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Score predictions come out of the freezer

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BRITAIN/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:

 Stoke City v Liverpool
 Chelsea v Sunderland
 Manchester United v Burnley
 Portsmouth v Birmingham City
 Tottenham Hotspur v Hull City
 Wolverhampton Wanderers v Wigan Athletic
 Everton v Manchester City
    Playing on Sunday
 Aston Villa v West Ham United
 Blackburn Rovers v Fulham
 Bolton Wanderers v Arsenal

Remember, it’s five points for getting the score spot on; or one point if you get the right result but the wrong scoreline. The beauty is that with bonus points available for style, plus double points for new starters for the first month, you can catch us up very quickly. Honestly, turns out we’re rubbish at this…

Man City must aim higher still

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SOCCER-ENGLAND/VIEIRAThis time last year, I wrote a piece arguing that Manchester City were setting their sights in the transfer market pathetically low.

For a club with almost limiteless funds, putting Craig Bellamy and Nigel de Jong at the top of the transfer wish list was a bit like a Lottery winner hunting through the racks of last year’s suits at TK Maxx.

UPDATE: A New Year, a new chance to show your prediction skills

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SOCCER-ENGLAND/CUPThe 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.

Coyle’s Bolton move is another footballing mystery – or is it?

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One day perhaps we’ll understand how Wes Brown has amassed 21 England caps and maybe someone will eventually explain how Robinho is worth 35 million pounds but I don’t think I’ll ever comprehend the reason for Owen Coyle planning to ditch Burnley and go to Bolton Wanderers.

Coyle turned down the Celtic job last year because he wanted to go with Burnley into the Premier League and said only last week that he was “privileged to be building something special” at the club.

Could Birmingham’s Hart be Capello’s England number one?

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England manager Fabio Capello might well have found himself an unexpected Christmas present this year in Birmingham City goalkeeper Joe Hart.

Filling the gap between the sticks at next June’s World Cup finals in South Africa is perhaps the biggest conundrum Capello will face in the run up to soccer’s most glittering event, but Hart may just have made it a little easier.

January sale shopping looks tricky for Premier League big four

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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.

UPDATE: A festive round of predictions

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SOCCER-SPAIN/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.

So much for long-term projects at Manchester City

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Manchester City’s chief executive Garry Cook has made an impassioned defence of the reasons for Mark Hughes’ sacking.

The feeling persists, however, that Hughes was harshly treated by the club.

Cook states that he and the club’s owners gave Hughes all the resources that he needed to achieve the target of 70 points for the season. The one resource Hughes did not get was time. Had just two of the almost freakish seven successive draws been turned into victories, City would have been in an extremely strong position in the race for a top-four spot.

UPDATE:Warm yourselves up with our hot predictions league

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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.

UPDATE – Christmas has come early: Midweek prediction special

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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.

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