'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.
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
MANCHESTER UNITED v ASTON VILLA
You can only imagine the extent of the “hairdryer” treatment from Sir Alex Ferguson after the leaders’ insipid slump to defeat at lowly Wigan in midweek. So there’s every chance the Red Devils will come out smoking when they host Aston Villa at Old Trafford – another chance to claw their way a lot closer to retention of the title. Villa lie a disappointing 15th and just don’t seem to pose a credible threat here. I’m taking a chance and suggesting the floodgates open a little; Garrin and Dave go for a slightly more cautious score-line. But there’s no hint of confidence in the visitors’ challenge at all! United won the equivalent game last season and also 1-0 at Villa Park in the first round of the current campaign.
Rob: Manchester United 4 Aston Villa 1
Last season: 3-1 THE GRUDGE MATCH
NORWICH v MANCHESTER CITY
Right, did the 4-0 drubbing of West Brom on Wednesday signal a broader, much-needed return to form by second-placed Man City? Perhaps ... but I’m gambling again (I have to at this stage of the tipster campaign!) by suggesting that wonderfully resilient Norwich, fresh from a great win at Spurs, are capable of snaffling a point and handing the visitors’ title hopes a further setback. Not that the others agree. But why the grudge status? It’s because the Canaries will be motivated to “sing” after events in the first-round meeting at Eastlands: City slaughtered them 5-1 in early December.
Rob: Norwich 1 Manchester City 1
Last season: Not applicable THE DESPERATE DUEL
SUNDERLAND v WOLVES
It’s very, very close to do-or-die for Wolves, sitting as they are six points “clear” of the other strugglers, smack at the bottom of the table. Lose this one and they might be needing to pretty much win all four remaining games (hugely unlikely) to retain hopes of a miracle stay-up. Their best hope at the Stadium of Light is to cash in on a home side probably fragile themselves; Sunderland have slipped back just into the bottom half and come off a 0-4 fiasco at Everton. Wolves did also win the first-round meeting this season 2-1 at Molineux. But everyone here fancies the Black Cats to only bring more misery for the visitors...
Rob: Sunderland 1 Wolves 0
Last season: 1-3
SWANSEA v BLACKBURN
Rob: Swansea 0 Blackburn 0
Last season: Not applicableWEST BROM v QPR
Rob: West Brom 1 QPR 1
Last season: Not applicable ARSENAL v WIGAN
Rob: Arsenal 2 Wigan 0
Last season: 3-0 LEADERBOARD
Can we still call this an all-horses race for glory? I reckon so ... but I guess I would say that. The Easter double round didn’t really see anyone pull away or do anything especially remarkable; Steady Eddie was the three-way order of the day. There were only four points at most separating us, with Garrin returning narrowly to sole leader. At least my booty of 18 points was the highest – it needed to be, to vaguely retain my status as a contender.
237 Garrin (16 points in last round)
235 David (14)
225 Rob (18)