'Expert' UK footy tips
English Premiership flutter (File)
Cape Town - Each round of the 2012/13 English Premiership season, a panel of Sport24 staff and occasional 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
(eternally Newcastle-partial), the others are Garrin Lambley
(Everton, and last season’s winner), Dominic Valentine
(Liverpool) and Herman Mostert
Three points are awarded for an entirely correct scoreline, and one for right result.
THE PRIME ATTRACTION
EVERTON v MANCHESTER UNITED
Maybe I should have opted for champions Man City in this spot, but the truth is that they ought to have a pretty easy ride as they open their defence of the title at home to promoted Southampton ... and as you will see it’s only a question of “by how many goals?” to our pundits in what they view as a routine win on Sunday. Instead the Toffees, never the easiest nuts to crack and seventh last season, earn top billing as they host runners-up the Red Devils on Monday night. A risky hunch tells me Fergie’s boys will set off their campaign slightly on the back foot by being held at Goodison! Mind you, even staunch Evertonian Garrin lets head overrule heart – no doubt conscious of the fact that his side are notoriously slow starters and stronger finishers. United pinched this fixture last season courtesy of a lone strike by Javier Hernandez.
Rob: Everton 1 Manchester United 1
Last season: 0-1 THE GRUDGE MATCH
NEWCASTLE v TOTTENHAM
Fourth-placed side last season, Spurs, head north-east to tackle the Toon surprise packages who ended just one rung below them in 2011/12. Did Newcastle simply punch above their weight and are now ripe for a “correction”? The unashamed black-and-white in me would like to believe they are capable of a top-quarter finish again, especially as (touch wood) their biggest names haven’t been lured away yet and Vurnon Anita seems another astute Alan Pardew midfield signing from Ajax. The grudge status is because the home side produced probably their worst display of an otherwise decent season in being thrashed 5-0 by Spurs in London the last time these foes met – the first half was especially gory with Tottenham blasting four in that period. It’ll be much closer this time, and I have Dominic’s company in suggesting the Toon Army will have reason for good cheer.
Rob: Newcastle 1 Tottenham 0
Last season: 2-2 THE DESPERATE DUEL
WEST HAM v ASTON VILLA
So the once-mighty Hammers are back in the Premiership, adding to the flood of London derbies. They had to do it the hard way, via the playoffs, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be the promoted club in biggest danger of the immediate drop. (Reading seem to have much “support” for that ignominy.) There’s a healthy feeling among our panellists for this clash that they’ll be blowing bubbles come the final whistle at Upton Park – only Garrin views the fixture as a stalemate. Villa, after all, had a grim 2011/12, flirting with relegation before finishing 16th. Paul Lambert is installed as the new boss at Villa Park, and although veteran Emile Heskey has been released, they have tried to stiffen their ranks with a pair of signings from Feyenoord, including Dutch international central stopper Ron Vlaar.
Rob: West Ham 2 Aston Villa 1
Last season: Not applicable THE OTHERS
ARSENAL v SUNDERLAND
Rob: Arsenal 2 Sunderland 0
Last season: 2-1 FULHAM v NORWICH
Rob: Fulham 0 Norwich 0
Last season: 2-1 QPR v SWANSEA
Rob: QPR 1 Swansea 1
Last season: 3-0 READING v STOKE
Rob: Reading 2 Stoke 0
Last season: Not applicable WEST BROM v LIVERPOOL
Rob: West Brom 1 Liverpool 1
Last season: 0-2 WIGAN v CHELSEA
Rob: Wigan 0 Chelsea 2
Last season: 1-1
MANCHESTER CITY v SOUTHAMPTON
Rob: Manchester City 2 Southampton 0
Last season: Not applicableCHELSEA v READING
Rob: Chelsea 2 Reading 0
Last season: Not applicable
HAVE YOUR SAY:
Who do you think will win this weekend's first round of English Premiership fixtures? Will Manchester City defend their title come the end of the season? Send your thoughts to Sport24