Thursday, March 31, 2011

The race for glory

With the English Premier League taking a brief hiatus to accommodate a round of Euro 2012 qualifiers and international friendlies, it’s time to take a look at the run in for the title and to make some predictions about who’ll be crowned English champions come 22nd May 2011.

To date it’s been one of the most fascinating seasons in the (relatively speaking) short history of the Premier League. Some of the more interesting sub-plots from this season include:

• The ‘Big 4’ being downgraded to the ‘Big 3’ – Man United, Arsenal, Chelsea – after Liverpool totally dropped their bundle under the uninspiring but extremely likeable Roy Hodgson. Despite a resurgence led by Anfield legend King Kenny, the Scousers are looking at their worst finish in recent memory, along with a lack of any European football next season. Good times

• Manchester City and Spurs, despite making a lot of noise, are still pretenders to the throne. Far too short on overall squad quality, balance and experience to really challenge for the title. A phenomenal effort by Spurs in the Champions League though. Well done
• Everton and Aston Villa have dropped off the radar completely after promising much in recent seasons
• Manchester United’s struggles away from home, where a hard earned draw or a sneaky late winner against weaker foes is a good result, could be the straw that breaks their proverbial
• Speaking of struggles, Wayne Rooney’s lack of any semblance of form has been a puzzle. Has he peaked already? Amazing to think that the brightest flame in English football may have fizzled out before his mid-20’s. Frightening thought for all in Red Devil land
• Arsenal continues to play the most attractive brand of football, while finding the most amazing ways to drop points. They are the Jean Alesi of football. Supreme talent, a joy to watch, but have an innate gift of ballsing it up at the most amazing times. Keep it coming I say
• The rapid decline of Didier Drogba as a force, coupled with an ageing supporting cast, has seen Chelsea lose their aura of invincibility. In saying that, recently they have become invigorated after an inspired piece of business at the deadline of the transfer window. More on that later
• Injuries, injuries, injuries. Arsenal’s seasons have been derailed by injuries for the past few years, with gun performers like Cesc Fabregas and Robin Van Persie, or as I deem him Denis Bergkamp 2.0, constantly battling for fitness. If they were to ever stay on the field for longer than their visits to the treatment room...look out. In saying that, Man U have had a horror run with injuries, especially at the back end of the year. The team that can get their best players on the field quickest will be in the drivers seat for the title

At present the league table sees Man U five points clear of Arse who have a game in hand. Chelsea sit a further four points back. Even though Man City is only one point adrift of Chelsea, and has the advantage of not being distracted by European football, I’m calling their title challenge over here and now. Fourth will be their best possible finish. Tottenham will chase hard for last vital Champions League position. But their fairytale run in the current ECL has seen them drop too many points, and their squad depth is being severely tested. As much as I’d love for them to leapfrog City, I can’t see it happening. And Livo...well the less I say about them the better, otherwise I could lose a few very good friends.

Barclays Premier League table

1 Man Utd 30 34 63
2 Arsenal 29 30 58
3 Chelsea 29 29 54
4 Man City 30 18 53
5 Tottenham 29 7 49
6 Liverpool 30 5 45

So the three teams in the running are:

1. Manchester United: Far away the weakest United team since the glory days of Eric Djembe Djembe. The keeper is solid, although showing his advanced age. The central defensive paring of Vidic and Ferdinand would be the envy of almost every team in Europe if they were ever fit enough to play together. Jonny Evans has seriously regressed. Wes Brown is Wes Brown. John O’Shea is a toiler. In the midfield the marvel of Ryan Giggs is that he is still playing. Same for Paul Scholes. Michael Carrick offers almost nothing. Anderson, despite the odd flash of potential, has not lived up to expectation. Nani has been carrying the team almost singlehandedly. It’s nice to see Valencia back from injury. At least he can support Nani and offer some creativity and attacking width. Up front Rooney has been a major bust. Berbatov offers genius and shite in equal measure. Thank goodness for the new Ole Gunner, Chicharito, whose poaching abilities have saved our bacon on more than one occasion
2. Arsenal: As mentioned, a joy to watch. Fabregas is a midfielder of the highest class. I rate Robin Van Persie as a complete attacking footballer. Strong, quick, a powerful shot, good in the air. Comfortable with the ball at his feet. If only he wasn’t built of paddle pop sticks. Injury aside their two primary weaknesses are a horrendous goalkeeper, and a prolificacy in front of goal. No team is more wasteful than the Arse
3. Chelsea: They made a massive splash at the transfer deadline. One move cost them about 50 million and delivered an out of form petulant little brat called Fernando Torres. The other bought them Brazilian David Luiz, and a charge at the title. Long shots to win from nine points back, but they are the form team in this title leading pack, and are looking more like the steely Chelsea of old. United and Arse cannot afford any further slip ups lest the Russian Mafia sweep through and repeat their success from last season

Remaining Fixtures

Saturday, 2 April 2011

West Ham v Man Utd, 12:45. RESULT: Man U draw
Stoke v Chelsea, 15:00. RESULT: Chelsea win
Arsenal v Blackburn, 17:30: RESULT: Arsenal win

Man U – 64 Arse – 61 Chelsea – 57

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Chelsea v Wigan, 15:00. RESULT: Chelsea win
Man Utd v Fulham, 15:00. RESULT: Man U win

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Blackpool v Arsenal, 13:30. RESULT: Arsenal draw

Man U – 67 Arse – 62 Chelsea – 60

Saturday, 16 April 2011

West Brom v Chelsea, 15:00. RESULT: Chelsea win

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Arsenal v Liverpool, 16:00. RESULT: Arsenal win

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Newcastle v Man Utd, 19:45. RESULT: Man U win

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Chelsea v Birmingham, 19:45. RESULT: Chelsea draw
Tottenham v Arsenal, 19:45. RESULT: Arsenal loss

Man U – 70 Arse – 65 Chelsea – 64

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Man Utd v Everton, 12:45. RESULT: Man U draw
Chelsea v West Ham, 17:30. RESULT: Chelsea win

Sunday, 24 April 2011
Bolton v Arsenal, 16:00. RESULT: Arsenal win

Man U – 71 Arse – 68 Chelsea – 67

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Chelsea v Tottenham, 17:30. RESULT: Chelsea draw

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Arsenal v Man Utd, 14:05. RESULT: Man U win

Man U – 74 Arse – 68 Chelsea – 68

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Man Utd v Chelsea, 15:00. RESULT: Chelsea win
Stoke v Arsenal, 15:00. RESULT: Arsenal win

Man U – 74 Arse – 71 Chelsea – 71

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Arsenal v Aston Villa, 15:00. RESULT: Arsenal win
Blackburn v Man Utd, 15:00. RESULT. Man U win
Chelsea v Newcastle, 15:00. RESULT: Chelsea win

Man U – 77 Arse – 74 Chelsea – 74

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Everton v Chelsea, 16:00. RESULT: Chelsea win
Fulham v Arsenal, 16:00. RESULT: Arsenal win
Man Utd v Blackpool, 16:00. RESULT: Man U draw

Man U – 78 Arse – 77 Chelsea – 77

Manchester United crowned EPL champions for a record 19th time!!!!



UP: Novak Djokovic
. Still undefeated in 2011. Keep the wins rolling Nole
DOWN: Pakistani cricketers
: When you drop Sachin Tendulkar not once, not twice, not three times but four times in one deserve to lose
UP: Newcastle Knights
: I can’t believe the Tinkler takeover saga took this long, but it’s great to see the Newcastle community accept an offer that even Don Corleone couldn’t refuse
UP & DOWN: David Ferrer
: Recently hit a ball into the crowd to stop a baby from wailing. That’s a thumb down. The thumb up comes from the fact that the baby stopped crying. All parents take note!!!
UP: LA Lakers
: Since the All Star weekend the Lake Show has found their groove. Kobe and Co are rolling onto their fourth consecutive trip to the NBA Finals
UP: My niece SANDA
: Just got an SMS that she scored a new PB for the 50 m freestyle..38.64 secs...LEGEND!!!



Last week I didn’t get a chance to submit my tips. No great loss to the general public. I scored a respectable four from eight. Obviously the Eels tip screwed me. I didn’t expect the Cowboys to roll the Storm and I’m still in shock at how the Sharks smashed Penrith. In the race to see who’s fans will give up the ghost first the Parra faithful are leading Panther fans by an inch.


I’m not going to bother with my justifications...the season has been so hard to predict to date so I’ll save myself further embarrassment. I will go on record as calling the Eels season over already. After watching them fumble and bumble their way to two horrible losses the past couple of weeks I’m resigned to the fact that event a token appearance in the playoffs is beyond this group. Looking at their squad and it’s not a surprise. The team just isn’t that good anymore. I’ll still tip them though!!!

NRL Round 4 Tips

Fri 01 Apr

7:30 pm

Rabbitohs $2.05 vs. Sea Eagles $1.75 TIP: RABBITOHS

Bluetongue Stadium

Fri 01 Apr

8:30 pm

Broncos $1.33 vs. Panthers $3.25 TIP: BRONCOS

Suncorp Stadium

Sat 02 Apr

5:30 pm

Raiders $1.30 vs. Titans $3.50 TIP: RAIDERS

Canberra Stadium

Sat 02 Apr

7:30 pm

Eels $1.68 vs. Cowboys $2.15 TIP: EELS…Shoot me now!!!

Parramatta Stadium

Sun 03 Apr

12:00 pm

Sharks $2.15 vs. NZ Warriors $1.68 TIP: WARRIORS

Owen Delany Park, Taupo

Sun 03 Apr

2:00 pm

Knights $2.50 vs. Steelers $1.53 TIP: STEELERS

Energy Australia Stadium

Sun 03 Apr

3:00 pm

Roosters $1.40 vs. Wests Tigers $3.00 TIP: ROOSTERS

Sydney Football Stadium

Mon 04 Apr

7:00 pm

Storm $1.75 vs. Bulldogs $2.05 TIP: STORM. Nice to finally tip against the Dogs!


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