'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
(Manchester United).THE PRIME ATTRACTION
NEWCASTLE v MANCHESTER CITY
Once severely long-suffering, I can’t tell how wonderful it is being a Newcastle fan right now. This season’s team confirmed its undoubted mettle in midweek with that fine 2-0 victory at Chelsea (I will admit that the Blues looked notably jaded after their exploits elsewhere), Cisse’s unceasing in his predatory brilliance, and now every Manchester United fan’s second club is suddenly Toon ... good times indeed. Plus Roberto Mancini calls this game “like a Champions League final”. Crikey, we’ve seldom had it so lofty. Right, can the Magpies stop the other Blues on Sunday? I firmly believe they’re good for a point – and no, that’s my mind speaking, not the heart. Don’t forget that the Sports Direct Arena has already seen this scoreline this season: Newcastle 3 Another Manchester Club 0. But Garrin and Dave don’t share my enthusiasm, and see Red Devil hearts potentially being broken worldwide as a result ...
Rob: Newcastle 1 Manchester City 1
Last season: 1-3 THE GRUDGE MATCH
LIVERPOOL v CHELSEA
It wasn’t too hard to identify this game for the category: these very sides will have met just three days earlier in that once-majestic event they call the FA Cup final, meaning that one of them will certainly go into this Premiership meeting with a bitter score to settle! For the record, I tip Chelsea to do the Wembley job, meaning that it is ‘Pool who will probably be the hurting mob at Anfield. Whether they can respond successfully, given their mostly pallid league form, is another matter, of course ... but I’m backing them on a hunch to put a belated smile back on the collective faces of the Kop. The Reds did prevail in the equivalent fixture last season. But our panel interestingly offers every result option.
Rob: Liverpool 2 Chelsea 1
Last season: 2-0
THE DESPERATE DUEL
BLACKBURN v WIGAN
Wigan have had some quite sublime results against top dogs recently – please, don’t mention that little Toon 0-4 hiccup! – and are developing a strong reputation as late-season Premiership escape artists of note. Even if they stumble here against similarly threatened Blackburn (and I fancy a tense stalemate) their last game will be at home against already-relegated Wolves, so there’s cause for further stay-up heart. I’m afraid Blackburn seem significantly doomed, and simply must target a victory here – their final-day fixture will be away to Chelsea.
Rob: Blackburn 0 Wigan 0
Last season: 2-1
ARSENAL v NORWICH
Rob: Arsenal 3 Norwich 0
Last season: Not applicable ASTON VILLA v TOTTENHAM
Rob: Aston Villa 0Tottenham 1
Last season: 1-2 BOLTON v WEST BROM
Rob: Bolton 1 West Brom 2
Last season: 2-0
FULHAM v SUNDERLAND
Rob: Fulham 1 Sunderland 1
Last season: 0-0
QPR v STOKE
Rob: QPR 2 Stoke 0
Last season: Not applicable WOLVES v EVERTON
Rob: Wolves 2 Everton 2
Last season: 0-3 MANCHESTER UNITED v SWANSEA
Rob: Manchester United 2 Swansea 0
Last season: Not applicable LEADERBOARD
Sadly for me I started the last round of matches on fire and ended the programme with something closer to a whimper. Nevertheless, I ended up narrowly topping the round anyway ... and yes, I still cling stubbornly to some sense of “contention”. But Garrin has now drawn three handy points clear of Dave at the top, in what seems a statement of intent ahead of the last two weekends of activity. Reach for the Eno ... it’s butterflies time.
254 Garrin (11 points in last round)
251 David (8)
246 Rob (12)