Sunday, 25 January 2009

Week 23: Preview

With the FA filling up this weekends fixtures we have to wait till tuesday for some premier league action. Aston Villa Pompy is probably the pick of tuesdays fixtures. Villa have been on a good run of results recently but not been playing great. They are without the genius of ashley young due to suspension. Fear not villa fans, emile heskey is now on your books (very strange signing). 2-1 Villa. Fulham travel to Sbragia's Sunderland where the honeymoon is most certainly over. Could go either way 2-1 Sunderland. Spurs face stoke in a relegation thriller that will finish 1-0 if we are lucky, spurs are only worth watching in the cup. 1-0 Spurs. Finally the injury hit man u travel to west brom in a top verses bottom clash. Wouldn't be surprised if united lose their clean sheet record to west brom. 2-1 man u.

Thankfully wednesday brings us a few more interesting matches. Everton host Arsenal and have the opportunity to go within two points of the 5th place gunners. Entirely possible if the can keep van Persie quiet. 0-0. The unsteady liverpool visit the ever steady wigan in would could be another upset for Rafa. 1-1. Chelsea host the woeful boro, who are my new hot tip for going down. 2-0 chelsea. City face newcastle and even without kaka (or any other brazilians) should come out on top. 2-1 city. West ham Hull could see the end of hull's run in the top half. 2-1 west ham. Finally we have blackburn bolton and another big sam reunion. Couldn't care less sorry. 

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

RE: Football Weekly

As a regular listen to the guardian's football weekly (and football weekly extra) podcasts I've started to read the comments on the blog. The matter of Sir Alex and his mind games came up in the pod and in the comments. To say the least I disagreed with some of the opinions. Here is my take. It's my own little Keegan/Rafa style outburst. Hoping to get back to business as usual with a preview of next weeks action on friday.

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Week 19 review

Merry christmas too all. Sorry for my absence last weekend but a full 10 fixtures yesterday hopefully cheered you up.

Man U got us started with a trip to stoke. After a trip to Japan everyone believed that united's scoring drought was over. I wasn't so sure, still i had this one down as 2-0 to the visitors. Turns out even I was too sure. Stoke held off the champions till they had a man sent off with about 20 mins to go. The red card almost certainly lead to man u scoring, they had almost run out of ideas. Putting them into third with villa playing later.

Chelsea West brom kicked off 15 mins after stoke man u. As did Pompey west ham and Spurs fulham. Chelsea cruised to a 3-0 win (I had 2-0). Only thing worth saying is that Anelka and Drogba started together up front. But this could just be for the home games.

Pompey took the lead against west ham but only held it for 12 mins. Just before the break Pompey got a penalty and my 2-1 prediction was looking good. Defoe missed. West ham dominated after the break and it finish 4-1. Spurs fulham finished goal less, Harry said he will be shopping for strikers in the window.

3 o'clock saw Liverpool take on Bolton. 3-0 liverpool (I had 2-1) with two for Keane puts them back on top. I'm actually starting to believe liverpool could be serious this year.

City welcomed hull and I saw this one as a tight 2-1 win for Phil Brown's boys. It was 4-0 city at half time. Ireland with 3 assists and city looking like they are worth the money they have. A odd on-the-pitch half time team talk seemed to help hull. They got a goal back towards the end. 2 minutes later and city struck back. Ireland with a very deserved goal. A win tomorrow and on new years day could see city 7th, which helps when trying to attract new players.

Wigan beat Newcastle 2-1 with a Zaki penalty. The Geordie's need Martins back. Sunderland Blackburn was goal less. I half expected a 5 goal thriller after last weekends results. Everton went to Boro. With everton still striker less and away from home the most I thought they could hope for was a draw. Some how people (read boro) haven't learnt how dangerous Tim Cahill is in the box. Everton win and are now 2 points from arsenal. Could Arsenal finish 6th?

5:15 gave us the last and best game of the day. Villa Arsenal. By half time it was 1-0 arsenal despite Villa having the best of it and hitting the wood work 3 times. Shortly after the restart it was 2-0 and I thought game over. However Villa plugged on and were rewarded with a 65th minute penalty, converted by Barry. Was there time for another one, or two? Just, and only the one. Zat Knight's 90th minute equaliser was a cracker. Wenger has to buy in the window to sure up his midfield and defense. O'Neill needs to keep hold of his players in January or get silly money for them.

Might post a review of tomorrows games later if I get the chance.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Week 17: part two

As I said yesterday, I'm working through this week in two parts. I actually kind of like it this way but it does involve be being a loser and staying in saturday and sunday night. Yesterday we saw Liverpool, Man U and Arsenal draw. Villa take forth with a win against bolton and city lose again against a striker-less Everton. Half past one gave us Pompy Newcastle but we will first look at the Chelsea West Ham game. Chelsea started without Drogba. We can get to that later. Chelsea have been impressive away. 100% record. At home they are usually solid but have hit a blip over the last few weeks. I haven't been kind to Zola, I don't think he has perform very well so far. Like many of the leagues best players he seems to rise to the big game. Given his history of playing Chelsea they don't get much bigger.

A win today would give Chelsea the top spot after Liverpool's draw. By half time things weren't going their way. 0-1. On comes Drogba and soon it's all level via Anelka after about 5 minutes. West Ham would have to fight for a point after having a chance of three. And they did. 1-1, final score. So because everyone dropped points everything is the same at the top. Except for arsenal being replaced by Villa. Big smile

Newcastle traveled to Pompy and I predicted a 2-1 win for the home side. The game was an absolute cracker. Real end to end stuff. It was newcastle to score first. I was confident that this would see the visitors sit back and try and protect their point. They didn't, the game stayed very open. 2-0. Well that shows what I know. 3-0 just before full time and I'm shocked. Newcastle, like Portsmouth and many other teams in the league, have a problem with their form. Hot and cold, very hard to predict. But it was their third clean sheet away.

This is the question of the week. Is away the new home? For a bit of last season Pompy were fantastic on their travels but struggled to score at home. Now it seems Newcastle, and more importantly Chelsea, have been infected by the same illness. Not so much of an issue for the former, 40 points, home or away, are all they need. For the latter things are a bit more tricky. If they want to make a realistic effort for the league then their home form has to be almost as impressive as their current away form. Well that is if the others can sort themselves out too.

First test in india

About 3 weeks ago I was praying for something to prevent england getting white washed in both the ODI series and the test series. The standford series was embarrassing and the first four ODI were worse. Careful what you wish for. The shocking and disgusting terrorist attacks in india caused many people to stop what they were doing and pay attention. Cricketers included.

Cricket is very important in India. I doubt I'll understand how important until I travel their and experience it myself. This meant that the tests had to be played, if not then the terrorist would truly of had their victory over the people of India. Thursday came and the start of the first test. Having seen the security I was not worried about safety of the players or the crowd. I was worried about english pride.

I was nicely surprised. England got off to a good start and put on 316 in the first innings. India's reply was 241. I was now more than surprised. When I woke up this morning (well, afternoon) I was happy as can be to see england had declared on 311. Brilliant. But then my smile had the shine taken off it. Sehwag hitting 83 in 68 balls to give India 131 for 1.

The smile was entirely wiped from my face once I realised I wouldn't see a minute of the thrilling 5th day. I may try and get myself to bed extra early tonight in the hope of waking up early enough to catch the end of the action online. If the coverage was on bbc, or even channel four, then I would of had at least half a chance of watching it. But with it being on sky I've no hope.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Week 17: part one

For a number of reasons this weeks football will be split into two parts, as far as my blog is concerned anyway.

Three of the 'big four' played today (Chelsea game is sunday) as did the young pretenders Hull and Villa. Arsenal traveled up to Middlesbrough and to what I thought would be to victory. Boro have been both good and unlucky this season. Today was no different. Arsenal took the lead but could not hold on to it for long. 1-1 by half time. The game stayed that way but Boro should of had a penalty after a foal from Clichy (who hasn't been half as good as he was last season). Three o'clock gave us the Liverpool Hull game. This week Benitez has written off liverpool's title chances and then clarified that they are infact 80%. If they're top at christmas. Ok. As with the arsenal game I went for the big boys to win. After 22 minutes and two hull goals I wasn't too hopeful. Remember when I said liverpool were going to struggle to score with out Torres? Ten minutes later Gerrard had leveled things up. Four goals in 32 minutes and then... nothing. Well there were a bunch of chances but 2-2 is how it ended. Here are the other 3pm kick offs and my predictions:
Villa 2-0 Bolton
City 1-2 Everton
Stoke 1-0 Fulham
Wigan 2-1 Blackburn
Villa are fast becoming the most exciting team in the league. 4-2 doesn't really do villa justice. They were by far the better team. I really, really hope they finish 4th. Arsenal just don't deserve it as much as Villa do. Two goals for everton when they have no fit strikers was a bit of an ask. Still city don't look like they are worth there money. And it took till injury time till everton proved me right. 1-0. Stoke 0-0 fulham. I've already said too much. Next we move to Paul Ince. Right now he just needs a win to quiet all the critics. What he got was a shitty performance and a three nil thrashing. I really don't want to respect steve bruce but he does have a good team at wigan.

The late kick was Spurs Man U and a chance for the champions to close the gap on liverpool. After last weeks last minute winner and a draw midweek I figured Spurs what get the crap kicked out of them as Man U bounce back into form. And the visitors did control most of the game. Lennon was a highlight for Spurs who had their chances. But neither team managed to break the deadlock. 0-0

Tomorrow Pompy play Newcastle and chelsea host west ham. I don't rate zola's chances. But west ham do have one hope. The game is at stamford bridge, if it was a upton park then they wouldn't stand a chance.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Week16 review

Short an sweet review this week. Not much to say so not much being said.

Everton's thriller with villa. Gutted I missed this one. Lescott gets two, but defensively he isn't the player he was. It's great that he gets forward and does a much needed job for Everton, but it leaves Phil Jagielka with a lot to do. And Everton were the better team too. It's all very well people praising Villas defense, I have a lot of time for Laursen, as long as they notice that there are problems up front. Or there will be. If Young or Agbonlahor get a knock then they will struggle to score. Indeed

Arsenal games had a certain level of mystery over the last month or so. However saturdays 1-0 win over wigan was boring as hell. Still not a team firing on all cylinders when it comes to easy games. Under performing also were man utd. Their last minute 1-0 over manager-less sunderland doesn't scream champions. And the fans are running to of patience with Berba. Chelsea cruised passed bolton. Nothing much to mention aside from that it's now 11 away games victorious on the run. Amazing. Liverpool make Ince's life a little harder with a 3-1 victory. The score doesn't really reflect the game. Blackburn didn't play like a side about to lose it's manager. They were more like the blackburn of last year. And the whole Ince getting the sack talk has annoyed me too. Firstly, losing away to the league leaders should never be the final straw for a manager. Secondly, blackburn massively over performed last season. They were never going to match last seasons performance. Especially with a new manager. Give Ince a chance.

City got an early goal which earns them a point. Surely hughes is in more trouble than Ince. Fulham look like they will be ok this season. No need for the great escape again. Hull show us again that they are natural born winners with two late goals against boro. Poor old southgate. Gets the first goal of the game in the 79th minute and some how concedes 2 and gets a man sent off in the remaining 11 minutes. Bad luck.

The newcastle stoke game really was a game of two halfs. The home team taking the first with 2 goals and ease. The second went stokes way but only just. Similar story in the pompy west brom game. Johnson could of won it for Portsmouth. They'll be lucky to keep him.

Spurs put two passed west ham and surely finish zola. Although the radio was more than impressed with west ham's fight in the second half. Spurs still not looking half as good as they should.