Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
It seems like ages since we last managed a proper weekend programme* but at last, here we are, with an all-singing, all-dancing snow-free extravaganza, with the dubious attraction of Arsenal v Man Utd’s traditional handbags at 10 paces highly competitive fixture being shown in 3D at select boozers across the land.
Below you will find the Reuters Soccer Blog standings and predictions for the week but remember, we’d like you to join in as well. If you’re a newcomer, you get 10 points for correctly predicting the exact score from the weekend’s Premier League game, or two for getting the right result. (If you’ve been with us for a while, it’s five points and one point).
Being on double-bubble means you can catch us up in no time, especially with huge bonus points on offer for incidental details like scorers, penalty misses, substitutions, or indeed anything else. So please send in your scores and have the satisfaction of out-predicting the stat-obsessed football nerds here at Reuters Soccer Blog Towers.
Reuters Soccer blog panel: Patrick Johnston 194, Mitch Phillips 182, Paul Radford 181, Neil Maidment 166, Kevin Fylan 148, Mark Meadows 142, Simon Evans 142, Julien Pretot 137, Mike Collett 132, Asia Sports Desk 115, Martyn Herman 109, Miles Evans 107, Sonia Oxley 71, Justin Palmer 41
Beer and football go together like, well, beer and anything else, but add in a pair of plastic stereoscopic spectacles plus the inevitability of someone taking a camera phone picture of you looking ridiculous and I can see the combination wearing a bit thin.
Still, I’m sure there’ll be plenty of people happy to give it a try on Sunday when the Premier League goes all Avatar on us.
Not for the first time this season, Manchester United stunned Manchester City in injury-time and clawed out a win that took them through to next month’s League Cup final against Aston Villa, while making a point to their ambitious neighbours.
Wayne Rooney’s late header was also a reminder that for all the weaknesses of this particular team, even with Cristiano Ronaldo gone to Real Madrid and Carlos Tevez off to Eastlands, United retain an uncanny ability to swing games their way in the face of adversity. Against the odds, they are somehow still on course for a treble.
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.
The striker is far and away United’s most important player this season as he takes up the slack left by Cristiano Ronaldo’s summer move to Real Madrid and his value to his club is matched by that to his country.
Michael Owen’s quest to find favour under England coach Fabio Capello ahead of June’s World Cup finals may have got a little harder with the arrival of Senegalese striker Mame Biram Diouf at Manchester United.
In only his second appearance since joining from Norwegian side Molde, Diouf opened his United account with a well-taken header in Saturday’s 3-0 Premier League win over Burnley and has firmly installed himself as a rival for the precious substitute time Owen has so far enjoyed unchallenged this season.
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.