'Expert' UK footy tips
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
(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 ATTRACTIONNEWCASTLE v MANCHESTER CITY
I see that Gael Clichy has been quoted as saying the champions are labouring a little this season because they are failing to gel as a team (are you listening, Mr Balotelli?). If that is indeed the case, some consolation is that Saturday’s opponents are not nearly as adhesive a unit as they were in 2011/12 either – they have striker issues of their own because the Ba-Cisse combo just doesn’t seem to cut it. Only one can lead the line? Still, it should be an atmospheric clash at a packed St James’ Park, with much at stake for both teams: City badly need a bounce-back win after the home loss to arch-rivals the Red Devils, whilst Newcastle must aspire to at least a draw to ease their mounting woe over relegation possibilities. My heart says Toon can grind out a fighting point, but the head persuades me to sing in tune with the rest of the panel, alas ...
Rob: Newcastle 1 Manchester City 2
Last season: 0-2 THE GRUDGE MATCHQPR v FULHAM
Apart from this being a derby between teams from reasonably swanky parts of London, the grudge element is only heightened by the fact that visitors Fulham did the double against these opponents in 2011/12. The encounter at Craven Cottage was a particular source of pain for Rangers ... they were taken to the cleaners 6-0! Andrew Johnson got a hat-trick, with further strikes from Messrs Murphy, Dempsey and Zamora. QPR are desperately trying to regroup under Harry Redknapp but remain firmly rooted to the bottom of the table. I just fancy that they may be good for a point and I see that I am not alone in that theory, despite Fulham coming off a home win against Newcastle.
Rob: QPR 1 Fulham 1
Last season: 0-1THE DESPERATE DUELREADING v ARSENAL
Strife is only mounting at the Emirates Stadium, where Arsene Wenger somehow keeps riding out storms related to the Gunners’ chronic under-achievement -- by their standards -- in recent times. Now they’ve even been dumped out of the League Cup by lowly Bradford, and remain as many as 15 points shy of leaders Manchester United in the Premiership. But their Monday night trek is to relegation-threatened Reading, who come off a pretty depressing 3-0 thumping at Sunderland. The Arse really should get past these foes, though I have called it closer than the others on the panel.
Rob: Reading 1 Arsenal 2
Last season: Not applicable THE OTHERSLIVERPOOL v ASTON VILLA
Rob: Liverpool 0 Aston Villa 0
Last season: 1-1MANCHESTER UNITED v SUNDERLAND
Rob: Manchester United 2 Sunderland 0
Last season: 1-0 NORWICH v WIGAN
Rob: Norwich 2 Wigan 1
Last season: 1-1 STOKE v EVERTON
Rob: Stoke 0 Everton 1
Last season: 1-1 TOTTENHAM v SWANSEA
Rob: Tottenham 1 Swansea 0
Last season: 3-1WEST BROM v WEST HAM
Rob: West Brom 1 West Ham 0
Last season: Not applicable*LEADERBOARD
128 - Dominic (8 points in last round)
127 - Garrin (11)
125 - Herman (7)
114 - Rob (12)