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from Reuters Soccer Blog:

So much for long-term projects at Manchester City

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.

Even as it stands, they are well-placed in sixth place with 29 points from 17 games, just six points behind fourth-placed Aston Villa with a game in hand. Cook's statement that the trajectory of recent events gave no evidence to suggest City could reach 70 points is a curious basis on which to sack a manager.

Hughes was asked to put together a team that could threaten the established top four. City beat Chelsea and Arsenal, drew with Liverpool and lost to Manchester United to a goal deep in stoppage time. The only other league defeat was away to Tottenham Hotspur.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

UPDATE: City v Chelsea tops our Premier League predictions

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MONDAY UPDATE: So how did you do? Here at Reuters we had our usual collection of baffling predictions and near misses along with a surprisingly high amount of lucky stabs in the dark.

It was a good job I made Man City v Chelsea the double pointer as two "experts" correctly plumped for the 2-1 City win. I fear an amount of copying also took place with Arsenal v Stoke as seven panel memebers were right to guess 2-0.

When will F1 have a Middle Eastern driver?

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 Abu Dhabi’s new Formula One circuit has given the Middle East seemingly unbeatable bragging rights as home to the world’s most modern and lavish track.

“No one is going to top this,” commented Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone on his arrival at Yas Marina and he may well be right.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Bolton stump everyone in another dire predictions week

Are Bolton Wanderers so bad that not one of our Reuters Soccer Blog predictions panel thought they would win at Birmingham City?

Ye of little faith. Manager Gary Megson may not be very popular with the Bolton fans but his side will always fight. A 2-1 win at a promoted club wasn't all that shocking.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Why our predictions panel rates a less than perfect 10

People can be divided into 10 types: those who understand binary and those who don't.

I mention this only because a look down our scores for this week would reveal a great many ones and zeroes, and very few fives.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Can you out-predict Reuters Soccer Blog?

It's that time of the week again, folks. The best brains at Reuters Soccer Blog are off, so it's just the usual crew of no-hopers here to embarrass ourselves trying to predict the outcome of the weekend Premier League action, and with no help from that lottery bobbins bloke.

To recap: with one point available for getting a correct result -- and make that a whopping five for the correct score -- there are at least 50 points up for grabs each week. Given that most teams have played five matches the total number of points a perfect tipster would have got by now would be well over 200.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Panel predictions: how low can you go?

The best and brightest here at Reuters Soccer Blog continue to show they'd struggle to tip their own hats in a stiff breeze, let alone a correct score in the Premier League.

Our leader, Paul Radford, managed an unhappy three points this week ... and look, who's that chap who has sneaked through to replace him at the top? That was not the most impressive display of the week, however ... for that look at one Julien Pretot, our new signing from the Paris bureau who leapt in with a 14 in his first week!

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Predicting the unpredictable … take your best shot

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.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Premier League: Our predictions, your predictions — Update

UPDATE: Now with added rollcall of shame! Click here for full details of just how badly our panel did...

The new Premier League season is upon us and this year we at the Reuters Soccer Blog have decided to stick our necks out as never before.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Vlog on the Pitch talks to Pablo Zabaleta

When Pablo Zabaleta signed for Manchester City this time last year he admits he wasn't really expecting to be playing on the same team as Carlos Tevez and Emmanuel Adebayor.

How times change. City are now being referred to as part of the "Big Five" in the Premier League and a Champions League qualifying place must be their target for the season.

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