2020/21 Premier League: the final stretch Predictions

The international break is over and the World Cup Qualifying campaigns for Qatar 2022 are starting to take shape. England look to be in prime position to qualify while there was also the odd surprise result such as Germany losing 2-1 at home to North Macedonia, their first defeat in a World Cup Qualifier since England won 5-1 in 2001. That said, there were still some pointless international friendlies. What is the point in that especially while we are still in a pandemic.

Domestic football returns this weekend and so too does the Premier League [feature image above from TEAMtalk]. EFL sides will be playing twice throughout the weekend which is usual for Easter. However, in the top flight, most sides still have nine games to play. That is 27 points up for grabs so I thought, as I usually do that I would make some predictions for the final stretch of the season. read more

Premier League transfers after Brexit

The UK left the EU at the end of 2020 and with the end of freedom of movement came a new regime for football transfers with players coming from an EU country now requiring a Governing Body Endorsement (GBE) to be able to play in the UK. The January transfer window was generally quiet with not much money being spent (impact of Covid has perhaps some responsibility for that) but the only comments I can find regarding the new system from a prominent manager came from Sam Allardyce. The West Brom head coach made comments early in the window that the new system was making it harder for him. On January 4th, he told reporters…

Sam Allardyce. [Image from the Premier League].

‘I have found three players already who were capable of coming here and they’re not allowed. It’s a shame. Due to the new regulations in terms of the permit they were unable to come to this country, whereas (previously) they would have done. I have to look at that and think ‘can he qualify?’ read more

Premier League 2020 Summer Transfer Window Ratings

The delayed summer transfer window slammed shut at 11pm on Monday 5th October. October 5th deadline day, well t has been a crazy year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Staggeringly, despite having no fans in the stadiums and having cuts to their incomes, the 20 Premier League sides were able to spend a collective staggering amount in excess of £1billion. That is crazy! Crazy at a time some clubs have used government support for wages, even making non-playing staff redundant, clubs in the lower reaches of English football are struggling

I was working on this post before the Premier League made the announcement that some games not originally selected for TV will now only be available on a pay per view basis. Let me this clear, I think it is absolutely disgusting for the Premier League to do this and for the clubs to agree to do this when in some areas, bars are unlikely to be open and will be left with no choice but to pay it the extra charge on top of tv subscriptions if they want to legally watch their team play at a time when people are also seeing wages cut and jobs lost. I think it’s shameful and hopefully, they have a rethink. read more

Rowan’s big 2020/21 Premier League Season Preview

After the crazy events of 2020 and Project Restart getting last season finished, incredibly it has only been seven weeks and it is the start of the 2020/21 when Fulham host Arsenal tomorrow. Personally, as a Newcastle United fan, it has been a rollercoaster of emotion the past few months with the takeover business. Is it happening, is it not? Then the saga keeps rumbling on with statements from the club and counter-statement from the Premier League. Despite signings this week, I have not really felt so much apathy coming into a new season but the quick return of football will be a joyous occasion for most football fans.

Last season saw Liverpool eventually win the Premier League title having gone 30 years since their league crown. Jurgen Klopp’s side were relentless as they beat every team, had the best start to a season of any Premier League side and were unbeaten until February. Manchester City missed the influence of Vincent Company and at the back, they were circumspect as their pursuit of a third successive league title fell by the wayside. Both teams will be seeking t battle it out for the title again. read more

Premier League Predictions 2018/19: April 12th-15th

It has been two weeks since I last did one of these prediction posts. When I last did a post, Huddersfield Town’s relegation to the Championship was confirmed after a 2-0 defeat at Crystal Palace was matched with wins for Southampton and Burnley. The Terriers were relegated with 6 games to play and matches the current record set by Derby County in 2006/07. At the other end of the table, there was a controversial win at Cardiff for Chelse with Neil Warnock describing the officials as the worst while Liverpool kept top spot after a dramatic late own goal by Tiby Alderwield saw them beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 with Manchester City having won at Fulham the day before.

Since then, Fulham have joined Huddersfield in having their relegation to the Championship confirmed. They needed to avoid defeat to Watford the following midweek. They were soundly beaten 4-1. Also in those midweek games, Man City beat Cardiff 2-0 and Chelsea ran out 3-0 winners over Brighton. FA Cup semi-finalists Wolves beat Man United at Molineux again and guess the score; 2-1 and Tottenham celebrated their return to the new White Hart Lane with an extravagant display and 2-0 win over Crystal Palace. read more

Premier League Predictions 2018/19: March 30th-April 1st

After the first international break of 2019 and with qualification for Euro 2020 underway, the Premier League returns for the first full set of fixtures in three weeks. Admittedly, I have been bad for keeping up with the posts as I’ve gone about several job applications; some more successful than others as I’ve at least got to interview stage but these are interesting times for me.

Anyway, I will make the updated full set of predictions across the season will be available at the end of the season as I have been comparing the predictions made by Paul Merson and Mark Lawrenson as well as making predictions of my own. That continues this weekend as we enter the home stretch of the 2018/19 season. As always, I will be using the scoring system from Sky’s Super 6 game with five points for the correct score and two for the correct result. read more

Premier League 2018/19 Predictions: 8 games to go.

As we near the end of March, it’s the first international break of 2019 and like I did last season, I thought I’d use the break to make my final predictions for the Premier League season. Most teams have 7 or 8 games left to play and there is still a lot up for grabs. Last season, I focused solely on the relegation battle and I will comment on that battle again. However, with the race for the top 4 hotly contested and a proper title race this season between Manchester City and Liverpool, I will make predictions on that too.

The Title Race!

There wasn’t really a title race last season as Pep Guardiola’s all-conquering Manchester City romped to the title in emphatic style as they scored over 100 goals and secured 100 points. This season has been different as Liverpool have fought them all the way. read more

2018/19 Premier League Predictions: March 2nd-3rd.

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

2018/19 Premier League Predictions: February 22nd-24th.

The predictions are back after a slightly extended absence. In that time, I missed a set of Premier League games on the weekend of 9th and 10th February which had some significant results. Chelsea suffered their heaviest Premier League defeat losing 6-0 to n impressive Manchester City side at the Etihad while Tottenham and Liverpool kept the pressure on with a 3-1 win over Leicester and a 3-0 win over Bournemouth respectively. At the other end of the table, Southampton thought they’d salvaged a draw with Cardiff City when Jack Stephens equalised in the second half only for Kenneth Zohore to give Cardiff a second goal and a crucial win; but also their first back to back win in the top flight since 1961. Marco Silva did not have a good return to Vicarage Road as his Everton side lost 1-0 to Watford. There were also significant wins for Manchester United, Burnley and Arsenal while Crystal Palace drew with West Ham and Wolves snatched a late equaliser against Newcastle.

How did the predictions fare between myself, Paul Merson and Mark Lawrenson? As I have been doing this season, I have been comparing the predictions made by these two pundits with those of my own using the scoring system Sky Sports use for their Super 6 game. That means two points are given for the correct result and five for the correct score. read more

Premier League Predictions 2018/19: February 2nd-4th

The midweek football threw out some amazing results. Manchester City were stunned at Newcastle having taken a 24-second lead to lose 2-1; Newcastle’s first win against them in the league since September 2005 while Tottenham left it very late against Watford but they salvaged a 2-1 win. Liverpool, therefore, had the chance to go 7 points clear but they were pegged back by Leicester City at Anfield, 1-1. Manchester United had to come from two goals down to clinch a draw at home to Burnley as Ole Gunner Solskjear’s 100% start ended; Arsenal maintained pressure in the battle for the top four with a win over Cardiff while Chelsea slipped up badly being roundly beaten 4-0 at Bournemouth! Wilfreid Zaha had a personal nightmare for Crystal Palace as he was sent off at Southampton in their 1-1 draw while Jan Siewert did not get off to a winning start with Huddersfield and meanwhile, there were big wins for Wolves and Fulham!

This was a troublesome round to predict. Now, as I have been doing all season now, I have been making predictions on the Premer League fixtures and comparing them made by pundits Paul Merson and Mark Lawrenson. For the comparison, I have been using the scoring system used by Sky Sports for their Super 6 game meaning two points are rewarded for the correct result and five for the correct score Here is how it got on in midweek… read more