'Expert' UK footy tips
Cape Town - Each round of the 2009/10 English Premiership season, a panel of self-proclaimed Sport24 soothsayers have a crack at predicting the week’s results.
Compiled by Chief Writer Rob Houwing (2008/09 runner-up), with regular predictions also from Managing Editor Garrin Lambley (the defending champion), Content producer Raymond Kilfoil, Commercial Manager David Brooke and former Bafana Bafana and AmaZulu striker George Dearnaley, you’ll seldom find us singing from the same song-sheet.
Occasionally we invite a celebrity guest tipster to have a crack at a round of matches; last week SuperSport United’s local Premiership-winning coach GAVIN HUNT joined in and earned a moderate five points.
Yet it was enough for him to emulate TV pundits Mark Gleeson and Neil Andrews on the “celebrity leaderboard” as they have each earned precisely that tally when invited to predict a round of games.
Watch this space for another guest tipster, seeking to nose ahead of them soon …
This week’s fixtures:
ASTON VILLA v TOTTENHAM
Will Tottenham’s heads still be in the clouds after the 9-1 jaw-dropper against Wigan? The Premiership is a fickle, unforgiving arena … maybe they’re suddenly on the receiving end! But smart money says this one’s tight, and four of us duly tip the stalemate. The exception, of course, is ever-stubborn Spurs fan Ray. Mind you, they did the biz at Villa Park last season …
Rob: Aston Villa 1 Tottenham 1
Last season: 1-2
BLACKBURN v STOKE
Dumped at Fulham in midweek to end a promising mini-run, Blackburn will try to return to winning ways at home to the Potters. And last season’s 3-0 outcome is source for inspiration. But Stoke are a pretty adhesive side now, and come off a victory over Pompey. It’ll be a goalless grind, say I. But our tipsters are very divided.
Rob: Blackburn 0 Stoke 0
Last season: 3-0
FULHAM v BOLTON
Bolton are extremely wobbly this month, and now visit a Fulham side high on confidence after the Wednesday dismantling of Blackburn. Little surprise, then, that the Sport24 mob offer a full house on the host triumph.
Rob: Fulham 2 Bolton 0
Last season: 2-1
MANCHESTER CITY v HULL
City just keep on drawing … it’s a six-game virus. Yes, that bad. In the old days it wouldn’t have been so damaging, but in the modern three-points-for-a-win climate it is costing them valuable ground on the table. They ought to get back to winning days against Hull, though, despite the visitors being buoyant after toppling the Toffees in midweek. And look what happened in the 2008/09 fixture …
Rob: Manchester City 2 Hull 0
Last season: 5-1
PORTSMOUTH v MANCHESTER UNITED
There’s a niggly little feeling in my head about this one – something that chirps “upset”. But I won’t be so daft as to back Pompey for a stunner; not with the plight they’re in. So it’s simply a matter of how much the Red Devils win by … and our panellists offer you one, two, three or four visiting strikes. Geniuses!
Rob: Portsmouth 0 Manchester United 3
Last season: 0-1
WEST HAM v BURNLEY
Clash of the clarets as Burnley pursue their impressive quest to prove they belong in the Premiership. After going much of the early season without a draw, suddenly they boast two on the trot – good ones, mind, at Manchester City and then at home to Villa. Still, there’s surprising sentiment in favour of the iffy Hammers for this one, but I’m going for the old 1-1 fallback.
Rob: West Ham 1 Burnley 1
Last season: Not applicable
WIGAN v SUNDERLAND
What sort of Wigan will run out? Will they still be at sixes and sevens (or nines) after their disastrous trip to Spurs, or will the riot act have been read pretty thoroughly and redemption is a strong theme? Then there’s also the possibility that Sunderland are still fatally basking in the Arsenal upset. So three of us serve up a stalemate suggestion here.
Rob: Wigan 1 Sunderland 1
Last season: 1-1
ARSENAL v CHELSEA
This derby might just serve up some classic football. The odds tilt a little toward a Blues away win, considering their run of rampant, table-topping form, but the moody Gunners may just get some mojo back after the bitter disappointment at the Stadium of Light. Last season’s result at the Emirates doesn’t bode too favourably for Arse, though …
Rob: Arsenal 1 Chelsea 1
Last season: 1-4
EVERTON v LIVERPOOL
Brittleness abounds in both camps ahead of the Merseyside derby. (Not that this will prevent it from being a blood-and-thunder affair.) Everton are reeling after being beaten by Manchester United and Hull in the space of a few days, while the Reds have been KO’d from the lucrative Champions League and Rafa Benitez’s future remains tenuous. Tipping is precarious, but our panel leans toward Liverpool edging it. Even Toffee Garrin is all gloom …
Rob: Everton 1 Liverpool 2
Last season: 0-2
WOLVES v BIRMINGHAM
Coming off successive thrashings by Arsenal and Chelsea, Wolves know they’re in for a grim survival battle. Here they oppose a fellow-promoted club, although the Blues are a little more stable and on a bit of a roll. I back the away win, although this is a forecasters’ liquorice-allsorts.
Rob: Wolves 1 Birmingham 2
Last season: Not applicable
*LEADERBOARD (three points for wholly correct score-line, one for right result):
99 David (12 points last round, one midweek)
94 Rob (17 and 0)
89 George (9 and 2)
79 Garrin (5 and 0)
77 Ray (3 and 1)
Verdict: Er, how can I put this modestly? Or shall I simply tell it like it is? Your good host achieved a new record 17 points for a full programme last weekend, eclipsing an old mark of 16 held separately by George and Garrin once, if memory serves me correctly. Included in my landmark haul were five entirely correct score-lines. But stop … I don’t want to sound boastful. Of course not. But I have catapulted to second, hot on the tail of Dave now, who needs one point to reach the century-mark first. Just a quick single required by that man this weekend: has he got the legs? George fared best in a mini-midweek flutter, with correct results (though not score-lines) for Hull v Everton and Fulham v Blackburn. So two handy extra points for the big striker. Might they make all the difference at season’s end?