Oh you can almost see the finishing line in sight now. The FA Cup is reaching its quarter final stage this weekend. We are inching ever closer to game 30 for the teams. Things are beginning to get ready for the final push for points and places. Meanwhile poor Arsenal have a week to forget quickly that is thankfully off the top talking point after the amazing comeback of Barcelona to win their tie against PSG after being four goals down in the away leg having not scored even one away goal AND conceding an away goal in their fixture this week. What an amazing tie and what a way for others to casually overlook Arsenal’s collapse to Bayern for the third game in a row.
The game goes on, though, and with the games in the league come the predictions, so let us first see how I got on with the last set of fixtures. Points as ever being three for a correct prediction, one point for just the right outcome and zero for nothing being right at all.
Man United 3-1 Bournemouth (0 points – actual score 1-1)
Leicester 2-2 Hull City (0 points – actual score 3-1)
Stoke City 1-0 Middlesbrough (1 point – actual score 2-0)
Swansea 2-1 Burnley (1 point – actual score 3-2)
Watford 2-1 Southampton (0 points – actual score 3-4)
West Brom 2-0 Crystal Palace (0 points – actual score 0-2)
Liverpool 2-2 Arsenal (0 points – actual score 3-1)
Tottenham 3-1 Everton (1 point – actual score 3-2)
Sunderland 1-4 Man City (1 point – actual score 0-2)
West Ham 0-2 Chelsea (1 point – actual score 1-2)
Yeesh. That was not a good set of result in line with my predictions – I may have scraped the 50% correct outcome figure, which is disappointing in itself, but to only get single points from those leaving an overall score of 5 points is pitiful to be fair. It’s not an Arsenal thrashing, but it is disappointing.
So let’s see if I can pick things up with the set of league fixtures that we are about to receive. This will cover the limited number of league fixtures so there won’t be that much to get wrong, surely.
Bournemouth 2-2 West Ham: Both teams have not had the greatest of runs at the moment and it’s hard to see which team will lift themselves most for the fixture. There is an argument to say the home side are in a better position to take advantage of their home comforts, yet West ham have been alright more often than not, so there’s little reason to count them out of this game.
Everton 2-1 West Brom: Of the two teams, Everton have the most to fight for. By that, I mean they have a higher league position to aspire to, whereas for West Brom, there is something about them that doesn’t strike me as being particularly aspirational for anything other than a comfortable league position. One they already have and might have gone to some way of explaining their defeat against Palace. This is a Pulis side, though so their should be a considerable degree of discomfort for the home side to impose their game. However Koeman has ambitions that should see the Toffeemen pull out the victor in a very tight game.
Hull City 1-1 Swansea: The Swans have made good steps forward under Clement, but they also know full well that they are not out of the woods just yet They need to pick up points and they need to be winning rather than losing these close encounters of the relegation kind. That will not be easy at all, because although the promising start of the new guy at Hull has subsided, they are still a relatively competent team in terms of making things difficult for the opponents. A win here will be a shot in the arm for their hopes of an incredulous escape. Not sure they will have enough to see it come about.
Liverpool 4-1 Burnley: Klopp does not strike me as the kind of guy who deals in revenge. He seems far too preoccupied with the preparation of his team and ensuring that everyone is ready to fire on all cylinders. It would not have escaped him, however, that Burnley were the first team to beat Liverpool in the league this season. It would not have escaped him either that the defeat came after they had bombarded the team and did everything but score. Question marks remain over Liverpool’s ability over teams in the lower half of the table, but with the poor away form of Burnley there is the promise of being able to win a game for change against the lesser teams for the home side.
Just the four games to consider this weekend, but a number of the teams nearer the bottom are in action so results could mean everything here. It’s all about if things will go in the favour of the teams that need it the most.
Let’s see how it goes.
C. L. J. Dryden