'Expert' UK footy tips
English Premiership flutter (File)
Cape Town - Each round of the 2011/12 English Premiership season, a panel of Sport24 staff or guest tipsters have a crack at predicting the results - do it yourself, if you like, and see how you compare afterwards.
Our forecasts also offer assistance (if that is the right word!) to those who take part in the SuperBru megapool (Pool code: cropriot) created by Sport24.
Compiled by Rob Houwing
(the champion for the last two seasons but a Newcastle supporter for his sins), the others are Garrin Lambley
(very Everton-partial), and David Brooke
THE PRIME ATTRACTION
CHELSEA v MANCHESTER CITY
The Blues – er, the Stamford Bridge ones, I mean – are in a pretty good space at present, with thumping wins over each of Wolves, Newcastle and then Valencia in the Champions League (including two Didier Drogba strikes which should make the veteran predator dangerous on Monday night). Visitors and log-leaders City are out of the elite Euro company, of course, but at least exited in victory over Bayern Munich. I fancy it will only redouble their resolve to win the Premiership! Chelsea won the corresponding game 2-0 last season (Luiz, Ramires) but majority sentiment below is a feisty draw ... a strange hunch tells me it could even be goalless.
Rob: Chelsea 0 Manchester City 0
Last season: 2-0
THE GRUDGE MATCH
ARSENAL v EVERTON
Spaniard Mikel Arteta was a popular presence at Goodison Park for several years, but now he wears a Gunners shirt and how the midfielder is treated by the travelling support will be very interesting to gauge. This is his first encounter with the club he once represented so honourably. The Toffees, still smarting after an unexpected home reverse to Stoke which brought to an abrupt end a budding mini-spell of form, will do everything they can to mar Arsenal’s 125th birthday celebrations, but even staunch Evertonian Garrin concedes that the Londoners ought to prove too strong at the Emirates Stadium – they’re unbeaten in seven league appearances and have moved stealthily up to fifth on the table. Last season’s meeting was a stormy one, with Arse recovering from a disputed Everton opener to bounce back for a 2-1 win, and visiting boss David Moyes grumpy afterwards over some rugged challenges on his players.
Rob: Arsenal 2 Everton 0
Last season: 2-1THE DESPERATE DUEL
SUNDERLAND v BLACKBURN
Martin O’Neill finally takes charge of the ailing Black Cats ... and probably in the nick of time. Sunderland have slipped to 17th on the table, fractionally above the dreaded drop zone, and come off losses to fellow battlers Wigan and Wolves. Last weekend’s defeat at Molineux was particularly gut-wrenching: they should have gone 2-0 up in the second half but fluffed a penalty and then saw Wolves nip in and steal all three points themselves! It happens when you’re battling, eh? Still, I reckon the “new gaffer” factor will just about lift Sunderland to a narrow win over 18th-placed Rovers – they took this game comfortably last season. All three tipsters fancy the red-and-whites to pull it off.
Rob: Sunderland 1 Blackburn 0
Last season: 3-0
BOLTON v ASTON VILLA
Rob: Bolton 1 Aston Villa 2
Last season: 3-2
LIVERPOOL v QPR
Rob: Liverpool 2 QPR 1
Last season: Not applicable
MANCHESTER UNITED v WOLVES
Rob: Manchester United 4 Wolves 0
Last season: 2-1NORWICH v NEWCASTLE
Rob: Norwich 0 Newcastle 1
Last season: Not applicableSWANSEA v FULHAM
Rob: Swansea 0 Fulham 0
Last season: Not applicableWEST BROM v WIGAN
Rob: West Brom 2 Wigan 0
Last season: 2-2
STOKE v TOTTENHAM
Rob: Stoke 0 Tottenham 2
Last season: 1-2LEADERBOARD
It’s all square at the top under the Sport24 scoring system (three points for a wholly correct scoreline, one for correct result) as Garrin’s highly productive last round of 13 points sees him haul in Dave and draw level as both shoot past the century mark as well. Moderate last weekend for yours truly, but 90 points, and 11 adrift, isn’t exactly the distance between Earth and Mars, is it?
101 Garrin (13 points in last round)
101 David (6)
90 Rob (7)
*In the broad, open-to-all-comers Sport24.co.za pool on SuperBru, which presently sports 1 304 players, “Geoff” still retains the lead having moved to 130.80 points, but “BBJamie” has leapfrogged “Serb” into second place on 125.75. The yellow cap for best performance in the last round belongs to “Whackhead”, who may or may not be involved in radio ...