Friday, October 18, 2013

Premiership Weekend Preview

Apologies for not posting up positions 11-20 in my mid term review of the Premiership. I will do review of those teams on a future date. After the exciting international break and the layout of who is going to the world cup and the talk of potential winners has already started. Club football returns this weekend hurrah! After Noel King shooting himself in the foot in the post match interview after Ireland's win over Kazakhstan and Roy Hodgson's joke about monkeys which gave the P.R. brigade another chance to spout off the weekend is here and It cannot come soon enough. Also fingers crossed for Iceland in the play offs next month. What an achievement just to get there.

So for the matched this weekend.

Newcastle vs Liverpool (BT Sports Ko 12.45 p.m.)

This will be an intriguing affair. Liverpool riding on a crest of a wave at the moment and Newcastle have been very Jekyll and Hyde. If Suarez and Sturridge click like they have so far in their short run partnership surely they will be too good for Newcastle but if Newcastle can produce a performance like they did against Cardiff last time out and if Remy and Ben Arfa are firing Newcastle can be a threat but I think Liverpool will have to much for them here.

Prediction Newcastle 1 Liverpool 2

Man. Utd. vs. Southampton (Setanta Sports 1 Ko 3.00 p.m.)
If Man. Utd. are serious about about doing anything in the league this season then they have to start winning  and performing consistently which they have done yet under David Moyes and Southampton and they way they have started their season will be no easy touch. I expect Southampton to give United a really tough game and will not be surprised if they get a result at Old Trafford.

Prediction: Man. Utd. 1 Southampton 1

Arsenal vs. Norwich (Ko 3.00 p.m.)
What Arsenal were really good at when they were in their pomp were dismissing inferior sides especially at home and if they are to be serious about the title they need to dismiss Norwich and teams like them in similar ilk if they are going to have a tilt at the title. Norwich have very poor away form and if they can't stifle Arsenal early on and stop them getting into their natural rhythm then their is only going to be one winner.

Prediction: Arsenal 3 Norwich 1

Chelsea vs Cardiff  (3.00 p.m.)
Chelsea were lucky to win against Norwich last time out but they should be thankful that they are playing a Cardiff side that are in turmoil behind the scenes at the moment. Whatever has happened behind the scenes there is now disharmony between the Cardiff chairman and manager and you get the sense that if you were a betting man than Malky Mackay will be the next one to get the chop. I expect Chelsea to win comfortably here.

Prediction: Chelsea 3 Cardiff 0

Everton vs. Hull (3.00 p.m.)
Hull have been impressive so far this season and Steve Bruce has done an excellent job as manager. Everton lost their unbeaten record last time out against Man. City and want to get back to winning ways as on as possible. Hull will Everton a difficult time but with Lukaku being in the Everton side he can always make a difference and I think he will be difference between the two sides here. Home win.

Everton 2 Hull 0.

Stoke vs West Brom (3.00 p.m.)
Stoke are playing good football under Mark Hughes but are struggling to score goals. West Brom after a shaky start are putting results together again. I fancy that this could be a prime contender for a draw if anyone is backing it.

Stoke 1 West Brom 1.

Swansea vs. Sunderland. (3.00 p.m.)
Gus Poyet's first game in charge for Sunderland is not an easy one against a Swansea side who have been a bit inconsistent probably due to the Sunday-Thursday axis of playing in the Europa League. They though should be too good for Sunderland here who will be trying to find their feet under Poyet.

Swansea 2 Sunderland 0

West Ham vs. Man. City. (Sky Sports 1 K.O. 5.30 p.m.)
West Ham had a terrific result against Spurs last time out and that was without playing any strikers. At home they might get caught out with that system though as they will be expected to be on the front foot a bit more and leaving themselves vulnerable to counter attack. Kompany is out for City again but they should cope without him for this fixture. Away win although I said that for the Cardiff and Villa games and was wrong there. Surely that won't repeat itself here and don't expect it do so.

West Ham 1 Man. City 2

Aston Villa vs Tottenham  (Sky Sports 1 K.O. 4 p.m.)
Villa can be really good once teams are actually on the front foot against them but are not so good when they are on the front foot. Spurs will be looking to recover from their shock home defeat against West Ham last time out and they should have too much quality from them but they need to start scoring more from open play which for some reason they have struggled to do on a regular basis. Still going for an away win on this one.

Aston Villa 1 Tottenham 2

Two other managers who are in the sack race , Martin Jol and Ian Holloway really need a win to keep of the pressure for at least this week. Palace probably bought too many players in the summer and are struggling to integrate them all in while Fulham have some very gifted technical players but at the same time would not run their socks off for the team so to speak. A very high score draw I reckon for this one which neither manager really needs or wants at this stage of the season.

Fulham 2 Crystal Palace 2

And Finally a tribute to one of the greatest Irish players of all time, Ignore some of the spelling mistakes in the links though. Very annoying indeed. Till next time.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Premiership Review Positions 6-10

Here are the next five continuing from yesterday.

6. Tottenham Hotspur Pts. 13 GS:GA 6:5 Top Scorer Sigurosson (3)
Tottenham with all the quality players they have at their disposal rightly think that they have a chance of not just qualifying for the champions league but to actually go for the league title itself. Until the weekend loss to West Ham the defence was water tight but a second half collapse against the Hammers proved a setback for Andre Villas Boas' team before the international break. They will recover from what happened to them at the weekend but the big problem has been scoring from open play with the two goals scored against Norwich the only two they have scored from open play so far in the league this season. They need more creativity from the midfield and also a settled eleven when it comes to the big games. The players are there for them to mount a title challenge It is up to Villas-Boas to make them believe that they can do it.

7. Everton Pts. 12 GS:GA 10:9 Top Scorer Lukaku (4)
Everton with Roberto Martinez definitely have mad a positive start to the season. Martinez probably would have thought Christmas came early when he got Gareth Barry and especially Romelu Lukaku both on loan on transfer deadline day. Both have had an immediate impact with Barry excelling in a defensive midfield role and Lukaku being the striker that Everton has solely missed over the years already scoring four goals in his first few appearances. Everton did get a marker as to where they are compared to the rest of the big teams when Ma. City beat them at the weekend but under Martinez they should improve throughout the season and a top four place can be within reach for sure.

8. Hull City Pts. 11 GS:GA 6:7 Top Scorer Brady (3)
Hull have surprised many people with the start they have made but in Steve Bruce they have an experienced Premiership Manager who can guide his young squad through all the pitfalls and give them belief that they can be an established Premiership Side. Robbie Brady has made a great start to life in the Premiership and also bring in Jake Livermore and Tom Huddlestone from Spurs have been great additions to their inexperienced squad and have added a touch of Quality to their side. Whether they can maintain their impressive start remains to be seen but under Bruce's guidance there is no reason why the newly christened Tigers cannot survive and indeed thrive in the Premiership.

9. Manchester United. GS;GA 10:9 Top Scorer Rooney, Van Persie (3 each)
Man. Utd. have had early teething problems under David Moyes but stuff about Moyes out from some sections of United fans and media types is way off the mark. He has two main problems he does not have a probing central midfielder who joins up with his attackers and can contribute to scoring goals as well. Cesc Fabregas would have been the answer but he stayed at Barcelona maybe a raid of the Bundesliga in January might sort that out. The other since he plays 4-4-2 is that generally his wingers which are a huge part of that system have generally been rubbish. So bad in fact that Moyes decided to take a chance on young eighteen year old Adnan Januzaj. Thankfully he delivered to great goals and delivered three much needed points for United before the international break. He will play more often and will be interesting to see how he does now he is under the spotlight. United will eventually click but the question is will it be too late to do anything by the time they do? Will be interesting to watch that is for sure.

10. Astoin Villa GS:GA 9:8 Top Scorer Benteke (4)
Villa are going to have a better season than last. They can be frustrating but also exhilarating. Inconsistency which will carry on but no chance of relegation. With enough attacking talent in Wiemann, Agbonlahor and Benteke they will always been a threat but defensive wise and also if they have to be on the front foot most of the game Villa are found wanting. Villa fans after last season wont be complaining too much if they finish the season around where they are now and maybe a decent cup run as well.

Positions 11-15 tomorrow.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Premiership Review Positions 1-5

After another round of Premiership action and with the final round of World Cup Qualifiers coming up now is a good time to see how the table is looking after seven games and see where all the teams are at going into the international break. Starting with the top 5. Positions 6-10 tomorrow

1. Arsenal  Pts. 16 GS:GA  14:8 Top Scorer Giroud, Ramsey (4 each)
After the Aston Villa debacle earlier in the season Arsenal have recovered remarkably well and the arrival of Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid on transfer deadline day has given the whole club a lift. After a tough draw against West Brom where they should have lost if Nicholas Anelka's boots were on Jack Wiltshire's deflected goal saved Arsenal's blushes and continued their fine form. After the players come back from international duty the two main concerns are if Oliver Giroud gets injured can anyone replace him (Maybe Ozil as a false No. 9 perhaps) and also they have only kept one clean sheet which needs to improve if they want to keep their title ambitions in check but after the Villa defeat it is a good time to be an Arsenal fan with Aaron Ramsey's, Oliver Giroud, Mathieu Flaimini's and Ozils form in particular Arsenal can be in title contention for sure.

2. Liverpool Pts. 16 GS:GA 11:5 Top Scorer Sturridge (6)
Liverpool have room to improve but like Arsenal they are riding on a crest of a wave at the minute. Brendan Rodgers saying that Liverpool have not hit peak form at the minute is paradoxically a good sign as there is room for improvement in the team. Mainly the problem has been trying to dominate teams for the ninety minutes and finishing teams off. Still with the return of sixteen points from their first seven games is a good return and Liverpool can also say with no irony at all that they have a chance of doing something this season

3. Chelsea Pts. 14 GS:SA 10:4 Top Scorer Oscar (3)
Few teething problems, Mourinho not knowing what his best side is yet. The Juan Mata and striking situations yet after seven games they are only two points behind and apart from the forwards there is strength in depth everywhere else and Juan Mata looks as though he is actually back in the side now as well. After the win against Norwich which was hard fought Chelsea are in good shape and have to be considered to be one of the favourites.

4. Southampton Pts. 14 GS:GA 7:2 Top Scorer Lambert (2)
What a brillant start to this season for Southampton. Very solid base with Arthur Boruc in fine form and a defence of mainly Dejan Lovren, Jose Fonte, Luke Shaw and Nathan Clyne Southampton are a solid team and things can even get better with the developing of the strike partnership of Dani Osvaldo and Ricky Lambert things are good for Southampton. Mauricio Pochettino has been brilliant for them and no disrespect to Saints fans but by the end of the season if this continues he will be head hunted for a bigger job. Until then the Saints should definitely enjoy the ride.

5. Man. City Pts. 13 GS:GA 17:8 Top Scorer Aguero, Yaya Toure (4 each)
Another one of the favourites for the title who have had a bit of a dodgy start. Man. City know where they are at in Europe as Bayern Munich completely outclassed them for ninety minutes. They have had also dodgy results in the premiership away from home as they have lost to Cardiff and Aston Villa. They will figure how to balance defence and attack eventually and a lot of goals have been scored so there is no problem there. Once that balance is addressed and also Joe Harts form needs to be sorted or he needs to be dropped. He has been very poor so far this season. If those problems can be solved then City can still win the title a;though possibly not Europe as the Bayern game proved.

Positions 6-10 tomorrow.

Results from the weekend: Man City 3-1 Everton, Cardiff 1-2 Newcastle, Fulham 1-0 Stoke, Hull 0-0 Aston Villa, Liverpool 3-1 Crystal Palace, Sunderland 1-2 Manchester United, Norwich 1-3 Chelsea, Southampton 2-0 Swansea, Tottenham 0-3 West Ham, West Brom 1-1 Arsenal.