'Expert' UK soccer tips
English Premiership flutter (File)
Cape Town - Each round of the 2011/12 English Premiership season, a panel of Sport24 staff 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 colleagues Garrin Lambley
(very Everton-partial), David Brooke
(Manchester United), Dominic Valentine
(Liverpool) and a novel newcomer in “converted” rugby devotee Tank Lanning
(another of those infernal Red Devils fans).THE PRIME ATTRACTION
CHELSEA v ARSENAL
I just sense that a bit of the fight is returning to that old schemer Arsene Wenger, with his beloved Gunners finally moving pretty stealthily up the table after a horror start. They’ve crept back to seventh, which is much closer to where the Emirates faithful would wish them to be. And with third-placed Chelsea knocked off the bicycle a bit by the loss at QPR last weekend, I feel that Arsenal may be worth a point across town at Stamford Bridge. Garrin shares my belief – he’s got a serious dose of the 1-1 “flu” this week – but the others all tip a Blues triumph, in line with last season’s outcome when Messrs Drogba and Alex made the difference on the scoresheet.
Rob: Chelsea 1 Arsenal 1
Last season: 2-0THE GRUDGE MATCHSTOKE v NEWCASTLE
This fixture doesn’t lend itself especially naturally to this billing, but I’ve picked it based on last season’s outcome, when the Potters rather pounded the visiting Toon: it was a horror show, I remember, for Newcastle’s long-in-the-tooth stopper Sol Campbell. So there is every incentive for them to wish to lay that ghost to rest .... Big Sol has mercifully moved on this season. Alan Pardew’s team still lie an unlikely fourth, and I fancy them to fight out a “Monday night live” draw, thus getting them halfway to supposed safety already with 20 points (as a long-suffering Toon fan I think like that, you see ...). I won’t pretend it will be easy against the red-and-whites, and Tank and Dom see the hosts getting all three points.
Rob: Stoke 0 Newcastle 0
Last season: 4-0
THE DESPERATE DUEL
EVERTON v MANCHESTER UNITED
Usually this spot is reserved for teams labouring at the wrong end of the table, but I’ve placed the Red Devils here, unusually, because there must indeed be some semblance of “desperation” in the air around Old Trafford ... that ugly ducking by neighbours Man City last weekend means the champions have fallen five points off the pace and must make up ground fairly quickly. Doing so at Goodison Park isn’t guaranteed ... the Toffees come off an away win (at Fulham) and in last season’s equivalent match got late goals from Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta to hit back from 1-3 and snatch an unlikely point in a six-goal thriller. But a full house of Sport24 pundits still says United will get the bounce-back they seek ... just.
Rob: Everton 0 Manchester United 1
Last season: 3-3THE OTHERS
MANCHESTER CITY v WOLVES
Rob: Manchester City 2 Wolves 0
Last season: 4-3
NORWICH v BLACKBURN
Rob: Norwich 1 Blackburn 1
Last season: Not applicableSUNDERLAND v ASTON VILLA
Rob: Sunderland 2 Aston Villa 2
Last season: 1-0
SWANSEA v BOLTON
Rob: Swansea 0 Bolton 0
Last season: Not applicableWIGAN v FULHAM
Rob: Wigan 1 Fulham 1
Last season: 1-1WEST BROM v LIVERPOOL
Rob: West Brom 0 Liverpool 2
Last season: 2-1TOTTENHAM v QPR
Rob: Tottenham 2 QPR 1
Last season: Not applicableLEADERBOARD
Under our traditional, in-house scoring system for the five Sport24 staff featured here, there is very little movement after poor collective returns last weekend – how can you blame us when you get such wacky results as Man Utd 1 Man City 6 and an upset QPR win over Chelsea? For the little it matters, Garrin topped the pile with five points and three of us netted four apiece.
70 Tank (4 points in last round)
68 Dominic (4)
64 David (3)
61 Garrin (5)
48 Rob (4)
*In the broad, Sport24.co.za pool on SuperBru, which presently sports 1,270 players, “Geoff” has taken the lead with 82.55 points, followed by “Serb” with 81.30. The yellow cap for best performance in the last round belongs to the dubiously-named (if you understand Afrikaans, of course) “Holweet”!