The Maths-Loving Premier Preview
Earlier this week, the dashing Tim Stannard of La Liga Loca was understandably pleased with himself after predicting nine games out of 10 correctly.
Fair enough. I would be too. In a way, that's a 9-1 win Ã¢ÂÂ and those don't happen every day.
Still, it's no excuse for my failure to foresee Wigan's humiliation at the hands of Defoe & Co.
In 1962, Decca Records said The Beatles had no future in showbusiness. In 1987, Michael Fish said there would be no hurricane.
Last week, I said Tottenham Hotspur vs Wigan Athletic would be a draw.
I'll get my coat.
Personally, I blame a certain va-va-vooming Frenchman for distracting me from my true duty (not that Henry's effort even came close to Scharner's handball for Wigan's don't-call-it-a-consolation goal, which scientists say could be seen from space).
This week, I promise fewer barbed insults (well, towards Henry at any rate) and lots more accurate predictions Ã¢ÂÂ in fact, I stake my editor's reputation on it (You'll have to establish it first - Ed.).
Aston Villa vs Spurs
Say what you like about Wigan's defending Ã¢ÂÂ and it was laughable Ã¢ÂÂ Spurs were utterly destructive last week.
Kranjcar, Lennon and Huddlestone blew Wigan off the pitch, and Defoe's finishing was the icing on Wigan's anthrax cake.
But expect it all to come crashing down this weekend at Villa Park. What, you expect Spurs to perform like that again? Are you on crack?
What won't happen: Aston Villa 0-24 Spurs
What will happen: Villa win. Just
Blackburn vs Stoke
They may both be mid-table Ã¢ÂÂ Stoke, indeed, just three points off fifth Ã¢ÂÂ but this game is going to be the footballing equivalent of a beauty contest in a burns unit.
The only problem is, no ÃÂ£10 second prize. Do not pass Go. Do not collect ÃÂ£200.
If football dies a death in the coming centuries, archaeologists will trace its demise back to this match.
What won't happen: Lionel Messi to give a Sunday morning press conference saying "Well, I wasn't really bothered about playing in the Premier League until yesterday, but f*** me, did you see that Blackburn-Stoke match?" (except in Spanish)
What will happen: The most painful 1-1 draw you will ever watch (or, more likely, won't)
Fulham vs Bolton
I confess to being surprised by Fulham's defeat to Birmingham last week, but Roy Hodgson's merry men did get back on track with a 3-0 thumping (well, gentle slapping) of Blackburn midweek. Roy offs the Rovers, indeed.
But can Clint Eastwood Dempsey net another brace? Can he b*ll*cks, he's in my fantasy team. A red card and a three-month injury beckon.
What won't happen: Bolton fans to be singing Gary Megson's name from the stands
What will happen: Fulham to win, and comfortably
Manchester City vs Hull
Well, that's bloody that then. Phil Brown is here to stay.
If the Hull management were waiting for a defeat to sack him (just conjecture, lawyers), then it's too late now Ã¢ÂÂ they'll look plenty silly if they fire him after taking seven points from a possible nine.
And it's not like you can even rely on Manchester 'six league draws in a row' City to stick the knife in. Pathetic.
By the way, it was this fixture last year that prompted Brown's infamous 'sit the team down in the centre circle like naughty children' half-time team talk.
I'm sure we're all hoping he'll do that again.
What won't happen: Sparky's spark to fizzle further
What will happen: Hughes's men finally grab the win they need
Portsmouth vs Manchester United
Poor Paul Hart. With Avram Grant upstairs and his team underperforming, it was always a matter of time before he was sent on his way.
You can't help but feel sorry for him, especially if you saw the look on his face Ã¢ÂÂ utterly defeated Ã¢ÂÂ when Kevin-Prince Boateng tamely tapped his penalty straight at the keeper last weekend.
Whether the Hart transplant pays off and Grant keeps Pompey afloat remains to be seen, but one thing's for sure: the rebuilding doesn't start this weekend.
What won't happen: Fratton Park to be unveiled as the centrepiece of England's 2018 World Cup bid
What will happen: Hopefully, Pompey fans will show their respect for Hart while Granting their new manager a warm welcome Ã¢ÂÂ anything to add gloss to a two- or three-goal defeat
West Ham vs Burnley
Burnley are fully deserving of their place in mid-table, but West Ham have started picking up points at last and this is a game they have to win.
The Hammers need to strike while the Iron's hot.
No, I don't know how Scunthorpe factor into this either.
What won't happen: Gaffers Zola and Coyle to agree with the email I sent them suggesting both teams play in their home strips. What? It'll be fun!
What will happen: Draw
Wigan vs Sunderland
Shh. A bit of quiet, please, for the BBC's Mark Lawrenson:
"I'll probably go for Wigan because of the 9-1 thrashing they suffered at Spurs on Sunday. Wigan will want to bounce back Ã¢ÂÂ plus the majority of players at the club will want to prove a point to Steve Bruce.
And I thought my reasoning was bad.
What won't happen: Wigan's players to save themselves 90 minutes by giving fans their bank account details before the game
What will happen: Darren Bent and chums to give Wigan and Lawro a reminder that football is about talent Ã¢ÂÂ and defending Ã¢ÂÂ as well as desire (and then Wigan to win to show me why Mark Lawrenson is a successful pundit and I'm not)
Arsenal vs Chelsea
It's the big one! And it's going to be a cracker. Fizz. Bang. Etc.
If Van Persie wasn't busy dunking his foot in cream of placenta soup, I'd have backed Arsenal to win this match and cut Chelsea's lead at the top Ã¢ÂÂ but now I'm not so sure.
Not only have Arsenal won all five of their home games this season, they've done so at a rate of four goals per game, which is frankly ridiculous.
They couldn't stop scoring if you sent them a polite email saying "Please stop scoring."
But then Van Persie got an owie and the Gunners were gunned down 1-0 by Sunderland Ã¢ÂÂ the first competitive game this season in which they've failed to score.
They're lacking something at the front.
Chelsea, meanwhile, have been clinical Ã¢ÂÂ but I can't see them winning this game either.
I'm sitting on the draw fence, I'm afraid.
What won't happen: Van Persie to hobble back on wearing only a hospital gown
What will happen: A score draw keeps Chelsea in Ferguson's crosshairs
Everton vs Liverpool
It's the (other) big one! If there's ever a time for an under-pressure manager to be sacked it's after a poor performance in the Merseyside derby.
And with Liverpool flying home from Europe and Everton off the radar, the atmosphere's more tense than a campsite (thank you, I'm here all week).
But it would take a fool to predict either Benitez or Moyes to win the sack race just yet. I'm a fool, and even I say they're both safe.
What won't happen: Everton to go 3-0 down in the first half-hour again
What will happen: I literally don't know. I'm sorry. Is it possible for both teams to lose?
Wolves vs Birmingham
It's the big one! At least, it is if you live in the Midlands. And support one of the teams without, for some reason, particularly hating West Brom or Aston Villa.
Otherwise, you probably don't care all that much about a derby between two teams in the bottom half.
But here are a few nik-naks for you stattos out there.
- Wolves haven't kept a clean sheet at home in the league all season
- Birmingham have kept more clean sheets (five) than any team except Chelsea
- Wolves have scored fewer goals at home than any other team (five in six games)
- Wolves haven't won in eight games, and haven't beaten in Birmingham in eight meetings either
All of which adds up to a Birmingham victory. Maths is fun!
What won't happen: It's not as simple as that, obviously...
What will happen: ...but Birmingham will still win
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