Here’s the easy deal:
1) Predict this weekend’s Premier League results.
2) Order the new Italy shirt (and pray that they qualify for Euro 2008, otherwise I’ll need to find a 3rd team to support next summer).
And you’ll be eligible to win a signed Canna shirt (draw on November 30th).
I’ll even make the predictions easy for you – you can copy-paste the fixtures below and rant away in the comments. Here are my predictions for the weekend, if you’re feeling lazy and can’t be bothered to do your own.
Saturday 20 October 2007
Everton (10) vs Liverpool (4)
Everton have slipped to 10th place (and may lose that spot to West Ham over the weekend) and Liverpool aren’t doing too hot either, 6 points off the pace and already showing signs of old problems returning.
Still, you’d expect both teams to give it all for the local derby, although both teams are likely to struggle for goals (Everton this season and Liverpool away from home). Some pundits have billed this as a dour affair but I for one think it will be an excellent game and one of the best of the weekend.
Soccerlens Prediction: Liverpool win – I’d have picked Everton but they’ve hit a dip in form, and Pool are going to win at least one of their tough away games…
Arsenal (1) vs Bolton (19)
This is going to be painful to watch – Arsenal are in good form and Bolton are absolutely shite. Just when you thought things couldn’t get worse though, Bolton lost their manager and have been rejected in their pursuit of Steve Bruce (come on, that’s your starting point? how low can you go after that?).
Expect Arsenal to thrash Bolton, despite RVP’s absence. The only saving grace Bolton could have will be former Arsenal man, Anelka and, if he’s playing, Gary Speed (a point to prove and all that).
Soccerlens Prediction: Arsenal, by at least 2 goals.
Blackburn (6) vs Reading (12)
Who’s the better manager – Blackburn’s Mark Hughes or Reading’s Steve Coppell? Put another way, could Mark Hughes have done with Reading what Coppell did a couple of years ago (or even last year)? Can Coppell do with Blackburn what Hughes is doing now?
Both are very promising managers and it’ll be interesting to see how they approach this match – Reading, despite their meagre resources, will come at Blackburn fighting and Blackburn in this case will have to play a more controlled game than they normally do.
I only see one result here though.
Soccerlens Prediction: Blackburn to beat Reading.
Fulham (18) vs Derby (20)
One of those fancy basement scraps, what do they call it? Ah yes, a 6-pointer. Lawrie Sanchez is odds-on favourite to follow Jose Mourinho and Sammy Lee out of a job this season (if only because the inept Tottenham board can’t find a replacement for Martin Jol) and although Fulham should beat Derby, Lawrie’s job won’t be secure unless he can safely navigate Fulham out of the relegation zone and firmly up mid-table.
Derby are…well, 20th, and unless they pull off a shock draw here, they’ll stay 20th (no chance of topping Bolton on goal difference). There’s an outside chance that by the end of the season Bolton will actually do worse, but to make that happen Derby need to see Fulham off first.
Soccerlens Prediction: Fulham to beat Derby.
Manchester City (3) vs Birmingham City (13)
I’m a bit tired of hearing about the ‘dream start’ Manchester City have had this season – yes, they’ve been better than their own fans’ wildest fantasies and yes, they’re actually playing well and yes, Sven is a decent manager, but can we get over it now? If Manchester City are still in the Champions League spots after the Christmas and New Years glut of fixtures and better yet, if they’re still ahead of either Chelsea or Liverpool…THAT is when we should really start praising them (actually, you might want to wait till the end of the season, lest Manchester City do a Tottenham).
Birmingham City are doing worse than it looks (4 teams are tied on 8 points – Birmingham, Wigan, Boro and Sunderland – 13 to 16) but there’s a takeover on the horizon and that will surely help improve the squad and possibly their fortunes as well.
Coming to the match, I don’t think Birmingham City have the quality to stop Manchester City from scoring, and it’ll come down to whether Brum can snag a couple or not.
Soccerlens Prediction: Man City to beat Brum.
Is the Golden Age for Chelsea already over? Southgate will be up all Friday night praying that it is, because with Mourinho leaving, Terry dropping out injured and now Drogba’s bombshell of wanting to leave, there won’t be a better time to play Chelsea (unless, of course, Lampard is injured and out of the next game, and Cech too…).
Chelsea should win this game given the talent at their disposal and the ragged nature of Middlesbrough’s fortunes, but as this Boro fan hopes, if Middlesbrough can have a go at Chelsea and play an attacking game, the Lost Ones from the Broken Club could be unhinged.
Soccerlens Prediction: I’m still going to play safe with a Chelsea win here.
Wigan (14) vs Portsmouth (5)
Despite a slight wobble Portsmouth find themselves 5th, although they have Chelsea, Tottenham and Everton to thank for not performing to expected standards. As things stand, if Everton can take at least two points of Liverpool and Portsmouth beat Wigan, Pompey will be in the top 4.
To do that, they have to dispatch a tough-looking Wigan who are missing Heskey and Sibierski up front. Can they do it? If Portsmouth’s last game is anything to go by, this game should have more than a couple of goals.
Soccerlens Prediction: Portsmouth to beat Wigan.
Aston Villa (8) vs Manchester United (2)
Recent games between Villa and Manchester United have been tight affairs, and this one should be nothing different. Manchester United have hit their goal-scoring form though (even if Wigan always get their 4 goals) and while Villa have done well this season they have also been unable to finish off games when necessary. This cost Villa points against Liverpool and I think that faced with Manchester United’s imposing defence, Aston Villa could fail again.
The weak link for Manchester United will be their midfield, and news that O’Shea is fit is not exactly encouraging (Fletch might return though, which could be good). Anderson and Scholes playing together in midfield will leave us weak in the middle, and Manchester United have Saha injured again. Regular fare as far as United are concerned this season.
Soccerlens Prediction: Manchester United to win.
Sunday 21 October 2007
West Ham (11) vs Sunderland (16)
Tough one to call. I’m partial to both West Ham and Sunderland, and thanks to West Ham’s erratic nature (and Sunderland’s fighting spirit), either team could win this one.
I’ll stick my neck out and go for a Sunderland win – West Ham’s injuries will make it difficult for them to score, and if Sunderland can sneak one in I don’t see West Ham making it back.
Soccerlens Prediction: Sunderland to beat West Ham – wouldn’t put money on it though.
Newcastle (9) vs Tottenham (17)
Newcastle fans will be licking their lips at this fixture – not only do they have a chance to put one over Tottenham fans (who have berated them for a couple of years after ‘overtaking’ Newcastle as the #5 club in England), but this is an excellent chance for Big Sam to build some momentum into the side’s performances.
Newcastle have Michael Owen available, which should be enough against a defence that has been as shaky as Tottenham’s this season. Tottenham’s saving grace this season will be their strikers (like they were last season), but the lack of confidence in the squad thanks to the shenanigans surrounding Martin Jol’s position means that every match Spurs go into, there’s a doubt hanging over their ability to produce the goods.
A win against Newcastle should go a long way to remove that doubt.
Soccerlens Prediction: Draw. High-scoring, hopefully.
Here you go – copy-paste the fixtures below and dazzle us with your abilities to see far into the future.
Everton vs Liverpool
Arsenal vs Bolton
Blackburn vs Reading
Fulham vs Derby
Manchester City vs Birmingham City
Middlesbrough vs Chelsea
Wigan vs Portsmouth
Aston Villa vs Manchester United
West Ham vs Sunderland
Newcastle vs Tottenham