What drama there was in the Carabao Cup final! After 120 minutes of stalemate, it got interesting in the final moments as Kepa Arrizabalaga refused to be substituted by his manager Maurizio Sarri. He remains on the pitch for the penalty shoot-out and even though he saved one of the spot kicks, he cost them that. The Aguero penalty should never have got passed him; instead, it went right under him. It is disgraceful and Sarri was right to drop him in midweek however, the PR campaign trying to remedy it with Kepa saying he never intended to undermine the manager has been painful. He knew exactly what he was doing, he wanted the glory and instead cost them a trophy while also Sarri his job in the long run…
However, last weekend did see drama in the Premier League with some big results. Burnley shocked everyone when they beat Spurs in the Saturday dinner time kick-off while I don’t think anyone saw Crystal Palace winning 4-1 at Leicester City. It proved to be the final straw for Leicester who sacked Claude Puel this week. There were thumping wins for Watford (5-1 at Cardiff) and West Ham who condemned Fulham to yet another defeat. There were good wins for Newcastle and Arsenal against Huddersfield and Southampton respectively. The televised Sunday game was disrupted by injuries as Manchester United and Liverpool fought out a goalless draw at Anfield.read more
After an extended break over the festive period and I am back with the Premier League predictions! There have been four sets of Premier League fixtures in that time. The outcome of these predictions was intended to be published before this post but things have not gone to plan.
And then there was one! Liverpool remain the only unbeaten side in the Premier League this season after last weekends 4-0 win at Bournemouth while Manchester City succumbed to a 2-0 defeat at Chelsea. They were temporarily third before Tottenham beat Leicester 2-0 in the even later kick off of 7.45pm. Arsenal remain 5th after avoiding a potential banana skin in Huddersfield while Man United remain 6th after their 4-1 hammering of Fulham. That is courtesy of Everton’s 2-2 draw with Watford in the Monday Night Football and Newcastle succumbed to a 7th home defeat of the season against Wolves who won 2-1 at St James’s Park. Burnley secured a 1-0 win over Brighton and it was not the start Ralph Hassenhuttl was looking for at Southampton as his new side lost by the same scoreline at Cardiff while West ha, wpm a hectic London derby against Crystal Palace 3-2.
As the title of the post suggests, I will be making predictions on this weekends football as part of my weekly comparison of the predictions made by pundits Paul Merson and Mark Lawrenson. In doing this, I aim to see who is the most accurate over the course of the season but also to see how I fare in comparison as well. To settle this, I use the scoring system utilised by Sky for their Super 6 game which is as follows:read more
The Premier League is back after the final international break of 2018 and there were some relative surprises in the last round of fixtures. Arsenal were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Wolves while Chelsea drew a blank against Everton although that did ensure Chelsea’s unbeaten start to the season continues. There are still three teams unbeaten with Liverpool winning 2-0 against Fulham at Anfield and ManchesterCity triumphing in the Manchester Derby 3-1. The action started with Cardiff’s 2-1 win at home over Brighton and in the three o’clock’s saw an emotional return to the King Power Stadium for Leicester City; just a fortnight after the tragic death of five including owner Vichai Srivvadhanaprabha in a helicopter incident. It ended goalless with Burnley. There were also draws for Huddersfield against West Ham but also Southampton’s match with Watford with Holebas’s deflected effort surely adding more pressure upon Mark Hughes. Newcastle won their second consecutive game for the first time since April with a victory over Bournemouth and Spurs edged out Crystal Palace 1-0.
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
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
The Premier League returned with a bang after the International break and the action was fascinating. This week has also seen the start of the Champions League and Europa League group stages. The games are coming thick and fast and so too are the predictions. As I have been this season, I have been making weekly predictions to see how I fare compared to football pundits Paul Merson and Mark Lawrenson though because he is a legend, I included the predictions made by actor Mark Wahlberg as well. For this I use the scoring system utilised by Sky for their weekly Super 6 game:
• Correct Score= 5 points
• Correct result = 2 pointsread more
After the action of the August Bank Holiday, we are now moving into September and the fourth match weekend of the 2018/19 Premier League season. This is also the last set of games before the first international break of the season and the start of UEFA’s Nations League. So, gaining a good result this weekend will leave teams in high spirits before they play again in two weeks time.
Wolves 1-1 Manchester City
Arsenal 3-1 West Ham
Bournemouth 2-2 Everton
Huddersfield Town 0-0 Cardiff City
Southampton 1-2 Leicester City
Liverpool 1-0 Brighton
Watford 2-1 Crystal Palace
Fulham 4-2 Burnley
Newcastle United 1-2 Chelsea
Manchester United 0-3 Tottenham Hotspur
With last weekends predictions, I included those of actor Idris Elba who took on BBC pundit Mark Lawrenson. The pair were closely tied in their predictions with four correct results each with Lawrenson notably being the only one to predict Leicester’s victory at Southampton while Elba backed a Spurs win at Old Trafford. Paul Merson had another consistent round as he collected two correct results (at Bournemouth and Newcastle) and three correct results to give him 16 points. In my predictions, I also predicted two correct results (at Huddersfield and Watford) but also four correct results to edge the round on 18 points. That is also the highest score I have had doing this.read more
Admittedly this post is late. So, too is the World Cup Review which will be published in the next two days. The delay to this post was down to me not having the finishing touches done. However, I have not changed the bulk of the text since it was written on Friday.
Just four weeks since the conclusion of the World Cup in Russia and a new season of the Premier League has begun. From now until May, we have 380 games of top-flight football to be nervous, sweat over in the hope it benefits our teams and enjoy.
The 2017/18 season was a historic one full of twists and turns up and down the table apart from the top spot. Manchester City under manager Pep Guardiola was the runaway champions as they set the new records left right and centre. After a 1-1 draw with Everton in their second game, they went on to win 18 consecutive games to set a new Premier League record. They also set new records for most goals scored over a 38 game season and the most points. In doing so, they became the first side to reach 100 points. They were almost unstoppable. However, an invincibles season eluded them as Liverpool inflicted their first defeat of the season at Anfield in January. That was their first of only two defeats as Manchester United inflicted defeat on them at the Etihad to extend the title race by only one week.read more
With the transfer window firmly closed, football got underway in earnest with players settled at their new or current clubs; knowing where they’ll be playing their football until January. The first international break of the season with teams resuming their world cup qualification campaigns and the Champions League group stages started up again. PSG may not yet know the repercussions of their summer spending in relation to financial fair play but on the pitch, they have been in scorching form.
11 Football Developments: September
PSG started their Champions League campaign with a 5-0 thrashing of Celtic at Celtic Park in their first group game before humbling Bayern Munich 3-0 I Paris resulting in the sacking of Carlo Ancelotti. Celtic responded by defeating RSC Anderlecht 3-0 in Belgium.
2. That opening round of fixtures also saw Barcelona defeat Juventus 3-0 in a repeat of last seasons semi-final
3. Manchester United marked their return to Europe’s top competition with a 3-0 win over FC Basel at Old Trafford and a 4-1 victory over CSKA Moscow in Russia to sit top of Group A. Liverpool meanwhile could only muster a 2-2 draw at home against Sevilla in their group opener and 1-1 away to Spartak Moscow.
4. Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City started in a style by defeating Feyenoord 4-0 in Holland before defeating Shakhtar Donetsk 2-0 at the Etihad in their first two games while Antonio Conte’s Chelsea defeated minnows Qarabag FK 6-0 at Stamford Bridge and edging past Atletico Madrid 2-1 in Spain to top their group.Tottenham Hotspur eventually got their first win of the season at their temporary home of Wembley as they overcame Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League Group stage and then defeated APOEL Nicosia to start their European season with a 100% record and face Real Madrid next.
5.Tottenham Hotspur eventually got their first win of the season at their temporary home of Wembley as they overcame Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League Group stage and then defeated APOEL Nicosia to start their European season with a 100% record and face Real Madrid next.
6. Domestically, they have not yet won at Wembley after a goalless draw with Swansea City as it is their away form that has kept them in the top four. They sit third, just above Chelsea in 4th. The two Manchester clubs are separated by goal difference at the top as Manchester United lost their 100% start away to Stoke City and Manchester City scored 17 goals without reply in September (5-0 vs Liverpool, 6-0 vs Watford, 5-0 vs Crystal Palace and 1-0 away to Chelsea) to lead on goal difference.
7. Arsenal acclimatised to life away from the Champions League by beating FC Koln 3-1 in their first Europa League at the Emirates in a game that needed delaying due to crowd issues before defeating BATE Borisov 4-2 in Belarus. In group E, Ronald Koeman’s Everton struggled, losing their group opener 3-0 to Atalanta in Italy before being pegged back to a 2-2 draw at home by Apollon Limassol.
8. In the World Cup Qualifiers, Gareth Southgate’s England (I still can’t believe I’m saying that) struggled to see off minnows Malta 2-0 after a 0-0 draw with Slovakia
9. Frank De Boer became the Premier League’s first managerial casualty of the season after being relieved of duties by Crystal Palace only four games into the season. In terms of matches, his four-game spell is the shortest reign in Premier League history but is the third shortest in terms of days at 77 days. Former England manager Roy Hodgson was appointed as his successor with Palace bottom of the table.
10. In the Football League, there were five managerial casualties. The first was Harry Redknapp who was relieved of duties at Birmingham City following six straight defeats. Gary Caldwell was also sacked the same day by league Two Chesterfield after three wins in 29 games, a slump that had seen them relegated from League One and Michael Brown was also sacked by Port Vale the with the club sitting bottom of League Two. Nine days later Adrian Pennock left Gillingham by mutual consent following a 3-0 defeat to Rochdale as well as John Sheridan who left Oldham Athletic following his fifth spell at the club as either player or manager.
11. The Premier League voted to close the summer transfer window before the start of the season starting from the 2018/19 season. Top-flight clubs will be unable to buy players after 5 pm on Thursday 9th August 2017 while other European leagues will see their transfer window remain open until the end of August. 14 clubs voted in favour while both Manchester clubs, Watford, Swansea City and Crystal Palace opposed.
NUFC Related News
• Tim Krul’s 10-year association with Newcastle United came to an end as his loan deal to Brighton & Hove Albion was made permanent. Having been signed by Glenn Roeder in 2006 from Ado Den Haag, Krul had a mixed spell on Tyneside. After making his debut in the 1-0 win at Parma in the UEFA Cup at the age of 16, it was not until 2010 when he got a consistent shot in the first team and became number 1 for the 2011/12 season. He had some highs and lows setting the record for most saves in a single Premier League match against Tottenham Hotspur but injuries were never too far away and having missed the majority of the 2015/16 season never found a way into Rafa Benitez’s plans.read more