Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
UEFA has come up with the wonderful idea of spreading out the Champions League last 16 matches over a month.
Instead of the two-leg ties all being squeezed into a two-week period, we now have the luxury of just two games per night for the next few midweeks.
Imagine if the two standout ties of the round, AC Milan v Manchester United and Inter v Chelsea, had been played on the same night. It would have been torture trying to choose between the two matches.
Arsenal’s 3-1 defeat at home to Manchester United last weekend has led many of our panel to predict similar gloom for Arsene Wenger’s men at Chelsea this Sunday.
It’s been a tough run of fixtures for the Gunners but for most of our “experts” here at Reuters Soccer blog, it’s been painful throughout the season. Do you think you would be better than our panel at predicting the Premier League scores each weekend? Believe me, it’s not hard to beat us.
We’ve had some knockabout fun in the Premier League this season, no question, but for all those eager for a change to the established order the table is taking on an all too familiar look.
Best Premier league season ever? It looked like we were heading that way, thanks to Liverpool’s flabbergastingly bad form, United’s post-Portuguese predicament, Chelsea’s baffling inconsistency and Arsenal’s eerie ability to conjure defeats and draws from matches they should have walked. William Hill even announced that the series of upsets involving the Big Four had helped them restore their profit margins at the expense of punters.
Last week’s snow-show in all but three of the games means there’s been very little movement on the scores front, at least here at Reuters Soccer Blog Towers.
Premier League grounds may be as sludgy as Dutch pea soup but at least they’re fit for purpose once more and as long as the thaw continues we should get a full programme again this weekend. About time too. Here are the weekend’s games:
The good news is, if you missed the midweek fixtures you’ve hardly been scathed, with one of the two games called off and the other a 3-2 thriller that no one predicted.
So let’s start 2010 as we mean to go on with your predictions for the Premier League matches this weekend. Read on after the break for the rules if you’re a newbie, and if not … well, you know what to do.
Here’s a total random idea: go and choose the best five matches of the last 10 years – a lot easier said than done.
Where do you begin? Do you only pick matches you have seen yourself ? As I am based in England, do I pick only matches played in England, or as I am lucky enough to travel round the world and watch football, do I go for international matches too?
I have my shopping list for the January sales but my need for a new desk-lamp is not as important as the requirements of the Premier League’s big four.
I’d say I could get my lamp quite cheap if I employ the Arsene Wenger technique of shopping around, making sure I get good value for money.
MONDAY UPDATE: The games really are coming thick and fast. We have only just worked out the weekend scores and now they all play again just two days later.
Who’d be a Premier League footballer at Christmas? Well, I wouldn’t mind money for a Ferrari.
MONDAY UPDATE: Well the cold weather only put pay to Wigan v Bolton in the end so I guess we’ll have to count the points for that game whenever it’s rescheduled (that will be a nightmare to remember and a challenge for my maths).
Below are the updated scores for the panel, who thanks purely to luck had a better weekend than usual despite there being one game less! Simon Evans guessed right that City boss Mark Hughes wouldn’t last til Xmas Eve, but in reality the decision to sack him had been taken long before the game. Given the festive spirit, Simon can have the dubious bonus point.
Thursday Update: I have very little to shout about personally after my confident predictions of Liverpool scoring nine and Chelsea 10 proved to be a little wide of the mark.
Still, looking on the bright side, I still got a couple of points for those 2-1 wins and the way I’ve been plummeting lately I’ll take what I can get.