Weekend review- 04/11/12

On Friday, I published an article saying mine, and a couple of people’s predictions for the Premiership matches this weekend to see who’s were the most accurate. Surprisingly, apart from Manchester United, none of the teams in the top half of the table won this weekend, which goes against most of our predictions, so we might not see as many points as we usually get. Let’s have a look at the games…

Man United 2-1 Arsenal

It’s been a weekend that has seen the title race swing marginally in Manchester United’s favour for the first time. Neither Chelsea nor Man City could find a way past Swansea or West Ham respectively, plus United had the hardest game. As Rio Ferdinand said afterwards, the Red Devils had plenty of chances to kill that game off, and on another day the clinical van Persie could have had one or two more, was pleased to see his celebration of his solitary goal was kept to a minimum though. I was a little annoyed because at the time I left the pub to go to watch the Blues game the score was 2-0, which was what I predicted but Cazorla scored a late goal for Arsenal that meant the points went to Rami on this one.

I said: 2-0, +1pt

Del said: 2-3, +0pts

Rami said: 2-1, +3pts

Fulham 2-2 Everton

Everton, and Fellaini in particular, were very unlucky not to come away with all 3 points. A couple of sharp finishes from the masterful Belgian looked to have given the Toffees just that, before an injury-time intervention from Steve Sidwell meant they had to settle for the one. It’s not just his goals though, some of the ways in which Fellaini controls the ball, and puts his stamp on every single game is exceptional, he would have no difficulties getting into the Manchester United or Chelsea team. What’s so impressive is that he always wins the ball in the air with his shoulder, and it’s almost like no-one closes him down because they just can’t get near him. I think he’s a world class player, but it’s these matches Everton need to be seeing out if Moyes’s top four ambitions are genuine.

I said: 1-1, +1pt

Del said: 1-3, +0pts

Rami said: 2-2, +3pts

Norwich 1-0 Stoke

Well, my first three points of the week are in the bank and the Canaries will be playing with a lot of oomph now, going into several matches where the pressure will be completely on their opposition, and I think that might actually suit them. As well as playing Man U and Everton in November, they’re also playing Reading and Southampton who’re down the bottom, away from home. With a 5pt gap between themselves and the relegation zone, they don’t have to win those games, which will take the pressure off significantly. For Stoke,  relegation-wise they might want to watch themselves a bit. I do sometimes worry where their goals are going to come from; in 5 of their 10 Premiership games they’ve failed to get on the score sheet which would be relegation form if their defence wasn’t as tight as it is. They’re certainly not out of trouble.

I said: 1-0, +3pts

Del said: 0-1, +0pts

Rami said: 2-1, +1pt

Sunderland 0-1 Aston Villa

With some really tough games coming up, that was an important win for Villa. I can’t see them getting anything out of the Manchester clubs or Arsenal, so they took their opportunity to pick up a win, Christian Benteke impressing again to get the flick-on for Agbonlahor, who ironically finished with a Darren Bent-esc poacher’s goal. Sunderland’s situation is similar to Stoke’s in many ways; they have got a strong enough defence to keep clean sheets in matches, but getting Steven Fletcher to fire will be key to turning those goalless draws into narrow wins, otherwise they’ll start to become 1-0 defeats as the call of a relegation battle begins to beckon them.

I said: 0-0, +0pts

Del said: 1-0, +0pts

Rami said: 1-0, +0pts

Swansea 1-1 Chelsea

With everyone saying 3-1 to Chelsea you’d have thought there could only be one result, how wrong we all were as Pablo Hernandez’s late equalizer nullified Victor Moses’s deft header earlier on in the second half. A draw probably reflected the balance of play but Swansea fans may feel strangely aggrieved that they didn’t finish the match with all three points, as Gary Cahill cleared Danny Graham’s late effort off the line to preserve a point for Chelsea if nothing else. It’s probably more a case of two points dropped for the Blues though, as the draw sees Manchester United leapfrog them to pole position in the title race, after their win against Arsenal.

I said: 1-3, 0pts

Del said: 1-3, 0pts

Rami said: 1-3, 0pts

Tottenham 0-1 Wigan

Contrary to my prediction, it actually turned out to be a day to forget for Defoe, as he was strangely substituted by Andre-Villas Boas, who brought on Adebayor in his stead with 25 minutes to go. That change made no sense to me- if you’re losing at home in the second half to a team like Wigan, no disrespect to them given the way they played, but surely you’ve got to put two striker’s up front?! If anything, they should have both started because I think Defoe craves someone like Adebayor alongside him to pressure the defense and get all the little knock-downs for Defoe to pounce, I’m not sure he’s got the legs to play up front on his own. It’d be wrong of me to only criticize Tottenham though, because Wigan could have been a couple of goals up at half time before they got their goal, they created several chances and were actually pretty good value for their win. Another surprise result sees all three of us point-less from a third game in a row.

I said: 2-1, +0pts

Del said: 3-0, +0pts

Rami said: 2-0, +0pts

West Ham 0-0 Man City

I’m glad I went with my gut instinct on this one, I just had an inkling Allardyce would get his team fired up to play Man City, who have looked lethargic in performances of late. It seems strange to think that Mancini’s men are the only team unbeaten this season but the fact that they’ve drawn almost half their matches this season, and over half when playing away from home, gives you the answer. It might just be my opinion, but I feel like Manchester City would be able to nip this sort of match in the bud, if they were going to win the league. I think the mark of champions is to be able to win when you’re not playing well, and I just feel like a team like Manchester United would have kept the tempo up throughout the whole match and eventually found a way through. Man City don’t seem to have that kind of guile, tenacity and will to win that sets Champions apart. That’s my feeling at the moment.

I said: 1-1, +1pt

Del said: 1-2, +0pts

Rami said: 0-1, +0pts

QPR 1-1 Reading

With the likes of Aston Villa, Norwich and Wigan all winning, I’d be inclined to say this was a bad point for both teams in the context of Premier League survival. The clubs are now 5 and 4pts away from safety respectively; of course I’m not saying both teams are out of it by any means at all- there’s a long, long way to go and the whole scenario at the bottom of the table could change inside two weeks, but ultimately both teams will have inevitably had ambitions to win this game. Reading held a lead for just about the majority of the match thanks to Kaspers Gorkss’s acrobatic volley, but Djibril Cisse’s close-range finish leveled it up and saw the momentum swing in the home side’s favor  The Rs were unable to find a winner though, and finished the match level-pegging, with both sides still awaiting their first victory.

I said: 3-1, +0pts

Del said: 1-1, +3pts

Rami said: 2-0, +0pts

Liverpool 1-1 Newcastle

To be honest, I’m a bit surprised so many people thought Liverpool would win this game. They seem to be struggling to get any kind of consistency at home, having only won one game at Anfield all season which is a recurring problem from their last couple of seasons under Hodgson and Dalglish (although looking at it, they’ve played some tough teams so far), but their inability to get players into the box was a factor in my decision, and the fact that their goal came from a Suarez wonder-strike rather proves my point in some ways. They need a striker in January I think.

I said: 1-1, +3pts

Del said: 2-0, +0pts

Rami said: 2-1, +0pts

West Brom L Southampton

I said: 1-1

Del said: 3-1

Rami said: 1-1

 
Me
Correct results- 3
Perfect scorelines- 2, Norwich 1-0 Stoke & Liverpool 1-1 Newcastle
Points- 9
 
Del
Correct results- 0
Perfect scorelines- 1, QPR 1-1 Reading
Points- 3
 
Rami
Correct results- 1
Perfect scorelines- 2, Man Utd 2-1 Arsenal & Fulham 2-2 Everton
Points- 7
 

Although West Brom and Southampton don’t play until Monday night, that result won’t affect the outcome of this because me and Rami have predicted the exact same scoreline, so he can’t gain any points on me! So I am the prediction champion for this week… my thanks to Del and Rami who took part, if you want to have a go at this game feel free to send me your predictions next week via twitter:

@_thescore

Have a good week.

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