Rowan’s Premier League Predictions 2019/20: 28th-30th September

Last weekend in the Premier League we saw 30 goals with Manchester City getting 8 of those as they almost broke the Premier League record for biggest win. Arsenal came from behind with ten men to beat Aston Villa and Liverpool made it 6 wins from their opening six for the second successive season with a 2-1 win at Chelsea. VAR had its impact in disallowing a goal for Leicester before their second-half comeback against Spurs while Chelsea also had an equaliser chalked off at 1-0. Even if you think the margins are extremely harsh which in some cases they are, at the very least VAR is giving some form of consistency.

Midweek saw the 7 teams competing in Europe make their entrance to this season’s Carabao Cup. There were some surprises as Tottenham were beaten on penalties by League Two Colchester Town while penalties were also needed by Manchester United to see off Rochdale. The draw though produced some scintillating cup ties as Chelsea host Manchester United and Arsenal host Liverpool. Wow! read more

Vettel’s surprise fifth Singapore win: Thoughts on the 2019 Singapore Grand Prix

There is something special about seeing the sight of Formula One cars under the lights in the Singapore night. Since the Marina Bay circuit hosted its inaugural race in 2008, it is one I look forward too every season and is always full of incident and revelations. A round 14 of the 2019 season, it represents the stat of the final third of the season and sets up a potential Championship battle thought over a matter of weeks ago.

Ferrari’s pace in Singapore was a real turn for the books. The tight, slow turns of the 23 turn circuit were thought to favour Mercedes and Red Bull who were expected to be fighting for the win. It was not expected to favour Ferrari. That was how it looked after the Friday practice sessions when Ferrari were 0.8s off the race as first Max Verstappen and then Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheets. However, the nose and aero upgrades brought by Ferrari made the difference from Saturday onwards as Vettel headed a Ferrari 1-2 in final practice. It could have been that in Qualifying too as Vettel made mistakes on his final Q3 run before abandoning his final effort. Instead, Leclerc produced a stunning effort for his third successive pole position and fifth of the season. As the Monogasque said after Qualifying, it was not expected at all… read more

Boris Johnson’s Prorogation and the affront to Democracy

The doors have been locked! Parliament has now been officially shut down by Boris Johnson’s government and will not be re-opened again until the 14th October for a new Queens Speech. It is a far cry from what the Prime Minister said during his leadership election campaign…

I would like to make it absolutely clear that I am not attracted tp arcane procedures such as the prorogation f parliament. As someone who aspires to be the Prime Minister of a democratic nation, I believe in finding consensus in the House of Commons read more

Rowan’s Premier League Predictions 2019/20: September 20th-22nd

The Premier League returned from the first international break with a bang! 34 goals were scored over the 10 games but that does not tell the whole picture. There was the sensational result for Norwich City beating Champions Manchester City 3-2 (pictured above). That accompanied by Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Newcastle stretched their lead at the top of the table to five points which is the largest lead any team has enjoyed after the first five games. There were also wins at home for Manchester United, Bournemouth and Spurs as well as away wins for Chelsea and Southampton. We also saw Arsenal allow a two-goal lead slip in Quique Sanchez Flores first game back at Watford as well as draws at Brighton and Aston Villa.

It was not the start of their defence of the Champions League Liverpool would have wanted. [Image from The Guardian].

Midweek, the Champions League group stages returned. Liverpool and Chelsea slipped up with defeats at Napoli away and Valencia at home while Spurs let a two-goal lead slip away to Olympiacos. Manchester City were the only English team to win in the competition with a 3-0 win against Shakhtar Donetsk. It also meant the Europa league returned and there were wins for Arsenal against last seasons semi-finalists Eintracht Frankfurt while Man United beat Astana. Wolves, however, fell to a 1-0 win against Portuguese side Braga. read more

Leclerc and Ferrari at the double: 2019 Belgian and Italian Grand Prix Review and Ratings

Formula One returned from its four-week summer break with a back to back of power-hungry circuits beginning with the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps; the longest circuit on the calendar followed the weekend after with the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

The first of those resulted in tragedy with the death of F2 driver Anthoine Hubert following a horrific incident in the Feature Race. Juan Manuel Correa is still in an induced coma and hopefully, he can recover from his injuries. It was a big loss in the paddock especially for Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc and Pierre Gasly on the F1 grid who grew up with Hubert. Both put in strong performances in the circumstances but for Leclerc, he produced a stunning performance to win his maiden Grand Prix win and the 108th different race winner in F1 history. read more

Rowan’s Premier League Predictions 2019/20: September 14th-16th

After the first international break of the season which saw England maintain their 100% Euro 2020 Qualifying record with wins over Bulgaria and Kosovo, Scotland on the brink after a 4-0 defeat by a Kevin de Bruyne inspired Belgium and another goal from defence for Fabian Schar; the Premier League is back!

That means so too are the prediction posts. In these posts, I make predictions and compare them against those made by the pundits each week for BBC Sport (Mark Lawrenson) and Sky Sports (Charlie Nicholas it seemed this season) as well as the BT Script. For this, I use the point system used by Sky for their Super 6 game which is 5 points for the correct score and 2 points for the correct result. read more

A Tory Said What: August 2019

August and with MPs on their summer recess from Parliament, I would have expected this post to be pretty short. You would have imagined there was less time for any government MP to say something factually incorrect, alarming or concerning which is what these posts aim to do. However, with Boris Johnson as Prime Minister that was probably never going to happen. In fact, I could probably get a post just out of his comments alone.

So, what were the highlights for the government? The latest Q2 figures show that the economy shrunk meaning at the time we were only three months away from being in a recession; by the time this is published around two months away. The new Home Secretary Priti Patel tried to come out hard on immigration with plans for strict immigration rules and an end to free movement in the event of a no-deal Brexit. August ended with a constitutional crisis of sorts with Boris Johnson deciding to prorogue parliament in a bid to undemocratically force through a no-deal Brexit (more on that later). read more

Thoughts and Reflections on a sombre 2019 Belgian Grand Prix

Spa Francorchamps is a true racers circuit loved by both fans and drivers with challenging turns such as Eau Rouge and Blanchimont but it also marks the beginning of the second half of the F1 season. Traditionally, the teams bring engine updates and all the manufacturers did in 2019 which resulted in several grid penalties. There were a few driver announcements as the 2020 grid behind to take shape (two of these I have already commented on) but there was also a tragedy.

The F2 feature race ended with a horrific incident on the second lap involving Guiliano Alesi, Anthoine Hubert and Juan Manuel Correa I did not watch the incident live but the clips I have seen of it; horrific does not do it justice. I will not be describing the incident though as I don’t feel it proper to describe it here. However, while Alesi was passed fit by the medical team, Correa is still in intensive care but tragically, Huber succumbed to his injuries at the age of 22. read more