Prem Previews: Chavfests, bear skeletons & free beer
Amidst all the darkness, misery and sombre montages of Spurs players looking pained (as seen every 15 minutes on Sky Sports News for the last week), there is at least one man whoÃ¢ÂÂs found time to raise a smile at Spurs current plight - former QPR Ã¢ÂÂkeeper and They Think itÃ¢ÂÂs All Over team captain, David Seaman.
Speaking on Jeremy KyleÃ¢ÂÂs show on talkSPORT (which is presumably why we missed it first time round), Seaman claimed he Ã¢ÂÂhadnÃ¢ÂÂt been able to wipe the smile off his faceÃ¢ÂÂ thanks to SpursÃ¢ÂÂ poor form, which was apparently caused by Juande Ramos's inability to speak English rather than Spurs' inability to score a goal.
David Seaman (smile not pictured)
But as we said this was on Jeremy KyleÃ¢ÂÂs showÃ¢ÂÂ¦on talkSPORTÃ¢ÂÂ¦as reported by the Daily Mail, so the gleeful claim that Spurs' problems lie with the foreignness of the manager rather than the poor performances of Darren Bent, Jermaine Jenas and David Bentley, combined with the stubbornness of Daniel Levy through the summer transfer window, are probably not a massive shock.Quite why Seaman was on KyleÃ¢ÂÂs show has yet to be confirmed to us (by which we mean Ã¢ÂÂweÃ¢ÂÂve not bothered to checkÃ¢ÂÂ), but if the nature of the guests on the smug, brash bullyoÃ¢ÂÂs daytime TV chavfest are anything to go by, then Seaman may have bigger issues in his life than his awful, awful hair. Still, each to their own.Few would have predicted at the start of the season that SundayÃ¢ÂÂs clash between Stoke and Spurs would be a bottom of the table dogfight, but thanks to the north Londoners' woeful start to the league campaign, thatÃ¢ÂÂs exactly what itÃ¢ÂÂs become.
"Who am I to judge? I'm on the bleedin' telly!"
An away game at Stoke is exactly the kind of game Spurs would lose even if they were bang in form (feel free to use their Ã¢ÂÂperformancesÃ¢ÂÂ at Sheffield United 18 months ago or at Crystal Palace four years ago as reference.)
So to suggest they have more than a slim chance of picking up all three points from SundayÃ¢ÂÂs trip to the Britannia, having taken just two from their last eight Premier League matches, is probably wishful thinking on their fans' part.If Stoke were to consign Spurs to their second successive defeat to a newly promoted side, the Lilywhites would trail the Potters by five points. In fact if Newcastle were to beat Manchester City on Monday (stop laughing) and Fulham avoided defeat at home to Sunderland, Juande RamosÃ¢ÂÂs side would be five points adrift of 19th, not to mention about 14 points away from that much-coveted fourth spot.A defeat for Spurs would also make this their worst ever start to a league campaign. We're sure you've read a billion 'Titanic' headlines over the last two weeks, with the 1912 Spurs vintage the only team standing between the current crop and a record they'd much rather give an iceberg-sized swerve. Spurs can take comfort from the fact Tony Pulis may be without Ricardo Fuller, Abdoulaye Faye and amateur dog-tumbler Liam Lawrence for SundayÃ¢ÂÂs Ã¢ÂÂsix-pointerÃ¢ÂÂ, but with Roman Pavlyuchenko missing for Spurs a draw may be the likeliest result here, and one which is unlikely to rub the smile off of SeamanaÃ¢ÂÂs face nor do either team massive good in the long run.
Two sides that are, at least on the pitch, riding a wave of optimism are Aston Villa and Portsmouth.The two go head to head at Villa Park on Saturday afternoon in a match thatÃ¢ÂÂs sure to be open, quick and a joy to watch.Both have eased almost effortlessly into the swing of juggling European football with domestic matches, although you feel the true test for messrs OÃ¢ÂÂNeill and Redknapp will be when the UEFA Cup group stages get underway and two of the Premier LeagueÃ¢ÂÂs shallowest squads (we mean I terms of squad depth, weÃ¢ÂÂre not criticising the playersÃ¢ÂÂ morals) are down to the 'bare bones', as 'Arry would say.
FourFourTwo.com cannot recall the day Redknapp was forced to play a grizzly skeleton on the right wing, but maybe we've just got the wrong end of the stick.
Well if Glen Little can play for Pompey...
Pompey won 3-1 at Villa Park last season but feel look a far more consistent outfit this term, despite their early loss to Stoke. A narrow Villa win looks the likeliest outcome in this encounter, decaying bear corpse not withstanding.Elsewhere on Saturday Bolton host Blackburn in the hottest of Lancashire hotpots.Despite this being a derby match, and one that often brings much excitement and goals aplenty, Bolton have been forced to bribe their fans with a free pint in order to get more bums on seats at the Reebok.Quite how giving people free beer is going to keep bums on seats is a mystery to us, if anything it's going to have the opposite effect once people have 'broken the seal', but that Phil Gartside knows what he's doing. Right?
"Free beer? Make it vodka and orange and you're on"
Rovers were handed a cruel blow on Friday, when it was confirmed that Steven Reid would miss the remainder of the season with a knee problem.Probably one of the Premier LeagueÃ¢ÂÂs most underrated players, Reid has every right to feel he must be cursed, with injuries restricting the former Millwall midfielder to just 90 league outings in five years at Ewood Park.Blackburn may also be without Roque Santa Cruz and will definitely also not have David Dunn in their side, although Benni McCarthy and recovering blunderholic Paul Robinson are both set to be back in contention.This fixture is often won by the away side, with Blackburn winning three of the last four on BoltonÃ¢ÂÂs patch (Bolton have won three of the last five at Ewood Park), but given BoltonÃ¢ÂÂs impressive win at West Ham last time out and BlackburnÃ¢ÂÂs mounting injury problems, weÃ¢ÂÂre tipping the Trotters to pick up three points this time round, and we're sure their fans will drink to that.
FourFourTwo.comÃ¢ÂÂs Premier League Predictions:Saturday, 18 October 2008Arsenal 2-0 Everton Aston Villa 2-1 PortsmouthBolton 2-1 BlackburnFulham 1-1 Sunderland Liverpool 2-0 WiganMan Utd 3-0 West Brom (Live on Setanta Sports 1, 17:30) Middlesbrough 0-1 Chelsea Sunday, 19 October 2008Hull 1-1 West HamStoke 0-0 TottenhamMonday, 20 October 2008Newcastle 0-2 Man City
Make your own predictions and win ÃÂ£100,000 this weekend with Footy15Footy15/Prem10 Pundit Predictions:John BarnesArsenal v Everton HAston Villa v Portsmouth HBolton v Blackburn DFulham v Sunderland DHull v West Ham HLiverpool v Wigan HMan United v West Brom HMiddlesbrough v Chelsea ANewcastle v Man City DStoke v Tottenham AAlan HansenArsenal v Everton HAston Villa v Portsmouth HBolton v Blackburn DFulham v Sunderland DHull v West Ham DLiverpool v Wigan HMan United v West Brom HMiddlesbrough v Chelsea ANewcastle v Man City AStoke v Tottenham D Tony CascarinoArsenal v Everton HAston Villa v Portsmouth HBolton v Blackburn DFulham v Sunderland AHull v West Ham HLiverpool v Wigan HMan United v West Brom HMiddlesbrough v Chelsea ANewcastle v Man City AStoke v Tottenham DGraham PollArsenal v Everton HAston Villa v Portsmouth HBolton v Blackburn HFulham v Sunderland AHull v West Ham HLiverpool v Wigan HMan United v West Brom HMiddlesbrough v Chelsea ANewcastle v Man City DStoke v Tottenham A