Predicting the unpredictable … take your best shot

August 28, 2009

Do you feel you’ve been sitting on the bench too long this season? Are you itching for a chance to get out there and show what you can do? Confident you can show all those pundits how little they know about the game?

Well, my friends. Now. Is. Your. Chance.

Scores have been so low in our modest little predictions slot that one good week — one! — could see you overtake the vast majority of the Reuters Soccer Blog panel.

With one point for a correct result but a whopping five for a correct score — and untold bonus points on offer for predicting the apparently unpredictable — you could find yourself top of the league in no time.

And considering that The Contest is run on the honour system, you could even award yourself points for style.

The bar being so low here among the Reuters Soccer Blog panel has prompted a few new entries from our bloggers this week, including a combined effort from our Asian Sports Desk, fronted by Ossian Shine. Good luck, newbies.

Right, here are our predictions. Please enter yours in the comments below and keep us posted on how you’re doing score-wise.


Chelsea v Burnley: Two great wins for Burnley in their last two outings. Never two without three, they say in Spain, but this is England and it’s got to be Chelsea. Patrick Johnston: 3-1; Mike Collett: 3-1; Asian Sports Desk: 2-0; Kevin Fylan: 3-1; Miles Evans: 2-1; Justin Palmer: 3-0; Simon Evans: 0-0; Neil Maidment: 2-0; Mark Meadows: 2-1; Paul Radford: 2-0

Blackburn Rovers v West Ham United: I thought West Ham were a bit unlucky against Spurs last weekend and a lot of people seem to fancy an away win on this. Patrick Johnston: 1-1; Mike Collett: 0-1; Asian Sports Desk: 1-1; Kevin Fylan: 1-2; Miles Evans: 1-3; Justin Palmer: 1-3; Simon Evans: 1-2; Neil Maidment: 2-2; Mark Meadows: 0-1; Paul Radford: 2-1

Bolton Wanderers v Liverpool: Two defeats for Liverpool already and this is a fixture that has caused them problems when they’ve come in looking short of form. Patrick Johnston: 0-3; Mike Collett: 0-2; Asian Sports Desk: 0-0; Kevin Fylan: 2-1; Miles Evans: 0-1; Justin Palmer: 0-1; Simon Evans: 1-3; Neil Maidment: 1-2; Mark Meadows: 0-2; Paul Radford: 0-1

Stoke City v Sunderland: Stoke had a pretty formidable home record last season and only one member of the panel, newbie Neil, has been brave enough to predict a Sunderland win. Patrick Johnston: 0-0; Mike Collett: 1-1; Asian Sports Desk: 3-1; Kevin Fylan: 2-0; Miles Evans: 1-1; Justin Palmer: 2-2; Simon Evans: 1-1; Neil Maidment: 1-2; Mark Meadows: 1-1; Paul Radford: 1-1

Tottenham Hotspur v Birmingham City: Three out of three for Spurs and this looks a winnable game as well (except from the point of view of the Asian Sports Desk…) Patrick Johnston: 4-0; Mike Collett: 3-1; Asian Sports Desk: 1-3; Kevin Fylan: 3-1; Miles Evans: 3-0; Justin Palmer: 2-0; Simon Evans: 2-0; Neil Maidment: 3-0; Mark Meadows: 3-0; Paul Radford: 3-0

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Hull City: 14th plays 15th, and Justin Palmer has gone for 4-0 to 15th. Bizarre, eh? Patrick Johnston: 2-1; Mike Collett: 2-1; Asian Sports Desk: 2-2; Kevin Fylan: 1-0; Miles Evans: 2-0; Justin Palmer: 0-4; Simon Evans: 2-1; Neil Maidment: 0-0; Mark Meadows: 1-0; Paul Radford: 1-0

Manchester United v Arsenal: This is what I had in mind with the predicting the unpredictable headline. United got their mojo back with a 5-0 win over Wigan but even then they had to wait a long time for the first. Arsenal have had the pundits weeping with joy but they haven’t played anyone of United’s calibre yet. Patrick Johnston: 1-4; Mike Collett: 1-2; Asian Sports Desk: 0-2; Kevin Fylan: 2-1; Miles Evans: 0-0; Justin Palmer: 1-0; Simon Evans: 2-2; Neil Maidment: 0-2; Mark Meadows: 0-0; Paul Radford: 1-2


Portsmouth v Manchester City: City have just signed “the best centre-back in the Premier League” so this is a foregone conclusion, no? Patrick Johnston: 0-2; Mike Collett: 0-2; Asian Sports Desk: 0-3; Kevin Fylan: 1-1; Miles Evans: 0-0; Justin Palmer: 2-3; Simon Evans: 0-1; Neil Maidment: 0-2; Mark Meadows: 0-2; Paul Radford: 0-2

Everton v Wigan Athletic: Everton are rock bottom but they’ve only played a couple of games, remember. Can Wigan recover from that caning by United and pile on the agony at Goodison? Patrick Johnston: 1-2; Mike Collett: 3-1; Asian Sports Desk: 1-1; Kevin Fylan: 2-0; Miles Evans: 2-2; Justin Palmer: 2-1; Simon Evans: 2-1; Neil Maidment: 2-1; Mark Meadows: 3-1; Paul Radford: 3-2

Aston Villa v Fulham: Villa helped themselves to the three points at Anfield but then suffered a rude awakening in the Europa League play-off, making this another very tricky one to call. Good luck, sports fans! Patrick Johnston: 0-1; Mike Collett: 1-1; Asian Sports Desk: 2-2; Kevin Fylan: 1-0; Miles Evans: 2-1; Justin Palmer: 3-1; Simon Evans: 4-0; Neil Maidment: 1-1; Mark Meadows: 1-1; Paul Radford: 2-1

So there we have it, please give us your predictions and thoughts in the comments and keep checking back.

PHOTO: A football is rests on the pitch during the English Premier League soccer match between Burnley and Everton in Burnley August 23, 2009. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis


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What’s so unpredictable about manchester united against Arsenal? I suppose deciding between 4-0 and 5-0 might be tough but the result is nailed on, I tells you.

Posted by Merse | Report as abusive

There’s confidence for you. Tell you what, Merse, I’ll give you five points if it’s either or.

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

Pasting over this comment from Chipking on the last predictions blog. Here are his ideas for the weekend…

“Will stick to scores this week wont tempt fate with scorers.
Aston Villa v Fulham, 1-1
Blackburn v West Ham, 1-1
Bolton v Liverpool, 0-2
Chelsea v Burnley, 4-0
Everton v Wigan, 2-1
Man Utd v Arsenal, 1-0
Portsmouth v Man City, 0-4
Stoke v Sunderland, 1-2
Tottenham v Birmingham, 3-0
Wolverhampton v Hull, 2-1

Need some perfects to shoot me up the leaderboard!!”

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

So, only 2 people out of 10 have gone for a Man Utd win at home against Arsenal? Wasn’t the term ‘men against boys’ used only a few months ago as Utd destroyed Arsenal in the Champions League home and away? Both looked like training matches. Yes, Utd have lost Tevez (who was a crowd favourite, ran around alot and scored very few goals, no different from Alan Smith) and they have lost Ronaldo who, if he stayed on his feet more would’ve been far more potent. Look at the facts and you’ll see Utd won a higher percentage of games without Ronaldo, than they did with him in the side. The stats for Rooney on the other hand show that when Rooney plays, Utd win a far higher percentage of games than they do when he doesn’t play. Ronaldo wasn’t the best Manu Utd player, any Utd fan will tell you that Rooney is the invaluable gem and with the team based around him it is hard to see Arsenal closing a gap that was so evidently wide last season. Wengers mentality will be the same as the FA Cup final a few years ago when Arsenal defended for 90 minutes and played for penalties from the kick off, 4-5-1, if Arsenals new ‘attacking’ team come out on Saturday (4-3-3) and attack they will be crucified, if they defend like they have done in the past against Utd, they will have far less chances and reduce their chances of winning, I can only see a Utd win on this one. Literally, men against boys.

Posted by Dan United | Report as abusive

Dan United – your comments reek of a man petrified that his side are about to get a good kicking from a bunch of kids. If you were that confident you would simply laugh off those predictions, nervous in the north by any chance?

Posted by Gooner | Report as abusive

Ha Ha, good one! no Gooner, i’m not nervous, I just want people to look at the facts and ooze the same confidence I do. My dad always said never be afraid of a team who have two central defenders under 6ft. Merse knows the score, enough said.

Posted by Dan United | Report as abusive

Aston Villa v Fulham, 15:00 2-1
Blackburn v West Ham, 15:00 2-1
Bolton v Liverpool, 15:00 0-3
Chelsea v Burnley, 15:00 4-1
Everton v Wigan, 15:00 1-0
Man Utd v Arsenal, 15:00 1-1
Portsmouth v Man City, 15:00 0-2
Stoke v Sunderland, 15:00 1-0
Tottenham v Birmingham, 15:00 2-1
Wolverhampton v Hull, 15:00 0-0

I find it extremely hard to believe that man u won more games without ronaldo than with him, and even if they did, over the past 2-3 seasons he probably missed about 10-15 games in all comps which would make it easier to get a higher percentage for amounts of games won, than the percentage of games won with him involved. 67 goals in 2 seasons doesnt strike me as someone who isnt very potent, especially when his prefered position would be right wing and not as an out and out striker. I dont like the guy in the slightest as a person but as a footballer you cannot doubt his ability, i would like to know the amount of points he won man u last season single handedly because im willing to put good money on the fact that it would be more than rooney did.

Posted by maid | Report as abusive

Sorry Dan I forgot how tall Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney are and how much effort Dimitar Berbatov puts into jumping, having two 6ft defenders is not going to be a problem on Saturday.
Anyhow they didnt look that small when scoring their HEADED goals against Everton did they?

Posted by Gooner | Report as abusive

and lastly, you cannot put carlos tevez in the same bracket as alan smith, the same alan smith who hasnt scored a league goal for 2 seasons and the one carlos tevez sir alex admitted to trying to buy for £30m but because he wasnt shown enough love at united he wanted to move, he was class for u wen he played and would of played a major part for u this season, much like the wigan game last season when he came on scored and changed the game, also the stoke game, i smell sour grapes over that comparison..

Posted by maid | Report as abusive

maid, yes Ronaldo did score an incredible amount of goals in his last 3 seasons, and yes he was a fantastic player, but the stats show that we miss Rooney more when he doesn’t play than we did Ronaldo. Rooney has 3 in 3 this season now he has been given ‘Ronaldo’s role’ and looks more at home being the main man. I for one would rather sell Ronaldo than Rooney as Rooney makes United tick. Gooner, you have been impressive this season, and good luck to you, Arsenal have a great philosophy in the way they play the game, with some great English players coming through, namely Walcott, Wilshire, Gibbs etc, and it makes a nice change to see a club performing without the aid of a major financial backer, ourselves included, im just saying I think United should win at home against Arsenal as we haven’t been weakened as many people seem to hope/wish/think. As for Tevez, who spent more minutes on the pitch last season in all competitions than Rooney, Ronaldo & Berbatov, less than 10 goals isn’t good enough. He won’t be missed as much as many people think.

Posted by Dan United | Report as abusive

Very interesting point about Rooney, Dan. England fans will be delighted if he really does make the leading role at United his own. Ronaldo will of course be missed but I tend to agree with you … I think they can survive without him, and particularly in the Premier League. In the Champions League they might miss his calss rather more but that’s another story.

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

fair point about rather selling ronaldo than rooney because i do actually agree with u in that sense, im the type of football fan who loves a player who wears there heart on there sleeve which i think alot of other football fans would agree with, rooney falls into this category where as ronaldo doesnt, plus i also feel rooney is a far more loyal player than ronaldo, but putting that aside i still believe that u will miss ronaldo this season more than alot of man united fans seem to think, thats not to say you wont win anything this season far from it, but i just feel u will find it harder without his goals and ability to change games, and as for the united arsenal game im being a total whimp and sitting on the fence with a 1-1 draw, im just hoping for a more interesting game than im predicting!

Posted by maid | Report as abusive

I’m going for united to win 4-0 against an arsenal side badly distracted by the Eduardo affair. Can I have 10 points if that’s right?

Posted by Reese weatherspoons | Report as abusive

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Posted by Predicting the unpredictable … take your best shot  | Report as abusive

my predictions for this gameweek –  /predictions-gameweek-4/

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Posted by Christina | Report as abusive