'Expert' UK footy tips
English Premiership logo (File)
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; watch this space …This week’s fixtures:
ARSENAL v MANCHESTER CITY
It’s difficult to gauge what sort of mood the Gunners will be in after letting it slip so badly at Wigan. They are still in the title hunt mathematically, but third place looks far likelier. I fancy they will just about down City, dealing them a further blow in their quest for Champions League football. Only Garrin goes a bit against the grain.
Rob: Arsenal 2 Manchester City 1
Last season: 2-0BOLTON v PORTSMOUTH
Pompey’s gloom only deepened when their late request for a Euro passage next season -- because of their fairytale FA Cup final appearance -- was KO’d. Just how fired-up will a relegated side be for a long haul to Bolton? Interestingly Dave suspects a smash-and-grab by the visitors, but he can’t find any friends on that one.
Rob: Bolton 2 Portsmouth 1
Last season: 2-1 HULL v SUNDERLAND
Hull will keep on scrapping to the last to skirt relegation, as they did (successfully by a whisker) last season. But I tip a result here that is of no great use to either team; Sunderland are already well safe and a battling point won’t really help the home cause. Majority view is stalemate … even after examination of last season’s crushing Black Cats win.
Rob: Hull 0 Sunderland 0
Last season: 1-4
MANCHESTER UNITED v TOTTENHAM
The Red Devils will win this one – yes, perhaps comfortably! – and add pressure to Chelsea by nicking top spot on the table until Sunday evening. Why am I so sure, even despite Spurs’ fine triumphs over Arsenal and the very Blues? Because United simply have Tottenham’s number, historically. Especially in Manchester. Good old Ray, going with his heart! Tee-hee.
Rob: Manchester United 2 Tottenham 0
Last season: 5-2
WEST HAM v WIGAN
The Hammers remain just one precarious place above the drop zone, and didn’t really look a Premiership club, you have to say, in their 3-0 thumping at Liverpool on Monday night. So I can’t even bring myself to back a West Ham win against fellow-strugglers Wigan, who could possibly secure their own top-flight future here. Still, the rest of the lads disagree.
Rob: West Ham 1 Wigan 1
Last season: 2-1WOLVES v BLACKBURN
In their first season back in the Premiership, Wolves have a great opportunity here to finally ensure they don’t go straight back down. After all, they’re tackling a Blackburn side with little to play for themselves after another humdrum campaign. But 1-1 seems the vogue.
Rob: Wolves 1 Blackburn 0
Last season: Not applicableASTON VILLA v BIRMINGHAM
My father-in-law and I were once asking someone in Birmingham for directions to City’s St Andrews ground. “Only if it’s an emergency,” the pedestrian replied. Clearly a Villa fan. Feelings run high in this under-rated derby, but recent form suggests Villa Park will be 90 percent satisfied after this one! A full house for the Villa win.
Rob: Aston Villa 1 Birmingham 0
Last season: Not applicable
BURNLEY v LIVERPOOL
It’s been virtually all downhill for Burnley in recent weeks and I fear that this match will pretty much confirm their passage “southward” to the Championship. Yes, Liverpool may be a tad footsore after their trip to Atletico Madrid but somehow I still see a convincing victory for the Reds.
Rob: Burnley 0 Liverpool 3
Last season: Not applicableCHELSEA v STOKE
The Blues can be “workmanlike” when they need to be and they really ought to down tenacious Stoke, even if sans champagne stuff, and return to the top of the table on Sunday. (I’m assuming Man United have beaten Spurs, of course.) Four of the five tipsters back Chelsea to smack the onion bag three times, but I’m settling for twice.
Rob: Chelsea 2 Stoke 0
Last season: 2-1EVERTON v FULHAM
Fulham are a step closer to their quest for the Europa League silverware after a gutsy first leg semi-final draw in Hamburg. But it could mean their eyes are off the ball a bit and legs leaden when they travel to Goodison. Everton had a good 3-2 win at Blackburn last weekend and there’s unanimous backing here for another three points for David Moyes’ lads.
Rob: Everton 2 Fulham 0
Last season: 1-0*LEADERBOARD (three points for wholly correct score-line, one for right result):
268 Rob (8 points in last round)
262 Ray (5)
259 George (11)
255 Dave (5)
232 Garrin (7)Verdict:
George was the king picker in the last round, getting into double figures (nobody else did) and knocking Dave from his third-placed perch. There are still four of us in the hunt with three rounds left -- and even defending champ Garrin in a rather distant fifth still believes in miracles and the tooth fairy and the Loch Ness monster. Me? I’m content enough to have slightly widened my cushion at the top on the pesky Ray …