Premier League Predictions 2018/19: October 27th-29th

It has been an interesting week of football. England have shot up to 5th in the FIFA World Rankings while FIFA themselves are discussing revamping the FIFA World Club Cup. On the itch was the third round of group fixtures in the Champions League and Europa League. After having his suspension reduced to one game, Cristiano Ronaldo returned to Old Trafford with Juventus and left with all three points after Artem Dybala’s first-half strike sealed a 1-0 win for the old lady. Tottenham Hotspur saw red as PSV came from behind to hold them to a 2-2 draw in Eindhoven. Manchester City redeemed themselves for their 2-0 defeat in Donetsk last season by defeating Shakhtar 3-0 and Liverpool comfortably strolled past Red Star Belgrade 4-0. In the Europa League, Danny Welbeck secured three points for Arsenal as they defeated Sporting Lisbon 1-0 in Portugal while Ruben Loftus Cheek had a night to remember as his hat-trick downed BATE Borisov 3-1 at Stamford Bridge.

Last weekend was full of action. Ross Barkley preserved Maurizio Sarri’s unbeaten start at Chelsea with a late goal at the death against Man United. There were big results for Cardiff who got their first win of the season against Fulham (4-2) and Brighton who won on the road at Newcastle. Liverpool and Manchester City maintained their unbeaten starts too with wins over Huddersfield and Burnley. It was a stalemate on the south coast between Bournemouth and Southampton and Everton made it three wins on the bounce with a late win against Crystal Palace. Meanwhile, the week came to a close with Arsenal’s excellent come back win against Leicester City. However, how did the predictions fare? read more

2018/19 Premier League predictions: October 20th-22nd

The international break is over and to be honest, I quite enjoyed it. I’m quite beginning to like the UEFA Nations League. I think it’s bringing something different and quite intriguing in adding the prospect of promotion and relegation into it. The home nations had mixed fortunes of course. Scotland took the lead but fell to a slightly embarrassing 2-1 defeat away to Isreal in Hafia while Northern Ireland tasted defeat to both Austria and Bosnia. Rivalries were renewed when Wales travelled to Dublin and exacted revenge for their World Cup Qualifying defeat with a Harry Wilson free-kick. While England had the weird experience of playing behind closed doors in Croatia before stunning Spain in Seville as they took all three points.

However, with the internationals being over, the Premier League is back! That means once again I will be making predictions and comparing them with respective pundits Paul Merson (Sky Sports) and Mark Lawrenson (BBC Sport). In this comparison, I use the points scoring system utilised by Sky Super 6. That means five points are awarded for the correct score and two for the correct result. read more

2018 US Grand Prix Preview: Will Hamilton win his 5th title in Austin?

Four races. Four races out of 21. That is what remains of what has been a thrilling F1 Championship. The gird line up for 2019 is almost complete, the calendar for next year has been announced and the Championships are nearing being decided. Its next leg is away from Asia and into the America’s for the USA-Mexico double bill. That means late evening races in the UK and more than likely the first ever British five-time World Champion being crowned but will it be at the Circuit of the America’s in the US or Mexico City?

Drivers Championship coming into Austin. [Image from BBC Sport].

I say more than likely as Lewis Hamilton enjoys a mammoth 67 point lead over his nearest rival Sebastian Vettel. With 100 points to play for he could claim the title in Austin this weekend if the result goes his way. For that to happen, Hamilton needs to win the race and for Vettel to finish 3rd or lower. If not in Austin, then it will be in Mexico as only a catastrophic doubleheader with two DNF’s and Sebastian Vettel winning both races will keep the Championship alive after that. read more

The title swings further in Hamilton’s favour: 2018 Russian and Japanese Grand Prix double-header Review

4,914 miles separate the Sochi Autodrom circuit on the Black Sea in Russia and the Suzuka International Circuit in Japan but yet here the two events were side to side in a doubleheader. A part of the reasoning is Russia filling the gap left in the F1 calendar vacated by the Malaysian Grand Prix which held its final race last year. The other was perhaps to allow the Russians to concentrate on hosting this summers world cup. However, both races produced critical moments that may well define the destiny of the 2018 F1 Championship…

The title race took another step in the direction of Lewis Hamilton  in Russia but it was not without controversy. Qualifying saw five cars not take part in Q2 meaning the top 10 as decided by default but in Q3, a mistake by the Championship leader on his final run saw Valtteri Bottas qualify on pole ahead of Hamilton in 2nd and Vettel in 3rd. That remained the front three off the line as Vettel had a look at Hamilton first before Hamilton had a look at Bottas at turn 2. However, the race ended pretty soon for Toro Rosso with both cars not making it beyond lap three. read more

Premier League Predictions 2018/19 : October 5th-7th

It’s October now, where has this year gone? Gareth Southgate has named his squad for the next set of UEFA Nations League fixtures and there are some surprises in the squad he announced alongside the news he will be England Head Coach until after the 2022 World Cup. That means another international break looms. Before that, though we have another set of Premier League fixtures and if it’s like last weekend it will have its surprises. Five of the six ended in a 2-0 scoreline while West Ham inflicted more misery on Manchester United with a 3-1 win. Chelsea and Liverpool maintained their unbeaten starts thanks to Daniel Sturridge’s late equaliser while the weekend closed with a 2-1 win for Bournemouth over Crystal Palace.

As I have been this season, I have been comparing the predictions made on a weekly basis by pundits Mark Lawrenson and Paul Merson while also making predictions of my own. For last weekend, I included the predictions made by comedian Karl Pilkington after he described supporting Manchester United as, ‘like having a tortoise as a pet. I had a tortoise, and they are not entertaining to watch. You don’t watch them, but you know you have got a bit of responsibility to show some interest. That is what I do with United. I keep an eye on them. I don’t watch them every game because, at the minute, that is a waste of 90 minutes’. In these comparisons I use the same scoring system that Sky uses for their Super 6 game: read more