The Forgetful Fresh Prince Premier Previews

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As Christmas approaches, the same words are on everybody’s lips: who’s on the move in the January transfer window?

Van Nistelrooy to Blackburn, Pavlyuchenko to Liverpool, Pavlyuchenko to Arsenal (there’s no accounting for stupidity) – rumours are flying through the air like t*ts in a strip club, but with considerably less scrutiny.

Two of the more intriguing pieces of gossip involve Everton signing Yankee striker Landon Donovan – Government-backed espionage ahead of England’s World Cup meeting with the USA – and an equally wily scheme that may see Sol Campbell move to Manchester United.

A serious point here: for football’s sake, let's hope this doesn’t happen.

Bringing Sol to the biggest club in the world would be to reward him for walking out on Notts County one month into a five-year contract (having probably moved there to be a big fish in a small pond in the first place).

He doesn’t deserve it.

A less serious point: Michael Owen to United, then Sol Campbell? Who next, Jamie Redknapp?


Birmingham vs West Ham

Two weeks ago Zola’s Hammers (weren’t they an ’80s hair metal group?) climbed out of the relegation zone like a bow-legged drunk out of a folding sofa, but they rarely threatened at home to Manchester United last weekend.

General Franco has been something of a revelation, but they’re really going to miss Cole’s goals until he returns in January.

Like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air viewers, opposition defenders are happier when Carlton’s not around.

The Blues, meanwhile, have to contend with nasty nosebleeds. Ninth? Blimey.

What won’t happen: Joe Hart to finish higher in the league with Birmingham than he would with Manchester City. Shame
What will happen: Brum to go a seventh consecutive match unbeaten; a draw makes it an incredible 15 points from seven games

An international cap. Heh heh

Bolton vs Manchester City

They only bloody did it.

After seven – SEVEN – league draws in a row against the likes of Hull, Wigan and a travel-sick Burnley, Sparky’s Millionaires (weren’t they a brand of chocolate box in the ’90s?) went and won against league leaders Chelsea of all teams.

There’s no way of predicting what they’ll do next, which makes my job a little tricky.

Losing a relegation six-pointer to Wolves will have hit Bolton hard, and Megson’s criticism of the players afterwards won’t have helped morale.

Pot, kettle, racist, etc.

What won’t happen: The visitors to use their rising swine flu count (now at four) as an attack, coughing on Bolton defenders at corners. City with swine flu, United in an injury crisis – what’s going on in Manchester anyway?
What will happen: Going for City to win. Which means they won’t. Sorry, City fans

Burnley vs Fulham

Roy Hodgson’s men keep knock-knock-knockin’ on Rafa’s door: a win at Burnley would see them overtake Liverpool if the Reds go down to Arsenal.

For Burnley, this match starts a run of three games in four on home Turf (Moor), destined to coincide strangely with a climb up the table.

What won’t happen: Bobby Zamora to get an England call-up for the World Cup finals. Come on, Hodgson, you don’t have Alzheimer’s yet
What will happen: “Burnley away, points go astray; Burnley at home, they come back to roam.” Score draw

Chelsea vs Everton

Essien joins the limping ranks of Chelsea’s walking wounded, while Everton’s crippled crew numbers a small army.

Quick, someone make a charity record – that ‘Heroes’ album for fallen soldiers has nothing on these two.

What won’t happen: Chelsea to be as generous to the Toffees as Spurs were
What will happen: Home win

Hull vs Blackburn

Jimmy ‘The Lad’ Bullard has been ruled out for six to eight weeks, giving Phil ‘The Mad’ Brown headaches I’d like to inflict on him more personally.

Which footballing deity the November Player of the Month has offended to receive this sentence, the Valderrama Football Hair God or the Fowler Comedy Celebration God, is uncertain.

Still, it should give Big Sam’s Rovers (weren’t they a '70s Irish folk band?) a boost ahead of their first away game in four fixtures.

What won’t happen: An away win could propel Blackburn into the top half. It won’t, because they won’t get one
What will happen: Even without The Lad, Hull grab three points. Gits.

L to R: Diouf, Roberts, McCarthy, Nelsen, Pedersen

Manchester United vs Aston Villa

If Villa are ever going to do it, it has to be now.

They haven’t won at Old Trafford since 1863, when football was known as ‘soccyball’ and the teams were 17-a-side. Villa won 19-12, despite a debut brace from Ryan Giggs.

The Red Devils welcome back at least one defender with open arms, as the Vidic Virus moves across Manchester to plague City some more.

Any flu virus that can take down Nemanja Vidic is a flu virus to be reckoned with.

United’s back four keeps its makeshift Blue Peter ‘Here’s one we made five seconds’ ago vibe, though, with Carrick and Fletcher continuing to deputise in defence.

Despite his hat-trick against Wolfsburg, Michael Owen warms the bench as substitute right-back.

What won’t happen: A historic Villa victory (it was actually 1983, by the way)
What will happen: A distinctly unhistoric United victory

Stoke vs Wigan

At the time of writing it’s not clear exactly what happened between Tony Pulis and James Beattie, but suffice it to say they’re not spending their nights spooning.

The rumour mill is a-churning. Some say Beattie will beat it 18 months before his designated contract end, and that Pulis isn’t going to stand in his way.

Some say both men have apologised to each other and to the team.

All we know is...

What won’t happen: Beattie to leave. The manager’s too wise to let him go over a minor bust-up, and the striker must realise he’s onto a good thing at Stoke – in the top half of the Prem way past his prime
What will happen: Wigan to nab a draw, the cheeky scamps

Sunderland vs Portsmouth

“Crisis? What crisis?” come the noises from behind the sofa at Fratton Park, with leaders of the Pomp repeatedly insisting we’re not going into administration, honest, everything is fine, we have the money, it’s just resting in our account, oh look over there is that a fox?

"Yes la', what d'yer want?"

Shame about the retirement of Optimus Primus, too.

Meanwhile, 10th-placed Sunderland get to hide Hyde and don their Jekyll faces since they’re playing at home, and will eye up three points here that could propel them up into eighth.

What won’t happen: Zinedine Dindane to score again. Laughable footballer
What will happen: Home win

Spurs vs Wolves

Beating Bolton was a terrific result for Mick McCarthy’s minions, especially in the light of Sprightly Kightly’s lay-off.

A point here would leave them cock-a-hoop (whatever that means).

As for Spurs... I’m still furious with them for dropping points to Everton last week, especially after ’Arry’s "league first, cups second" rally.

What makes me angriest is how it was so inevitable.

I’d go down to White Hart Lane and shout abuse at them, but it would be like remonstrating with a bear for taking a dump in the woods (only less life-threatening).

What won’t happen: A top-four finish for Spurs. You can’t drop points like that
What will happen: Still, at least this fixture should be three points in the bag, right? Right?


Liverpool vs Arsenal

It’s the big one! Cue Eye of the Tiger intro.

(DUN!) With Fulham breathing down Liverpool’s necks (DUN DUN DUN!) and Arsenal keen to extend their lead over Spurs (DUN DUN DUN!), neither team can afford to lose this game. (DUN DUN DUHHH...)

But (DUN!) one of them (DUN DUN DUN!) will have to lose (DUN DUN DUN!) – unless they draw.


What won’t happen: Both Arsenal and Liverpool could learn something from Cesc Fabregas’ assertion his team needs a striker... but neither will. Cue more ‘Ngog vs Bendtner: who has less talent?’ debates
What will happen: Aquilani to start. No, really! It’s going to happen! Seriously! And it’s going to be a draw!

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