Arthur Fane kindly agreed to take time out of his busy schedule of skiing and eating Roquefort cheese to take on Bugler in this week’s predictions. They may share views on who’s the best club in England (Southampton), but will the current French resident be able to top Bugler’s extreme wealth of football savoir-faire?
I think this will be a hard fought draw. Sunderland are undergoing a mini-revival under the management of Gus Poyet, and Newcastle were uninspiring against Norwich last weekend. These derbies are always heated; I’d expect a sending off!
Newcastle’s plans to replace a quality Frenchman with a less-quality Frenchman have been scuppered by Lyon, while the smug face of Joe Kinnear can only be content with the loan signing of a striker who has scored six goals in the last two years. Sunderland’s players formed an uprising against Hitler re-incarnate Paolo Di Canio and were subsequently labelled “cowards” by the great dictator himself, leaving one unsure as to how they will approach Newcastle’s French Resistance.
West Ham- Swansea
Sam Allardyce’s “19th century football” infuriated Mourinho last week, but an impressive point doesn’t detract from the fact that the Hammers are in big trouble. Swansea will come out on top in this one – the quality in their squad is clear and I think they’ll hit a good run of form soon.
Sam Allardyce rewarded his players for their plucky point against Chelsea with a fireside reading of The Old Curisoity Shop and a newly installed phonograph at Upton Park. Swansea may just succumb to the difficult conditions of the London Smog as the Industrial Revolution takes its toll on the East End.
Despite Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s flurry of good signings, Cardiff are still in big trouble – they’re propping up the league table. While they are 5 points from the drop zone, Norwich have struggled this season, and I think they’d happily take a point from this game.
Cardiff City thought the players to score the goals that would keep them up at the start of the season were Andreas Cornelius, a man who embodies the cautionary tale of FIFA player ratings, and Peter Odemwingie, the pantomime villain of the Premier League who just won’t go away. In comes Kenwyne Jones, whose forehead was rumoured to have once connected with footballs. Goals will lack.
Everton- Aston Villa
These two teams had contrasting results in the last round of fixtures, but I think their 4-0 humbling at Anfield will have wounded Everton. They’ll want revenge, and although Villa were impressive against West Brom, they’ll come up short at Goodison Park.
Aston Villa currently lead the mini-table of best of the rest in the Premier League, on course to be the worst side in recent memory to finish in the top half. Everton are currently striker-less as new signing Lacina Traore finishes his germination process, but this shouldn’t stop their attacking midfielders running rings around the likes of Nathan Baker and Ciaran Clark.
Both predictions here might be a little biased, but I’m going for a Saints win. They’ve had a tough run of form, and although Fulham have made some decent signings, Southampton’s domination of them in the home fixture was so great, that I see the same happening again.
Southampton have strengthened their defence by allowing Danny Fox to move to Nottingham Forest, while Adel Taarabt believes that his move to the team 9th in Serie A will see him play for the best club in the world. The menacing spectre of Dani Osvaldo looms over this match, who was retweeting every club photo of Jose Fonte on Tuesday night, and may well be planning some terrible, terrible things for the Portuguese.
Hull are getting closer and closer to the relegation dog-fight – they’ve lost their last 3 matches in the league, and quite how they’ve managed to spend £15MILLION on Jelavic and Long, I’ll never know. Tottenham will be too strong for them this weekend.
Hull masqueraded as a half-decent team for much of the first half of the season, but in recent weeks their true identity as a motley crew of Spurs rejects and blundering Championship players is starting to reveal itself. Tim Sherwood isn’t interested in grabbing an away draw and will leave his side open to the predatory finishing of Matty Fryatt.
Stoke- Man Utd
Stoke are in trouble at the moment – 4 losses in a row, and confronted with a Man Utd reinvigorated by the arrival of Juan Mata – I can’t see anything other than Utd trampling over Mark Hughes’ boys in this match.
Once again Stoke are teasing us with the possibility that they might finally go down, but if anything the hope hurts more than the reality of their survival. Better to just accept it then, just as you have to accept that Mata’s arrival will propel United up into sixth place by the end of the season.
West Brom- Liverpool
There’s just no stopping Suarez at the moment, and with Sturridge also hitting form, West Brom just won’t be able to keep them out! Pepe Mel has had a tough start to life in the Midlands, and I don’t see it getting any easier for him here.
Liverpool aren’t happy with their quota of unpronounceable players, and after failing to sign consonant-hoarder Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the summer are now after Yevhen Konoplyanka. West Brom don’t seem to realise they’re in a relegation battle, and are quite happy to engage in goal-fests like this, because the most important thing is that you have fun.
Arsenal- Crystal Palace
3 clean sheets in their last 4 league games makes good reading for Palace fans. Pulis has certainly bought newfound organisation to his new team – I’m very surprised they’re out of the drop-zone! Arsenal slipped up against Saints, but despite their good form, I don’t think Palace will take anything from the Emirates.
After blessing Jason Puncheon with match-winning abilities in my last predictions, the Chosen One will give Palace the lead in the first half. Considering Arsenal only played for one half on Tuesday, they should be fresh enough to mount a recovery against Tony Pulis’s team of butchers, bakers and candlestick-makers.
Man City- Chelsea
Man City are seemingly unstoppable at the moment – they have goals in abundance, and I agree with Sherwood that they are the “best team on the planet”. José will have strong tactics to counter this though, and I think it will be a hugely entertaining, high scoring draw (for football’s sake, I hope so!)
In all likelihood, City will win every remaining match of the season, and possibly of all time. Even post-apocalypse Segio Aguero and Yaya Toure will still be banging in goals on a wasteland of human destruction, and a mortal Chelsea side should be a mere formality for the Mancunian artists.bookmark me