Rowan’s Premier League Predictions 2019/20: August 31st-September 1st

The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) had a rather quieter weekend last weekend with the only incident of note being Harry Kane’s dubious penalty claim in his sides 1-0 defeat at home to Newcastle. That was a fantastic result for Newcastle and so too were some of the other results. Crystal Palace won at Manchester United for the first time since 1989 through a Patrick van Aanholt winner (Pictured, image from Fox Sports Asia) while Frank Lampard got off the mark with his first win as Chelsea boss and in the battle of the fast starters, Liverpool swept Arsenal to one side.

The Premier League sides in Europe now know who they will be facing in the group stages of the Champions League and Europa League. Wolves got through to the Europa League group stages with a 2-1 win over Torino and they face Braga and Turkish side Besiktas in their group as well as Slavan Bratislava. Man United face trips to Kazakstan to play Astana and must also meet AzAlkmaar and Partizan Belgrade. Arsenal must face last seasons semi-finalists Eintracht Frankfurt, Standard Liege and Vitoria. As the only English team in pot two, Spurs face the daunting task in the Champions League of having to face Bayern Munich but at least they don’t have Inter Milan’s situation. They’re in the same group as Barcelona and Dortmund so that will be the eye-catching group. read more

Build up to Belgium and the second half of the 2019 F1 season.

After four weeks of no F1 racing, the action returns with the traditional starter for the second half of the campaign. Situated in the Ardennes Forest, it’s the true racers circuit; Spa-Francorchamps. With nine races to go between this weekend and the end of the season in Abu Dhabi, there is still a lot that can be decided but there are also interesting developments worth discussing. The first of those is the big development at Red Bull during the summer recess…

Gasly dropped, Albon promoted

The big news of the summer was Red Bull’s decision to demote Pierre Gasly to Toro Rosso with Alexander Albon being promoted the other way to the Red Bull team. Gasly has not had the best of seasons at Red Bull and his future has been the subject of speculation leading into the four-week break. The decision though came as a surprise considering what Christian Horner told Sky Sports F1 at the Hungarian Grand Prix. read more

Rowan’s Premier League Predictions 2019/20 : August 23rd-25th

For the second successive week, VAR took the headlines. Gabriel Jesus was denied a last gasp winner for Manchester City against Spurs which would’ve been a big result for City allowing them to keep pace with Liverpool and Arsenal. Bramall Lane saw its first Premier League game for 12 years and it was a celebratory affair for Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United as they defeated Crystal Palace 1-0. Frank Lampard is still waiting for his first win as Chelsea manager and Ruben Neves had an agonising wait to see if his stunning equaliser against Manchester United would stand.

In the EFL, two managers have already left their roles. Granted their season started a week earlier than the Premier League but it’s barely been a month into the season. Sol Campbell left Macceslfield Town while Jan Siewert was sacked after one win in seven months in charge of Huddersfield Town.  read more

Rowan’s Premier League Predictions 2019/20: Ausgust 17th-19th

Last weekend the Premier League returned with a bang; 27 goals scored with two of them being put through their own net. There were surprises with Brighton beating Watford 3-0 but also the scale of Man United’s emphatic victory over Frank Lampard Chelsea. So too, did the arrival ar VAR which although controversially used for the first time in the West Ham vs Manchester City game, eventually came to the right decisions. What will we see this weekend?

Liverpool have a quick turnaround after winning the UEFA Super Cup against Chelsea after extra-time and penalties in Istanbul on Wednesday; they travel to Southampton in one of the five Saturday 3 o’clock kick-offs. Their defeated opponents Chelsea host Leicester City in the second leg of Super Sunday in what will be Frank Lampard’s first home game in the Chelsea dugout. Sheffield United host Crystal Palace in the earlier kick-off; the first Premier League game at Bramall Lane in 12 years which is sure to have a brilliant atmosphere. So too will Wolves when they host Manchester United in the Monday Night Football and the Etihad where Manchester City host Spurs in what should be the match of the weekend but the action starts at 12.30pm, at the Emirates… read more

200 years on from Peterloo

The 2010s have been a good decade to be alive in when it comes to big anniversaries of major British political events. For example, four years ago we had the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta and last year we marked 100 years since women first gained the right to vote in 1918. That centenary is followed this weekend by a bi-centenary of one of the bloodiest moments in British Political History [picrured above; from The Times].

Today, a Jeremey Deller designed memorial was unveiled in front of the Manchester Central Convention Centre. It is the first commemorative memorial other than a plaque dedicated to the Peterloo Massacre. This kick starts a weekend of commemorative events in Manchester. 3,000 people are expected to attend ticketed events which have been described by their organisers as a ‘combination of giant karaoke and autotune’ aimed at creating ‘a dialogue between 1891 and 2019’. There will also be an additional plaque unveiled, this one to John Knight who was one of the organisers arrested.  read more

Rowan’s Predictions, 2019/20 Premier League: the opening weekend.

The Premier League is back this weekend when Liverpool kick-off against Norwich City in the Friday Night Football. That also means that I am coming back with a second attempt of predicting the outcome to all 380 Premier League fixtures. I say attempt as I did not do a great job of it last season and lagged off in the closing months which was a shame. I am aiming for better.

For better or worse, BTs Script of the season predictions will be included as I attempt to predict the outcome of all 380 PL fixtures this season. [Image from BT Sport].

Was it genuine or was it a PR stunt? BT Sports released what they called the big stat script of the season. While with predictions such as that there are caveats to it and the will not have factored in each of the transfer deals that have happened in the past week or so it will be interesting to see how close to what actually happens it was. Who would have predicted David Luiz would swap Chelsea for Arsenal for example or that Alex Iwobi would move to Everton? They all came out of the blue. However, it will be included to see how accurate it was.  read more

2019/20 Premier League Season Preview

We are just hours away from the start of the 2019/20 Premier League season when Liverpool entertain Norwich City at Anfield. Will the new season live up to last season?

After 380 games, a record number 1,072 goals scored throughout the campaign, the title was decided by a solitary point. Manchester City held their nerve to become the first team in a decade to defend the Premier League title; the last side to do so were Manchester United in 2009. Pep Guardiola’s men did it by setting records too, scoring an amazing 161 goals in all competitions on their way to an unprecedented domestic treble in the English men’s game by winning the Carabao and FA Cup too. read more

Thoughts on a chaotic and memorable 2019 German Grand Prix

After a fantastic British Grad Prix at Silverstone, it was the turn of Hockenheim to host the German Grand Prix; round 11 and officially the halfway stage go the 2019 F1 Championship. Following on from the action-packed races of Austria and Britain, the 16 turn, 4.574 km circuit in the forest had a tough act to follow but delivered and then some through the weekend with many dramatic twists and turns.

Sebastian Vettel was the first to suffer engine-related troubles in Qualifying for Ferrari. [Image from The Telegraph].

It wasn’t just the race ether. There was the double heartache for Ferrari in Qualifying who first saw Sebastian Vettel not even register a lap in Q1 due to a turbo issue. Twelve months on from his season-defining error while in the lead at the same circuit, it looked like things could not get much worse for the four-time world champion. The setback was not his fault and it would be a heartless individual indeed not to have felt sorry for him; especially in front of his home crowd. That was compounded in Q3 as a similar fate befell Charles Leclerc. Given the blistering superior pace Ferrari had shown, it was cruel for Ferrari. Yes, it added to the spectacle of the race having the two Ferrari’s starting out of position; 10th and 20th respectively as just how fare could they go? However, it is not the first time they have been the quickest coming into Qualifying and the race for it to slip from their fingers like in Bahrain and Canada. It just isn’t coming together for them over the course of a full weekend. read more