin Davies. The 33 year old was selected with concerns over the fitness and form of Wayne Rooney and injuries to Bobby Zamora and Gabby Agbonlahor, despite admitting that he had given up on an international career. The Bolton striker has been a great servant to English football and perhaps deserves his chance but, at his age, he isn't going to be a part of England's long term future.

Full squad:
Ben Foster (Birmingham City), Robert Green (West Ham United), Joe Hart (Manchester City); Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Joleon Lescott (Manchester City), John Terry (Chelsea), Stephen Warnock (Aston Villa); Gareth Barry (Manchester City), Joe Cole (Liverpool), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Tom Huddlestone (Tottenham Hotspur), Adam Johnson (Manchester City), Aaron Lennon (Tottenham Hotspur), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Manchester City), Ashley Young (Aston Villa); Darren Bent (Sunderland), Peter Crouch (Tottenham Hotspur), Kevin Davies (Bolton), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)

Friday, 13 August 2010

Premiership Predictions

The Premiership is finally back tomorrow and it promises to be yet another thrilling season. This weekend, it is back with a bang with huge games like Spurs v Man City, Liverpool v Arsenal and Man. Utd. v Newcastle. Here are my opening day predictions.

Tottenham v Man City Prediction: 2 - 1

In a repeat of the game that decided the final English team to participate in the Champions League last season, Tottenham and Man City do battle again as the Premiership season starts with a bang. Tottenham won that game and I think that the outcome could be the same this time around.

A lot has changed since then at the City of Manchester Stadium. As expected, lots of money has been spent and many big name players have arrived at Eastlands. Man City could have the strongest squad on paper in the Premiership next season but nothing is won on paper and the players need to gel as a team. Roberto Mancini won't know what his best team is yet and many of their players will be unsure if their future.

In contrast, Harry Redknapp has been frustrated by his side's lack of activity in the transfer market but this could help them get off to a good start as they don't have the same problems that City have. With Tottenham playing at home as well, I think Spurs might edge it and get their season off to a very good start.

Aston Villa v West Ham Prediction: 1 - 0

Aston Villa have been shocked by the sudden departure of Martin O'Neill and it is difficult to know how this will have affected their team. They are a group of professionals and with Kevin MacDonald they will look to put that behind them and start the season positively.

West Ham will be harder to beat under Avram Grant this season but this is a tricky opening day fixture for them and I can't see them winning it.

Blackburn v Everton Prediction: 0 - 1

Blackburn improved a lot under Sam Allardyce last season and their home form in particular, was very impressive. They will once again be a difficult team to beat but could struggle to score goals this season and they have struggled to strengthen in the transfer market.

Everton have had a positive pre-season and will be pleased with the signing of Jermaine Beckford and Mikel Arteta recently signing a new contract. Everton had a fantastic end to last season and will be going into the season full of confidence. It's going to be close but I think Moyes's men may win it.

Bolton v Fulham Prediction: 1 - 1

Bolton are steadily improving under Owen Coyle who has made some good signings this summer and should comfortably avoid relegation. Fulham have lost Roy Hodgson to Liverpool and have replaced him with Mark Hughes. He has inherited the same squad from last season but it is still unlikely that they will be able to repeat last season's successes.

These two teams shouldn't have too many problems with relegation and are both contenders to be mid table by the end of the season. Therefore, it should be an even encounter and looks quite likely to end in a draw.

Sunderland v Birmingham Prediction: 2 - 1

Birmingham were a surprise last season as they surpassed all expectations by finishing 9th. Sunderland started well but then faded and ended the season in a slightly disappointing 13th. This should be a close one with Sunderland improving under Steve Bruce and Birmingham unlikely to repeat last season's achievements but Sunderland's home advantage tips the result in their favour.

Wigan v Blackpool Prediction: 2 - 0

I think that both of these teams could be in a relegation fight this season. Blackpool have added 5 new players to their squad this week but still they are short of quality and Wigan's porven quality and Premiership quality should be enough to see off Blackpool.

Wolves v Stoke Prediction: 0 - 1

Wolves have been busy improving their squad with Mick McCarthy attracting the likes of Stephen Hunt to Molineux. Mick McCarthy willl be hopeful that his team can improve after a good first season in the Premiership.

Stoke have been less busy but their recent capture of Kenwyne Jones could be a fantastic buy. He has struggled to fulfil his potential at Sunderland but, given Stoke's style of play and of course Rory Delap's long throw, Stoke may be the place for Jones to fulfil his potential.

Stoke are a well-organised team and proved hard to beat on the road last season. This is a difficult one to call but Stoke have a few matchwinners in Fuller, Etherington and Jones and I think they could snatch it.

Chelsea v West Brom Prediction: 2 - 0

Chelsea begin the defence of their Premiership title at home to newly promoted West Brom. Chelsea will be keen to get off to a good start in the league after a disappointing result in the Community Shield against Man Utd.

West Brom will hope to be more resilient and harder to beat than the last time they were in the Premiership with Tony Mowbray and Chelsea are generally slow starters. Nevetheless, I fully expect Chelsea to take all three points but don't think it ill be as convincing as some may think.

Liverpool v Arsenal Prediction: 2 - 1

This should be an enthralling contest as Roy Hodgson celebrates his first game in charge at Anfield. There will also be some new faces on the field for Liverpool with Joe Cole likely to make his debut.

Arsenal have also made some additions to their squad. Marouane Chamakh and Laurent Koscielney have arrived as Arsenal attempt to win their first trophy since 2005 and their first Premiership title since 2004.

This is almost an impossible one to call but I'm going to put my neck on the line and say that Liverpool will win in Hodgson's first game in charge and with the home crowd on their side.

Man Utd v Newcastle Prediction: 2 - 0

The opening weekend to the new Premiership season will be rounded off in style as Newcastle visit Old Trafford. Newcastle will be rejuvenated and confident after a successful season in the Championship but it could still be a tough season for them.

One thing that is for sure is that this will be a very tough game. United will be looking for revenge after missing out on the title to Chelsea and will be keen to make an early statement to their rivals.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Community Shield: Man Utd 3 - 1 Chelsea

The Community Shield is not the most glamourous or important competition to win this season but Manchester United's 3 - 1 Wembley win over Chelsea on Sunday will mean that they start the new season with a slight psychological advantage over their main rivals.

Ferguson's men came in second place behind champions Chelsea in the Premiership last season as Carlo Ancelotti marked his first season as Chelsea manager with an impressive domestic double whereas United could only win the Carling Cup , but this result shows that United are hungry for revenge.

Ferguson will have been just as pleased with his team's performamce as he was with the result and, in particular, the individual contributions of Wayne Rooney, who responded well have after a miserable World Cup, and Paul Scholes, whose masterful performance showed that he will be an important player for United this season. Man Utd's substitutes also made impacts with Berbatov and new signing Javier Hernandez both getting on the scoresheet.

Man Utd scored their first goal when Valencia finished from inside the penalty area after a cross from Wayne Rooney. United doubled their lead in the 76th minute when Javier Hernandez finished from close range in bizarre fashion after a cross from the excellent Valencia.

United then had Van der Sar to thank as he saved well with his foot from Daniel Sturridge's low shot. The Dutchman denied Sturridge for a second time after that but could only parry the ball out to Kalou who was left with a simple finish. Kalou's goal got Chelsea should have sparked a tense end to the game as Chelsea pushed for an equaliser but United had other ideas as they lured Chelsea into false sene of security as they began to play keep ball between themselves; luring Chelsea into a false sense of security before Hernandez's through ball released Berbatov who showed his class with a perfect lob over the despairing Hilario. Dimitar Berbatov also made a late impact after being introduced as a substitute and showed his fantastic skill and touch with a perfect lob over the despairing Hilario.

Berbatov's goal rounded off an impressive Man Utd performance in an entertaining game by the standards of the Community Shield. There are plenty of more important fixtures to come between now and the end of the season but atleast United can have a good start ahead of their game with Newcastle on Monday.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Premiership Preview 2010/11: The Relegation Candidates

With the title race looking likely to be one of the most wide open and close in Premiership history, you can be quite sure that the fight for survival will provide plenty of drama as well.

The three newly promoted teams could all be in a relegation fight this year. Many have already written off Blackpool who exceeded all expectations last year when they reached the Premiership via the play offs. But Ian Holloway will face possibly the biggest challenge of his career when he attempts to steer Blackpool to Premiership safety. Ian Holloway has remained loyal to the players that helped get his side promotion but it is unlikely that their current squad will have enough quality to survive. Blackpool have nothing to lose and will be determined to prove people wrong but with limited Premiership quality, it could be a long season for the Seasiders.

West Brom will also go into the new season as one of the favourites for relegation. Last year, they enjoyed yet more Championship success when they got automatic promotion. But they were along way of champions Newcastle and have suffered much Premiership misfortunate in recent years. Under Roberto Di Matteo, West Brom's attractive playing style has continued but will he be able to find the Premiership winning formula?

Newcastle won the Championship last season and in stark contrast to their relegation season, they will be returning full of confidence and optimism and looking like a more stable club on and off the field. Much of the credit for that turnaround must go to Chris Hughton who has made some potentially shrewd moves in the transfer window. Dan Gosling and Sol Campbell have joined on free tranfers to bolster a squad which already boasts plenty of Premiership quality so they should be safe.

Wolves survived their first season back in the top flight but with that success comes the inevitable suggestion that they may be affected by the "second season syndrome". Wolves survived despite scoring less goals than any other Premiership team last season and this is a problem that they will have to solve or it could be another long season for Mick McCarthy's men.

Wigan and Blackburn could also have long seasons ahead and appear to be quite strong candidates for a real scrap this season. Wigan have lost Titus Bramble to Sunderland which could prove to be vital and Blackburn appear to have limited attacking options after a frustrating transfer window and could also be dragged into a battle to avoid the drop.

Bolton struggled under Gary Megson last season but the arrival of Owen Coyle seems to have lifted everyone at the Reebok as will the addition of Martin Petrov in particular. With the fans back on side and Coyle at the helm, they should be safe.

Stoke City were the second lowest goalscorers in the Premiership last season and after having seemingly failed in their ambitious attempts to attract top attacking targets Loic Remy and Carlton Cole to the Britannia Stadium, it could be a difficult season for them. But Tony Pulis is a good manager and Stoke have gone from strength to strength in recent years and with a vociferous support helping them all the way, they should be safe.

Birmingham may struggle to repeat last season's excellent 9th place finish but should be safe and Avram Grant should be able to steer West Ham to safety.

Anyone of a number of teams could be dragged into a relegation battle this season though and it is sure to be an intriguing and unpredictable race for safety. One thing that you can bet on though is that it will be a fascinating season.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Premiership Preview 2010/11: The Title Contenders

With the Premiership season fast approaching, it seems like a good time to take a look at the possible title contenders for the new season and it seems that this year could be one of the most wide open and unpredictable seasons in recent years.

It's likely that Man. Utd, Chelsea and Arsenal will challenge again and, despite Rafa Benitez's disastrous final season as Liverpool manager , it is difficult to write Liverpool off as well. Tottenham will look to build on their impressive season last year where they broke the dominance of the so-called "Big four" but can they improve enough to mount a serious title challenge and, after another summer of big spending, it is hard to ignore Man City as genuine title contenders.


After last season's success, Chelsea have been quiet in the transfer window. Michael Ballack and Joe Cole have been allowed to leave the club and there remains uncertainty over the future of Ashley Cole who has been strongly linked with a move to Real Madrid. However, Carlo Ancelotti will remain optimistic over his side's chances this season. The arrival of Yossi Benayoun from Liverpool could prove to be a shrewd signing and Michael Essien's return from injury will be like a new signing for them. The champions will also know that they can rely on many of last year's stars which probably makes them slight favourites to win the title again.


Despite having to settle for 2nd place last season, Sir Alex Ferguson has resisted the temptation to make big changes at Old Trafford. In contrast to there neighbours Man. City, there have only been two additions to Man. Utd.'s squad this summer and neither Javier Hernandez or Chris Smalling could be described as "marquee" signings. However these signing do add to a wealth of young talent that Ferguson has at his disposal but there is never a guarantee that they will be good enough to step up and make an impact in the first team. There are also lingering doubts over the fitness of the likes of Hargreaves, Ferdinand and Owen which could be important if United are to be successful this season as will Wayne Rooney's form after such a poor World Cup. However, Ferguson will know that he will be able to rely on the experience of Giggs, Scholes and Neville which could be vital and means that it is likely that United will challenge again this season.


Arsene Wenger has added two new faces to his squad this summer and has been linked with others as the pressure builds on his youngsters to win a trophy. The arrivals of Laurent Koscielny and Marouane Chamakh look to be positive moves for Wenger but are they enough for Arsenal to win their first trophy since 2005? One thing that will be key for Arsene Wenger is that he can keep hold of Cesc Fabregas. It seems that he has succeeded in his fight to keep his captain at the Emirates this summer but it is clearly ony a matter of time before Fabregas moves to the Nou Camp. Arsene Wenger's faith in his young squad is admirable but Arsenal fans may start to lose patience if they fail again.


Liverpool have appointed Roy Hodgson as their new manager after Rafa Benitez moved to Inter Milan. This could prove to be a good appointment for Liverpool as there are few managers who will have the experience of Hodgson which could be vital as he attempts to stabilise Liverpool. However, their off-the-field problems mean that Roy Hodgson has a restricted transfer budget. This makes Joe Cole and Milan Jovanovic who have arrived on free transfers even better signings. Jovanovic adds more cover up front where Liverpool had relied on injury prone Torres a little too much and Joe Cole could provide the creativity that Liverpool have lacked since the sale of Xabi Alonso last summer. Hodgson has also added Danny Wilson and Jonjo Shelvey to his squad and has resigned Fabio Aurelio. If Hodgson can add a few new faces to his squad and persuade Gerrard and Torres to commit their future to Liverpool, they must surely be considered title contenders.


Although Spurs performed above expectations last season, it is hard to see them seriously challenging for the title. Last season, they beat Man. City to the final Champions League spot but, consequently, they will have a far more congested fixture list than last season. This makes Harry Redknapp's attempts to bolster his squad even more important but even if he succeeds it is unlikely that they will be serious title contenders. Spurs may find finishing in the top 4 this season difficult. Man City have spent big once again and the pressure will be on Mancini to atleast break into the top 4.

Man City

As expected, Roberto Mancini has splashed the cash this summer and has added the likes of Boateng, Silva, Yaya Toure and Kolarov to his squad this summer. There are no signs of Man City's spending stopping either with Mario Balotelli heavily linked with a move to Eastlands this summer. Man City need to offload players though because of new Premiership rules restricting clubs to only 25 players over 21 years of age. With many players expected to leave this summer and more players expected to arrive, Man City could have a very different squad of players by the end of August and there is no guarantee that they will gel as a team which will be necessary if they are to seriously challenge for the title.

Predicted Top 6

1. Chelsea

2. Man Utd

3. Man City

4. Arsenal

5. Liverpool

6. Tottenham
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