There’s not even one full round of Premier League matches played in the season, so you might it’s too early to draw any firm conclusions about any of teams. You’d be right, but here’s an ill-advised preview of this weekend’s matches:
Arsenal v Liverpool – Sat. 12.45pm SS2
For no other reason than I had a dream the other night that Liverpool sent out a title warning by thumping someone 4-0 away from home, I think Liverpool will win this 4-0. Then again, I also dreamt that I was singlehandedly protecting earth from alien invasion and I went on holidays to New York with Kevin from Eggheads and all he wanted to do was visit strip clubs. I was all like “no, Kevin. We can go to the strip club later tonight, but the Museum of American Financial History closes at 6pm”, but all he wanted was to see some titty action. He’s a dark horse. It wasn’t a great dream to be fair. Lucky to get away with a win against Udinese and severely depleted, Arsenal look vulnerable, but whether or not Liverpool can exploit that vulnerability is in doubt. Score draw and a Money-Back Special refund is very likely. A lot more likely than alien invasion by lunchtime on Saturday.
Verdict: 4-0 Liverpool but more likely 1-1 and Paddy sobbing into his Saturday afternoon cappuccino.
Sunderland v Newcastle – Sat. 12pm
When it comes to these games, the form book is said to be a lot like Ryan Giggs lying in his sister in law’s bed just as his brother puts the key in the door – it goes out the window. Unlike the Giggs family however, both of these teams can be pretty happy with how they acquitted themselves recently. The Black Cats hung in there against a Liverpool side who tore them to shreds in the first half before dropping like Joey Barton with minimal contact to his face and could even have won the game. Newcastle did well against Arsenal, but with the Gunners in transition/total decline [depending on how knee-jerk you want to be with your ill-advised dismissal of Arsene Wenger] how self-congratulatory can the Toon Army be about that result? ‘Very’ is the answer, but that may not be an accurate reflection of where both sides are at.
Verdict: A narrow win for Sunderland
Aston Villa v Blackburn – Sat. 3pm
This is going to sound rather racist, but it’s not racist – it’s just immensely condescending. With the fans already losing faith with the Venkys revolution, it’s almost like the owners decided to whip open the book that first introduced them to football – the Shoot Annual 1998 I’m guessing – and splash the cash on the first superstar they came across. They landed on Raul, but he seems to have declined to join the sinking ship. Yes, Rovers need more firepower, but signing the Spanish legend would be like getting an antique musket when you really need a bazooka. Villa’s draw with Fulham wasn’t the most exciting start to the McLeish era, but I’ve no other words of comfort to offer – just get used to it. Efficient football is going to be the way forward and as such the Villains should just about have enough to beat the visitors.
Verdict: 1-0 Villa
Everton v QPR – Sat. 3pm
Having sat out the opening weekend due to the fact young people decided to express their dissatisfaction with ‘the government, the texas or sumfink, innit?’ Everton will be raring to go and the prospect of hosting QPR as the season opener is much more appealing than a visit to White Hart Lane. The fact you can’t run a car on camp musical theatre means Bill Kenwright has had to keep a firm grasp on the purse strings and although he hasn’t been able to do much in the way of buying, David Moyes has held on to the players responsible for the last few seasons of dogged defying of pessimistic predications. The thumping defeat to Bolton was the worst imaginable start to the life in the Premier League for Neil Warnock. The losing part wasn’t so bad, but the not being able to blame the referee/opposition/secret global anti-Warnock conspiracy was a minor tragedy. It looks like they’ll have a new owner in place by the start of this game, but that means no new signings before the match and the same disheartened bunch will make the trip to Goodison Park. A Toffees win looks nailed on. Almost as nailed on as at least one of the managers having a post-match hissy fit at the performance of the referee.
Verdict: 2-1 Everton
Swansea v Wigan – Sat. 3pm
Not since we misread our invitation to the M&M Appreciation Society Annual Conference have we stumbled upon a bunch of people so happy about taking a sound trashing as the Swansea fans. City’s stars ran amok in the second half to hand them an unflattering defeat, but there were enough positives to take from the game to merit optimism. Games against the likes of Man City aren’t likely to decide the Swans’ fate in the Premier League, games like this one will. Despite laying the foundations for their eventual rise to the top flight, Roberto Martinez’s moniker of ‘El Judas’ amongst the Swansea fans tells you all you need to know about the welcome he and his team will be afforded. Overall, Wigan have the stronger team, but they slipped up against Norwich and the sheer intensity of the hosts may be enough to swing this one in their favour.
Verdict: Swansea 2-1
Chelsea v West Brom – Sat. 5.30pm ESPN
Giving Fernando Torres the man of the match awarded against Stoke was the most laughable decision since Barack Obama (commander in chief of 2 bloody conflicts) won the Nobel Peace Prize. Torres certainly showed signs of more activity than we saw at any point in his Chelsea career to date, but you could say the same when comparing someone who’s asleep with a coma victim. The actual man of the match was Asmir Begovic which is actually a better reflection of Chelsea’s performance. He pulled off a number of high quality saves to keep the Pensioners at bay and reproduction of similar form from the Blues should be enough to get them past West Brom. With his harem-scarem decision-making, Ben Foster was on course to claim the calamity keeper honours against Man Utd until the intervention of David De Gea. If The Baggies are relying on him to keep Chelsea at bay, they’re in for a long afternoon. Chelsea to win this by a comfortable margin.
Verdict: Chelsea 3-0
Norwich v Stoke – Sun. 1.30pm
A patronising ‘well done’ to Paul Lambert and Norwich for claiming there first point of the season at the first time of asking, but the draw at Wigan is also potentially dangerous. It might get the players thinking they’re able to play football in the division and that doesn’t always end well, especially when Stoke are involved. Ali Al-Habsi handed them their goal and despite playing some nice ball, they didn’t generate much by way of an attacking threat. The gaffer will probably claim that was more by design than accident and the chains may come off at home, but the Potters are a team who’ll take advantage of any overly expansive ambitions. Despite the complaints of Andre-Vllas Boas, they did little wrong and caused the Blues the plenty a few moments of panic themselves. Stoke are more than capable of nicking this.
Verdict: 1-0 Stoke
Wolves v Fulham – Sun. 2pm
Wolves started the season with a good win in a game they weren’t really expected to win, so if last season taught us anything, it’s they’re now due to drop points in a game they’re expected to win. Fulham will definitely pose some problems and although having Roger Johnson marshalling the defence is step-up, they’re questions Mick McCarthy’s side may not be able to answer. A draw looks likely.
Verdict: 0-0 Draw
Bolton v Man City – Sun. 4pm SS1
A step back from the hurricane of hype that followed the hammering of Swansea is necessary when looking at Man City going into this game. Was it – as the tabloids suggested – ‘a title warning to their Premier League rivals and a sign that Roberto Mancini has let his team take off the training wheels’ or was it … ehhhh … just a win at home to Swansea? We’re not saying Sergio Aguero isn’t ‘the BEST PLAYER EVER in the history of football. EVER’ but maybe we shouldn’t be drawing too many conclusions from a home game against newly promoted opposition. Yes it was brilliant in places, but it’s little more than you’d expect from a team worth roughly the same amount as the GDP of a Pacific Island versus a team worth roughly the same as a bus ticket to Birmingham. Bolton had a resounding win all of their own on the opening weekend so confidence should also be unfathomably high in their camp too. Still though, you’d expect City to win, but my gut instinct is the Trotters will hang on for a score draw and Paddy will have to cough up for another refund. And I’m not just saying that because I’m being paid to.
Verdict: 1-1 Draw and Paddy sobbing into his Sunday roast
Man Utd v Tottenham – Mon. 8pm Sky Sports 1
After De Gea’s second suspect performance of the season, there’ll be a shoot on sight policy in operation for Tottenham. If only the police adopted the same attitude around North London 10 days ago Spurs could have started their season on time. Ho ho! Views lifted straight from the Daily Mail ‘Letters to the Editor’ page aside, even if Harry does orders his strikers to have a pop at goal at every available opportunity, that’s no guarantee that De Gea will actually be tested. United simmered and sparked against West Brom, but failed to take total control and there were those who said they were lucky to claim the win. Those people are wrong because West Brom presented all the attacking threat of a soft pillow and United just kept plugging away. Officially I’m supposed to say this will be another score draw and whilst that’s my second choice, I’d expect the hosts to edge it.
Verdict: Man Utd 2-1
What are your hot tips for the weekend? Any bankers you’d like to share with the world? Have you ever been on holiday with one of the Eggheads? Stick it all in the comments section below and let’s discuss the crap out of this motherhubbard.