Friday, December 12, 2008

The EPL Weekend Ahead: Life and Death in Stoppage Time

I'm rubbish at predicting scores, and he's rubbish at running a club. Couldn't hurt for us to switch, could it?

Well, I was outright crap last week (4 winners, 0 exact scores), thanks to a slew of 91st and 92nd minute goals that choked any fun out of the rest of the weekend. Stoke daggered my hopes of collecting on a Newcastle win that appeared rock-solid at half-time, Man U needed every last second to steal 3 points that they most definitely deserved, while Hull left it wonderfully late to score their 2 goals and win against 'Boro. Oh, and the Everton/Aston Villa game!

Note to refs: when the wristwatch says 90:00, please just blow the damn whistle. Note to Everton: just because you've equalized late doesn't mean it's full-time. Idiots.

So what awaits this week? Which manager will be canned next, and right before the holidays too (like so many corporations)? It has to be Ince. Yet again they've made headlines in the papers about some meetings they had this week, although if Paul tells us they were routine and par-for-the-course, we should just believe it. Definitely no crisis summit at Ewood Park, nope. Nothing to see here, folks. Move along. After all, they haven't completely bottomed out yet.

One thing he could do before leaving is figure out the Curious Case of Roque Santa Cruz. Does he only score when he feels like it?

Come thinktank with me and my terrible glimpse into the future. It's full of score draws!

Middlesbrough v. Arsenal (kick-off: 7.45am)
I'm just waiting for the letdown, although does midweek count? Their fondness for winning one week, losing the next, means this could be more dropped points for Wenger. I'll go with that again, just because 'Boro have been unlucky lately and Arsenal aren't dominant away from home. 'Boro 1, Arsenal 1

Aston Villa v. Bolton
Might be tougher than expected, but should still be comfortable for the luckiest side in the Midlands. Aston Villa 3, Bolton 1

Liverpool v. Hull
Ugh, this match has TRAP written all over it in big, bold letters. That said, Hull have fatigued a bit over the last 7 weeks (1 win, 3 draws, 3 defeats) but their away form is still impressive: 2nd in away goals scored with 15 (to Chelsea's 21), and they've scored in every single away game too. Surely that run will continue, but LFC have turned it around after those two momentum-killing draws to Fulham and West Ham. Keane will score. How's that for confidence? Liverpool 2, Hull 1

Manchester City v. Everton
A team that's all-strikers v. a team that has no strikers at all. This should be fun. The Mark Hughes Rollercoaster Fun Ride will continue tomorrow with another win against good opposition that will awaken yet more false hope. Poor Joleon Lescott must be soiling himself considering how many small, fast men he'll have to man-mark.
Man City 2, Everton 0

Stoke v. Fulham
Do I have to choose? Stoke 0, Fulham 0

Sunderland v. West Brom
Do I have to choose (Pt.2: Electric Cisse-aloo)? Sunderland 1, West Brom 0

Wigan v. Blackburn
This is Paul Ince managing for his job yet again, although I'm not exactly confident for him. Perhaps it'd be best to just get the messy break-up over and done with now, instead of that weird half-week workweek between Christmas and New Year's Day. They put up a battle when LFC were in town, but Wigan at home should do better than they did last weekend. Wigan 2, Blackburn 1

Tottenham v. Manchester United (kick-off: 12.30pm)
Berbatov will likely wuss out of this sparkling return trip to his old stomping grounds, which is sad considering Spurs fans really do deserve the satisfaction of hounding him mercilessly. Spurs will give up a lot of space in midfield (because that's what they do!), and Fergie's cult will gladly take the early xmas gift. Let's hope Rooney gifts us with another petulant, violent outburst. Tottenham 0, Manchester United 3

Portsmouth v. Newcastle (Sunday, kick-off: 8.30am)
Do I have to choose (Pt. 3: The Re-Kinnearing)? I'm sure Michael Owen's brace last weekend means he's going to go another month without so much as a sniff at goal. That'll bode well for a trip to Fratton Park and the insane fluky volley stylings of Glen Johnson. Portsmouth 2, Newcastle less than nil

Chelsea v. West Ham (Sunday, kick-off: 11am)
Thankfully there's no Monday game this week, but this one will make you long for the workweek's most wretched day, and frankly, that's a sad thing indeed. It's been a while since Scolari ran up the score on someone. Chelsea 4, West Ham 1


Nathaniel said...

What's going on with Ince's left eye in that picture?

Stuart Scott wants to know.

Keith said...

Right, LB, like Liverpool, or Arsenal, or Man U have never benefited from 30 seconds of additional stoppage time.

JT said...

It's true. LFC benefit in the 75th-90th minutes, not the 95th

Ibracadabra said...

Unfortunately, Rooney can't gift us with a violent outburst - he is suspended for this one after picking up 5 yellow cards - it'll have to be the caveman Tevez..

Spot on though about Newcastle putting up less than nil at Portsmouth. Play up Pompey. Crouch should have his nachos along with Defoe in that one.

Keith said...

75th is even a little early, non?

And if I were Moyes, I'd start Lescott up top with Anichebe. He defends like a striker as it is, let's just make it official.

JT said...

he is their titus bramble

Mike Georger said...

My New Years Resolution is to wear more clothing with my initials on it.

Lingering Bursitis said...

Georger, you'll go far in the tracksuited EPL manager race with commitment like that

Mike Georger said...

I'm fairly certain I could collect a paycheck if I just bought a huge bubble coat with 'MG' on it and stood on the sideline somewhere. My tactics are legendary, after all.

Keith said...

It's things like the coats worn by Ince, Steve Bruce, Arsene and Tony Pulis that make me glad O'Neill assigned himself a squad number. 31 looks so much more classy than "TP" or "AW"

Mike Georger said...

Maybe he didn't want everyone to know that he is a mo?

JT said...

Keith: you know the Nazis started by assigning numbers, don't you? Just saying... not that Villa is evil or anything

jjf3 said...

It was actually kind of interesting to watch the games last week after making predictions for the first now I'm going to keep it up even though no one cares...
Last week, 5 results correct, no exact scores (though I should have gone with my gut in the WBA-Pompey game)
Anyways, here goes nada

Villa 2-0 Bolton
Pool 3-2 Hull
Citeh 3-1 Everton
Boro 2-1 Arsenal
Stoke 1-1 Fulham
Sunderland 2-0 WBA
Spurs 1-2 ManU
Wigan 1-1 Rovers (probably wishful thinking)
Chelski 3-1 West Ham
Pompey 1-0 Newcastle

(yeah, I know there's too many goals in there, but so be it...)