‘Expert’ UK soccer tips
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
MANCHESTER CITY v NEWCASTLE
This was a pretty lively and passionate encounter last season, when the then lowly Toon fought with great spirit but could not prevent a narrow loss on the road . Circumstances are a bit different in 2011/12: Newcastle are surprising “contenders” in third and, like impressive log-leaders City, are unbeaten at this stage. But this is the first real test of the mettle of Alan Pardew’s outfit, and sadly I see them experiencing a first reverse of the campaign. The others all feel that way, too. It may be roughhouse at times ... remember the spicy Nigel De Jong tackle that broke Hatem Ben Arfa’s leg in the meeting in Manchester?
Rob: Manchester City 2 Newcastle 0
Last season: 2-1THE GRUDGE MATCH
CHELSEA v LIVERPOOL
This game slots into this category because Chelsea have a definite score to settle: last season ‘Pool did the double against them in the league, winning the corresponding fixture 1-0 at Stamford Bridge (Fernando Torres’ untimely first game in blue after quitting Merseyside!) and also prevailing at Anfield. As far as title aspirations go, both teams are already more off the pace than they would like, so a defeat for either here takes that team even further from contention. Pretty high stakes on Sunday evening, then, but with four of us picking the tight Blues win and Garrin taking his tried and very occasionally trusted 1-1 route ...
Rob: Chelsea 2 Liverpool 1
Last season: 0-1THE DESPERATE DUEL
WIGAN v BLACKBURN
Very simple to pick this fixture for the slot: it’s a meeting between last (Wigan) and second-last. Both come off losses, too, although the visitors didn’t disgrace a fortnight ago before the international break, in going down by a lone strike to Chelsea. Majority sentiment favours a cagey draw, although these teams produced an unlikely seven-goal thriller in the equivalent match-up last season. Wigan nosed it 4-3, with James McCarthy bagging a brace in the early-February encounter. Right, that’s where the goals came -- my tip this time is 0-0!
Rob: Wigan 0 Blackburn 0
Last season: 4-3THE OTHERS
NORWICH v ARSENAL
Rob: Norwich 1 Arsenal 3
Last season: Not applicableEVERTON v WOLVES
Rob: Everton 2 Wolves 0
Last season: 1-1STOKE v QPRSaturday, 17:00
Rob: Stoke 1 QPR 0
Last season: Not applicableSUNDERLAND v FULHAM
Rob: Sunderland 1 Fulham 1
Last season: 0-3WEST BROM v BOLTON
Rob: West Brom 1 Bolton 1
Last season: 1-1SWANSEA v MANCHESTER UNITED
Rob: Swansea 0 Manchester United 1
Last season: Not applicableTOTTENHAM v ASTON VILLA
Rob: Tottenham 3 Aston Villa 1
Last season: 2-1LEADERBOARD
Under our traditional, in-house scoring system for the five Sport24 staff featured here, there is again no change to the ladder in terms of positional switches, although the big progress came from Dave – he claimed a handsome 12 points in the last round which was at least four better than anyone else. There are now three tipsters tightly bunched in the early 80s, although Tank defies the odds by staying at the helm, obviously still not yet aware this is not a rugby forecast ...
85 Tank (7 points in last round)
81 Dominic (8)
80 David (12)
73 Garrin (7)
66 Rob (6)
*In the broad, Sport24.co.za pool on SuperBru, which presently sports 1,294 players, “Geoff” retains the lead having moved to 103.50 points, still followed by “Serb” who is now on 102.75. The yellow cap for best performance in the last round belongs to “Salvyn”.