The drug-addled, editor-threatened Premier Previews
Who cares about the royal wedding? WeÃ¢ÂÂve got plenty of fascinating match-ups in the Premier League, and they each hold more interest than a bunch of inbreds distracting us while the economy crumbles and malnourished mothers collapse in the street with saliva drying on their gaping maws.
And not only is it an amazing weekend of football, itÃ¢ÂÂs everywhere! Four games on the telly, seven on tÃ¢ÂÂradio and all taking place over a four-day weekend. A weekend that doesn't start for anyone at FourFourTwo.com until this blog's finished, so let's crack on, eh?
SATURDAYBlackburn v Bolton (3pm, 5 Live Radio Sports Extra)The Lancashire hotpot derby, as it is called by absolutely nobody except lazy hacks, has been flipped on its head this year by each teamÃ¢ÂÂs exploits. This season, itÃ¢ÂÂs Bolton who are already assured of mid-table security and not-so-noisy neighbours Blackburn who are yet to peel themselves away from relegation.
Although it seems to be generally agreed that it will be three of Blackpool, Wigan, Wolves and West Ham who go down, Blackburn are but a point clear of the relegation zone. They could theoretically be bottom of the table after this weekend. They wonÃ¢ÂÂt, but they could be.
Bolton, meanwhile, are more unpredictable than a hurricane on heroin. How do you follow up an unfortunate 5-0 trouncing by Stoke? By putting in a very good performance against Arsenal. How do you follow that up? By losing 3-0 to Fulham. God knows what theyÃ¢ÂÂve got planned here.
What wonÃ¢ÂÂt happen: A repeat of that drug-addled episode of childhood staple The HurricanesWhat will happen: Theoretically, itÃ¢ÂÂs BoltonÃ¢ÂÂs turn to have a fantastic game; in reality... they do, and win comfortably
Blackpool v Stoke (3pm, 5 Live Radio)Stoke are basically safe now, reaching the magic milestone of 42 points, which means this bloggerÃ¢ÂÂs prediction and bet on the Potters being relegated has reached its last vestiges of possibility. Apologies to offended Stoke fans; Paddy Power, weÃ¢ÂÂll meet again...
Tony PulisÃ¢ÂÂ not-particularly-barmy army deserve credit, as they always do, for making themselves safe and in a strong position to finish in the top half (plus that little matter of an FA Cup final and the potential for European qualification).
TheyÃ¢ÂÂve made some great signings, opened up and played some attacking football, too, using the wings well and introducing a touch of style. Pulis always said that to change the team would take time, and heÃ¢ÂÂs proving that he had a plan all along: the defensive grit and set-piece prowess were the first stage, until they could metamorphose into a chrysalis of creativity.
Ian Holloway could learn a lesson here.
What wonÃ¢ÂÂt happen: It turns out that Pulis has fooled us, and next year Stoke are going to go back to their evil, football-killing ways. Boo hissWhat will happen: The away side have little to play for but arenÃ¢ÂÂt the kind to get distracted, frustrating Blackpool to a draw when they need a win
Sunderland v Fulham (3pm)Now that Sunderland have arrested their slide, it should be business as usual for Steve Bruce Ã¢ÂÂ if, of course, that business is picking up the shattered remains of his porcelain strikers.
With Darren Bent sold, David Healy exiled to Siberia (well, Scotland) and Asamoah Gyan, Danny Welbeck and Fraizer Campbell out injured for the season Ã¢ÂÂ and beyond in CampbellÃ¢ÂÂs case Ã¢ÂÂ the Black Cats have literally no strikers to call upon for their remaining few matches.
A chance for a first league start in any division ever may be thrown to 19-year-old Ryan Noble, front of the one-man queue on account of having two working legs. Bruce looks likely, though, to experiment with Beninianian midfielder Stephane Sessegnon upfront as a lone striker, with Steed Malbranque playing behind him.
Sessegnon is five foot seven. If thatÃ¢ÂÂs not a sign that Healy needs to leave this club for good if heÃ¢ÂÂs ever going to get a game, what is? Perhaps itÃ¢ÂÂll take the entire team pretending he isnÃ¢ÂÂt there for the Northern Irish international to leave, or Bruce changing the code to the playerÃ¢ÂÂs locker. Fulham have tried a similar thing with Eddie Johnson, apparently, but he just wonÃ¢ÂÂt leave. Crazy Yank.
What wonÃ¢ÂÂt happen: This blog to ever be as short as the poor sod of an editor prays it will beWhat will happen: More words! Ahahahaha. Draw
West Brom v Aston Villa (3pm)Draw.
What wonÃ¢ÂÂt happen: Not a drawWhat will happen: Draw
Wigan v Everton (3pm, Absolute Radio)As usual, Absolute Radio get the booby prize Ã¢ÂÂ but if Wigan pull their fingers out of whatever orifices theyÃ¢ÂÂre exploring, they could take a sneaky three points and crawl closer to safety. Unlike last week, when they conceded four goals having taken a lead against Sunderland, a team that hadnÃ¢ÂÂt won in nine matches and had no fit strikers.
Everton may be ruing the buggeration that is only the top five or six teams in the league qualifying for Europe this year. This isnÃ¢ÂÂt a problem in itself Ã¢ÂÂ in fact, itÃ¢ÂÂs to be encouraged, so the cups remain important and the likes of Birmingham get a go Ã¢ÂÂ but it is unfortunate for teams who rarely break into the magic Top Seven.
An Everton win would help them close the gap on Liverpool, even if David Moyes claims this isnÃ¢ÂÂt a goal at the club. Sure, and Phil NevilleÃ¢ÂÂs a supermodel.
What wonÃ¢ÂÂt happen: Wigan to come back up next year, despite sound financial planning (ÃÂ£6m for Mauro Boselli aside)What will happen: Everton win in their glorious pink shirts. This blogger still wants to know the gender split in their sales
Chelsea v Tottenham (5.30pm, Sky Sports 2, HD2 & 3D, TalkSPORT Radio)ItÃ¢ÂÂs odd for Sky to have a late kick-off and ESPN to run with a Sunday game, but clearly thereÃ¢ÂÂs been some swaperoo somewhere. Sky definitely benefit more than lovable losers ESPN. Watch football all day, with Leeds v Burnley at lunchtime then the 3pm kick-offs before settling into a cracking London derby in the evening, or get up at 11am on a Sunday to watch Liverpool v Newcastle? Hmm.
This is TottenhamÃ¢ÂÂs last chance, really. We said that many times last year, but itÃ¢ÂÂll take a minor miracle for them to claim fourth spot now Ã¢ÂÂ and Harry Ã¢ÂÂtwo points in eight gamesÃ¢ÂÂ Redknapp is all miracled out.
Not that he likes to remind us of what state Spurs were in before he arrived, of course. Expect that to come up in a few press conferences next year when heÃ¢ÂÂs asked about the comedown from the Champions League to the Europa League. Or nothingness.
What wonÃ¢ÂÂt happen: Torres scores a hat-trick, does a lap of honour, injures himself and joins Manchester United on a freeWhat will happen: Home win, and a death in the office if this isnÃ¢ÂÂt finished by 5pm
SUNDAYBirmingham v Wolves (12pm, TalkSPORT Radio)Alex McLeish promised his team would bounce back after a 5-0 thumping by Liverpool last week, and youÃ¢ÂÂd hope so: Maxi Rodriguez shouldnÃ¢ÂÂt be allowed to put three past a defence across several seasons, let alone in one game.
Mick McCarthy almost seems to have accepted that Wolves are going to be relegated this season, which is just one of many reasons why the board should have sacked him months ago. The others, if youÃ¢ÂÂre wondering, are his hair and his face.
Clearly McCarthy has a hold over the men in suits by threatening to go into commentary full-time if they cut him loose. And nobody wants that.
Wait, is that the Veron?
What wonÃ¢ÂÂt happen: TalkSPORTÃ¢ÂÂs listening figures to rocket with the rights to this gameWhat will happen: 0-0, but not in cards
Liverpool v Newcastle (12noon, ESPN & ESPN HD)ItÃ¢ÂÂs hard to gauge what reception Andy Carroll will get from the away fans. Did he betray Newcastle by leaving, as Pardew claims? Was he forced out, as he claims? Was it a combination of the two, as nobody claims but which is probably true?
The majority of the fans probably wonÃ¢ÂÂt care, instead splitting into two camps: one recognising his achievements and thanking him for his goals for the Toon, the other aiming to slice off his ponytail with a broken bottle.
What wonÃ¢ÂÂt happen: Newcastle fans to ever get a sighter of Nile RangerÃ¢ÂÂs goal celebrationWhat will happen: Carroll scores in a feisty Liverpool victory
Arsenal v Manchester United (2.05pm, Sky Sports 1, HD1 & 3D, TalkSPORT Radio)Sky were probably wetting themselves in anticipation when this once potentially title-deciding fixture turned out to be taking place in the last few weeks of the season. Now theyÃ¢ÂÂre probably seeing it as something between a waste of time and a tasty taster of UnitedÃ¢ÂÂs tactics against tippy-tappers ahead of their inevitable Champions League final against Barcelona.
Still, keep those 3D cameras on Arsene Wenger. HeÃ¢ÂÂs the reason 3D cinema was invented: to scare the toss out of viewers expecting him to jump through the screen and straggle them with his tie. Look out! HeÃ¢ÂÂs got a plastic bottle!
What wonÃ¢ÂÂt happen: A calm Wenger sits down, cross-legged for the entire match, never rising once but to adjust the crease in his trousersWhat will happen: Wenger to win the battle, Fergie to win the war. On second thoughts, Fergie to win the battle as well
Manchester City v West Ham (4.10pm, Sky Sports 1 & HD1, 5 Live Radio)ItÃ¢ÂÂs becoming ever clearer that no one pays any attention to this bloggerÃ¢ÂÂs pleas to stop featuring Manchester City on the television quite as much, so we might as well get used to it.
As dull 2-0 wins go, this could be a cracker. Scotty Parker should play despite sustaining a back injury from carrying most of east London on his shoulders, but West Ham donÃ¢ÂÂt need him anyway: they have Danny GabbidonÃ¢ÂÂs words of wisdom to see them through.
Ã¢ÂÂWe have to go there and feel as if we are top of the league,Ã¢ÂÂ said the Welshman, ignoring the laughs from those around him. Suffice it to say that if West Ham did do this, theyÃ¢ÂÂd be soundly thrashed as each and every player stumbled around blindly, confused by the scenario that took them to the top of the league despite playing like a trampÃ¢ÂÂs hairy danglers.
The manÃ¢ÂÂs a genius.
What wonÃ¢ÂÂt happen: West Ham instead adopt the Ã¢ÂÂPretend weÃ¢ÂÂre top of the ChampionshipÃ¢ÂÂ approach and win 3-2What will happen: Dzeko and Balotelli both score without looking at each other once